Title

Enhancing ESL learners’ reading comprehension through the reading strategy of prediction

Author

Monica Ahabwe

Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Zeenat Shariff

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Prof. Marriote Ngwaru

Department

Institute for Educational Development, East Africa

Abstract

The act of reading for comprehension is a demanding task as it requires coordination of a number of simultaneous tasks. Learners’ low proficiency in reading comprehension has been a major concern for English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers in Tanzania. This study explored how the reading strategy of prediction can be used to enhance ESL learners’ reading comprehension in a private secondary school Form One class in Tanzania. The study employed a qualitative collaborative action research design that involved a teacher-researcher and a cooperating teacher of English. The general approach to the study was based on the action research process of planning, implementing, observing and reflection. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, classroom observations, think-aloud protocols, document analysis, reflection and reflective conversations. Data analysis involved three stages: organizing, coding and analyzing the data as well as data interpretation. Findings reveal that the Directed Reading Thinking Activity (DRTA), teacher modelling and explicit instruction, guided practice and scaffolds can be used in the teaching of prediction. Further, prediction enables learners to monitor their comprehension, increases learners’ interest in reading, improves learners’ skills of interpreting text information and improves low achievers’ comprehension scores. The cooperating teacher felt that the use of prediction increased her repertoire of teaching reading comprehension skills. Prediction made her class active and cooperative. The learners said prediction was an interesting strategy and it had enhanced their curiosity in reading texts. However, they also said prediction is hard because it requires them to think. The study recommends further inquiry in the use of other reading strategies and the use of cooperative learning to teach reading comprehension.

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