Developing reading skills among five year old children through stories
Date of Award
Master of Education (M. Ed.)
Institute for Educational Development, Karachi
Reading is an important activity for any learner. Without reading skills, the journey of the learner is likely to be full of hurdles. This is especially true when it concerns learning English as a second language. In developing countries, there is a significant need to develop reading skills. Because of the rote-memory approach to learning in developing countries, learners lag behind in this area i.e. the traditional approach does not consider reading to be contributing to knowledge and understanding, and expects students to regurgitate the lessons to prove their knowledge acquisition. Researchers who were referred to in the literature review found that reading skills have a catalytic contribution to a person's learning rate, and they further say that it is best to focus on the Early Years learners to develop their reading skills, as young learners are quick and can learn double the rate of the adult learners. Recent research suggests that in order to develop reading skills, it is not necessary to spend a lot of money, but only to portray reading as an enjoyable activity and to develop students' interest in the activity. The purpose of this research is to study the use of storybooks as a tool to develop reading skills through enjoyment. Thus, the researcher makes an effort to support the five year old young learners in their reading efforts by using the innovative tool of story-telling. To comprehend this, the researcher endeavored on the path of action research and worked with Early Years teachers in a private school in Karachi, Pakistan. A strategic action plan was prepared and implemented in order to facilitate the students in their reading development. Subsequent planning and action remain responsive to any need for change arising out of the experiences of implementing the previous one. The data for the action process was collected through semi-structured interviews, lesson observation notes, the researcher's reflective diary and tape-recording of the sessions. The gathered data was analyzed soon after each action step for reflection and further action. The research findings confirm that story books motivate the young learners to read books. On one hand, this lends support to the development of vocabulary, comprehension, and language as well. On the other hand, it was found that lack of resources like appropriate story books for the age level, as well as lack of resources for story-telling like puppets, flannel board, etc., hinder the useful facilitation of the process. Moreover, the most significant finding of the research was students' attention span i.e. it was found that the duration of the students' attention span was not more than ten to fifteen minutes, which made it difficult for the researcher to have them sit for the entire duration of a story-telling session, or to engage them in oral discussion for an adequate span of time. The dissertation concludes with the suggestion that training is required for Early Years teachers to participate in the activity of story-telling. In addition, a long-term plan designed by the teacher educators might resolve the crisis of preparing teaching aids for story-telling and story books.
Rahman, L. (2006). Developing reading skills among five year old children through stories (Unpublished master's dissertation). Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.