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The effects of decodable storybook instruction on early reading skills in a remedial english class
early reading ability
whole-to-parts phonics instruction
|Issue Date:||2016-05-09 15:47:33 (UTC+8)|
The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of decodable storybook instruction on the early reading performances and learning attitudes of Taiwanese EFL lower-grade underachievers in an elementary school in Taipei. An attempt is also made to explore the possible reasons for any improvement among the underachievers’ with respect to this remedial program.
The present study was conducted in two stages. A small-scale pilot study was implemented as a preparation for the formal study in advance. The purpose of the pilot study was to investigate if the reading text of the selected storybook series is appropriate for underachievers, the feasibility of the decodable storybook instruction and the effects of the instruction on learners’ early reading ability and learning attitudes. Afterwards, the formal study was revised in modifying some test words as well as the scoring procedure on the early reading assessments, adding more reading materials and qualitative data sources such as teacher interviews.
In the formal study, the participants are one remedial English class of five second graders (whose academic performances were at the bottom 15% to 20% of the grade). The curriculum was based on the contents of a commercial series of decodable story books—Clifford Phonics Fun Reading Program—pack one. The researcher adopted the framework of whole-to-parts phonics instruction to integrate reading activities and phonics training in an interesting and meaningful reading context. A variety of reading activities integrating four skills were designed and based on the content and topic of the storybooks to rouse learners’ interest. Decodable CVC words embedded in the story series were then explicitly taught to learners to apply letter-sound knowledge in their reading process.
This study triangulates action research with qualitative data using classroom observations (video or taping), interviews, assessment records, and document analysis. Data analysis interprets the study results. After the sixteen weeks of remedial instruction, a comparison between the results of pre-tests and post-tests showed some changes in learners’ early reading ability, including letter-sound recognition, word recognition and visual blending, as well as a positive change in learning attitudes.
The other findings were as follows. (1) Multiple teaching activities generated from the decodable story book can be beneficial to learners’ early reading ability and learning motivation. (2) The decodable story book is an effective language learning medium for learners to apply their decoding skills as well as to provide them with an interesting reading context to lower their anxiety in learning English.
Based on the findings, a number of suggestions and pedagogical implications are provided for EFL elementary school teachers and further studies in the remedial instruction field alike.
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