CHAPTER 3 A TEACHING MODEL FOR TEACHING READING
« A model is a way of depicting a theory’svariables, mechanisms, constructs and their interrelationships. A theory is dynamic, that is, it describes the way in which a model operates … » (Singer et al 1985: 620-621). A teaching theory can be represented by a teaching model reflecting the variables, mechanisms, constructs and their interrelation as they occur in an adequate teaching situation.
The purpose of a teaching model is to serve as a mechanism enabling the teacher to fulfil his/her main aim, which according to Van Niekerk, McDonald & de Klerk (1985: 55-56) entails leading the pupil to adulthood by means of instruction. Such instruction should not lose out of sight the pupil’stotality, which includes his/her affective, cognitive and normative life. Teaching pupils to achieve goals which they could not attain previously is also part of this aim (Wallen 1981: 6). The purpose of a teaching model for this study is to serve as a model according to which a teacher should teach the pupil in a teaching-learning situation to read and to ultimately make use of reading in his/her adult life.
The teaching-learning situation is the instructional situation where interdependent relations occur between the components of reading, the skills enabling the pupil to manage the subject components and the components of teaching as a whole. The emphasis shifts from instruction, content and learning, to the teacher, the pupil and the subject content. Although each situation is different and unique it should contain all the fundamental characteristics as incorporated in a teaching model. Therefore it is crucial to plan each teaching-learning situation progressively and to keep it organised. When referring specifically to reading, the purpose of a teaching model is to assist the teacher to enable his/her pupils to become adequate readers and to apply « … major, productive notions about letters and sounds to unfamiliar words successfully » (Pflaum 1986: 199).
Understanding of the reading process is a prerequisite to finding the best method of teaching reading. Following this, an optimal teaching procedure is sought, incorporating formal teaching procedures as prescribed by a teaching model (Williams 1986: 109). Formal instruction in reading, according to Gibson (1985: 236) can only be considered after the following steps have been taken:
analysis of the reading task; that is, deciding what basic reading skills should be mastered in order to read, and this would include grapheme-phoneme relations, morphological aspects, syntax, semantics and pragmatics of the written text.
analysis of the learning process to determine howto teach each pupil to read by means of the components of a teaching model.
Reading instruction is an integrated process in which both reading approaches are used interactively to teach word parts and comprehension for successful reading. The integrated nature of the reading act implies that different teaching principles should feature continually during instruction to ensure a successful reading lesson.
READING REMEDIATION AND THE TEACHING MODEL OF VAN DER STOEP AND LOUW (1979)
This text makes use of the teaching model of Van der Stoep and Louw (1979: . 108-208) as the point of departure because it clearly reveals the integrated nature of the reading act.
The teaching model concentrates on the how of teaching reading. This implies the involvement of the teacher in the reading lesson. The teacher should also consider the components of the teaching model when teaching a learning disabled pupil to read. The teacher firstly considers his/her aim.
THE TEACHING AIM
The teaching aim of the teaching model consists of a lesson aim and a learning aim. The lesson aim refers to the teacher’seffort which means, specifically what he/she wants the pupil to know. The learning aim refers to the pupil’seffort; that which the pupil must master to enable him/her to read (Van der Stoep & Louw 1979: 180-181 ). The teaching aim is divided into the indirect and the direct aim. The indirect aim of reading is to teach a pupil to read adequately or in the case of a pupil with reading problems, to teach him/her to overcome his/her reading problems. This aim is not solely to teach the pupil to recognise single, separate or isolated words (Groff & Seymour 1987: 11) but to also develop reading comprehension. It is the ability to read any reading material suitable for the specific reading level in which the pupil should function.
The direct aim is to teach the pupil specific reading skills of word identification and comprehension in order to achieve the indirect aim, namely, to be a competent reader. Competency in teaching reading depends on the instructional procedures followed by the teacher. Successful achievement of the teaching aim depends on the goals and subgoals set for instructing reading. According to Wallen (1981: 29) the goals of teaching reading are:
decoding skills, where written text is translated into verbal sounds. The subgoals would be decoding by sight and decoding by means of word attack skills (Par. 184.108.40.206)
attainment of literal comprehension, where the subgoal would be to enable the pupil to translate associated verbal sounds into meaningful thought units (Par. 220.127.116.11)
inferential comrehension, where the pupil can verbally use relevant knowledge added to new information gained in the text and answer inferential questions (Par. 18.104.22.168). The subgoals would be to associate relevant knowledge with new information and to draw conclusions.
The learning aim is reached when the pupil has attained the above goals and subgoals. To enable the pupil to reach the learning aim the teacher has to incorporate the teaching components into the teaching-learning situation. The following components included in the teaching model of Van der Stoep and Louw ( 1979: 70-105) serve as the foundation for teaching reading in this study, namely, basic didactic principles, content arrangement principles, methodological principles and teaching methods.
BASIC DIDACTIC PRINCIPLES
Basic didactic principles are spontaneous ways in which the adult teaches the pupil to learn content (Van der Stoep and Louw 1979: 71). It is thus a way in which the pupil realises reality and develops skills enabling him/her to learn, to gain information, and to adjust to his/her environment. By means of the basic didactic principles, namely, play, conversation, example and instruction, the pupil’s observation, experiences, objectivity, thoughts and language are developed. These basic didactic principles are closely related and are difficult to divorce one from the other, because while the one is taking place the other is also happening to a greater or lesser degree.
Play, according to Van der Stoep and Louw (1979: 74) is a unique basic didactic form of the human relationships with reality. By means of play the pupil gains meaning of the world surrounding him/her. During play, the pupil applies and practices that which he/she has learnt from the example of others. Play has a socialising component as well because, during play, the pupil learns to comply with rules, roles and organisation. This enables him/her to conform with socially acceptable behaviour.
By means of didactical play activities the pupil can acquire specific reading skills. He/she may learn to identify letters, words and sentences or to associate written words with meaning. Play is also particularly effective for the pupil who is a slow starter. Because he/she wants to participate in the game he/she is willing to start even if he/she is not a proficient reader. Frequent repetition is needed when learning to read and by means of play the same aspect could be repeated without the pupil realising this or getting bored.
The repetition taking place while a pupil plays a reading game, enhances his/her ability to achieve success in reading. This enhances his/her self-esteem and promotes responsibility resulting in reading improvement.
Children who have reading problems are not always ready for formal teaching and therefore play is a valuable means of teaching these pupils. Play activities such as the following may be used to teach certain reading skills:
card games, with words instead of pictures in order to learn phoneme/grapheme relations~ or memory games with letter cards)
board games, for learning sight words as the pupil gets the opportunity to reread the same words several times (Monoooly)
word analysis and syllables are learnt where the pupil sees how many words he can make with a given number of syllables. This type of game can take the form of social play where one pupil can put down a syllable card and his/her partner has to put down another card in order to make a word. The pupils take turns to put down the first card. If one does not have a syllable to complete a word, the opponent scores.
comprehension is improved when the pupil mimics a written instruction read from a card. One pupil can put down a picture and the other one has to find the word or sentence matching the picture.
When making use of games it is important to consider that pupils should have many opportunities to respond; that there should be no complex rules to apply, and that the teacher should not be required to do detailed preparation (Cairney 1983: 29-30). If the activity is too strictly structured it may inhibit the spontaneity of the pupil.
An effective teaching method, namely, demonstration (Par. 22.214.171.124) forms a crucial part of play activity, because the teacher demonstrates how the activities are to be played. While playing takes place, dialogue takes place spontaneously.
Dialogue is primary to one’slifestyle and one’srelationship with reality (Van der Stoep & Louw 1979: 78-79). Dialogue always takes place between two participants in the teaching-learning situation, namely, the adult (teacher) who introduces reality to the pupil by means of dialogue. He/she initiates a dialogue that will enhance the pupil’sneed to gain knowledge about reality.
In the didactic situation, by means of dialogue, language is used to repeat, continue, break down and resume information later. Both participants listen and understand the information shared by them.
With regard to reading, the teacher could, for example, read the story and discuss the topic and main ideas with the pupil. This method includes aspects such as classifying information, seeing relations between events, anticipating outcomes and making comparisons (Cairney 1983: 40 & 42-44). Class discussions contribute to the pupil’sconfidence in using oral language, his/her understanding of concepts, and the extension of the vocabulary which he/she encounters later in a written text (Pumfrey 1991: 210). By ma.king use of dialogue, the pupil who is inclined to keep quiet may be more willing to participate actively in the learning activities.
T~e teaching methods used here could be discussion, question and answer, demonstration, classroom dialogue (between teacher and pupil or pupils with one another). By listening to nursery rhymes and sentences, words that, for example, have the same initial or end sounds (consonants or consonant combinations) (Crawley & Merritt 1991: 11) could be discussed. By means of written examples the beginning and end sounds in words can be demonstrated and questions can be asked for the pupil to answer. This can also be done with syllabification of words and spelling rules to improve the pupil’sdecoding skills.
In a teaching-learning situation the teacher could also use an example to initiate dialogue.
The main aim of the example is to serve initially as a basis to enable the pupil to understand the essence of a particular ~case. The pupil lives in a world of reality and in order to reveal this reality to the pupil, the adult (teacher) selects certain examples from reality which makes a concept understandable for the pupil. By means of discussions (dialogue) the information based on reality is analysed and synthesised (Van der Stoep & Louw 1979: 81-82).
With regard to reading, information, such as spelling rules gained from the word,) are generalised. The pupil is, for instance, taught to analyse an example of a written word into letter sounds, blends, or clusters of letters; to apply the spelling rules and eventually to synthesise them to form a spoken word (Carbo, Dunn & Dunn 1986: 64). This enables the pupil to use the same analytic method and spelling rules for reading words he/she has never seen before.
The pupil who has reading problems depends on examples because explanations by themselves often do not mean anything to him/her. By means of examples of words the pupil learns how to analyse words in letter sounds, letter blends, or clusters of letter sounds in a specific order.
The teaching methods example and demonstration (Par. 126.96.36.199) are the most obvious methods for use here because the example demonstrates a concept.
Assignment is the application of knowledge in order to find a solution to a problem and to acquire new knowledge. The adult creates a situation in which he/she gives an assignment to a pupil in order to attain the pupil’sinvolvement in reality. While doing assignments, particular achievements are expected from the pupil within a specified time period (Van der Stoep & Louw 1979: 89).
In reading, the pupil can be given the assignment of breaking sentences up into word units, and then breaking words into letters or word syllables in order to identify the words. The pupil should also be led to realize that the written word he/she reads, enables him/her to gain meaning from the text. This may be done by giving him/her the assignment to draw certain pictures about the story and sentences he/she has read, or he/she may anticipate a conclusion by way of drawing what he/she thinks is going to happen prior to reading about it (Cairney 1983: 26).
Seeing that pupils who have reading problems find it difficult to work independently, the above method is essential during remediation. The teacher gives the pupil assignments continually in order to involve him/her in the reading act. Assignments also enable a teacher to determine whether a particular reading goal has been reached. By asking questions it is possible to determine whether the pupil understands what he/she has read. For this the question and answer method (Par. 188.8.131.52) is the most obvious teaching method applicable.
The basic didactic principles are the most spontaneous ways of involving a pupil in reality while assisting him/her to gain knowledge of content. Subject matter in a teaching-learning situation should always be arranQed in a specific order, so as to make it more accessible to the pupil.
CONTENT ARRANGEMENT PRINCIPLES
Arrangement of subject matter refers to how the lesson content is presented so as to be clear to the pupil (Van der Stoep & Louw 1979: 99).
The chronological arrangement of subject matter is the introduction of facts in the same order in which the events took place (Van der Stoep & Louw 1979: 100). Subjects of a historical nature should be presented in this order. The chronological arrangement can also be applied to any other subject which should be presented in a specific sequence to enable the pupil to grasp the content.
Although this arrangement mainly applies to subjects such as history, it is possible to apply it to reading as well, as order can be used effectively in word recognition. The pupil starts at the basics where grapheme-phoneme relations are learnt and then the sounds are synthesised to form words and sentences. Ultimately this enables the pupil to derive meaning from the word and the sentence. It implies the build up from the elementary to the more complex and can be related to the bottom-up approach (Par. 2.5.1 ).
Although, as mentioned before (Par. 184.108.40.206), research has proved that pupils with problems find this chronological development of learning to read difficult, it still has value for these pupils. They often have language problems and their vocabulary and pre-knowledge is limited (Par. 220.127.116.11). Thus they are unable to depend on contextual clues when they cannot read a certain word on sight. By following the chronological sequence of events the pupil is assisted to know which word it should be because he/she has knowledge of the content. This arrangement may also enable the pupil to identify certain letter features of words when making use of contextual clues, because he/she can relate the letters to the sounds in a word. On the other hand the identification of the letters in words may enable the pupil to confirm that the word he/she has read was correct.
Basal readers which cover topics concerning people and events, are also valuable to pupils who have reading problems as the chronological sequence of events allows for repetition. Repetition of the same word may improve sightword vocabulary, and repetition of information in the text may improve the pupil’s memory of events and other information.
The point of departure of the symbiotic arrangement principle is that the pupil is faced with reality in his/her surrounding world which he/she needs to understand. In the learning situation the pupil learns about the reality surrounding him/her. He/she sees things in general and then learns to reduce this into finer details (Van der Steep & Louw 1979: 101) in order to understand it. The symbiotic arrangement could be applied to reading in a top-down approach (Par. 2.5.2). Where the pupil starts from the known to the unknown he/she first sees the word globally (sight words) and later on reduces it to the finer details, namely, the sounds and their symbols. The symbiotic arrangement can also be applied to the interactive approach (Par. 2.5.3). Words are learnt globally (sightwords) and are at the same time analysed and reduced to phonemes. The phonemes are then synthesised into spoken words again.
For the pupil who has reading problems the point of departure is that which is obvious and known. The pupil starts with familiar words which he/she analyses into sounds which he/she relates to the letters. Therefore the text should begin with known content.
Linear arrangement means that the particular learning content is analysed and reduced to the basic facts. It is then synthesised in order to gain insight into the whole concept (Van der Stoep & Louw 1979: 101).
In reading, the pupil first learns to analyse the written word into sounds and then synthesises these into a spoken word in order to comprehend it. This principle and the bottom-up approach (Par. 2.5.1) bear strong resemblance. It is thus advantageous for the pupil who is analytically inclined and prefers to start with word analysis.
This method may also be used to teach certain spelling rules for example the letter g is always followed by a y. The pupil analyses different words starting with g and discovers the similarities, namely, in every one of these words there is always a .Y following the g.
The disadvantage of the linear arrangement is that many learning disabled pupils with reading problems are concrete bound and consequently unable to analyse words into detail because the concept of the letter symbols and sounds and their relationships is too abstract for them to grasp.
Punctual arrangement occurs when a subject is taught systematically starting at a midpoint or a main or central concept and branching out in all directions, (Van der Stoep & Louw 1979: 102) for example, the subconcepts which are related to the main or central concept.
It is difficult to relate this arrangement to reading although not impossible. For instance, when teaching a pupil syllabification this concept is first explained by means of examples, namely, that some words consist of more than one part when pronounced. The pupil discovers that each part has specific letter components, namely, consonants and vowels. The consonants are always at one or both ends of a syllable. The vowel, however, can be at one of the ends or in the middle of a syllable. Once the pupil has become familiar with the concepts these can be extended into spelling rules, such as, for open and closed syllables. When using this arrangement for pupils with reading problems it should be carefully incorporated, so as not to confuse the pupil or make the work too difficult to understand.
Spiral structuring of content refers to the concentric arrangement thereof where one proceeds from the elementary to the complex or the more difficult. The pupil starts from the simple concepts and learns to control more intricate and complex structures (Van der Stoep & Louw 1979: 103) related to the basic concept.
The bottom-up approach for reading is a good example to be related to the spiral arrangement where the pupil begins to analyse words into letter-sounds (grapheme-phoneme) and then synthesises them into words. Then he/she learns to analyse the words into syllables. He/she starts at two syllable words and eventually masters multi-syllabic words. Once the pupil is able to analyse the words he/she learns about the morphemic rules, namely, affixes which include prefixes and suffixes. This arrangement is also applicable to comprehension because it starts at a literal comprehension level and progresses to an inferential comprehension level.
The disadvantage of this arrangement is that the pupil is inclined to read word-for-word. Pupils with reading problems also find it difficult to start learning letters and their sounds because these are too abstract for them.
The methodological principle implies the way in which the subject matter is presented to the pupil when starting to apply the content in the practical or teaching-learning situation (Van der Stoep & Louw 1979: 104). In order to lead the pupils to gain insight into the contents the inductive and deductive principles may be utilised.
Van der Stoep and Louw (1979: 188) describe this principle as follows: « Die induktiewe benadering dui op ‘n opstyging uit gegewe voorbeelde tot ‘n algemene gevolgtrekking. » One starts from the known and progresses to the unknown; from part to whole through synthesis which progresses step by step towards generalisation (Van der Stoep & Louw 1979: 188).
The pupil is presented with an object or a number of objects known to him/her. He/she has previously become accustomed to these objects by means of perception. The objects contain the same essentials, basic components or rules. In a teaching-learning situation the objects are reduced in order to discover the essentials, components or rules they consist of.
With regard to reading, it is possible to follow this approach by reducing the reading content to a number of words containing similar concepts, for example vowels (read, meat, lead), consonants (!!le, that, there), word structures (consonant vowel consonant – CVC: mat, dog, bed), word syllable structures (beginning syllables: ~fore, between, believe and end syllables: … tion or … ~)
or rule (silent « e »: dat§, rid§, ros§).
The advantage of this principle according to Van der Stoep and Louw (1979: is that it ensures lasting insight. The younger pupil adapts better to this method and so do pupils with learning disabilities who are not yet able to work on an abstract level.
The disadvantage is that it requires longer teaching time and is based on perception (Van der Stoep & Louw 1979: 105).
Deduction, according to Van der Stoep and Louw (1979: 105 & 188) is to enunciate a principle, hypothesis or rule in order to enable the pupil to apply it to information and subsequently arrive at a conclusion.
Although it is difficult to apply this principle to reading it is however, possible to do so when the pupil knows the different components (letters, syllables, word structures and rules) of the written word. By means of his/her knowledge of letters and word structures, the pupil is able to synthesise these to read a word. If for instance, a pupil knows the rules associated with word syllables, he/she will be able to identify the syllables within a longer word and to synthesise them into a whole word, for example, concentrate consists of con-(CVC and C+O=[k] rule), -cen-(CVC and C+E [s] rule) and -trate (consonant digraph tr and silent « e » rule ate).
The advantage of the deductive principle is that work tempo is quicker than in the case of the inductive principle. The disadvantage is that it requires a high level of abstract thinking from a pupil. To understand, remember and apply rules is difficult for a young pupil, especially the learning disabled pupil, because he/she has not yet reached an abstract level of thought.
Due to the nature of reading it is not possible to separate the two principles when teaching reading. The reading act requires a pupil to be able to analyse the words and at the same time to apply the rules applicable to the analysed components of the written words. For instance, when reading a word like aeroplane the pupil has to analyse the word in it’ssyllable components aer + Q + plane (inductive)., Then he/she has to identify the detail and apply rules to each syllable aer: ae [a] + r; Q: [o]; and plane: silent 11 e11 rule plan~ (deductive). This enables him/her to synthesise the word and to read the word and understand it.
The analytic reader will have less problems with the inductive principle while the global reader will be more comfortable with the deductive principle.
To conclude, due to the integrated analytic and synthetic nature of the normal reading act, the best way to incorporate the mentioned principles when teaching reading to a pupil with reading problems, is to use them simultaneously in an interactive way (Par. 2.5.3). If the pupil is an analytic reader the inductive principle will compensate for his/her problems with sight words and if he/she is a global reader the deductive principle will compensate for his/her problems to analyse the word components.
Reason and Boote (1986: 22) equate a method to a route to a mountain top. By means of a method the pupil is guided along the route which best suits him/her. This is also applicable to teaching methods used to teach a pupil subject matter. When teaching a pupil reading, there are different methods which can be used. They need not be used in isolation but can be used simultaneously. The following teaching methods are identified by Van der Stoep and Louw (1979: 93-98). These methods are interwoven and cannot be separated, but for the sake of clarity they are discussed individually. The methods are explained by means of examples.
The narrative method
According to Van der Stoep and Louw (1979: 93) this method is utilised more than any other. Concepts related to the subject matter are explained to a pupil by means of the narrative method. The teacher has enough knowledge and knows more than the pupil, therefore the pupil is the silent listener. This method moves from a monological nature to a dialogue when both the parties converse, reason or discuss the content (Van Niekerk et al 1985:71 ). There is always an aim within a specific context, for example, the pupil is taught to think critically while he/she is reading. The pupil is then asked literal and inferential questions. However, in terms of the reading act, this does not apply only to comprehension but also to other aspects of reading, for example, spelling rules. If a silent « e0 is added to the end of a eve word the name of the vowel letter is pronounced in the word, for example, m.§t~. The same concepts can also be illustrated by means of a word wheel whereby the word beginning (eve) is turned several times until it is next to the silent « e », and then it is read. This enables the pupil to supply similar rules to eve words thereby extending his/her vocabulary.
With regard to the pupil who has a reading problem this can be an effective method for the concepts to be applied in an interesting way as it enhances the pupil’sattention enabling him/her to understand and remember the concepts better.