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Effects of technology-intensive Balanced Literacy Approach on early grade reading comprehension, fluency and engagement.

Effects of technology-intensive Balanced Literacy Approach on early grade reading comprehension, fluency and engagement

Research suggests that good reading skills have a major impact on the overall success in life. However in educational institutes of Pakistan, particularly in public schools little attention is given to this aspect of learning. It is essential for a child to make a transition from the ‘Reading to Learn’ to ‘Learning to Read’ stages by the end of grade 2. However a majority of public school students in Pakistan are unable to achieve this transition; in fact students in grade 5 are unable to read the grade 2 level English sentences. This inability to read affects their overall studies, as the medium of instruction has been changed and the students of 5th grade are required to read other courses like Science, Social Science and even Mathematics in English. If they are unable to read a sentence in English, how can they do well in other subjects?

The purpose of my research is to implement the Balanced Literacy Approach to address students’ weak English reading and comprehension skills and to instill in students the motivation to take English reading as a fun activity. Balanced Literacy is a research-backed approach for teaching English reading comprehension. It takes phonemic as well as whole-word approach to learning words within a particular context, and offers a variety of activities that make English reading an interesting and engaging activity.

The study is being implemented at Islamabad Model School for Boys, Sihala with 32 grade 5 students as research participants. In this study, the pedagogy of balanced literacy has been backed by technology in a way that participating all students will be provided an Android based tablet following a ‘one tablet per child’ model. The tablets will have an application called ‘Read Me Stories’ installed that aims to improve students’ phonemic awareness and reading comprehension skills.

We believe that technology-intensive Balanced Literacy approach may result in enhanced reading comprehension and increased motivation of our research participants. Moreover, the future impact of the research is vital, as it will the lay the foundation for the effective use of technology for teaching purposes. In addition the research will serve as a model for future technological interventions for improving English language reading skills in schools of Pakistan.

By Amar Ali Khan (MS ITE,SEECS)

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