Grade three(3) pupils preparedness for the read on course(ROC): a case of selected basic schools in Chingola district of Zambia
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The study was conducted to assess Grade 3 pupils’ preparedness for the Read On Course (ROC) under the Primary Reading Programme (PRP) in reading and writing in Bemba as a first language and English as a second language. The study addressed the following main objectives among others: to establish if Grade 3 pupils could read and write at desirable levels in both Bemba as a first language and English as a second language; and to find out factors that contributed to Grade 3 pupils’ reading and writing difficulties in the first and second languages. This study employed a cross-sectional design and both qualitative and quantitative methods were used. There were 75 pupils that were sampled drawn from five basic schools within Chingola district of Zambia. Additionally, 15 teachers who taught Grades 1, 2, and 3 provided information on the pupils’ preparedness for the ROC. The study showed that most pupils faced a number of difficulties in reading and writing in Grade three when Bemba and English began to move simultaneously. Most pupils in Grade three were not able to read and write at the desirable level, including some that had supposedly broken through by the end of Grade two. The study also revealed that the pupils faced difficulties in spelling English and Bemba words especially when words were raised from simple one-syllable to three-syllable words. Pupils could not write simple sentences that were deemed to be at their grade level. Classroom observations showed that there were a number of factors that contributed to the pupils’ poor performance in reading and writing at the beginning of the ROC. Some of these included shortage of teaching and learning materials, absenteeism, and environmental factors such as pupils’ poor home environment. Arising from these findings, it was concluded that the pupils that had not broken through faced most challenges as they had little or nothing at all to transfer from Bemba as a first language into English as a second language by the third grade. The study, among other recommendations, suggested that the time for learning the Zambian languages be extended from one to four years as envisaged in the current education policy document, Educating Our Future (1996).
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