ERIC Number: EJ963386
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Linguistic Diversity: A Contributory Factor to Reading Problems in Zambian Schools
Tambulukani, Geofrey; Bus, Adriana G.
Applied Linguistics, v33 n2 p141-160 May 2012
A lack of familiarity with the language of teaching is blamed for illiteracy rates beyond 40% among people who live in nations in Africa or Asia in which dozens of languages are spoken. For a critical test of the importance of familiarity with the language in which initial reading is practiced, we took the Zambian situation as a natural experiment and tested effects of a fit between the local language spoken in the homes and playground and the language officially designated as language of instruction. We selected 12 state-funded primary schools from three districts likely to differ in match between children's language and language of instruction. From each school we took at random 10 high- and 10 low achievers, in all 240 pupils, and tested them after 18 months of instruction. Pupils make more progress in word reading fluency in a Zambian language and English when basic reading skills are practiced in the children's most familiar Zambian language. Research into other facets of reading instruction is required to balance various possibilities for increasing efficacy of reading instruction.
Descriptors: Reading Fluency, Language of Instruction, Familiarity, Illiteracy, Foreign Countries, Reading Skills, Reading Instruction, African Languages, Multilingualism, Native Language, Second Language Learning, Elementary School Students, School Districts, High Achievement, Low Achievement, English (Second Language), Transfer of Training, Reading Research, Reading Difficulties
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Zambia