The focus of this research is on the professional development of educators responsible for teaching reading literacy to learners. This focus forms the core of this case study. Case studies investigate cause and effect and one of their strengths is the acknowledgement that context is a powerful determinant of both cause and effect. A qualitative research approach is used to collect data by means of semi-structured interviews, observation and questionnaires at three primary schools. This study is aimed at exploring whether educators gained and applied the knowledge and skills from departmental workshops and other professional development intervention to the facilitation of reading literacy. The study investigated and interpreted the participants’ perspectives in order to gain insight and understanding into the professional learning experiences of educators.
Proficiency in reading literacy gives learners access to information, broadens their general knowledge, increases their vocabulary and develops their language skills. The improvement of reading literacy commences at the primary level because learners at this stage develop and acquire fundamental attitudes and approaches to learning.
Data was collected by means of interviews, observation of lessons and questionnaires on the teaching of reading literacy. Findings indicate that, although the focus of teaching and learning is on the learner, the strategies and criteria are determined by the educator. This could have a negative impact on learners’ acquisition of knowledge and educators’ ability to improve learners’ reading literacy levels.
This dissertation recommends that the whole brain learning and reading model, which represents an integration of the literature study, my practical experience and the findings of my empirical study with inputs from principals and educators, should be used as basis for the transformation of reading literacy facilitation in South African schools.