Targeting literacy and self-concept in New Zealand students with low levels of literacy acquisition

Targeting literacy and self-concept in New Zealand students with low levels of literacy acquisition

First Author: Amanda Denston -- University of Canterbury
Additional authors/chairs: 
John Everatt; Jane Prochnow; Tufulasi Taleni
Keywords: Literacy development, Self-concept, Self-Efficacy, Intervention
Abstract / Summary: 

Reading and writing are fundamental aspects of education. Failure to acquire these skills can lead to poor educational achievement, negative feelings about education, lower self-concept and behavioural problems. The current research has been investigating the relationships between literacy and psychosocial development, and ways to support literacy learning, increase self-concept and reduce negative behaviours in children who have experienced significant challenges in their literacy learning.

This presentation will focus on primary school children (aged 8 to 10 years) who have experienced several years of literacy teaching but who show evidence of difficulties with reading/spelling. Interventions were used with these children that included relatively challenging (age-appropriate) texts to build interest and self-efficacy. The intervention targeted competence in decoding strategies, specifically focusing on phonological features, but also considering orthographic/morphological units to provide a range of strategies. Opportunities to model and practice text reading through repeated readings were also provided. Measures of literacy, self-concept and behaviour were administered pre- and post-intervention, with a delayed intervention group acting as controls for the intervention students (over 30 children per group).

Data indicated that the intervention was related to improvements in measures of reading and spelling, as well as evidence of reductions in negative behaviour and increased self-concept. Individual differences in the effects were apparent, particularly those related to initial levels of self-concept.

Such interventions provide strategies for successful decoding of words within text that can lead to literacy improvements and positive self-concept/behaviour. The presentation will also consider the potential for such interventions to develop resilient self-efficacy.