Date of Award

1-1-1994

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr Mary Rohl

Second Advisor

Dr Amanda Blackmore

Third Advisor

Dr Peter Sloan

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine issues related to teachers' theoretical orientations to reading and teachers' preferred strategies for good, poor and very poor readers. A questionnaire was completed by 140 primary teachers in 10 schools. Teachers were asked to rate 6 bottom-up strategies and top-down strategies according to how helpful they were for good, poor and very poor readers. They were also asked to order 6 components of the reading process so that their theoretical orientations to reading could be determined. In addition, teacher provided information about the demographic variables, grade taught, experience, and additional training. Eight teachers also completed follow-up interview about the use of reading strategies in their classrooms. Questionnaire results in relation to teachers' theoretical orientation to reading revealed that 75 could be classified as Bottom-up teachers, 51 could be classified as Interactive teachers, and 14 could be classified as Top-down teachers. There were significant differences between teachers, in that Top-down and lnteractive teachers preferred top-down strategies more than Bottom-up teachers. However, only Interactive teachers were completely consistent in their theoretical orientations to reading and preferred strategies as all groups tended to prefer combined top-down and bottom-up strategies. There was no significant relationship between teachers' theoretical orientations to reading and the demographic variables, grade taught, experience, and additional training. Questionnaire results in relation to teachers' preferred strategies for good, poor and very poor readers showed that they preferred the top-down strategies of shared book, reading to pupils, and language experience for all readers, and significantly preferred top-down strategies more for good readers than for poor readers. Again there was a tendency to prefer a combination of top-down and bottom-up strategies There was no significant relationship between either grade taught by teachers or teachers' experience and the strategies they preferred for good readers. However, teachers with 1 to 15 years experience were more inclined than teachers with 21 or more years experience to prefer top-down strategies for poor and very poor readers. Similarly, when the variable "additional training was examined, teachers in the 'reading course’ group were more inclined than teachers in the ‘no reading’ group to prefer top-down strategies for all readers. Interviews supported most of these findings and gave further insight into the reasons for teachers' strategy choices. In addition, they suggested some differences between the strategies teachers said they preferred and the strategies teachers said they used. Sometimes influences within the school resulted in teachers being unable to implement their preferred strategies. Results of the present study are discussed in relation to the literature on which the study was based, and implications for education practice and future research are outlined.

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