COPING WITH READING DIFFICULTIES IN SCHOOL: CASE STUDIES
Tay-Koay, S. L. and Hoe, H. H., National Technology University, Singapore
This study examined the reading difficulties of Primary One pupils in a neighbourhood school in Singapore. Only one Primary class (N=37) in a neighbourhood school was used. The school-based English Language tests scores served as the basis for the selection of the subjects. Six of the subjects were top scorers in the school-based English Language tests in the sampled class and they are referred to as the High-Ability Group. The other six subjects scored lowest in the English Language tests and they are referred to as the Low-Ability Group. The subjects were tested using the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices, a standardised non-verbal intelligence test, and a locally constructed Reading Test. The assessment results of these instruments were than analysed by comparing them with the subjects' school academic scores for English Language, Mathematics and Mother Tongue Languages. The results of the study revealed that all the pupils in the Low-Ability and High-Ability Groups do not seem to have any major hearing or speech impairment. The pupils in the Low-Ability Group appear to be more heterogeneous in cognitive and reading abilities than the pupils in the High-Ability Group. The study shows that the reading difficulties of the Primary One pupils are mainly in the lack of knowledge in pronouns, sight words, prepositions, singular-plural nouns, phonological awareness, concord, verbs-to-be and verbs-to-have, oral reading and comprehension. The study recommends that further validation of the content of the Reading Test be carry out so as to refine the instrument. Furthermore, the result might not be generalised because of the small sample size in the study. As such, additional research using a larger, randomised sample is recommended.