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Title: The effects of a peer-mediated synthetic phonics intervention with children from a rural Indian town
Authors: Counihan, Christopher-John
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: It’s a truism that children living in rural areas of India suffer from a lack of quality reading instruction and guidance. Singular rote pedagogies hinder children’s progress and potential for higher study. In light of this, research continues to find benefits in synthetic phonic and peer learning methods, offering a potential avenue for accelerating early reading achievement. This study investigated the effects of a peer-mediated synthetic phonics programme operating in a rural Northern Indian town. Following a sociocultural peer cooperative approach to reading instruction, children from a low-cost private school (N = 44) were recruited as Monitors and trained in a peer/synthetic method ahead of a four-month intervention. Given localised problems associated with education access and quality, children from a range of mainstream education providers (N = 701) were recruited as Learners and randomised into control and intervention groups. An embedded mix methods research design was incorporated into a three-phase research plan. Using an experimental random controlled trial (RCT) design, quantitative collections involved pre/post testing on all children’s phonological awareness, spelling, reading skills and reading attitudes. Qualitative collections during phase two developed pre-test findings by exploring Monitors’ reading attitudes ahead of the intervention. The main findings suggest children receiving peer-mediated synthetic phonic instructions are able to improve their English phonemic awareness, spelling, and reading skills. It demonstrates capacity for accelerating reading achievement over a short intervention period, potential for further study in this area and pedagogical reform. In addition to this, factors associated with peer reading opportunities, location and pedagogical structure improved reading attitudes. Attitudes to reading is an underdeveloped area in Indian education policy, it is not referred to in any policy documents or curricula. The significance of peer reading promotion in academic and recreational settings is crucial to accelerating reading achievement. Taken as a whole, this research has major implications for international development programmes looking to target progression in early reading achievement and the promotion of positive attitudes in reading activities.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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