Chapter is not an easy task (Tejero,

  Chapter 1THE PROBLEMBackground of the Study          Education inthe Philippines today is faced with problems of improving the quality of instruction.The expectation in today’s society is that 100 percent of the population willbe able to read and comprehend.  Seemingly, the problem of poor readers andnon-readers is prevalent among learners in the public elementary school system.Many blame the grade 1 teachers for not developing the reading skills of theindividual learners before passing them to the next grade.          As Wolfe andNevills (2004) profess, we live in a society where the development of readingskills serves as the primary foundation of all school-based learning.

Those whodo not read well find their opportunities for academic and occupational successare severely limited.On a global level, analyst and policy makers considerilliteracy rates as an important factor a country, or a region’s human capital.Based on numerous studies, literate people are easier and less expensive totrain and have broader job opportunities here and abroad. Investment in humancapital has become a condition for international competitiveness.These show how reading affects an individual, education,economic status and one’s performance in the society. The significance of theacquisition of reading skills is very much required. Being armed with this toolwill minimize the problem in the society and will ease the process of earlyliteracy. The teachers must be the objects and instruments for the solution ofthe learners reading problems and non-reading society’s hopes to improve life.

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The development of reading skills of young  learners is very important. Teaching such skillsis not an easy task (Tejero, 2004). Oftentimes, teachers are faced withinsurmountable difficulties in teaching not only in such phases as decodinglanguage symbols, word recognition but also comprehension skills. A basicunderstanding of what reading is all about is imperative for the teacher.          Reading is acomplex task.

It is a visual auditory task that involves obtaining meaning fromsymbols which includes a decoding process and a comprehension process. Thedecoding process involves understanding the phoneme-grapheme relationships andtranslating printed words into a representation similar to oral language. Thus,decoding skill enable the learner to pronounce words correctly.

(Jensen andHiyas, 2011). Reading is a complex process of decoding symbols in order toconstruct or derive meaning. It is a means of language acquisition, ofcommunication and of sharing information and ideas ( Adams, 1990). Like alllanguages it is complex interaction between the text and the reader which isshaped by the reader’s prior knowledge , experiences, attitude, and languagecommunity which is culturally and socially situated. The reading processrequires continuous practice, development and refinement. Balingitet al (2006) add that when one reads, he/she decodes the text and comprehendsthe message contained in the text. Reading is all about decoding andcomprehension. These are essential reading skills which the learners have todevelop fully in order to benefit maximum learning.

          The goal of  all reading instruction is to help alllearners become expert readers so that they can achieve independence and canuse literacy for their lifelong learning (Hudson e al, 2005).  Reading allows the reader to make sense ofwhat the text is all about. Teachers must teach the different reading skillsespecially on decoding because this reading skill allow the learners recognizethe letters and their sounds which help them attack the words they meet inreading and learning.          Being a grade 1 teacher for a fewyears in the District of La Trinidad, Schools Division of Benguet, thisresearcher was motivated to conduct this study to find out the decoding skillsof the grade 1 learners in terms of development, the strategies andinstructional materials  used  in teaching decoding skills. Conceptual Framework of the Study          This study is anchored on the importantconcepts on reading, the stages of decoding development and the indicators ofreading readiness.          Decodingis the ability to apply your knowledge of letter-sound relationships, includingknowledge of letter patterns, to correctly pronounce written words.Understanding these relationships gives children the ability to recognizefamiliar words quickly and to figure out words they haven’t seen before.Although children may sometimes figure out some of these relationships on theirown, most children benefit from explicit instruction in this area.

Phonics isone approach to reading instruction that teaches students the principles ofletter-sound relationships, how to sound out words, and exceptions to theprinciples (Hudson, 2005).          Decoding skill is also known as word attackskills, those that a person uses to make sense of printed words. Simplyput, this means being able to recognize and analyze a printed word to connectit to the spoken word it represents.These skills include theability to recognize the basic sounds and sound blends (phonemes) that make up a word and to know what it means, recognize it incontext and know whether or not it is being used correctly in asentence. Without decoding skills, students would have difficulty everlearning to read.Decoding skills can helplearners spot words that are already familiar to them and to sound out newwords.

Of course in the English language, the letters in some words don’t makethe sounds one would expect. Words such as “tough” “or”Wednesday” are examples which learners might have difficultysounding out. Sometimes this happens because English has borrowed wordsfrom other languages, such as French, that do not follow the English rules ofpronunciation.

But often this is due to the peculiarities of the Englishlanguage. In any case, children learning to read are typically taught about”silent letters” and words with letters that do not sound how theylook.Outside of the classroom,parents can use worksheets, recordings, educational videos and computerprograms to help children beef up their decoding skills. Instruction in phonicshelps children give their decoding skills a boost as well.Children must develop the fundamentalinsight that letters and sounds work together in systematic ways to form words.This understanding provides thefoundation for the development of decoding skills.Decoding hasthree stages (Visaya, 2008), these are : 1) Logographic Stage – in this stagepupils learn a word by selective association, by selecting non-phonemic featurethat distinguishes it from other words.

For example the word elephant, it couldbe the length of the word; or in the word look, it could be the two o’s thatare like eyes. The problem with the selective association is that pupils runout of distinct clues, and the clues that they use do not help them decode newwords. As pupils become aware of individual sounds in words and the fact thatletters represent sounds, they move into the second stage of reading; 2) the AlphabeticStage – learners use letter-sound relationship to read words. At first, theymight just use a letter or two. They might use only the first letter of a wordand combine the sound of that letter with context. For instance, in thesentence “The cat meowed,” pupils may only process the initial m and then usecontext and their experience with cats to guess that the word is meowed. Orthey may use the first and last letter to decode the word cat in “I lost mycat”; so they read the word cat as opposed to cap or car. As learners gain inskill, they begin processing all the letters in words; and 3)  Orthographic Stage – at this stage learnersprocess longer and more sophisticated units.

For instance, instead ofprocessing hen as h-e-n, they might divide it into two units: h + en. Theyprocess light as l + ight and make use of such elements as a final e (as incape) to help them determine the pronunciation of a word. As learners processthe same words over and over again, connections are made, and they do not haveto read cat as /k/ /a/ /t/, or even /k/ /at/. Rather, the printedrepresentation of the word as a whole elicits its spoken equivalent. Theprinted representation becomes bonded with the spoken equivalent.  Through practice, access speed increases sothat even  though words are analyzedelement by element, this is done so rapidly as to be almost instantaneous.Regardless of how the process is explained, the end result is the same. Intime, nearly all the words expert readers encounter in print are read as”sight” words.

They are recognized virtually instantaneously. What makes theinstantaneous recognition possible are the connections that have been createdbetween each word’s spelling or phonics elements and its pronunciation.In addition,Tejero (2004) explains that teachers must be able to recognize the indicatorsof  readiness which gauge thelearner’s  readiness to read. These are:1) general mental ability; 2) background of previous experiences; 3) range ofspeaking vocabulary; 40 ability to express oneself clearly to others; 4) habitof observing details and forming associations with things seen and heard; 5)ability to perceive likeness and differences; 6) ability to recognizerelationships; 7) ability to keep in mind a series of event or other items; 8)ability to think clearly and in sequence; 9) visual efficiency; 10) auditoryefficiency; 11) emotional balance; 12) social adjustment and feeling ofsecurity; 13) ability to focus to specific learning activities; 14) ability towork effectively in a group; 15) interest in pictures and the meaning ofwritten printed symbols; and0 a desire to learn to read.

These abovementioned and discussed concepts served as the framework of this study.Paradigm of the Study          The paradigm of the study isillustrated by the interrelationships of the input, process and output as shownin Figure 1.          The inputs are the following:  decoding skills of the grade 1 learners;  strategies used in developing the decodingskills; factors that affect the acquisition of the decoding skills;instructional materials used in teaching decoding skills; and measures toaddress the problems in teaching decoding skills.

          The processes include data gatheringthrough the use of the questionnaire, and informal interview.     INPUTS     PROCESSESS       OUTPUTS   1.  Decoding skills  of Grade I learners       2.  Strategies used in developing the decoding skills         3.  Factors that affect the acquisition of the decoding skills     4.   Instructional materials used in teaching decoding skills         5.

  Measures to address problems in teaching  decoding skills         Data gathering Questionnaire Informal Interview     1.    Level of development of the decoding skills of the Grade I learners   2.  Extent of effectiveness of the strategies used in developing the decoding skills   3.  Degree of effect of the factors that affect the acquisition of the decoding skills   4.

  Level of frequency of use of the  instructional materials  in teaching decoding skills   5.  Extent  of effectiveness of the measures to address problems in teaching decoding skills   Figure 1 Paradigm of the Study           Theoutputs are the following: level of development of the decoding skills of thegrade 1 learners; extent of effectiveness of the strategies used in developing thedecoding skills; degree of effect of the factors that affect the acquisition ofthe decoding skills; level of frequency of use of the instructional materialsin teaching decoding skills; and extent of effectiveness of the measures toaddress the problems in teaching decoding skills.Statement of the ProblemThis study focused on the decoding skills of Grade Ilearners in La Trinidad District, Schools Division of Benguet during the SchoolYear 2017-2018.

Specifically, it sought answers to the following questions:          1. What is the level of development ofthe decoding skills of the Grade 1 learners in La Trinidad District, Divisionof Benguet as perceived by the Grade I experienced teachers and new teachersand a comparison of their perceptions on this?          2. What is the extent of effectiveness ofthe strategies used in developing the decoding skills of Grade 1 learners in LaTrinidad District,  Division of Benguetas perceived by the Grade I experienced teachers and new teachers and acomparison of their perceptions on this?         3. What is the degree of effect of thefactors that affect the acquisition of the decoding skills of the Grade 1learners of La Trinidad District of the Division of Benguet as perceived by theGrade I experienced teachers and new teachers and a comparison of theirperception on this?          4.What is the level of frequency of the use of instructional materials inteaching decoding skills of the Grade I learners of La Trinidad District of theDivision of Benguet as perceived by the Grade 1 experienced teachers and newteachers and comparison of their perception on this?          5. What is the extent ofeffectiveness of the measures to address problems in teaching decoding skillsof the Grade I learners of La Trinidad District of the Division of  Benguet as perceived by the Grade 1experienced teachers and new teachers and comparison of their perceptions onthis?Null Hypothesis              Thefollowing hypothesis was be tested:          1. There is no significant differencebetween the perceptions of the Grade I experienced teachers and the newteachers of La Trinidad District of the Division of Benguet on the level ofdevelopment of the decoding skills.

          2.There is no significant difference between the perceptions of the Grade Iexperienced teachers and the new teachers of La Trinidad District of theDivision of Benguet on the effectiveness of the strategies used in developingthe decoding skills.          3.There is no significant difference between the perceptions of the Grade Iexperienced teachers and the new teachers of La Trinidad District of theDivision of Benguet on the degree of effect of the factors that affect the acquisitionof the decoding skills.          4.There is no significant difference between the perceptions of the Grade Iexperienced teachers and the new teachers of La Trinidad District of theDivision of Benguet on the level of frequency of the use of instructionalmaterials in teaching decoding skills.          5. There is no significant differencebetween the perceptions of the Grade I experienced teachers and the new teachersof La Trinidad District of the Division of Benguet on the extent ofeffectiveness of the measures to address problems in teaching decoding skills.

Scope and Delimitation          The study assessed the development,effectiveness of the strategies, effect of the factors, frequency on the use ofinstructional materials and effectiveness of measures to address the problemsin teaching decoding skills for Grade 1 learners through the Grade Iexperienced teachers and new teachers in La Trinidad District of the Divisionof Benguet.Definition of Terms          Wordrecognition. This is the ability of a reader to recognize written wordscorrectly and virtually effortlessly. In other words, it refers to anindividual’s ability to see a word and associate it with a meaning. (McDaniel,2012).

         New Teachers. Teachers that are teaching five yearsand below.        Experienced Teachers.Teachers that are teaching more than five years.

          Perceptions.As used in this study, it is the observation, belief, opinion, ideas, concepts,views, points of views about the study.          Phonics.It is the study of speech sounds related to reading.

          Decoding.The ability to put sound and letters together into words.          SightWords. These are words that are automatically recognizes without havingto use  picture clues or sound them out.Learner.

 A person who is learning or studying at aplace of higher or further education.          Reading– It is the process of identifying and understanding the meaning of thecharacters and words in written or printed material          Decoding Process.This refers to understanding the phoneme-grapheme relationships and translatingprinted words into a representation similar to oral language.Decoding  Skills- Thecapability of the learner to pronounce words correctly.Importance of the StudyTheresult of this study will be beneficial to the following:Teachers.The result of this study will serve as an eye-opener to the teachers inteaching decoding thus develop the skills of the Grade I learners to themaximum. They will be able to focus on the skills to be developed usingappropriate strategies after identifying the problems and their causes whichhinder the full development of these.

Administrators/Supervisors. The result ofthis particular study will serve as a guide to the administrators/supervisorsin supervising the teachers as they develop the decoding skills of the Grade Ilearners.Parents.This study will serve as a reminder to parents that the tasks of thedevelopment of the decoding skills of the children does not belong to theteachers only, that, they, the parents should also help.Curriculum Writers.

The problems and their causes will serve as input to writers in the preparationof activities to develop the decoding skills of Grade I learners.Learners.The result of the study will be beneficial to the learners who are the endusers of the study. Competent teachers will be of great help to the Grade Ilearners for them to become proficient readers.All other researchers.This study will serve as a related study to interested researchers and willalso serve as a guide for them the preparation of data gathering tools.Researcher.

This study will act as a means for the researcher to be of help in theDepartment of Education’s goal to uplift the quality of education. Moreover,through this undertaking, the researcher will further improve her skills inteaching after having known the result of this study.

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