Chapter Investment in human capital has become a

 

Chapter 1

THE PROBLEM

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Background of the Study

          Education in
the 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 will
be able to read and comprehend.  Seemingly, the problem of poor readers and
non-readers is prevalent among learners in the public elementary school system.
Many blame the grade 1 teachers for not developing the reading skills of the
individual learners before passing them to the next grade.

          As Wolfe and
Nevills (2004) profess, we live in a society where the development of reading
skills serves as the primary foundation of all school-based learning. Those who
do not read well find their opportunities for academic and occupational success
are severely limited.

On a global level, analyst and policy makers consider
illiteracy rates as an important factor a country, or a region’s human capital.
Based on numerous studies, literate people are easier and less expensive to
train and have broader job opportunities here and abroad. Investment in human
capital 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 the
acquisition of reading skills is very much required. Being armed with this tool
will minimize the problem in the society and will ease the process of early
literacy. The teachers must be the objects and instruments for the solution of
the learners reading problems and non-reading society’s hopes to improve life.

The development of reading skills of young  learners is very important. Teaching such skills
is not an easy task (Tejero, 2004). Oftentimes, teachers are faced with
insurmountable difficulties in teaching not only in such phases as decoding
language symbols, word recognition but also comprehension skills. A basic
understanding of what reading is all about is imperative for the teacher.

          Reading is a
complex task. It is a visual auditory task that involves obtaining meaning from
symbols which includes a decoding process and a comprehension process. The
decoding process involves understanding the phoneme-grapheme relationships and
translating printed words into a representation similar to oral language. Thus,
decoding skill enable the learner to pronounce words correctly. (Jensen and
Hiyas, 2011). Reading is a complex process of decoding symbols in order to
construct or derive meaning. It is a means of language acquisition, of
communication and of sharing information and ideas ( Adams, 1990). Like all
languages it is complex interaction between the text and the reader which is
shaped by the reader’s prior knowledge , experiences, attitude, and language
community which is culturally and socially situated. The reading process
requires continuous practice, development and refinement. Balingit
et al (2006) add that when one reads, he/she decodes the text and comprehends
the message contained in the text. Reading is all about decoding and
comprehension. These are essential reading skills which the learners have to
develop fully in order to benefit maximum learning.

          The goal of  all reading instruction is to help all
learners become expert readers so that they can achieve independence and can
use literacy for their lifelong learning (Hudson e al, 2005).  Reading allows the reader to make sense of
what the text is all about. Teachers must teach the different reading skills
especially on decoding because this reading skill allow the learners recognize
the letters and their sounds which help them attack the words they meet in
reading and learning.

          Being a grade 1 teacher for a few
years in the District of La Trinidad, Schools Division of Benguet, this
researcher was motivated to conduct this study to find out the decoding skills
of the grade 1 learners in terms of development, the strategies and
instructional materials  used  in teaching decoding skills.

 Conceptual Framework of the Study

          This study is anchored on the important
concepts on reading, the stages of decoding development and the indicators of
reading readiness.

          Decoding
is the ability to apply your knowledge of letter-sound relationships, including
knowledge of letter patterns, to correctly pronounce written words.
Understanding these relationships gives children the ability to recognize
familiar words quickly and to figure out words they haven’t seen before.
Although children may sometimes figure out some of these relationships on their
own, most children benefit from explicit instruction in this area. Phonics is
one approach to reading instruction that teaches students the principles of
letter-sound relationships, how to sound out words, and exceptions to the
principles (Hudson, 2005).

          Decoding skill is also known as word attack
skills, those that a person uses to make sense of printed words. Simply
put, this means being able to recognize and analyze a printed word to connect
it to the spoken word it represents.

These skills include the
ability to recognize the basic sounds and sound blends (phonemes) that make up a word and to know what it means, recognize it in
context and know whether or not it is being used correctly in a
sentence. Without decoding skills, students would have difficulty ever
learning to read.

Decoding skills can help
learners spot words that are already familiar to them and to sound out new
words. Of course in the English language, the letters in some words don’t make
the sounds one would expect. Words such as “tough” “or
“Wednesday” are examples which learners might have difficulty
sounding out. Sometimes this happens because English has borrowed words
from other languages, such as French, that do not follow the English rules of
pronunciation. But often this is due to the peculiarities of the English
language. In any case, children learning to read are typically taught about
“silent letters” and words with letters that do not sound how they
look.

Outside of the classroom,
parents can use worksheets, recordings, educational videos and computer
programs to help children beef up their decoding skills. Instruction in phonics
helps children give their decoding skills a boost as well.

Children must develop the fundamental
insight that letters and sounds work together in systematic ways to form words.
This understanding provides the
foundation for the development of decoding skills.

Decoding has
three stages (Visaya, 2008), these are : 1) Logographic Stage – in this stage
pupils learn a word by selective association, by selecting non-phonemic feature
that distinguishes it from other words. For example the word elephant, it could
be the length of the word; or in the word look, it could be the two o’s that
are like eyes. The problem with the selective association is that pupils run
out of distinct clues, and the clues that they use do not help them decode new
words. As pupils become aware of individual sounds in words and the fact that
letters represent sounds, they move into the second stage of reading; 2) the Alphabetic
Stage – learners use letter-sound relationship to read words. At first, they
might just use a letter or two. They might use only the first letter of a word
and combine the sound of that letter with context. For instance, in the
sentence “The cat meowed,” pupils may only process the initial m and then use
context and their experience with cats to guess that the word is meowed. Or
they may use the first and last letter to decode the word cat in “I lost my
cat”; so they read the word cat as opposed to cap or car. As learners gain in
skill, they begin processing all the letters in words; and 3)  Orthographic Stage – at this stage learners
process longer and more sophisticated units. For instance, instead of
processing hen as h-e-n, they might divide it into two units: h + en. They
process light as l + ight and make use of such elements as a final e (as in
cape) to help them determine the pronunciation of a word. As learners process
the same words over and over again, connections are made, and they do not have
to read cat as /k/ /a/ /t/, or even /k/ /at/. Rather, the printed
representation of the word as a whole elicits its spoken equivalent. The
printed representation becomes bonded with the spoken equivalent.  Through practice, access speed increases so
that even  though words are analyzed
element 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. In
time, nearly all the words expert readers encounter in print are read as
“sight” words. They are recognized virtually instantaneously. What makes the
instantaneous recognition possible are the connections that have been created
between each word’s spelling or phonics elements and its pronunciation.

In addition,
Tejero (2004) explains that teachers must be able to recognize the indicators
of  readiness which gauge the
learner’s  readiness to read. These are:
1) general mental ability; 2) background of previous experiences; 3) range of
speaking vocabulary; 40 ability to express oneself clearly to others; 4) habit
of observing details and forming associations with things seen and heard; 5)
ability to perceive likeness and differences; 6) ability to recognize
relationships; 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) auditory
efficiency; 11) emotional balance; 12) social adjustment and feeling of
security; 13) ability to focus to specific learning activities; 14) ability to
work effectively in a group; 15) interest in pictures and the meaning of
written printed symbols; and0 a desire to learn to read.

These above
mentioned and discussed concepts served as the framework of this study.

Paradigm of the Study

          The paradigm of the study is
illustrated by the interrelationships of the input, process and output as shown
in Figure 1.

          The inputs are the following:  decoding skills of the grade 1 learners;  strategies used in developing the decoding
skills; factors that affect the acquisition of the decoding skills;
instructional materials used in teaching decoding skills; and measures to
address the problems in teaching decoding skills.

          The processes include data gathering
through 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

          The
outputs are the following: level of development of the decoding skills of the
grade 1 learners; extent of effectiveness of the strategies used in developing the
decoding skills; degree of effect of the factors that affect the acquisition of
the decoding skills; level of frequency of use of the instructional materials
in teaching decoding skills; and extent of effectiveness of the measures to
address the problems in teaching decoding skills.

Statement of the Problem

This study focused on the decoding skills of Grade I
learners in La Trinidad District, Schools Division of Benguet during the School
Year 2017-2018.

Specifically, it sought answers to the following questions:

          1. What is the level of development of
the decoding skills of the Grade 1 learners in La Trinidad District, Division
of Benguet as perceived by the Grade I experienced teachers and new teachers
and a comparison of their perceptions on this?

          2. What is the extent of effectiveness of
the strategies used in developing the decoding skills of Grade 1 learners in La
Trinidad District,  Division of Benguet
as perceived by the Grade I experienced teachers and new teachers and a
comparison of their perceptions on this?

         3. What is the degree of effect of the
factors that affect the acquisition of the decoding skills of the Grade 1
learners of La Trinidad District of the Division of Benguet as perceived by the
Grade I experienced teachers and new teachers and a comparison of their
perception on this?

          4.
What is the level of frequency of the use of instructional materials in
teaching decoding skills of the Grade I learners of La Trinidad District of the
Division of Benguet as perceived by the Grade 1 experienced teachers and new
teachers and comparison of their perception on this?

          5. What is the extent of
effectiveness of the measures to address problems in teaching decoding skills
of the Grade I learners of La Trinidad District of the Division of  Benguet as perceived by the Grade 1
experienced teachers and new teachers and comparison of their perceptions on
this?

Null Hypothesis

              The
following hypothesis was be tested:

          1. There is no significant difference
between the perceptions of the Grade I experienced teachers and the new
teachers of La Trinidad District of the Division of Benguet on the level of
development of the decoding skills.

          2.
There is no significant difference between the perceptions of the Grade I
experienced teachers and the new teachers of La Trinidad District of the
Division of Benguet on the effectiveness of the strategies used in developing
the decoding skills.

          3.
There is no significant difference between the perceptions of the Grade I
experienced teachers and the new teachers of La Trinidad District of the
Division of Benguet on the degree of effect of the factors that affect the acquisition
of the decoding skills.

          4.
There is no significant difference between the perceptions of the Grade I
experienced teachers and the new teachers of La Trinidad District of the
Division of Benguet on the level of frequency of the use of instructional
materials in teaching decoding skills.

          5. There is no significant difference
between the perceptions of the Grade I experienced teachers and the new teachers
of La Trinidad District of the Division of Benguet on the extent of
effectiveness 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 of
instructional materials and effectiveness of measures to address the problems
in teaching decoding skills for Grade 1 learners through the Grade I
experienced teachers and new teachers in La Trinidad District of the Division
of Benguet.

Definition of Terms

          Word
recognition. This is the ability of a reader to recognize written words
correctly and virtually effortlessly. In other words, it refers to an
individual’s ability to see a word and associate it with a meaning. (McDaniel,
2012).

         New Teachers. Teachers that are teaching five years
and 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.

          Sight
Words. These are words that are automatically recognizes without having
to use  picture clues or sound them out.

Learner.
 A person who is learning or studying at a
place of higher or further education.

          Reading
– It is the process of identifying and understanding the meaning of the
characters and words in written or printed material

          Decoding Process.
This refers to understanding the phoneme-grapheme relationships and translating
printed words into a representation similar to oral language.

Decoding  Skills- The
capability of the learner to pronounce words correctly.

Importance of the Study

The
result of this study will be beneficial to the following:

Teachers.
The result of this study will serve as an eye-opener to the teachers in
teaching decoding thus develop the skills of the Grade I learners to the
maximum. They will be able to focus on the skills to be developed using
appropriate strategies after identifying the problems and their causes which
hinder the full development of these.

Administrators/
Supervisors. The result of
this particular study will serve as a guide to the administrators/supervisors
in supervising the teachers as they develop the decoding skills of the Grade I
learners.

Parents.
This study will serve as a reminder to parents that the tasks of the
development of the decoding skills of the children does not belong to the
teachers only, that, they, the parents should also help.

Curriculum Writers.
The problems and their causes will serve as input to writers in the preparation
of 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 end
users of the study. Competent teachers will be of great help to the Grade I
learners for them to become proficient readers.

All other researchers.
This study will serve as a related study to interested researchers and will
also 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 the
Department of Education’s goal to uplift the quality of education. Moreover,
through this undertaking, the researcher will further improve her skills in
teaching after having known the result of this study.