READING LEVELS OF GRADE 1 PUPILS

READING LEVELS OF GRADE 1 PUPILS: BASIS FOR READING PROGRAM
CHAPTER 1
THE PROBLEM AND REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
New data from UNESCO Institute of Statistics show that 617 million children and adolescents worldwide are not achieving minimum proficiency levels especially in reading. The total number consists of more than 387 million children of primary school age and 230 million adolescents of lower secondary school age. This has shown that more than half of all children have not achieved the minimum proficiency level during primary education (unesco.org, 2017). This reality of reading problem is alarming.
Last December 2013, the NSO’s 2010 Census of Population and Housing (CPH) showed that of the 71.5 million individuals who are 10 years old and above, 97.5 percent or 69.8 million were literate or could read and write. This is higher compared to the literacy rate of 92.3 percent recorded in the 200 CPH. The 97.5 % literacy rate is quite an impressive figure but if we take a look at a result of the National Achievement Test (NAT) on 2012, Grade 3 students got a mean percentage of 54.42 in English and reading comprehension
Therefore, there is a need for primary education to conduct early intervention to reading since it does not only affect the child’s achievements towards academics but also determines their future careers and success.

Reading is a key to learning. This is a lifelong skill to be used both in school and throughout life. From this lifelong skill, this can be developed to as the ability of a child to learn for life. Reading is one of the important elements that an individual has to acquire in order to build his competences and achievements that eventually lead him to the competitive workforce.
A child’s reading skill is essential in indicating his or her success for it cultivates comprehension and improve communication skills. Reading is a sequential process where the acquisition of the new skill is based on the mastery of the previously learned skill. Its purpose is to develop the minds in order to connect ideas, improve understanding and prepare for the actions that should be taken later on.

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Learning to read is a must for everyone. It is fundamental to functioning in today’s society due to the increasing demand for high levels of literacy. Thus, coming up with reading strategies in building the foundation of reading skills to the learners is important.
It is through reading where everything starts. Therefore, there must be early interventions prepared by the teacher in order to prevent reading difficulties to uplift.
This study is to identify the reading levels of Grade 1 so that whatever difficulties the pupils are having can be addressed immediately by designing a reading program.

The Review of Related Literature
What is Reading?
Reading is fundamentally important for success. It opens the door to personal freedom or shuts the door to opportunity. Learning to read is a means to an end. If children have difficulty learning to read early, how can they be expected to excel in other subjects as well? The best prevention of reading difficulties, therefore, is early intervention strategies at the present school primary level. Instead of heated debates on which approach is best suited for early reading success, educators should be discussing the most efficient method(s) that produces the best results (DeMoullin & Loye, 1999 , p. 43).

Reading, in its simplest definition, means learning how to pronounce word, be able to grasp its meaning and to bring meaning to a text in order to get meaning from it. However, as time goes on, many propose more comprehensive definitions of reading since most of us feel that reading is just very simple and passive process (Bernardo, Alejandro 2011)
It is actually a very complex process that requires a great deal of active participation on the part of the reader. It is also an interactive process among the reader, the writer and the text. It is a human act and a worthwhile endeavour in which a reader communicates with the writers, the texts and their imagined or real personas, phenomena, circumstances or events. Further, reading is an intricate course of action of unlocking codes which represent specific meanings and convey the writers and the texts message.

According to Partnership for Reading, National Reading Panel, Reading First Law (2002), reading is a complex system of deriving meaning from print that requires the skills and knowledge to understand how phonemes, or speech sounds, are connected to print, the ability to decode unfamiliar words, to read fluently, having sufficient background information and vocabulary to foster reading comprehension, the development of appropriate reading strategies to construct meaning from print and the development and maintenance of a motivation to read.

Barr, Sadow, and Blachowicz (1990) stated “skilful reading depends uncompromisingly upon thorough familiarity with individual letters, words and frequent spelling patterns. Only to the extent that we have developed such familiarity can the written word flow effortlessly from print to meaning.”
In the ultimate analysis, reading is basically understanding. If one can interpret what an act implies, he can read. If one can follow what a particular graphic sign purports to show, he can read. If one can translate into action what printed matter postulates, he can read. Thus, reading is plain comprehension (Bernardez, 2009).

Reading Levels
In the reading developmental stages, the target pupils to be based upon belong to the initial reading or decoding stage which will lead to fluency. In decoding stage, the children begin gluing to print and sounding out words. Children in this stage are beginning to utilize their knowledge of consonants and vowels to blend together simple words. The ability to use consonants and vowels to blend together simple words is an integral part of beginning reading. This will eventually lead to fluency stage where children consider this to be the “real” reading stage. They are now fairly good at reading and spelling and are ready to read without sounding everything out (Bernardo, 2009, p. 33-34)
There are three reading levels that measures child’s capacity to read fluently printed texts or materials: the independent, instructional, and frustration reading level.

Independent reading level is the highest level at which a reader has adequate background knowledge for the topic and can access text very quickly and with very few errors. Instructional reading level is the highest level at which a reader is not independent, but has adequate background knowledge for a topic, and can access text quickly and with no or few errors. Lastly, frustration reading levels include text for which a reader does not have adequate background level for a topic and/or cannot meet criteria for instructional levels of accuracy and rate (University of Utah Reading Clinic, www.uurc.utah.edu) The chart below describes each reading level:
Independent Level Relatively easy for the student to read (95% word accuracy)
Instructional Level Challenging but manageable for the reader (90% word accuracy)
Frustration Level Difficult text for the student to read (less than 90% word accuracy)
Source: www.readingrockets.orgReading Difficulties
Specific warning signs – varying by age and grade – can help teacher flag students’ learning disabilities early. To effectively determine the reading levels of the students, one should be acquainted with miscue analysis. It is a way to record for diagnosis to identify students’ specific difficulties and a means to assess reading behaviors that need support. (Children’s Literacy Initiative, http://cli.org)
Correction. It is a miscue that the student corrects in order to make sense of the word in the sentence.

Omission. During oral reading, the student omits a word that changes the meaning of the sentence.

Insertion. The student adds a word or words that are not in the text.

Repetition. The student repeats a word or portion of the text.

Reversal. A child will reverse the order of the print or the word.

Substitution. Instead of reading the word in the text, a child substitutes a word that may or may not make sense in the passage.
Reading Programs
Umans (1964, as cited in Villamin et al., 2001) describes the developmental reading program as “a program in which students who are able readers continue to be taught reading skills in a sequential program of instruction, designed to reinforce and extend the skills and appreciations acquired in previous years, and to develop new skills as they are needed.”
The reality is there is no one reading program that is the best. Children learn to read in different ways and differ in the type of instruction they need to become proficient readers. The most important concept is that all children are taught by a research based method of reading instruction that introduces them to reading. Once children are taught by these methods, the instructor will be able to identify the method of reading instruction the child needs for greater success (Duffy, et al., 2003)
Recent research has proved that reading programs are one of the applications positively affecting reading, reading comprehension, reading awareness and expression skills (Goodman, 2007; Schreiber, 2003). In this research, the importance of enhancing reading with pre-reading, while reading and post-reading activities is emphasized. The reading program is an important strategy in improving reading comprehension and overcoming reading difficulties.
In light of the above-given information, the main purpose of the present study is to improve the reading skills of students having reading difficulties through a reading program.

THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
Statement of the Problem
This research focuses on the reading program that will enhance the reading levels of Grade 1. This aims to answer the following questions:
What are the reading levels of Grade 1 pupils?
What are the reading difficulties of the Grade 1 pupils?
What reading program can be designed based on the results?
Scope and Limitations of the Study
The researchers will identify the reading program that can be designed to enhance the reading skills of Grade 1 pupils of Brother Martin Simpson Laboratory Section School Year 2017-2018. This research will have 10 Grade 1 pupils as respondents. The researchers will conduct a pre-test to identify the reading difficulties of the Grade 1 pupils. The results will serve as the basis in designing a reading program suitable in improving the pre-test results. The researchers will then conduct a post-test to identify whether the effectivity of the reading program.

Significance of the Study
The result of this study will be a great help to the pupils, parents, teachers, administrators and researchers.

Pupils. It will help the pupils particularly the struggling readers to develop their reading skills which are detrimental to their future academic success. It will prepare them to a more complex reading process as they proceed to the next grade level.

Teachers. The result of this study will help the teachers with basic information that identifying the reading levels of the pupils as early as possible is important to prevent further difficulties in the succeeding school years of the pupils. It will also guide them in selecting the reading program that is suitable to the reading abilities of the pupils.
Parents. The findings will be very helpful to parents in providing the proper guidance and monitoring of their children in terms of reading. They will be better informed of the necessary things to be done to assist their children to become motivated readers.

Administrators. It will help the administrators to promote reading programs that will address the reading difficulties of the pupils.

Researchers. It will help the researchers to conduct further studies about reading levels, reading difficulties and reading programs.