An analysis of reading difficulties in isiNdebele in Grades 2 and 3 in the Plumtree District of Zimbabwe

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 38, issue 2, 2018, pages: 177–187
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2018.1463709
Author(s): Effie SM SitholeDepartment of Languages, Angola


This study arose out of concern for literacy, and its focus was on identifying and analysing the types of reading difficulties in isiNdebele (one of the local languages of Zimbabwe) experienced by learners in the foundational phase of their learning. One hundred Grade 2 and 3 learners, described by their teachers as poor readers, were given pre-tested reading tests to establish the nature of their reading disabilities. The identified reading difficulties were classified into three levels according to their complexity, with the simplest types in level 1 and the most limiting in level 3. The findings showed that more boys than girls exhibited reading disabilities in levels 2 and 3. Recommendations included that teacher education should equip every student teacher with skills to teach reading effectively, and that should include skills to identify types of reading errors exhibited by learners, and how to remediate them.

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