The roles of phonological awareness, rapid automatised naming and morphological awareness in isiXhosa

Maxine Schaefer, Tracy Probert, Siȃn Rees


The current paper examines the unique contributions of phonological awareness (PA), rapid automatised naming (RAN) and morphological awareness (MA) to oral reading fluency (ORF) in isiXhosa. No published study has yet explored the individual contributions of these three cognitive-linguistic skills to reading in isiXhosa. Sixty-six grade 3 home language isiXhosa learners were assessed on these cognitive-linguistic skills. Results from a linear regression analysis showed that only RAN and MA, but not PA, were significant concurrent predictors of ORF. These results suggest that the role of PA in reading in grade 3 learners in isiXhosa may have been overestimated because other important predictors of reading have not been controlled. Our data also suggest that grade 3 isiXhosa learners may make use of the morpheme as a grain size in reading. Our study highlights the need for longitudinal research which explores the roles of PA, MA and RAN in reading development in order to inform reading pedagogy in isiXhosa and other Southern Bantu languages.


phonological awareness; rapid automatized naming; naming speed; morphological awareness; fluency; isiXhosa

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ISSN 2224-0012 (online); ISSN 0259-2312 (print)

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