Strategies for teaching inference comprehension skills to a Grade 8 learner who lacked motivation to read

Yonela Palesa Moopelwa, Janet Condy


In South Africa, there is a dearth of detailed research into the challenges that high-school learners face in reading: many young adults leave school without being able to read effectively. The purpose of this study is of theoretical and educational importance because it investigates effective teaching strategies for inference-making of a Grade 8 boy who lacked reading motivation. The study is based upon an amalgam of pedagogic elements drawn from the works of Bandura, Piaget and Vygotsky.  The concepts of reading comprehension, inference-making skills, teaching strategies and the impact of motivation on reading comprehension achievement are linked within the notion of social cohesion. One Grade 8 learner was purposively selected because his pre-test comprehension test results indicated his inference skills demanded particular attention. A mixed-method research approach using both interviews and observations was purposively devised for the project and deployed. Pre- and post-test results were analysed. He was interviewed a year later to determine whether any long-term improvements were discernible after the intervention programme. The findings suggest that, with explicit teaching, being socially engaged with the text, the learner’s intrinsic motivation improved as well as his reading practices and his inference skills.


high school learner, inference making skills, higher-order thinking skills, intervention programme

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

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