G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Assessing and validating early grade teachers' knowledge of vowel letter sounds of transparent Zambian Bantu languages using computer based GraphoLearn technology (2020)

Yalukanda, C. K. (2020). Assessing and validating early grade teachers' knowledge of vowel letter sounds of transparent Zambian Bantu languages using computer based GraphoLearn technology [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU dissertations, 209. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8129-7

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsYalukanda, Christopher Kyakukaisha


Journal or seriesJYU dissertations


Publication year2020

Number in series209

Number of pages in the book102

PublisherJyväskylän yliopisto

Place of PublicationJyväskylä

Publication countryFinland

Publication languageEnglish

Persistent website addresshttp://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8129-7

Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel


Teachers who instruct children how to read in transparent orthographies need to possess the knowledge of letter-sound correspondences critical in helping learners acquire basic reading skills. Lyytinen, Erskine, Kujala, Ojanen and Richardson (2009) observed that Zambian teachers lacked adequate information about this core knowledge for instructing reading in their transparent Zambian Bantu languages. The typical error has been caused by using letter-names of English, which fail to cue the sounds of the letters of Zambian Bantu languages such as; CiNyanja, one of the languages of initial literacy in Zambia. Ojanen et al. (2009) noted that Lusaka primary school children experienced difficulties in mapping letters to sounds in their fully consistently written Bantu languages and consequently failed to acquire the basic reading skills in the first grade in school. The goals of this study were to (1) observe the situation of knowledge teachers have concerning efficient instruction of the basic reading skills of Bantu languages in Zambian primary schools, and (2) document how intervention based on GraphoLearn (GL) technology can help teachers acquire the core knowledge i.e. the sounds of letters – especially vowels sounds – needed for efficient instruction of the basic reading skill of Zambian Bantu languages. To attain these goals, this study was divided into four sub-studies. Study I examined the teacher trainers’ and teachers’ background knowledge needed for the efficient instruction of basic reading skills. Study II assessed the teachers’ knowledge specifically associated with letters representing vowel sounds, using an experimental measurement tool to observe in which ways the teachers’ knowledge of letter sounds was compromised. Study III observed using a Finnish-based digital learning environment GL, the accuracy and the confusion between vowel sounds collected and then validated such knowledge with that collected in study II using the measurement tools. Study IV documented how GL-based training supports a teacher’s acquisition of the knowledge of vowel letters. Primary school teachers (N = 32) from Lusaka and Eastern Provinces; and teacher trainers (N = 22) from 11 colleges of education in Zambia participated in the study. Data were analysed using SPSS to generate descriptive statistics. The questionnaire was administered twice (before and after the use of GL). The results showed that teachers’ knowledge of vowel letter sounds in general improved after training with GL (t = 3, 116, df (31); p = .004) except for letter U. Vowel letter “I” emerged to be the most problematic sound in all the measures: Pre-test(65.63%), Post-test(80.00%) and GL(69.4%). Further, the findings indicated that most teacher trainers and teachers lacked sufficient background knowledge and information on reading instructions, especially of transparent Bantu languages. Overall, the findings suggest that majority of the teachers did not know all the vowel letter sounds perfectly well to instruct reading effectively and Finally, the results also suggest that GL training support acquisition of vowel letter-sound knowledge for teachers.

KeywordsliteracyreadingBantu languagesvowelspronunciationlanguage learninglanguage teachingprimary and lower secondary educationmeasuring methodsevidence-based practicespsychology of learningteacher training

Free keywordsvowel letter sounds; assessment; reading instructions; transparent writings; GraphoLearn technology; orthography; teachers; teacher trainers; measurement tool; Zambia

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2020

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 20:47