G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Learning to read and spell in Oshikwanyama language : precursors, dynamics and teacher knowledge of early literacy instruction (2020)

Nghikembua, T.-N. (2020). Learning to read and spell in Oshikwanyama language : precursors, dynamics and teacher knowledge of early literacy instruction [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU Dissertations, 317. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8385-7

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Nghikembua, Taimi-Ndapandula

eISBN: 978-951-39-8385-7

Journal or series: JYU Dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2020

Number in series: 317

Number of pages in the book: 159

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8385-7

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


In the present thesis, children’s reading and spelling skills development was examined from the beginning of Grade 1 to the end of Grade 2 in Oshikwanyama language in Namibia. Teachers’ knowledge of early literacy instruction in Oshikwanyama language was also examined. In Part I, the two-year longitudinal study followed 150 children from Grade 1 to 2, and their early reading and spelling skills were assessed at three time points. In Part II, 153 Junior Primary school teachers completed a questionnaire concerning their knowledge of early literacy instruction. The results showed, first, that, phonemic awareness, letter knowledge and rapid automatised naming (RAN) at the beginning of Grade 1 predicted reading and spelling skills at the end of the first grade, with letter knowledge effect being indirect through phonemic awareness and RAN. Second, decoding and spelling skills development showed a strong, reciprocal relationship. Results further revealed that decoding skill developed faster than spelling skill, as children’s decoding skills could be already determined at the end of Grade 1, while spelling skills development was unpredictable. In Part II, the teachers’ data revealed a knowledge gap in phonological knowledge at phoneme and morphological levels, but they had quite good knowledge at syllable level in Oshikwanyama language. Regarding literacy concepts as well as teaching methods and strategies in Oshikwanyama language, teachers’ knowledge level was generally low. The thesis found significant differences among pre-service, in-service and experienced teachers, with regard to training, qualifications and knowledge of Oshikwanyama language literacy instruction. The study further found relationships between training, qualifications, teaching experience and different knowledge aspects of teachers. These results indicate that recent teacher training on teaching literacy in Oshikwanyama language is showing some positive outcomes as far as early literacy instruction is concerned. Overall, the study offers implications for literacy instruction to teach reading and spelling hand in hand as well as the need for explicit instruction of phonological awareness for both learners and teachers. The study further suggests a strong need for capacity building of experienced and in-service teachers regarding Oshikwanyama language literacy instruction in Namibia.

Keywords: mother tongue; reading; literacy; writing; ability to write; teaching and instruction; language teaching; language learning; phonological awareness

Free keywords: reading; spelling; Oshikwanyama language; teacher knowledge; early literacy instruction

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Last updated on 2022-15-06 at 17:30