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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(3), 322; doi:10.3390/ijerph13030322

The Impact of Gender, Socioeconomic Status and Home Language on Primary School Children’s Reading Comprehension in KwaZulu-Natal

Department of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag X3, Johannesburg 2050, South Africa
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Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 24 February 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2016 / Published: 15 March 2016
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Abstract

The current study constituted part of a larger, longitudinal, South African-based study, namely, The Road and Aircraft Noise Exposure on Children’s Cognition and Health (RANCH—South Africa). In the context of a multicultural South Africa and varying demographic variables thereof, this study sought to investigate and describe the effects of gender, socioeconomic status and home language on primary school children’s reading comprehension in KwaZulu-Natal. In total, 834 learners across 5 public schools in the KwaZulu-Natal province participated in the study. A biographical questionnaire was used to obtain biographical data relevant to this study, and the Suffolk Reading Scale 2 (SRS2) was used to obtain reading comprehension scores. The findings revealed that there was no statistical difference between males and females on reading comprehension scores. In terms of socioeconomic status (SES), learners from a low socioeconomic background performed significantly better than those from a high socioeconomic background. English as a First Language (EL1) speakers had a higher mean reading comprehension score than speakers who spoke English as an Additional Language (EAL). Reading comprehension is indeed affected by a variety of variables, most notably that of language proficiency. The tool to measure reading comprehension needs to be standardized and administered in more than one language, which will ensure increased reliability and validity of reading comprehension scores. View Full-Text
Keywords: reading comprehension; gender; socioeconomic status; language; South Africa reading comprehension; gender; socioeconomic status; language; South Africa
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Völkel, G.; Seabi, J.; Cockcroft, K.; Goldschagg, P. The Impact of Gender, Socioeconomic Status and Home Language on Primary School Children’s Reading Comprehension in KwaZulu-Natal. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 322.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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