Reading Problems of Grade 3 Pupils, and Teachers' Perception of Them
When students do not acquire the basic skills in the three Rs at grade three, it is a cause for concern. This is especially true regarding students with reading problems. In an effort to help students who are facing such problems a special remedial program was introduced in 1990 by the Ministry of Education. However the program succeeded in helping only half of the students. Data from 77 primary school revealed that from the year 2000 to 2003, some 1920 students at grade six were still unable to read and write properly. A study was carried out to investigate the types of reading problems faced by grade three students and their teachers' perception of them. The study involved 40 remedial students who were administered reading tests and 36 Malay language teachers teaching in normal classrooms, and two remedial teachers. Teachers were administered a questionnaire. The theoretical frame work of this study was based on Glaser's (1890) Psychological Theory of Teaching which states that teachers should understand and design strategies in order to help students acquire knowledge and skills. The findings showed that reading problems faced by these students in reading Malay language texts were mainly the recognition and the reading of alphabets, syllable, words and sentences. Malay Language teachers perceived the inability to read amongst these students is because of their low levels of intelligence and they come from disadvantaged homes. This inaccurate assessment of the relationship between intelligence and the ability to read and the labels attached to these students have implications on teachers' efforts and skills at helping them overcome their problems. The findings also imply that the remedial program should also be improved as the findings revealed that numerous problems regarding the implementation of the program were related to teachers' skills and the availability of resources. Teachers and should also pay more attention to these student's, and be more positive about their ability to excel academically.
Keywords: reading problems of Grade 3 pupils, teachers' perception
Dr. Abd. Rasid Jamian
Lecturer, Faculty of Educational Studies, University Putra Malaysia
Dr. Sharifah Md Nor
Professor, Faculty of Educational Studies, University Putra Malaysia