Writing for the adult new reader : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Education at Massey University

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Massey University
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This investigation reports an inquiry into the needs within N.Z. literacy programmes for new teaching materials and describes the writing and testing of five stories developed to cater to these needs. Two questionnaires were used to establish the requirements; one of which was sent to twenty-six individuals associated with literacy schemes as tutors, programme directors or educationists, while a second questionnaire was completed by sixty-eight adult students in three separate literacy programmes to ascertain their interest in reading leisure or functional materials. There was found to be a need for N.Z. oriented leisure reading materials at the reading age 8 level prepared specifically for the adult new reader. In view of this information, five stories were written with recognized readability factors and the characteristics of adult new readers as a prime consideration. Five areas of relevance were established in light of current reading research. These areas were as follows: 1. Setting objectives 2. Simplified and original writing 3. Words and word lists 4. Illustrations 5. Format Nine adult new readers in Palmerston North were used as subjects for testing the materials as they were developed. These same adult students and six standard two children, who had also read the materials, were asked a set of questions pertaining to each story. It was found that while the children could read orally more fluently, their comprehension of the stories was markedly inferior to that of the adult students. The materials were further tested through the use of the Dale-Chall, Fry, Fog and Spache readability formulas which resulted in scores of plus or minus one grade from the target 8 year reading level. The stories were printed as four booklets and were sent, along with questionnaires, for independent testing to tutors and adult new readers in Napier, Auckland, and Christchurch. A size 12 point type was found to be satisfactory while a smaller size 10 point type was unsatisfactory as it was judged to be too small for the adult students. The five stories were rated by the fifty-five students who used the books in the final form as average, high average, and above average interest, with a particular appreciation for the humour, factual information, use of N.Z. spellings and the local origin of the stories.
Reading (Adult education), New Zealand Literacy programs, Elementary education adults