Learning to read Setswana and English: Cross-language transference of letter knowledge, phonological awareness and reading skills

Document Type


Publication details

Lekgoko, O & Winskel, H 2008, 'Learning to read Setswana and English: cross-language transference of letter knowledge, phonological awareness and reading skills', Perspectives in Education, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 1-18, 57-73.

Peer Reviewed



The current study investigates how beginner readers learn to read Setswana and English,and whether there is cross-language transference of skills between these two languages. Letter knowledge, phoneme awareness and reading of words and pseudowords in bothSetswana and English were assessed in 36 Grade 2 children. A complex pattern emerged. Results revealed that letter knowledge in Setswana (which the pupils learnt a year beforethey learnt to read English) did not predict any cross-language reading of English or Setswanawords. Letter knowledge in English, however, was a good predictor both across and withinlanguage of word and pseudoword reading. Phoneme awareness in Setswana predicted reading of English pseudowords and also reading of Setswana words and pseudowords.Phoneme awareness in English did not show any cross-language transfer effects, though it did predict reading of pseudowords but not real words in English. Implications for the teachingof reading are also discussed

Find in your library