FACTORS THAT IMPEDE READING COMPETENCES OF JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN UYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF AKWA IBOM STATE
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In our society today, information available is mainly stored in printed or written format and the knowledge to explore this information as stored depends on the ability to read. The ability to read has been regarded as an important means of measuring the level of the literacy of the learners, since the learners need to read in order to understand what he or she has read to achieve his life objectives; there is a need to lay a strong foundation for students academic pursuit as early as possible.
Reading is the principal tool used by children to gain mastery over the contents of the curriculum and in order to use the tool effectively, the children must have the ability to apply all the essential reading skills so as to comprehend what they read. Considering the regular failure of secondary school children in the junior school certificate examination probably based on their inability to read and comprehend instructions, it is obvious that either there is something possibly affecting the students or problem from the instruction.
I am seeking to highlight the factors that impede reading competence in our junior secondary school students and also within the limits of this paper suggest the possible solutions to this problem thereby boosting reading competence in the junior secondary schools because for one to function effectively in one’s daily activities and also appreciate his/her cultural heritage requires knowledge of issues both at local and national level – this is determined by one's ability to read and comprehend.
According to Kachil (2009:382) “A child who comes to school without the intention to read for knowledge or enjoyment lack skills that are important for his personal efficiency and satisfaction. There is hardly a time during the school week when a child is not faced with reading because the reading ability is greatly valued, failure to read continuously results in a child being disapproved, both by parents teachers and age peers.
The social disapproval therefore can prove so damaging as to leave a permanent scar on the child’s growth. This means that the more we read, the higher we go. Those who do not learn to read find themselves academically disadvantaged.
In the teaching–learning situation, it has been recognized that the ability to read is similar to the ability to study; to read is the performance of any child. This is because the performance of any child depends on that ability. Students of primary secondary and even tertiary school levels encounter many problems in reading in the teaching-learning situation. The problem is of two kinds, that is those that are natural and those that are artificial. Reading problems emanates from an individual's intellect, thus hindering a child’s reading ability. There are also problems that are developed, these problems can be attributed to the movement of the head, lips, and hands while reading, these problems can be corrected, they also include fluency – a child’s inability to read well, self-expression, and vocalization. That is, reading out what is intended to be read unconsciously and also finger-pointing in order to ease off reading stress.
Therefore, there is a need for the introduction of teaching and learning to read in junior secondary schools so as to read and eliminate those factors that impede reading competencies. On the other hand, there are problems that are not inherent and which hinder the child's reading ability. These include the problem of word recognition; this problem can be caused by the child’s inability to pronounce words. There are also problems related to fluency in reading, that is, the child’s inability to read well.
Finally, reading serves many purposes, one may read for pleasure, entertainment, news and information, education, direction, and behavior modification. There is, therefore, a need for the introduction of teaching and learning of reading in our schools. This should be done as early as possible especially at the junior secondary levels, so as to eliminate the factors that impede reading competencies.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Reading in our schools today is taken for granted especially by teachers in junior secondary school levels. There is hardly any provision for reading exercises. The ability of the younger students to read is simply taken for granted and as a result, the situation worsens the reading problems of the students. The standard of reading among junior secondary school students in our schools is very low in relation to their level of education.
The students are deprived of the acquisition of skills required in reading by a a situation where there is no systematic teaching and learning. They therefore need to make efforts to check their standard of reading and also improve their Competencies in reading since performance in reading can psychologically affect the child’s performance in the exam. Therefore, the problem of this study is to examine the factors that cause the observed reading problems among junior secondary school students in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study was to examine the causes of poor reading among Junior Secondary school students in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Specifically, the study has the following purposes:
1. To examine the influence of availability of library facilities on reading competence of male and female students.
2. To determine the influence of urban-rural home environment on reading competence of male and female students.
3. To examine the effect of reading approaches on the reading competence of students.
4. To access the influence of teachers’ instructional techniques on reading competence of students.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
In the study significance, it is noted that there is a need to know the factors that impede reading competences among secondary school students especially those at the junior level in most public schools in Uyo Local Government Area and beyond.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
i. To what extent does the availability of the library facilities influence the reading competence of male and female students?
ii. What relationship exists between teachers and reading competence of students?
iii. To what extent do reading approaches influence reading competence of students?
iv. To what extent does teacher’s instructional technique influence reading competence of students?
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
1. There is no significant relationship between the availability of library facilities and reading competence of male and female students.
2. There is no significant relationship between urban-rural home environment and reading competence of male and female students.
3. There is no significant relationship between reading approaches and reading competence of students.
4. There is no significant relationship between teachers’ instructional techniques and reading competence of students’
1.7 BASIC ASSUMPTIONS OF THE STUDY
For the purpose of this work, the following assumptions has been formulated
1. Sufficient time is allocated for the coverage of factors that impede reading competences in Uyo Local Government Area.
2. Lack of good reading materials characterize students performances in examination and other academic fits.
3. There exist a relationship between factors that enhances good reading habit and students' performance in the classroom.
4. There also exist a good relationship between teachers who teach reading and comprehension and the student's performance.
5. Poor reading habits are considered to be an impediment against learners’ competence.
1.8 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This the study mainly deals with the factors that impede reading competencies in junior secondary schools in Uyo Local Government, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Therefore, the scope of the study would be on the knowledge of these factors impeding good reading competence among junior secondary school students in Uyo.
Specific emphasis will be on the following variables;
- The theoretical framework – Tolman’s cognitive theory
- The importance of reading
- Factors that impede reading competences
1.9 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The study was besieged by certain constraint which influenced the extent to which its findings would have been considered acceptable.
The major source of data was the opinion of students and the teachers. The teachers may not be giving adequate information while completing the questionnaire to please the researcher. Since the researcher depends solely on the response of the respondents for the study. Also, the generalization made in the study was therefore limited by the opinion given by the students and thus; this may not be completely reliable. Direct observation of teachers and students at work and interviews of teachers and students would probably have yielded more reliable results.
1.10 DEFINITION OF TERMS
According to Word Web
Reading: The cognitive process of understanding a written linguistic message.
Competence: The quality of being adequately or well qualified physically or intellectually
Factor: Anything that contributes causally to a result.