Full Project – Impact of Reading Habits on Academic performance
Background to the Study
It is axiomatic that few years back a family that produced a school certificate graduate had course to rejoice. This was because the school certificate holder was not easy to come by in those days. The products of the missionary and government schools were better compared to the secondary school learners today. The skills of reading and writing demonstrated then, by secondary school leavers made them essential commodities in the various fields of work under government and private establishment. Their fluency in English language and their reading and writing dexterity were evident to the stuff of education received then. Patronage of school libraries incorporated to secondary school system becomes highly affected because students of to day have poor reading culture.
However, this has turned out to have a multiply effect as most university graduates are ill-equipped and half-baked. Secondary school learners cannot take minutes at meetings while primary school leaving certificate is no more accorded recognition. The performance of students nowadays is attributed to their poor background in the reading culture which is a carryover from their primary school through the secondary level. To read is, to get ideas from print or written materials. Reading is a way of acquiring knowledge. Oyeyemi (2005) observed that reading is a means of tapping knowledge from superior minds.
Reading is a term used to refer to an interaction by which meaning encoded in visual stimuli by an author makes meaning in the mind of the reader. It involves the recognition of printed or written symbols which serve as stimuli for the recall or meaning through the intellectual manipulation of concepts already possessed by the reader. The resulting meanings are thereafter organized into thought process according to the purpose adopted by the reader, such an organization leads to modified thought and/or behaviour, or else leads to a new behaviour which takes its place either in personal or in social development. From another perspective, reading is defined as the vocalization of words in a given passage and the process of giving meaning to materials. This definition refers to reading aloud which spontaneously.
Although, reading can be done aloud but vocalization in the course of silent reading slows down reading pace. For reading to be effective, it should bed one with a good speed. Reading speed is expressed in the number of character or words read per minute. Reading habits are well-planned and deliberate pattern of study which has attained a form of consistency on the part of students toward understanding academic subjects and passing at examinations. Reading habits determine the academic achievements of students to a great extent. Both reading and academic achievements are interrelated and dependent on each other. Students often come from different environments and localities with different levels of academic achievement. Therefore, they differ in the pattern of reading habits. While some students have good reading habits, others tend to exhibit poor reading habits. Academic achievement means how much knowledge the individual has acquired from the school (Bashir &Mattoo, 2012).
A creative and pragmatic education involves the habit of personal investigation. The act of personal investigation requires self-study to be followed by self-thinking and analysis. Self-study, otherwise referred to as reading at one’s own accord, requires a habit, which is known as reading habit. Reading makes way for a better understanding of one’s own experiences and it can be an exciting voyage to self-discovery. “Reading habit is best formed at a young impressionable age in school, but once formed it can last one’s life time (Green, 2001).
Reading and academic achievement are essential for research workers and educationists to know that every child whether he or she is gifted, average, normal or backward etc, should be educated in his or her own way but if he or she possesses good study habits, he or she can perform well in academics and in every situation. It is the reading habits which help the learner in obtaining meaningful and desirable knowledge. Good reading habits act as a strong weapon for the students to excel in life (Bashir &Mattoo, 2012).
According to Palani (2012), reading habit is an essential and important aspect for creating a literate society in this world. It shapes the personality of individuals and it helps them to develop proper thinking methods, and creates new ideas. However, the developments in the mass media had continued to influence interest in reading hard copy of literatures such as books, magazines and journals, among others. Palani (2012) is of the opinion that, effective reading is important avenue of effective learning and reading is interrelated with the total educational process and hence, educational success requires successful reading habit. He believes reading is the identification of the symbols and the association of appropriate meaning with them. It requires identification and comprehension. Comprehension skills help the learner to understand the meaning of words in isolation and in context. Before the advent of the television, both the young and the old found enough time to read. Apart from teachers, other professionals used to spend their leisure time in reading both English and literature. English medium schools almost always demanded extra reading from their students. But all these have become a thing of the past. Palani (2012) further added that, nowadays, reading habit has lost its importance as both the young and the old are glued to the television. As far as educational institutions are concerned, coaching students for the examinations seems to be the be-all and end-all of our educational system.
A lot of researchers like Ogbodo (2002), Bhan& Gupta (2010), and Singh (2011) have done work on reading, especially how it affects the academic performance of students. However, most of these works pertain to the international community. Few ones such as Ward, (1997), Agbezree, (2001) conducted in researches and they were limited to primary and secondary levels of education. It is against this backdrop that it has become necessary to conduct the effects of reading habits on secondary school students’ academic performance in English Language in Boluwaduro Local Government area of Osun State.
Statement of the Problem
The problem most students have that contributes to their poor performance in tests and examinations is lack of proper reading habits. For an excellent performance, there is the need for the student to form good reading and study habits. At present, due to the influence of the mass media, people do not show much interest in reading books; magazines and journals, among others (Palani, 2012). Even the cankerworm of examination malpractices may be traceable to the prevalent poor reading interests and habits among the wide spectrum of students. In addition, the by-products of scientific and technological inventions and innovations have also contributed greatly to the dwindling fortunes of the good practice of reading among majority of the students. Today, many students prefer to watch movies and other shows on the television, listening to audio-CDs, watching video-CDs, among others (Issa, 2012).
Many parents and teachers complain about students of our generation who have not developed reading habits among themselves. Officials of the West African Examinations Council and teachers of English complain of the kind of English written by today’s generation of students (WAEC, 2008). The net result is the poor performance of many students in final examinations. One of the many issues confronting students nowadays is perhaps, not their inability to read but their lack of interest. From the assertion above, the work was conducted to examine the effects on reading habits on secondary school students’ academic performance in English Language in Boluwaduro Local Government area of Osun State.
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of the study is to find out the effects of reading habits on secondary school students’ academic performance in English Language in Boluwaduro Local Government area of Osun State. The specific purposes are to;
i determine the relationship between reading habits and students’ academic performance in English Language.
ii ascertain the relationship between reading habits and family background.
iii examine the relationship between methods of reading and academic performance of students in English Language.
iv investigate relationship between reading habit and students’ environment.
The following research questions are raised on reading habits and secondary school students’ academic performance in English Language in Boluwaduro Local Government area of Osun State. The following questions are relevant:
- Is there any significant relationship between reading habits and students’ academic performance in English Language?
- What is significant relationship between reading habits and family background?
- How important is the method of reading on academic performance of students in English Language?
- Does student’s environment affects reading habit of student?
The following hypotheses were drawn specifically for this study.
H0I There is no significant relationship between reading habits and students’ academic performance in English Language.
H02 There is no significant relationship between reading habits and family background.
H03 There is no significant relationship between methods of reading and academic performance of students in English Language.
H04 There is no significant relationship between reading habit and students’ environment.
Scope of the Study
This research work focuses on the effects of reading habits on secondary school students’ academic performance in English Language in Boluwaduro Local Government area of Osun State. All teachers of English would be used because of limited or less available qualified English Studies teachers in the Local Government Area. English teachers would be selected from 5 randomly selected secondary schools in Boluwaduro Local Government Area of Osun State.
A questionnaire on the effects of reading habits on secondary school students’ academic performance in English Language in Boluwaduro Local Government, Osun State would be used to elicit data from the respondents. Demographic characteristics would be described using percentage to answer question 1, while the rest research questions that have corresponding hypotheses would be tested using inferential statistics i.e. Pearson product moment correlation statistics at 0.05 level of significance.
Operational Definition of Terms
- Reading: is the act of looking at and comprehending the meaning of (written or printed matter, by interpreting the characters or symbol of which it is composed).
- Habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice of reading by student in Boluwaduro Local Government area, especially one that is hard to give up.
- Performance: is the accomplishment of a given task measured against preset known standards of accuracy, completeness, cost, and speed in Boluwaduro Local Government Area.
- Student: a student or pupil is a learner or someone who attends an educational institution in Boluwaduro Local Government Area.
- Environment: is the sum total of all surroundings of a student, including natural forces and other living things, which provide conditions for development and growth as well as of danger and damage in Boluwaduro Local Government Area.
- Secondary School: is a high school or a school of corresponding grade, ranking between a primary school and a college or university in Boluwaduro Local Government area.
- Academic Achievement: includes both curricular and co-curricular performance of the students. It indicates the learning outcomes of the students in Boluwaduro Local Government area.
- Student: A student of pupil is a learner or someone who attends an educational institution in Boluwaduro Local Government Area.
Significance of the Study
The findings of the study would be of great importance to the following stakeholders in education. These include students, teachers, school administrators, government, educational agencies, textbook writers and future researchers. For instance, the findings of this study would help enhance the knowledge of English language teacher in secondary schools in order to improve students’ reading habits.
School administrators and government educational agencies would also benefit from the findings especially in the need to organize seminars or workshops for English language teachers in secondary schools. It is hoped that the findings of this study would give English language textbook writers ample opportunity to review some aspects of their books towards improving the content so as to improve their reading habits and thereby enhance students’ performance.
In addition, curriculum planners would benefit from the findings which may call for a review of English language curriculum. Also, the findings of the study would be useful to future researchers who may be interested in carrying out related studies on English language.
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