1.1 Background to the Study
Reading is perceived as
an indispensable tool for academic success and also forms an integral
part of any learning situation, and is as well the bedrock of education.
Therefore, Access to information is crucial to individual advancement
as well as corporate educational development. Information is
indispensable, and, according to Yusuf (2007), bridges the gap between
knowledge and ignorance. One of the major sources of acquiring
information is reading. Reading is the base by which other academic
skills are built. It offers a productive avenue to improving vocabulary,
word power, and language skills. Tella and Akande (2007) assert that
the ability to read is at the heart of self-education and lifelong
learning and that it is an art capable of transforming life and society.
Yani (2003) posited that reading habits of Nigerians are what has
become a matter of concern in our educational and national development.
He stated further that in a developing country like Nigeria, the concept
of reading habits should not be relegated to the background. This is
because through reading, human beings get better informed and
understanding of the universe they live on. More so, reading makes a way
for better understanding of one’s own experience and can be an exciting
voyage of self discovery. A child that forms the habit of reading is
always performs better than his colleagues at school because he becomes
he gains more knowledge than them and understands better than his
colleagues what they are being taught in class.
It is saddening to note nowadays that in
Nigeria reading culture is deficient. This is because the general
orientation has placed priority on other less important things. For
instance, majority of the youth believe that reading does not bring
quick money. People believe that education and reading is a long term
project which does not yield immediate dividend but, if at all, future
money. Youths find it difficult to wait for a long term to make fortune;
and because they want immediate money through Machiavellian means they
venture into politics, business, internet fraud that brings money
quickly. As a result of these, reading culture does not mean anything to
many students nowadays anymore. An examination of reading shows its
significance. Reading involves series of systems like eye to eye
movement, tracing, moving along with hands while reading. A poor reading
habit therefore does not only affect proficiency in the English
language and other subjects, it possibly affects the coordination of
some body parts.
There is a general feeling that many
Nigerian students do not like reading. Many teachers often complain
about the poor reading habit among their students which can have
implication on the personal and intellectual development. Edomwandagbon
(2005) held tenaciously to the view that if students who were preparing
for both internal and external examination avail themselves of
facilities in the various Libraries, read their notes and text books
diligently, the incidence of cheating, impersonation and examination
malpractice and cultism will be greatly reduced. In 2001, according to
Omo-Ojugo (2005), the World Bank in conjunction with the Nigerian
Institute for Social and Economic Research, Ibadan produced a grim
report on the Nigerian graduate which has confirmed the fears of
educators, parents, employers and the general public about the
degeneration of the country's education. The report revealed that the
average graduate who leaves a university or polytechnic with a degree or
certificate is not worth the qualification, which he is supposed to
have. The report concluded by saying that the average Nigerian graduate
lacks technical skill, has a poor command of English, is poorly trained
and largely unemployable. Harold (2001) opined that lack of vibrant
reading culture among Nigerians has been many a publisher's nightmare
for a long time in the country. Poverty, illiteracy and high cost of
books were fingered as being responsible for this. Obafemi (2006) opined
that the poor reading culture among Nigerians was due to economy that
was prostate; reading was expensive and had become a leisure most people
could ill afford. Also, the in-thing according to him was that people
prefer to stay in their homes and watch home videos rather than pursuing
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The general feeling that poor reading
habit among Nigerian students is getting out of control is very
terrifying and infuriating. The high failure rate in examinations, the
increase in student dropout rate, the production of half-baked
graduates, etc, are all affecting the country socially, economically and
politically. The Government effort in fighting illiteracy is being
thwarted by the students who do not read neither their prescribed
textbooks nor for pleasure. The much needed manpower which the tertiary
institutions are supposed to produce fall beyond required standard
because of the students' nonchalant attitude towards their studies with
regard to reading. Many students, who would have contributed immensely
if properly trained, drop out because of poor performance due to
inadequate preparation for their examinations. This study is therefore
dedicated to the clarification of the status of the reading culture
among secondary school students in Nigeria and those factors militating
against viable reading culture in the secondary schools.
1.3 Research Questions
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
i) what are the factors affecting reading culture in secondary schools in Nigeria?
ii) what is the general reading habit of secondary school students?
iii) what are the effects of reading culture on academic performance among secondary school students in Nigeria?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to give assessment of reading culture of secondary school. The specific objectives are:
i) to inquire the factors affecting reading culture in secondary schools in Nigeria
ii) to determine the general reading habit of secondary school students
iii) to survey the effects of reading culture on academic performance among secondary school students in Nigeria
1.5 Research Hypothesis
The research hypotheses to be tested include:
i) There will be no significant difference on the reading culture of students based on gender.
ii) There will be no significant relationship between gender and reading culture of students
iii) There will be a significant correlation between reading culture and academic performance of students
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study was designed to investigate
whether students reading culture can affect their academic achievement
in school. It was also intended to find out why students cannot develop
positive reading culture.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study will be limited
to the assessment of students reading culture in the secondary schools.
It will therefore be restricted five junior secondary schools in Kajola
Local Government Area of Oyo State. This will enable the researcher to
thoroughly investigate the varieties in reading culture among students
and this will lead to development of good reading habits among them.
1.8 Limitation of the study
The researcher was only faced with the
problem of reading the questions to some students as not all of them
were able to read and write very well.
1.9 Definitions of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Assessment: the evaluation or estimation of the nature, quality, or ability of someone or something
Reading culture: refers to habitual and regular reading of books and information materials.