Teachers', methods and materials: exploring opportunities and challenges in learning to read in primary schools in two Kenyan contexts
Mugo, John Kabutha
Karugu, Geoffrey Kamau
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Over recent decades, various studies have decried the rising numbers of non-readers in Kenyanclassrooms, within the context of a growing global phenomenon. This study aimed at ascertainingteachers' capacity to teach reading, the materials that they utilize to teach reading, and the overall challenges and opportunities in teaching reading. A mixed methods design was utilized,with a purposive sample of 8 urban (Nairobi) and 8 rural (Nyeri) primary schools, basedon the best and worst performing schools in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education resultsof the year preceding the study. A total of 34 teachers participated in the study. Findings indicatethat nearly half of the teachers neither taught reading nor knew the methods to use in teachingreading. A third of the teachers (31.9%) used phonics, while another third favoured the whole-word method. The study concludes that lower grade teachers are ill-equipped with methods of teaching reading, while remediation practice is hardly a focus. It would be necessary to introduce reading as a subject at the teacher training level, and designate reading time through the primary education course.