School related factors influencing standard three pupils reading ability in Ongata Ronkai Division, Kajiado County
Karuoya, Florence Wagituu
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Studies done globally indicate that children are not reading confidently at their class levels. In both Europe and America, though being English speaking countries, studies show there is 20% of 11 year old children who cannot read confidently (Davis and Braun, 2011). African children have a higher percentage of 92% according to NASMLA and UWEZO (2010). Kenya has recorded similar results with half of her children not reading at their class levels (UWEZO 2010) and there was thus the need to conduct the study in order to find out the causes contributing to reading inability among children. The study was carried out in Ongata Ronkai Division, Kajiado County. The Division has a total of 9 public primary schools and 1134 standard three children. Guided by Lev Vygotsky's socio- cultural theory (1978), and his concept of zone of proximal development (ZPD) and the more knowledgeable other (MKO) the study explored school factors influencing pupils reading ability. The study adopted a descriptive design using survey method to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. The main target populations for this study were standard three pupils. A sample size of 340(30%) of children were sampled for the study. Systematic sampling technique was used to select the study Division, Schools, 10class teachers, 3 head teachers and 24 standard three parents. A structured questionnaire was administered to the pupils. An observation check list was used to collect quantitative data relevant on teaching materials and learning aids used in teaching the English language. A questionnaire for Head teachers, Class three teacher and Parents was also used. A reading ability checklist was used to test the pupils reading ability, where letter name knowledge, letter sound knowledge, phonemic awareness, oral reading fluency and comprehension were tested. The pilot study for the instruments was done in two schools in the Division that did not participate in the study. Content validity for the instrument was used to determine the soundness of the instruments. The split half technique was used to check the reliability of the instruments. A statistical level of 0.8 was established using Spearman Correlation Coefficient. Descriptive analysis was done to establish the distribution of the study variables based on the study objectives. Mean, median and mode were used to describe the magnitude. The data was presented in tables, graphs, frequencies and pie-charts using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS version 17.0) computer statistical packages. The study found that;- Teachers' knowledge in literacy is important in teaching reading. Phonological and alphabetical knowledge are wanting in both teaching methods and skills during teaching reading. A high percentage of pupils have deficits in reading. 8.8% have oral reading problems, 6.5% cannot read familiar words and another 17.6% cannot comprehend. All schools lack adequate teaching and learning materials. Parents attribute pupils' inability to read to, Parental income (44.7%), availability of teaching and learning materials (33.3%) and teacher/ pupil ratio (61.3%). The study recommends; competent teachers to handle reading lessons, Parents should be encouraged to be involved in reading of their children and pupils being exposed to the right type of reading materials in the classrooms. The study concluded that the teachers' and school factors should be improved to enhance the reading ability of standard three pupils Research ethical procedures were given due consideration. These includes; getting ethical approval to conduct the research, and informed consent from participants.