Reading abilities of class four learners of English in four selected schools in Tharaka-Nithi County, Kenya
Njabani, Emis Kainyu
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The importance of reading skills in today‘s society is great since one has to rely on reading to get information from many sources. This study focused on assessment of learners‘ reading abilities in rural areas of Maara sub-county in Tharaka-Nithi County. This provided insight into the reading abilities of learners during their early grades in primary schools since the main objectives of this study is to assess the reading abilities of class four learners in rural areas, to assess reading readiness in using English as the language of instruction, and to determine challenges faced by class four pupils in reading of English. The study used EGRA sub-tasks and teachers‘ interview schedules in collecting data. The bottom up theory of reading by Flesch and Gough (1985) was used in the study in order to achieve the objectives. The study used qualitative research design. The sample size included 44 respondents, 40 learners and 4 teachers of English, who were sampled purposively and systematically. Data was analyzed and presented using Microsoft Excel pivot tables and graphs. The findings of the study showed that class four learners in Tharaka-Nithi County face challenges in reading and comprehending materials of their level. The learners have not acquired the reading skill because they are below the oral fluency national benchmark proposed by RTI in 2010. These findings show that these learners are not ready to use English as their language of instruction. This study emphasizes on the need to expose learners to numerous reading materials so as to build new vocabularies. Learners should also be assessed individually so as to establish individual challenges in reading and deal with those challenges.