Evaluation of Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development Approved English Textbooks for Teaching Reading Comprehension in Kenyan Secondary Schools
Mbugua, Esther Wambui
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This study evaluated textbooks approved by KICD for teaching reading in Kenyan secondary schools with particular focus to the form one class. The motivation for the study is the poor performance in English in national exams more so in areas that require application of the Reading comprehension Skill (RCS). Besides, reading is a basic literacy skill which is crucial in the acquisition of communicative competence of English as SL. However, there is a challenge in the acquisition of this competence (Uwezo Report 2015). The study had three objectives: to establish the readability index of the texts, to determine the text types for presenting reading materials and finally, to find out the comprehension strategies provided in the texts. Though there are many aspects that contribute to competence in reading, this study focused on text variables. The study used the Schema Theory of reading. Data was collected and analyzed using the Content Analysis Approach (CAA). The Fry Readability Formula (FRF) and an evaluative criteria was developed based on the objectives of the syllabus. The two were used as data collection instruments. Data was presented using the Fry Readability Graph (FRG) and tables. It was analysed using (FRG) and discussions. The study established that the readability indices were inappropriate for form one. This means that most of the form ones would find the textbooks too easy. Furthermore, all the materials were found to be authentic implying that learners are exposed to language as used in natural settings. In addition, most of the textbooks had all the text types albeit with a bias towards local and non-fiction categories. The implication is that exposure to culturally diversified and literary texts is little. Moreover, pre-reading and post-reading activities were extensively used. However, none of the textbooks had provided during-reading activities. This scenario presupposes that learners are not able to engage and interrogate the materials as they read since there are no activities to assist them do so. This study recommends that local and non-fictional texts be reduced in favour of culturally diversified and fictional texts respectively. During-reading activities should also be included.