An evaluation of the readability of class two and five Kenyan primary school English course books
Okoth, Beatrice Akoth
MetadataShow full item record
There is a strong belief that Kenyans at all levels lack a reading culture only read on purpose. This is believed to have contributed to the decline in the proficient use of English language. We have not had access to a study conducted on the nature and extent of the above claims but claims of the declining standards have produced evidence, mostly anecdotal, to show that learner language is poorer particularly with regard to observance of basic rules of grammar in basic productive skills of speaking and writing. The media, book publishing firms and public libraries decry poor reading culture by the public. Popular discourse by the media and language pedagogy circles have located the falling standards at the feet of other linguistic influences (e.g. first language, sheng- the urban youth code) and the influence of teacher language and the language of other models. This paper sets out to restate that poor reading culture and the falling standards in the proficiency of English can be addressed by looking at textbooks, particularly course books. The course books represent to both the teacher and the student the visible heart of any ELT program. For this matter, the readability of these books in terms of comprehensibility, interest and legibility is crucial if they are to promote not only proficiency but also the culture of reading. Evaluation of the readability of a course book should not only be at the core of every course book evaluation and selection process but should be an elaborate and holistic process that looks into the appropriateness of linguistic and non linguistic correlates of the text. This is because the process signals an executive educational decision in which there is considerable professional and even political investment. This paper, will therefore, assess the readability of class two and five English course books.