Determinants of father’s involvement in their children's early reading development, in Kiambu county, Kenya
Njeru, George Kithinji
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Children who grow up with warm, encouraging, and keenly engaged fathers in reading; gain incredible benefits, as well as improved school performance, better self-confidence, enhanced relationships with peers and caregivers, and imminent access to more economic means. The purpose of the study was to find out whether some selected factors dictate the engagement of fathers in young children's early reading development. Specifically, the study was exploring the level of father’s involvement in their children’s reading and the factors that influence their involvement. The primary years of a child present crucial opportunities for growth, development and learning. Fathers’ participation in their children’s early reading development has been found to be important since they are among the first educators of their children. Studies have however established that fathers are minimally involved in this important role. This study therefore was intended to explore the factors influencing fathers’ contribution to their children’s early reading development. Specifically, the research strived to establish whether age, occupation and education levels of the father are important in determining their involvement level. This study applied the Rational Choice Theory (RCT) by Coleman (1990). The theory was applied in this context to show how fathers make decisions regarding involvement in reading activities of their children. In this study, RCT was adopted to demonstrate certain aspects of involvement which formed the basis of the research project and the motivation behind these choices that fathers make. The descriptive research design was used to investigate whether fathers’ age, occupation and education levels influence their input in their child’s early reading development in Ruiru Sub-County, Kiambu. The target population of this study consisted of fathers of children in early years stage in 78 schools within the zone. The total target population was 6260 participants in the 78 schools. The questionnaire was the only data collection tool and qualitative data analysis was employed. The researcher ensured that each respondent's right to privacy is respected and this was communicated to them. The findings on fathers’ involvement revealed that fathers participated more in pre-school activities that related to financial support and less in those that required them to sacrifice their time. Therefore, there is need to increase parents’ awareness on the importance of getting involved in early reading development on and this could be done by encouraging fathers to attend provide reading materials and reading the child. Further findings showed that father’s education level was found to affect their involvement in their children’s early reading development. Most Fathers in Ruiru Sub-County were found to be learned and capable of supporting their children’s early reading development via reading and listening to them. The study also recommends that schools should develop platforms that will help improve fathers' homework supervision by starting up seminars for fathers that clarify the practice of assisting children.