School- contextual factors influencing grade two pupils’ acquisition of reading skills in Laikipia County, Kenya Acquisition of reading skills in Laikipia County, Kenya
Nderitu, Elizabeth Nduta
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Reading skill is one of the basic requirements which enable people to meaningfully engage themselves in their daily activities. Reading achievement determines the child’s success in school and eventual career development. The purpose of the study was to establish if there are school contextual factors responsible for reading achievement level among grade two pupils in Laikipia West, Laikipia County. The study specifically focused on the following factors, school reading culture, availability of reading materials and preschool experiences. This study was guided by Holdaway’s theory (1979) of literacy development which indicates that children develop ability to read through four processes namely, observation, collaboration, practice and performance and these processes have a positive correlation to the factors to be investigated in this study. Ex post facto research design was used. The dependent variable of the study was grade two pupils` acquisition of reading skills while independent variables were school reading culture, availability of reading materials and preschool experiences. The target population were standard two pupils in both public and private schools in the sub county. Purposive and stratified random sampling techniques were employed to sample subjects of the study. The sub county has a population of 102 schools with 80 public and 22 private schools out of which 12 public and 3 private schools (15%) were sampled. Questionnaires, observation schedule and reading literacy checklists were used to collect data. Pilot study was conducted to enhance validity and reliability of the research tools. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to organize quantitative data for analysis and simple descriptive statistics analyzed qualitative data. The research findings were presented using frequency tables. Qualitative data were analyzed using simple descriptive statistics including frequencies and percentages. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to test the relationship between dependent and independent variables. The findings of the study were presented in tables and graphs. Findings indicated that most of grade two pupils in public primary schools manifested relatively low skills in word recognition. Finding further revealed that time spent per week and marks awarded in every level of reading determined the performance of learners in readings skills. ANOVA Statistics showed that results were statistically significant and that there is significant difference between adequacy of reading materials and grade two pupils’ acquisition. The study concludes that there is a significant positive relationship between pre-primary school experience and grade two pupils’ acquisition of reading skills. The study recommends that head teachers and teachers should put more emphasis on learners to acquire reading skills. The Ministry of Education and other agencies in the education sector should ensure that there is adequate learning facilities in primary schools that enable pupils adequately acquire literacy reading skills.