Influence of Home and School Related Factors in Mitigating Reading Disabilities among Class Four Learners in Tharaka-Nithi County, Kenya
Mbiro, Linet D.S.
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Reading is one of the basic skills that children should master during their first school years. The skills enable them to assimilate new knowledge and skills in future. This study was aimed at establishing the extent to which home and school related factors contribute to mitigating reading disabilities in primary schools in Kenya. It investigated the extent to which teachers are aware of the characteristics of reading disabilities (RD). Simple random sampling was used to select 4 primary schools from each zone, making a total of 8 schools. From each school, 4 learners were randomly selected from the list of those with RD. A total of 32 learners was sampled for the study. 8 teachers who are in charge of class four were also included in the study, making a total of 16 teachers. 32 Parents of learners with RD were included as well. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze quantitative data from the questionnaires for learners and teachers. Qualitative data was analyzed thematically in line with the study objectives. The study established that in Tharaka Nithi County, learners with a reading disability demonstrated difficulties in reading skills that were unexpected in relation to age, cognitive ability, quantity and quality of instruction and intervention. The study further established that teachers were aware of and employed the various methods of teaching reading in English but do not provide basic prerequisite activities that would prepare and aid learners when reading English. The study established that in primary schools in Tharaka Nithi, the teachers made adjustments to their instructions, the environment, curriculum topics and materials to accommodate students‟ diversity and to help all students achieve objectives. Based on the findings of this study, the researcher concludes that; the teachers were able to identify some of the characteristics of the learners with reading disabilities in primary schools. The study further concludes that the parents too had a role to play in the learning of the children with learning disabilities as the success of these learners was greatly determined by the parent‟s actions, as well as their active involvement in their learning activities as well as school activities. the researcher made the following recommendations; The ministry of education, through the KICD should revise the teacher training curriculum, so as to include the methods of identifying the learners with reading disabilities as well as other emerging special needs. The Kenyan Government through Kenya institute of special education should also organize on job trainings and seminars for the teachers already in practice on matters pertaining to the reading disabilities, to equip all the teachers with the relevant adequate knowledge to handle the learners. The schools should be given adequate funding to purchase adequate learning materials for all the learners, and specifically those that have learning disabilities. The schools should also organize seminars for the parents as well as parent‟s meetings and insist to them on the needs to get involved in their children education, even while at home.