Teachers, methods and materials: Exploring opportunities and challenges in learning to read in primary schools in two Kenyan contexts
Runo, M. N.
Kabutha, John Mugo
Kamau, Geoffrey Karugu
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Over recent decades, various studies have decried the rising numbers of non-readers in Kenyanclassrooms, within the context of a growing global phenomenon. This study aimed at ascertainingteachers' capacity to teach reading, the materials that they utilize to teach reading, andthe overall challenges and opportunities in teaching reading. A mixed methods design was utilizedw, ith a purposive sample of 8 urban (Nairobi) and 8 rural (Nyeri) primary schools, basedon the best and worst performing schools in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education resultsof the year preceding the study. A total of 34 teachers participated in the study. Findings indicatethat nearly half of the teachers neither taught reading nor knew the methods to use in teachingreading. A third of the teachers (31.9%) used phonics, while another third favoured thewhole-word method. The study concludes that lower grade teachers are ill-equipped withmethods of teaching reading, while remediation practice is hardly a focus. It would be necessaryto introduce reading as a subject at the teacher training level, and designate reading timethrough the primary education course.