Background to the Study

For most people living in today’s modern world, reading is an everyday, ordinary task to which little thought is given. Yet reading is one of the most important skills that we can acquire (Grove &Hauptfleisch, 2002). Reading is not simply about mechanical skill. It helps us understand our world by enabling us to learn about our past and plan for our future.

Understanding what we are reading is far more important to us than the mechanical skill of reading. Without comprehension, reading would serve no purpose. Likosky (Linbrelto, 2005) notes that reading helps us into contact with our culture and the values and principles adhered to by our community. It can help us develop our own ideas about relationships (Smith & Robinson, 2000). It includes the world of thoughts and emotions (Frank, 2000). “A person who can read well, can function more effectively in everyday activities and can satisfy his emotional and intellectual needs more effectively” (Grove &Hauptfleisch, 2002). Many of the day-to-day tasks require reading, including the simple tasks of banking, following directions and shopping. For an illiterate person, many of life’s seemingly mundane and ordinary tasks, which many people take for granted, become insurmountable hurdles.

          Living in the 21st century with its rapid advancement in technology, we are faced with the so-called ‘information explosion’ or information overload’. Some of this information comes to us via the electronic media such as television and radio, for which reading is not required. But much of the information comes to use in the form of the written word such as books, newspapers, magazines and computers. The worldwide web, specifically, has made masses of information easily available to people who have access to the internet. E-Mail has transformed the world into a global village by making electronic media an effective global form of communication. Advances in computer technology have been, and continue to be, rapid. An array of software packages provides information on a wide variety of topics. In order to be able to process all of this information, reading is a prerequisite skill.

The value of reading is unlikely to be challenged by many people. It so much a part of modem society that most people would acknowledge it’s important. Reading is well integrated into our education systems generally, such that educational success is almost synonymous with reading success. It pervades almost all work that is done in the classroom and according to Greyling and Joubert (2008) there is a direct relationship between successful studies and good reading skills. Reading is probably one of the most important skills that a student learns at school, if not themost important. It forms the foundation for all further learning and without the ability to read effectively, a child will experience difficulty learning. “Success in reading very often ensures success in other subjects, as a sound reading ability is the gateway to the acquisition and expansion of knowledge in all the school subjects” (Grove & Hauptfleisch. 2002). An inability to read will impact negatively on the ability to achieve in all other school subjects, as well as on the ability to succeed in life beyond school. This will have a strong influence on the child’s self-esteem and on his perception of himself as a student which, in turn, will have an influence on his subject choice as well as on his choice of career (Brown, 2002). Anderson, Hiebert, Scott and Wilkinson (2005) describe reading as “a basic life skill. It is a cornerstone for a child’s success in school and, indeed, throughout life.” This sentiment is supported by Grove.

This study was motivated to carryout to improved the ability of reading of students in our society and to controversy the poor reading habit.   

Statement of the problem

During the course of assessment and remedia1 work carried out by the researcher amongst a group of students in College of Education it became obvious that a number of these students had below average reading ability at this school, at some point during their Foundation Phase schooling, a number of students had been referred to the school’s part-time educational psychologist for assessment of reading problems. In most cases, although not all, this referral had taken place during the students’ first year. Following assessment, the majority of these students were referred fool reading remediation, which took the form of one half-hour session per week, during school hours, with a remedial therapist. 

Even allowing for developmental variations as mentioned above, relative to their age and grade these students should have been able to read at a specific level of mastery. All inability to read at this level had grave implications for future academic success. They later shift to the intermediate phase in year two placed much greater demands on the students in terms of reading ability as they broadened their focus from mainly reading, writing and spelling to include specific subjects.

Foundation Phase reading skills became a critical factor to successful learning.

There existed among the teachers at the Intermediate Phase a concern at what they perceived to be generally poor reading ability amongst the Foundation Phase children at the school.

Teachers at the college of education were finding that a number o students coming were experiencing difficulty reading, especially with regards reading comprehension. For a number of these students, this was then manifesting as academic difficulties as they were unable to fully understand the written content of their varied subject materials.  

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the study was two-fold, namely:

  • To investigate the extent of the correlation, if any, between the reading problem and among student in college of education.
  • To investigate the correlation, if any, between 3 aspects of reading (namely, speed, accuracy and comprehension) and the academic performance of a specific group students in college of education.

Significant of the Study

The study is justified by the increasing need to solve social problems

In our society and specifically the problem of poor reading habits in College of Education, (2009), Education emphasizes functional skills and desirable attitudes and actions for the purpose of producing an effective citizenry.

In view of the prevailing undesirable behaviours in youths, this study will expose the students to the harmful effects of poor reading habits and the consequence on academic and thus serve as a cautionary measure for students. Through this study the students in College of Education will be able to address problem in poor reading at tertiary school level will know how to practically use the content of grammar and skill in reading and writing effectively.

The study will serve as an important reference to researchers who wish to further study in this area.

Scope of the Study

The study was limited to a group of student school, precisely, College of Education. The group of student had the following in common

  1. They had been referred to the educational psychologist by either their parents or teachers for a scholastic assessment due to reading difficulties
  2. The assessment had indicated that the student all had difficulty reading and were found to be reading at a level below that expected for children of their respective chronological ages.
  3. They had been referred for reading rendition.

 Research Questions

This study in designed to answer following questions:

1.  Is there any relationship between students’ poor reading ability and his ability to reach his academic potential?

2. What are the nature in poor reading students’ ability and his ability to succeed in mathematics?

3. Dose the differing skills required for efficient reading have a differing influence, if any, on the student’s ability to reach his full academic potential?

4.       Does the poor reading ability make the achievement in course of study.

Research hypotheses

Considering the general view that reading is important and that reading is a prerequisite skill for effective learning, and given the concerns expressed by the Grade 4 teachers, it appeared that reading difficulties were likely to have an adverse effect on academic performance.

Therefore, the hypotheses to be investigated are as follows:

Ho1.   Is  there any relationship between students’ poor reading ability and his ability to reach his academic potential?

          There is a significant correlation between reading ability and among student in college of education.

Ho2.   There is no significant correlation between skills efficient reading and ability of student’s to reach his full academic potential?

          There is no difference between poor reading ability and consequence  achievement in academic performance.

Definition of Terms

Reading: defines reading as an “act of reconverting symbols into a language with which the individual is already familiar.”

Grove and Hauptfleisch (2002:2) define reading as “the meaningful interpretation of the written word.” They add that the act of interpreting the written word is achieved through visual perception whereby the word and its meaning are recalled in the brain. Beyond that, however, the ability to attach meaning to what has been read is influenced by the reader’s experience and language proficiency



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