THE CONSTRAINTS OF READING DISABILITY ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN OWERRI NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, IMO STATE

THE CONSTRAINTS OF READING DISABILITY ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN OWERRI NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, IMO STATE

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ABSTRACT

The study was undertaken to find out the influence of reading disability on secondary school student’s academic performance in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo state. The study adopted a descriptive survey approach in which four research questions were posed. The population of the study consisted of 550 government teachers teaching in 16 government secondary schools in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo state and 4,051 government secondary school students in Owerri north Local Government Area of Imo state giving a total number of 4, 617 populations. Simple random sampling procedure was used in selecting (5) secondary schools to represent the 16 government secondary schools that were sampled in the study. 40 students were equally selected randomly from each of the five schools making a total number of 200 respondents. A questionnaire of four-point scale was used as instrument for data collection. Mean scores were used in answering the research questions. The results revealed that reading disabilities, quality of the teachers, school administration and environment affect the secondary school student’s academic performance in Owerri north Local Government Area of Imo state.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the study

The human brain undoubtedly, is the most essential structure of the human composition carefully woven by God to lead and control the activities of man. The brain is packed with high sensitivity to the point that it travels millions of miles in a second without the guidance of the conscious self, making it the most essential composition or the building block for constructive or effectual reasoning.

The general input to the brain to a larger extent determines the functionality of the brain and goes a long way in constituting in the range of information an individual has in his/her repertoire and the inability to read effectively poses a serious challenge on the student academic performance. This inability to read and comprehend has been firmly noted to be a disability on the students path which hinders their general learning process; with this in mind, reading disabilities are now firmly established as recognized disabilities that cause serious difficulties in school learning. The field of reading disability continues to be dynamic and an eclectic discipline that is responsive to advances in educational research and policy and to major changes in society. People with reading disabilities are found in every classroom. Unless their problems are recognized and treated, these students are destined to become educational discards. The condition of reading disabilities is perplexing because each individual has a unique combination of talents and characteristics.

According to Lerner (2006) Students with reading disabilities are not blind, yet many do not see as their peers do; they are not deaf but many do not listen or hear normally; they are not retarded in cognition development, but they learn in a different way. Many also exhibit behaviours that make them disturbing in the classroom and vexing at home.

            According to Lerner (2006) in today’s world, high technology and automation have spurred a demand for highly trained people. Old jobs rapidly become obsolete, making the process of retraining a necessity. It is predicted that workers in every occupation will have to retrain themselves to prepare for new jobs many times during their work careers. The ability to read efficiently is a key tool for retraining and for maintaining employment. We live in a multimedia world; we obtain many kinds of information through non print media. For many purposes, the global environment of television has replaced the world of print. Some educators have even suggested that a “bookless curriculum” be established in our schools—one that instructs through the use of non print media designed to relate information and to create appropriate learning experiences. Despite such signs of the declining value of reading in contemporary life, there is also contrasting evidence that reading is assuming a greater role than in the past. For example, although millions of Nigerians watch television to view momentous occurrences—such as sports events and critical political happenings- these television viewers are eager to read the newspapers the next day to make the events they have witnessed more coherent, detailed and comprehensible. Our newest information system is the computer, which brings with it telecommunication, e-mail, internet, social media platforms and the World Wide Web, all of which require users to read the written electronic information on a monitor screen or phone screen, which makes the reading ability inevitable.

            However, in spite of the new role that non print media play in providing a message, illiteracy is more debilitating than ever. If children in our modern society do not learn to read, they do not make it in life. A few generations ago, people managed to get along quite well in the business and social worlds without the ability to read, but in today’s world this is no longer possible. Today students face minimum competency tests, longer periods of compulsory education, job requirements of diplomas and degrees, and more comprehensive school testing. These hurdles, as well as the necessity of filling out application forms and taking licensing examinations, make life for the non reader very uncomfortable and full of impassable barriers. It is said that “children must learn to read so that they can later read to learn”. Indeed, since reading is the basic tool for all academic subjects, failure in school frequently can be traced to inadequate reading skills. It is on this note that this study focuses on reading disability and its effect on student’s academic performance. 

Statement of the Problem

The influence of reading disability on student’s academic performance has marred students more than it could ever make them. With obvious fact, reading disabilities can be seen in the light of a wide range of unusual disorder or condition found in children, adults and students. Most of the problems we see in students could be caused by dyslexia, phobia for reading, background in which the student was born into. It could force a student out of school due to inability to comprehend academic works like other students. Circumstances surrounding the student at the time of reading could also be a problem. It could also be limited experience with books. Due to reading disability, the student could lack in thorough speech and phonemic awareness.

Reading disabilities is without doubt a serious challenge both in academics performance and in the social life. The life span of a student in the school which is majored by how good or poor a student’s academic performance is adjudged can be determined by the amount of encoded information the student was able to assimilate during the period of learning in the classroom, and later tested in the form of examination to produce in written format those information decoded by the student when the teacher was teaching. To be able to overcome the examination hurdles, such student must be able to first read the teachers note and textbooks in order to effectively answer those examination questions. In a situation where the student cannot even read those written signs and symbols poor academic performance becomes inevitable.

Purpose of the study to:

The main objective of this study is to find out the influence of reading disability on student academic performance in secondary schools in Owerri North Local Government Area.

The following research purpose  have been outlined for the study:

1.      Ascertain the extent school administration determines the reading disability on students academic performance.

2.      Examine the learner’s previous academic background that affects their reading disability.

3.      Ascertain how the school and environment affects the reading disability of the students.

4.      Examine the extent the quality of teachers affects the reading disability of the students.

 Significance of the Study

            The findings of this study will boost the students to participate and yearn for knowledge thus, this research is highly significant.

            Through this study teachers become more versatile in handling students with reading disabilities to widen their knowledge by designing study scheme that will help in the easy comprehension of what is being taught to them.

            This study will be beneficial to students, teachers, general public, and curriculum planners and also an eye opener to parents.

            In conclusion, students, teachers, parents, curriculum planners and the general public will benefit greatly from this study thereby reducing the ignorance level towards reading disability in the society.

Scope of the Study

            The content scope of this study is to determine the extent reading disability influence student’s academic performance. Reading disability will be studied as the independent variable which will specifically cover the environmental factors, school administration, quality of the teachers, teaching methods and learner’s previous academic background. Geographically, the study is delimited to 4, 051 students in Owerri north local government area Imo state.

Research Questions

1.      How does school administration affect the reading disability on student’s academic performance?

2.      How does reading disability affect student’s academic performance?

3.      How does the school environment affect the reading disability of the students?

4.      How does the quality of teachers affect the reading disability of the students?





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