Exploring Reading Habits and the Availability of Reading Materials, and Their Role in Academic Success among Primary School Children in Rural Kenya

Florence Mugambi, Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne

Abstract

This study was conducted to explore the relationship between reading habits of public primary school students and the availability of reading materials, on one hand, and academic success, on the other. The study revealed high levels of satisfaction and contentment among the participants with respect to the availability of resources, reading abilities, general educational performance, and overall preparedness for further education; yet, at the same time, the data pointed to severe scarcity of learning materials, low reading skills, poor infrastructure, below average educational performance, and overall low pupil preparedness for further education. It was concluded that lack of exposure to relevant reading materials, educational resources, and opportunities leads to subtle contentment alongside individual inability to excel educationally as manifested by very low test scores in the national examinations. If academic improvement and ultimate success are to be realized in the study area and other comparable communities, well-designed interventions aimed at creating equal educational opportunities must be created. These include establishment of fully equipped and functional libraries consistent with the rigors of modern academic demands, improvement of the reading infrastructure, and promotion of reading across the school curriculum.