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Cover Page – – – – – – – – – i
Declaration Page- – – – – – – – – ii
Approval Page – – – – – – – – – iii
Dedication Page – – – – – – – – iv
Acknowledgements – – – – – – – – v
Abstract – – – – – – – – – – v
Table of Contents – – – – – – – – viii
Chapter One
1.0. Introduction- – – – – – – – – 1
1.1 Background to the Study`- – – – – – – 2
1.2. Statement of the Problem- – – – – – – 6
1.3 Purpose of the Study- – – – – – – – 8
1.4 Research Questions- – – – – – – – 8
1.5 Research Hypothesis- – – – – – – – 9
1.6. Significance of the Study- – – – – – – 9
1.7 Scope and Delimitation of the Study – – – – – 10

Chapter Two
Review of Related Literature
2.1 Concept of Prose – – – – – – – – 11
2.1.1 Prose Fiction – – – – – – – – – 13
2.1.2 The Novella/Novelette – – – – – – – 13
2.1.3 The Novel – – – – – – – – – 14
2.1.4 Non-Fictional Prose – – – – – – – – 14
2.1.5 Autobiography – – – – – – – – 14
2.1.6 Fiction- – – – – – – – – – 16
2.2 The Concept of Reading – – – – – – – 16
2.3 Kinds of Reading – – – – – – – – 18
2.4 Importance of Reading- – – – – – – – 21
2.5 The Relationship between Language and Literature – – – 22
2.6 Learning Reading through Prose- – – – – – 24
2.7 Summary of Literature Review – – – – – – 28


Chapter Three
Research Mythology
3.0. Introduction – – – – – – – – 30
3.1. Research Design- – – – – – – – – 30
3.2. Area of the Study- – – – – – – – 30
3.3. Population of the Study- – – – – – – – 30
3.4. Sample of the Study- – – – – – – – 31
3.4.1 Sampling Technique- – – – – – – – 31
3.5. Instruments for Data Collection – – – – – – 31
3.5.2 Reading Skills Observation Inventory (RSOI) – – – – 32
3.6. Validity of the Instrument- – – – – – – 32
3.7. Reliability of the Instrument- – – – – – – 32
3.8. Procedure for data collection- – – – – – – 33
3.9. Method of data analysis – – – – – – – 33

Chapter four
Data Presentation and Analysis
4.0 Introduction – – – – – – – – 36
4.1 Presentation of Data- – – – – – – – 36
4.2 Testing of hypothesis- – – – – – – – 38
4.3 Discussion of Findings- – – – – – – – 39

Chapter Five
Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations
5.1 Summary of Findings – – – – – – – 42
5.2 Conclusion- – – – – – – – – 43
5.3 Recommendations – – – – – – – – 43
References – – – – – – – – – 45
Appendixes – – – – – – – – 50




This project was carried out to investigate the effects of prose on the learning of reading skills in English in selected senior secondary schools in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State. This study employed an experimental design which comprised specifically of the experimental and control groups. The population of this study consists of all SS 2 students in two selected senior secondary schools in Mangu Local Government Area. The sample size of this research work, are forty (40) SS 2 students. The sampling technique applied in this work was the random sampling technique. The instrument for data collection is the reading skills observation inventory (RSOI). It is in form of a checklist with rating scale. The instrument used for data analysis was the simple mean, standard deviation and rank order while T-test was used to test the hypothesis. The findings of the study indicated that: students in the literature classes had better reading skills than those in the science classes as they are mostly exposed to prose works, students who are exposed to prose are fluent in reading compared to those who hardly read prose works, reading is interesting to the students who offer prose as they even use paralinguistic features as smile, gestures, etc, exposure to a wide range of prose enables the students to observe punctuation marks during reading, students who are exposed to a wide variety of prose don’t skip words during reading as fluency is mostly found in this category of learners, students in the experimental group who offer prose are good in pronouncing even difficult words. In the light of the findings, the following were recommended: the government and education stakeholders should make available recommended texts in the school library to enhance the teaching and learning of reading through prose, parents should provide prose texts even at home so that these students will develop reading habits, school authorities and government should once in a while organize workshops and conferences to train the teachers on the use of prose in developing reading skills, massive exposure to the good literature texts in written English in form of fictional and non-fictional prose of a creative kind should not be optional to a foreign language learner, teachers should teach meaning of words contextually in the course of reading prose works so that the students will get acquainted with these words.








Chapter One
2.0. Introduction
Learning English is an important part of our day to day activities. It is a good means of acquiring knowledge and information through written English text materials. For any effectsive communication in English, there must be mutual integration between students and the reading texts by negotiating meaning and understanding of the text/passage. This activity requires a good thinking process and interaction between the reader and the text. At the prose level, this study means comprehending reading at literary, inferential, interpretative and critical evaluation level.
Looking at the declining standard of literature in secondary schools today, there can be no better way of encouraging students towards the appreciation of literature which is the ability to read literary works with greater understanding which involves critical analysis of literary works, the understanding of the language been used and also to have the ability of associating meaning to the contents in a given context. Thus, the need to teach English language to enable students to have some level of proficiency in the language which will in turn help in the appreciation of literary works such as prose texts.
1.1 Background to the Study
Reading comprehension is an important aspect of communication and language development skills. It is a good means of acquiring knowledge information through written English text materials. For any effectsive communication in English, there must be mutual interaction between students and the reading texts by negotiating meaning and understanding of the text/passage. This activity requires a good thinking process and interaction between the reader and the text. By reading comprehension levels, this study means comprehending reading at literal, inferential, interpretative and critical evaluation sub-skills.
Readers find themselves able to communicate easily with other people and greater minds that are not within the immediate environment. This exposure happens to enrich students’ imagination and develops their intellectual growth rapidly. According to Alderson (1984), reading comprehension is defined as the ability to know what is being communicated through printed marks and to use the idea found therein. This has to do with using ideas or information given by the author in the text which the reader processes based on his experiential knowledge as well as the idea the author possessed (schemata). Impliedly, comprehension of any given text depends on the standard of the reader and the readability of the text.
Literature, on the other hand, is a form or an act of expression which concerns itself with not just what is expressed, but also the manner of its expression. Therefore, literature places emphasis on the aesthetic or elegance of expressions. Being one of the art subjects studied at secondary school level, literature in English is divided into genres such as prose, poetry and drama. Generally, these genres are imaginative; they are creative works imitating true life events. National Teachers Institute (N.T.I. 2007) states that literature provides the reader with a reasonable stimulus for objective critical thinking (NTI 2007 98-9). Ishola (1995) also views literature as a body of writing that shows excellence of expressions.
Prose literally means ‘straight-forward.’ It is like talking to someone in a straight- forward manner and not in a sing-song or poetic way. This means that anything you say or write in prose is presented in a straight- forward manner. For instance, this course material is presented in prose.
There are many views on the construction of prose but the summary of these views is that it has a simple and loosely defined structure. There is usually no effort to present prose in any particular or special structure. This lack of formal structure makes it to be adopted as the general mode of communication in many formal and informal presentations like the spoken dialogue, speeches, factual, topical and fictional writing. This means that most of the books you read are presented in prose and that you also talk in prose form.
Prose is made up of complete sentences which constitute paragraphs in a narrative form. Prose reflects the pattern of everyday speech. If words are not presented in prose, they are presented in poetry or verse form that adheres to a particular metric form and definite structure. Poetry has a more systematic form of presentation than prose. However, in prose the writer does not just present words whether they make sense or not. Words in prose are arranged in correct sentences and in a logical sequence for a meaningful understanding of the intended communication.
In view of this, Samuel Coleridge as quoted in Hall (2009) insists in his definition of prose and poetry that; “prose is —words in their best order; poetry,—the best words in their best order.” Even in everyday speech, we arrange words in a proper way for the presentation to make sense in the language of communication. In writing therefore, anything that is not presented in verse is presented in prose.
Prose is the medium used, as stated earlier, in most written and oral communications. This is because of the advantage it has over verse which is in musical form. The dissemination of written information in text books, magazines in commerce dates back tothe 15th century when
Monasteries sold edifying collections of saints’ and virgins’ lives composed in prose. Prose became in this environment the medium of silent and private reading (Whiteman, 2016). Prose then, had an additional advantage for translators, who could go directly for meaning, where verse had to be translated by people skilled as poets in the target language. Students’ inability to read very well so as to comprehend the text material has become a major problem in recent times.
The mass failure of senior secondary school leavers continues to soar. Public concern continues to build up on the state of Nigeria’s academic fortunes against the backdrop of the pursuit of excellence in human capital development. This means that a study like this must inspire and enhance reading performance of secondary school students. According to the NECO 2017 SSCE results, only 9.80% percent of candidates that sat for the November, 2017, passed with five credits including English and mathematics. While the May/June examination recorded a paltry 20% percent success level. Concerning this trend, NECO heaps the blame on schools, parents and pupils (Weekly Trust 3/4/2018). By implication,, students of secondary schools that are learning English as a second language (L2) are faced with the burden of finding out how expressions are used in communicative context, (Huddleston, 2004) efficient readers’ knowledge can be characterized by reading fluency that forms the basis of readers’ ability to produce and comprehend the literary expressions used in the passage. Indeed, this ability in the education sector is a bad predicament. That is why parents, teachers, and even governments show their concern and dismay over the dismal performance of secondary school students in various public examinations in English, especially the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (S.S.C.E).
Reading comprehension cuts across all areas of students’ learning activities. One finds oneself reading even when writing; hence the WAEC Chief Examiner’s Report (Nigeria) in SSCE (Nov/Dec 2012) concerning English language, said students do not portray this reading talent, especially at different levels of literal, inferential ,interpretative and critical reading ability. The WAEC’s comment of the areas of weakness in the essays of the candidates indicates expression as a big problem. The report concerning expression says: major reason is that candidates do not read (WAEC report says) (WAEC 2012)
The above report confirms the need for a study in the relationship between prose and reading. Indeed, there are several authors that students can read and enjoy, and that can foster familiarity with reading. WAEC reports continue to suggest remedies for overcoming the above mentioned weaknesses as: Reading, Reading and More Reading, Should Help Here as Well (WAEC, 1992, p.3).
This means that students should read intensively and extensively; for readers are made by reading. And reading is like an infectious disease it is caught not taught (Nuttal, 1988).The present study is further inspired by Adeyanju (1989) and Olaofe (2005) who feel that students are unable to read text with understanding and cannot write clearly because of poor reading comprehension habit.
Many studies such as Amaechi (2005), Rimintsiwa, (2001), Osundare (1995) have shown clearly the impact of prose in English on enhancing vocabulary gain which leads to reading and writing proficiency in the target language. The result of such studies showed the impact of extensive reading on the student’s ability to read complex English sentences correctly (Abdul, 2006).
In view of the above circumstances, the study was set to find out whether or not there exist a mutual and positive relationship between prose and reading comprehension. This is expected to provide basis for assessing the derivable benefits or otherwise for the improvement of reading fluency and comprehension among students. The non-challant attitude to teaching and learning of literature in English in public schools of Plateau State according to Plateau State Educational Resource Department (P.E.R.D, 2009) is another area of concern for the present study. To the few schools that offer the subject, teaching and learning activities were not rich enough to yield the desired objective, as most students failed reading comprehension exams as reported in the P.E.R.D annual report (2006). The present study investigated whether exposure of students to English prose will have direct relationship with their reading comprehension performance. This is with a view to measuring derivable benefit to the L2 learners.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
Mass failure of students in WAEC, NECO, JAMBE and IJMB indicates a great problem of inability to read with comprehension. The students have no reading habits which could have led them to success in their examinations.
Many senior students in secondary schools, colleges and even universities tend to be much slower readers than they ought to be. Many students have no reading culture (WAEC, 2012). The inability of readers springs, fundamentally, from lack of flexibility in their approach to the range of reading materials which they encounter. This means the inability of the students to condition their reading efficiency to areas such as literal, inferential, interpretative and critical levels. Yet some students tend to read slowly all the time, no matter what the nature of the material or their purpose in reading is. This is quite patently inefficient, not every piece of reading material, nor every purpose in reading, require a slow, ponderous approach.
As far as reading comprehension and fluency is concerned, reading among secondary school students is very poor. Many students cannot read text books fluently not to talk of comprehending the content read (Williams, 1998). This is because there are no diverse reading materials at the disposal of the learner. This is a great obstacle to teaching and learning situations. The situation makes students to feel reluctant to read which may result in mass failure in the final examination.
Indeed, fluent reading would be impossible if the reader is unable to read and interpret with clarity the used images, devices and figures of speech. Learners also found some difficulties in differentiating the main ideas from relevant and irrelevant ones. Inadequate vocabulary for adequate comprehension is another problem this study investigated. WAEC Chief Examiners’ Report (2015) stated that the reason for mass failure is the fact that students do not read and could not read and understand even examination instructions. Nowadays, no prominence is given to reading skills, and literature in English has no place in the time-table of many of public schools.
This study wants to see whether exposure to copious literature in English studies significantly improves students’ reading-comprehension with the view of enhancing students’ reading comprehension.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
In broad terms, the purpose of the study is to investigate the effects of prose on the learning of reading skills in English in selected senior secondary schools in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Other specific objectives of the study are:
(a) Investigate the relationship between prose in English and Students ability in reading for literal meaning
(b) Find out the relationship between prose in English and students ability in reading for inference
(c) Find out the relationship between prose in English and students ability in reading for interpretation
(d) Investigate the relationship between prose in English and students ability in reading for critical evaluation
(e) Identify how literature in English and mastery of vocabulary relate.
(f) To proffer possible solutions where necessary.
1.4 Research Questions
In the light of the above broad-questions, the following questions are raised:
(a) What is the relationship between prose in English and Students ability in reading for literal meaning?
(b) What is the relationship between prose in English and students ability in reading for inference?
(c) What is the relationship between prose in English and students ability in reading for interpretation?
(d) What is the relationship between prose in English and students ability in reading for critical evaluation?
(e) To what extent does prose in English and mastery of vocabulary relate?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
H0: There is no significant difference in the reading performance of students exposed prose and those who are not.
1.6. Significance of the Study
This study would be of great importance to students, teachers of literature in English, educational administrators, examination bodies and even parents. Students’ reading comprehension skills at senior secondary school level could be developed through suggestions that would be made for developing reading comprehension. Effectsively, it is hoped that this study would contribute to knowledge especially in teaching and learning of reading comprehension.
The study could equally be of importance to teachers of literature in English and English language teachers since it could suggest ways of selecting the most appropriate instructional options for teaching literature.
The study could also be of importance to authors of English and literature in English texts. This is because it could assist in designing ways of improving reading, comprehension strategies and performance development.
Another area of significance is the curriculum development. It could help in providing reading diagnosis, development, support and remediation which can influence curriculum choices.
1.7 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The study is limited to the effectss of prose on learning of of reading comprehension in Senior Secondary Schools. The study cover only the Senior Seconday Schools in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau state. The schools were chosen because they were mixed students (males and females) from different parts of the State and with different backgrounds. Nevertheless, even though the study is limited to the selected schools and local government area, its findings will be applicable to other parts of the state and country at large.



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