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Reading ability is the most crucial skill one may have in English because it serves as the cornerstone for an individual’s achievements in his or her academic career (Sookchotirat, 2005). Reading provides the opportunity to expand one’s knowledge base in any subject area. Reading expands the reader’s knowledge viewpoints and field of vision. Reading help readers acquire new concepts, which in turn leads to increased cognitive development. A new viewpoint or concept is generated whenever readers decide to put what they have read into practise by combining it with their own ideas.

Reading comprehension skills are needed for effective comprehension of reading passages. The first skill is the ability to identify main ideas and key details. In this case, students need to be able to recognize the big picture in a passage. This skill is targeted by asking the simple question of “Why did the author write this passage? Why should we care? Did the author give us any details to further explain what they are talking about?” Students who struggle to identify the big picture may struggle with this concept.

The second reading comprehension skill is the ability to sequence a passage into an ordinal series. In this case, students must be able to recognize first, then, last or beginning, middle, end and put those events into a sequence. As they get older it is important that they begin annotating each sentence or paragraph by providing a 2-3 word summary. This will help support the identification of the main idea and key details. A related comprehension skill is ability to answer direct recall questions. Here, one needs to teach students how to key into the specific information they need to hold onto. Think about those key “W-questions” specifically who, what, when, & where. These will often be the key pieces of information that students should be able to answer when they finish reading a passage.

The fourth reading comprehension skills is the ability to make inferences and or prediction. This is where one starts to get into higher-level reading comprehension strategies. This is where things really start to get interesting because one needs to step outside of what the passage has specifically told us. and start using background knowledge or life experiences to bring our understanding to a new level. The reader needs to take what the passage has told him or her and start really thinking about it. This can be difficult for students because many struggle with abstract reasoning and often inferences and predictions are not concrete.

The final reading comprehension skill is the ability to identify unfamiliar vocabulary. If students do not recognize vocabulary that is unfamiliar they can lose so much of the meaning of a passage. Sometimes they do not even realize how much of the overall message they have lost by simply not understanding specific words. It is critical that students can begin to self-monitor their understanding of specific words within a passage.

On the other hand, there have been issues with the teaching of English across board in Nigeria, including the primary, secondary, and university levels of education. There is a widespread lack of reading skills among those who have completed all levels of education. In a general sense, it is possible to assert that the issue is brought about by a shortage of time allocated to training and education. Reading instruction is an ongoing process and it should be provided in this manner at all educational levels, from the most fundamental to the most advanced. Reading instruction for students beginning at a very young age is, consequently, the cornerstone for more advanced study (Noysangsri, 1988).

According to Chiramanee (2002), the reading ability of learners was at an unacceptable level. It is possible that this was the outcome of an ineffective teaching strategy or outmoded instructional strategies that were not able to assist the students in comprehending the information contained in the reading materials. According to Chandavimol (2008), the students would be given a reading assignment that they would read on their own and then complete the post-reading exercises. This would be the standard technique for teaching reading. During this reading exercise, the instructor did not present any activities that the student might participate in to become more motivated to read or to acquire a higher level of understanding. To Chatwirote (2003), teachers are in a position to provide reading-promoting activities for their students such as those activities that the students find interesting. Reading goals that are relevant to both the students’ and the instructor’s interests ought to be included in the activities.

It is important for a teacher to have appropriate steps to follow when instructing students in reading. Before reading the entirety of the content, there ought to be a process known as pre-reading that serves to prepare the reader. It is the responsibility of the instructor to equip them with the pre-reading activities. It would be the obligation of the teachers to equip the learners with the necessary background knowledge if the learners did not already possess any background knowledge for the learners to attain the highest possible level of comprehension from the reading. Because the readers will have a much easier time comprehending the material if they have a schema in place beforehand, the educators ought to make sure that the students participate in a variety of pre-reading activities that provide them with some background information on the material they will be reading (Graves, Watts & Graves, 2004). Pre-reading activities are instructional strategies used to prepare learners for reading by activating their prior knowledge, building their background knowledge, and setting a purpose for reading. These activities are designed to help learners engage with the text on a deeper level, enhance their comprehension, and facilitate the learning process. Some examples of pre-reading activities include activating prior knowledge, building background knowledge, previewing a text, setting a purpose for reading, and developing vocabulary.

Instruction in pre-reading takes place, as one may infer from the term’s meaning, prior to the beginning of a particular unit or lesson, or before English language learners read a specific piece of literature. According to the recommendations of specialists in second language, pre-reading activities facilitate better comprehension of written material for students (Grab & Stoller, 2001; Holmes & Roser, 2007; Taglieber, Johnson, & Yarbrough, 2008). Pre-reading training for students learning English covers a variety of subject areas, including the following: First, it may allow background information to come to the student’s attention, and second, it affords the learner the opportunity to determine whether or not this prior knowledge is accurate. When the tutor is aware of what the L1 or L2 learners comprehend and do not grasp about the issue, he is in a better position to prepare an effective lesson for the future reading (Holmes & Roser, 2007). It is possible to refer to the pre-reading activities as “enabling activities” because their purpose is to equip the reader with the necessary prior knowledge and to arrange the activities in a way that facilitates comprehension (Tudor, 2009). In addition to this, it helps students of English as a second language anticipate what they will encounter in the reading and model tactics that students can employ on their own (Grabe & Stoller, 2001). Taglieber (2008) provided a further explanation of the effects of pre-reading instruction for English language learners by stating that not only do pre-reading activities make native speakers prepared for the concepts that follow, but also that pre-reading activities change reading to a more interesting task by facilitating the reading task and linking the new content to background knowledge in a more meaningful way. Pre-reading activities change reading to a more engaging activity. Pre-reading instruction can be revealed in a variety of areas, such as the preview of text (pictures, titles, subheadings, etc.) to provide a gist of or to skim the text, to formulate questions and answers about information in the text, to discuss topics in the text, and to investigate hints related to the texts. Other pre-reading instruction areas include: to provide a gist of or to skim the text; to formulate questions and answers about information in the text; to formulate (Grabe & Stoller, 2001).

It is in the light of the above discussion that the researcher has seen the grave need to investigate the effect of pre-reading activities on reading comprehension of junior secondary school students in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State with the view of comparing students’ reading abilities.


Concern has been expressed by all parties involved in the school system regarding the high number of students who perform poorly in English Language tests. According to Igwe (2011), pupils in Nigeria have a problem with their reading skills, which can be linked to a difficulty in discerning between main concepts and extraneous details, as well as a lack of suitable vocabulary or word development.

Reading comprehension deficiency appears to affect performance in all other academic subjects. The major problem encountered  by students is comprehending the passages they read. This leads to misunderstanding and misinterpretation of comprehension passages. As such they are unable to answer comprehension passages which in the long run lead to mass failure in English language both in internal and external examinations. This research therefore seeks to improve students’ reading abilities by investigating the importance and relevance or otherwise of pre-reading strategies on students’ reading comprehension exercise.


The main purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of pre-reading activities on reading comprehension skills of junior secondary school students in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State in order to:

  1. measure the difference in the performance of students who are exposed to pre-reading activities and those not exposed to it in answering comprehension questions.
  2. determine whether or not pre-reading activities also help improve students’ vocabulary development.
  3. Determine the extent to which pre-reading activities help improve students’ summary abilities.


            The following questions have been raised to guide the study:

  1. What is the difference in the performance of students who are exposed to pre-reading activities and those not exposed to it in answering comprehension questions?
  2. To what extent has pre-reading activities improved students’ vocabulary development in English?
  3. To what extent has pre-reading activities improved students’ ability to summarizing the passages?


The study is important especially now that students’ reading habit is so poor. This study will be beneficial to teachers, students, curriculum planners and future researchers. This will help students improve their English proficiency and performance in examinations. Their reading habits will also improve.

This study is also significant because teachers of English language at the Junior secondary level seem to be confused about the best strategy for teaching reading comprehension. The teachers of English will benefit from this study because they will come to see the effectiveness of pre-reading activities on reading comprehension. Therefore, it will become a handy tool for them to enhance the teaching and learning of reading comprehension. This research will benefit teachers, students and curriculum planners in formulating policies.


            This study covers effects of pre-reading activities on JS II students’ learning of reading comprehension. This study shall be restricted to two(2) selected Junior secondary schools in Pankshin. Only 100 JS II students will be used for the study. The pre-reading activities that will be carried out are pre-reading activities include teaching of difficult vocabularies, presenting a picture of the story and pre-questioning. The aspects of reading comprehension that will be used are literal message in reading comprehension, answering research questions and determining literal message in the comprehension passage. The study is restricted to selected junior secondary schools in Pankshin Local Government area of Plateau State.


Pre-Reading Activities: These are activities that are carried out before proper reading of the comprehension passage. These pre-reading activities include teaching of difficult vocabularies, presenting a picture of story, pre-questioning, brainstorming, etc.

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