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Cover Page – – – – – – – – – i
Declaration Page- – – – – – – – – ii
Approval Page – – – – – – – – iii
Dedication Page- – – – – – – – – iv
Acknowledgement Page – – – – – – – v
Table of Contents- – – – – – – – – vi
Abstract – – – – – – – – – viii

1.1. Background to the Study – – – – – – – 1
1.2. Statement of Problem – – – – – – – 5
1.3. Purpose of the Study – – – – – – – 6
1.4. Research Questions – – – – – – – 6
1.5. Significance of the Study ` – – – – – – 7
1.6. Scope and Delimitation of the Study – – – – – 7
1.7. Definition of Terms – – – – – – – 7


3.0 Introduction – – – – – – – – 32
3.1 Research Design – – – – – – – – 32
3.2 Area of Study – – – – – – – – 32
3.3. Population – – – – – – – – 32
3.4 Sample of the Study – – – – – – – 33
3.4.1 Sampling Technique – – – – – – – 33
3.5 Instrument for Data Collection – – – – – – 33
3.4 Instrument for Data Collection – – – – – – 33
3.5.1 Validity of the Instrument – – – – – – 34
3.5.2 Reliability of the Instrument – – – – – – 34
3.5.3 Description and development of instrument – – – – 34
3.6. Procedure for data collection – – – – – – 35
3.7 Method of Data Analysis – – – – – – 35

4.1 Comprehension Errors that affect Students’ Academic Performance – 36
4.2 Common Comprehension Errors as Per Learners’ Data – – 36
4.3. Effects of Reading Difficulties (Comprehension Errors) on Academic
Performance – – – – – – – – – 37
4.4 Discussion of Findings – – – – – – – 39

5.1 Summary of Findings – – – – – – – 41
5.2 Conclusions – – – – – – – – – 42
5.3 Recommendations – – – – – – – 42
References – – – – – – – – 43
Appendixes – – – – – – – – 50


This study was carried out in order to determine reading challenges in reading comprehension and its effect on the academic performance of students in junior secondary schools in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau. The research design adopted was the survey research design. A sample of 80 students were drawn from selected secondary schools. The mean score was used for analysis of the data. The findings indicated that the reading challenges found among the students include mispronounciation, word omission and word substation. A significance relationship was established between words omitted, words substituted, word mispronounced and academic performance of students in reading comprehension. Students who committed a few comprehension errors had performed well in the reading comprehension exercise. This implied that comprehension errors contributed a lot to the students not comprehending what they read and therefore failed to answer questions relating to the comprehension passage correctly. However, those students who have challenges in pronouncing words got a total mean score of 10.25 and students who omitted words during their reading comprehension had a total mean of 5.94. in line with the findings, the following recommendations were made among others: Reading aloud technique should be incorporated in the teaching and learning of reading comprehension, students should be taught word cleaning, teachers should guide learners during reading, teachers should treat new words to the students frequently with the use of dictionary.

1.8. Background to the Study
Reading is a complex and lifelong activity. The goal of reading is to construct meaning based on visually encoded information. It is a sensory, communication, language and interactive process (Olaofe and Masembe, 2006). Those who enjoy reading derive pleasure and satisfaction from it. Adigun and Oyelude (2003) observe that the skill of reading will not only assist learners in organizing their thoughts and jotting down important facts while reading, but also equip them to comprehend the entire text. Rivers (1981) propounds that reading is the most important activity in any language class, not only as a source of information and a pleasurable activity, but also as a means of consolidating and extending one’s knowledge of the language. Strevens (2007) also emphasizes the great importance of reading to the learners for two reasons: “firstly, this skill provides the learners with access to a great quantity of further experience of the language. Secondly, it presents a window to the normal means of continuing the learners‟ personal education by reading skill‟‟. Through reading skill, the learners would be able to develop a sufficient language base that enables them to produce the spoken or written messages which they are eager to communicate to others.
Reading comprehension involves the ability to understand the intended messages of a text. It is the understanding and interpretation of what is read. One big part of comprehension is having sufficient vocabulary or knowing the meanings of enough words (Reading Rocket, 2011). More so, reading comprehension is a way of talking about whether or not a child has understood what he has read. Brummit-Yale (2012) states that reading comprehension is an intentional, active, interactive process that occurs before, during and after a person reads a particular piece of writing. Again, reading comprehension refers to constructing the meaning of the oral or written messages. It is the level of understanding of writing, normal reading rates (around 200-220 words per minute), an acceptable level of comprehension is above 75% (Dictionary.com, 2013).
Reading as an intellectual activity is undertaken in literate society for obtaining information, acquiring and expanding knowledge. It is an important activity in the life of an individual because it motivates the individual interest towards the achievement of more knowledge. It also affords the individual to derive pleasure and entertainment in sharing from the experiences of others communicated through print or test materials. It is also a process by which printed words are assimilated, interpreted and transmitted into spoken words to understand the meaning and apply it on a daily basis.
Reading is a receptive skill like listening and vocalizing what was stimulated, it also productive when it is done aloud. However, it is a mental process involving the interpretation of signs perceived through the sense organs. According to Longe and Ojo (1996) reading is the ability to transform the visual representation of language into meaning. According to Walker (1998) reading is an active process (not a product like history) in which readers shift between sources of information (what they know and what the text says) elaborate meaning and strategies, check their interpretation (receiving when appropriate and use social context to focus their responses).
The Interpretation Reading Association (2005) says reading is a complete system of deriving meaning from print that requires all the following:
1. The development and maintenance of a motivation to read.
2. The development of appropriate active strategies to contrast meaning from prints
3. Sufficient background information and vocabulary to foster reading comprehension.
4. The ability to decode unfamiliar words
5. The ability to read fluently.
Researchers on reading have come up with different views on reading. According to Widdowson (1979) reading is an interactive process that goes on between the reader and the text, resulting in comprehension. Reading is therefore seen as the combination of textual information with the information the reader brings to the text resulting to comprehension of the text. Anderson (2000) notes out that reading is a mental process, not getting from print but engaging the reader‘s mind to decode meaning. Reading requires thinking, it is not just speaking the words and symbols but rather thinking and speaking.
Vocabulary instructions play a major role in improving comprehension, Laflamme (2007) points out that comprehension is impossible if meaning of words is not known. It is important to teach children to find meaning of words in dictionaries and by use of contextual clue skills. A large vocabulary is critical not only for reading but also for academic performance and for related background knowledge.
It is argued that poor performance in the academics is due to poor mastery of the subject skills. Dalton, Glussman, Guthrie and Rees (2006) noted that pupils taken through reading comprehension skills over a period of time were successful in their academics in comparison to those trained in the study skills in the relevant subjects over the same period of time. The poor performance could be attributed to lack of language skills rather than lack of mastery of different subjects.
Secada (2002) found sufficient evidence to conclude that ―language proficiency no matter how it is measured, is related to mathematics achievement‖ (p.639). Bohlmann and Pretorious (2002) carried out a research among a group of students enrolled for a mathematics bridging course. The results showed that reading proficiency was a strong indicator of academic performance. Lack of reading ability serves as a barrier to effective mathematics performance. They found that ―weak readers only achieve reading comprehension levels of 50% or less which effectively means that half of what they read is not properly comprehended with dire consequences for their academic performance.
Typical reading difficulties of adolescents include problems with vocabulary, word recognition, reading comprehension and reading rate. Reading appears to affect performance in all other academic subjects as well as to impact vocational needs and options (Feagans, 2003; Hallahan, Kauffman & Lioyd, 2005). Mercer (2007) denotes several types of reading problems that are typically found among students such as reading habits, word recognition errors, comprehension errors and miscellaneous symptoms. Smith et al., (2005) also lists several common problems experienced by some students who suffer from reading disabilities. These include: omitting letters, syllables or words; inserting extra letters, words or sound; substituting words that look or sound similar; mispronouncing words; repeating words and using improper inflection during oral reading. Reading disability is a deliberating problem for many children, adolescents and adults in Nigerian secondary schools today. Educators, parents, physicians, as well as society in general share a common concern about individuals who do not learn to read. All teachers have the responsibility of understanding and helping their failing and frustrated students. Elementary classroom teachers, reading teachers, special education teachers and secondary school teachers need knowledge about the assessment and treatment of reading difficulties (Richet, List & Lerner, 2009).
Mberia (2002) carried out her research in Gatundu division in rural Thika Sub-County, Kenya where she focused on decoding abilities of the learners. She examined whether reading in English was taught effectively from class one to three in primary school system in Kenya. She observed that intensive reading is not done thoroughly with thoughtful guiding questions to challenge and arouse the pupils‘ interest to interpret what is read in the light of their own experience.
In the strength of the above discussion, the research has seen the grave need to carry out a research to investigate into reaching challenges and their effects on the performance of students in comprehension in Junior secondary schools in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State.
1.9. Statement of Problem
From early time to the present, Nigeria has attached much importance to reading from primary school to secondary level. It is important to note that there exist many complex problems that may result to the problem of poor reading and its consequences on the academic performance of a child in school system. This made the researcher to investigate into possible effects encountered by secondary school students in Mangu Local Government Area. It is of great interest to note that most secondary school especially in Mangu Local Government Area is faced with the problem of poor reading habits and this problem has taken deep roots in the part of the students either as a result of lack of qualified teachers, ill-health of students , bad method of teaching, outdated textbooks, family background and psychological factors and teachers poor attitude towards reading and teaching students the proper reading skills.
1.10. Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to investigate into reading challenges students experience in reading comprehension in Junior Secondary Schools in Mangu.
Other objectives are to:
1. To determine the challenges students experience in reading comprehension.
2. To evaluate how these challenges affect the students in their performance in reading
3. Find possible solutions to the identified problems
1.11. Research Questions
For the researcher to have a guide the following research questions which answers will be provided to at the end of the research:
1. What are the challenges experienced by students in reading comprehension?
2. How do these challenges affect the students in their performance in reading comprehension?
3. What are the possible solutions to the identified problems?
1.12. Significance of the Study
This research work would be useful to students, as they will have first hand information of the causes, effect and lasting solution on the problems of reading challenges. Also, this research will make government, principals, of secondary school and teachers to update themselves with new method of teaching reading and the provision of educational facilities.
The awareness of the consequences of poor reading habit will make students improve on the suggested solution and this will serve as a channel to students as regard their reading in and outside their secondary level and this will motivate them to provide the necessary school materials for themselves. It will also enhance the standard of education because the study will equip students to master some key words and techniques or reading. This will lead to success and self reliance during their exams and in the society.
1.13. Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The study covers reading challenges and their effects on the performance of students in reading comprehension in Junior Secondary School. The study shall be limited to Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State. However, despite the fact that the study is limited to the selected local government and sampled schools, the findings of the study can be generalized to other parts of the state and the country as well.
1.14. Definition of Terms
Reading: It is the ability to attach meaning to printed symbols.
Skills: The ability to do something well
Student: A person usually under the age of 13 who is in secondary school.
Comprehension: The power of understanding and exercise aimed at improving or testing one’s understanding of language.
Challenges: These are problems or obstacles faced by an individual in the course of carrying out a task.


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