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  • Background to the Study

Reading is a cognitive process that involves the interaction of various skills and components, leading to the comprehension and interpretation of written a text. At its core, reading is the ability to decode written symbols and transform them into meaningful information, allowing individuals to access a wealth of knowledge, ideas, and perspectives. This intricate process encompasses both bottom-up processes, such as decoding individual letters and words, and top-down processes, which involve using background knowledge and contextual clues to infer meaning. Reading is not a one-way process but a dynamic interaction between the reader’s prior knowledge, the text’s content, and the cognitive processes that bridge the gap between them. This model emphasizes the reader’s active role in constructing meaning from the text, highlighting the importance of comprehension rather than mere word recognition.

Reading comprehension refers to the intricate cognitive process through which individuals construct meaning from a written text by engaging with its content, structure, and context. It encompasses the capacity to decode and recognise words while simultaneously understanding their semantic significance, syntactic relationships, and the overall narrative or informational framework of the text. Reading comprehension also involves the integration of prior knowledge, experiences, and background information with the textual content to derive a coherent interpretation. According to Okunade (2021), this process requires not only the extraction of explicit information but also the ability to infer implicit meanings, draw connections, make predictions, and critically evaluate the text’s credibility and logical coherence. Effective reading comprehension involves a dynamic interaction between bottom-up processes, such as word recognition and syntax, and top-down processes, including schema activation and strategic reading skills, all contributing to the reader’s holistic understanding of the text’s intended message and underlying concepts.

Reading comprehension skills encompass a range of abilities that enable readers to understand and extract meaning from written texts. According to Nwachukwu (2021), these skills include identifying main ideas, which involves recognizing the central concepts or themes that the author conveys. Additionally, readers must be adept at identifying supporting details, which are the specific pieces of information that bolster or clarify the main ideas. Summarization is another critical skill, requiring readers to condense the key points of a passage or text into a concise and coherent summary. Retelling involves the ability to recount the main events or ideas of a text using one’s own words, demonstrating comprehension and interpretation. Lastly, making notes entails the practice of recording relevant information, insights, or questions while reading, aiding in comprehension and future reference. Possessing these reading comprehension skills equips individuals with the tools to engage with texts critically, extract meaning, and deepen their overall understanding.

The importance of reading comprehension in education cannot be overemphasized. Reading comprehension stands as a cornerstone of education and personal development, offering a multitude of benefits that extend across various domains. Proficient reading comprehension empowers individuals to access a diverse range of information, from academic textbooks to news articles, literature, research papers, and online resources. According to Basila and Jajua (2019) this ability fosters lifelong learning by enabling individuals to stay informed about current events, trends, and advancements in their fields of interest. Moreover, reading comprehension facilitates the acquisition of knowledge across disciplines, allowing individuals to expand their horizons and cultivate a well-rounded perspective. In an educational context, reading comprehension is crucial for academic success. It not only supports the acquisition of subject-specific knowledge but also enhances critical thinking skills. Proficient readers engage in analytical thinking, evaluating arguments, identifying biases, and assessing the credibility of sources. These skills are essential not only for academic tasks but also for making informed decisions in everyday life.

Reading comprehension plays pivotal roles in enhancing cognitive abilities and communication skills. Engaging with complex texts requires readers to process intricate language structures, new vocabulary, and abstract concepts. This mental exercise strengthens vocabulary development, language fluency, and syntactic awareness. Moreover, reading comprehension fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills by prompting readers to analyze, synthesize, and interpret information from various sources, contributing to a more well-rounded intellectual capacity. Effective reading comprehension also correlates with improved communication skills. Through exposure to well-constructed sentences, diverse writing styles, and different perspectives, individuals develop a greater command of language, enabling them to articulate their thoughts more clearly and persuasively (Menakaya, Muazu & Mbegbu, 2022). This proficiency in communication extends to both written and spoken forms, enhancing the ability to convey complex ideas, engage in meaningful discussions, and participate actively in professional and social interactions.

The state of teaching reading comprehension in secondary schools in Nigeria is marked by a combination of challenges and efforts to improve literacy skills among students. While reading comprehension is a fundamental skill crucial for academic success and overall cognitive development, several factors contribute to the complexities faced in Nigerian secondary schools. Limited access to quality educational resources, including up-to-date textbooks, reading materials, and technology, hinders the ability to provide students with diverse and engaging texts that promote effective comprehension. According to Omovie and Kpangban (2023) this is exacerbated by inadequate infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, where schools may lack libraries, conducive learning environments, and necessary facilities to support reading-focused activities. Furthermore, the shortage of qualified and well-trained teachers who specialize in literacy instruction presents a significant obstacle. Many educators may not possess the necessary pedagogical knowledge and strategies to teach reading comprehension effectively, leading to a lack of systematic instruction and appropriate guidance for students. The curriculum’s focus on examination-oriented approaches often prioritizes rote memorization over the development of critical thinking and analytical skills required for proficient reading comprehension. This results in a narrow approach to learning that fails to foster a deep understanding of texts.

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 (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). 

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 Senior secondary schools in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State.

  • Statement of Problem 

Reading is a fundamental skill that plays a crucial role in a student’s academic success and overall development. Therefore, it is ideal for senior secondary school students to possess strong reading skills, enabling them to comprehend and analyze various types of texts across different subjects. These skills will not only contribute to their academic achievements but also equip them with the necessary tools for lifelong learning and personal growth.

Currently, senior secondary school students in Jos North Local Government Area are encountering difficulties in their reading abilities. There is a growing concern that these challenges may hinder their academic progress and limit their future opportunities. While efforts have been made to promote reading among students, including the provision of textbooks and library resources, it appears that the existing measures are insufficient in addressing the specific reading challenges faced by senior secondary school students in Jos North Local Government Area. Further investigation is necessary to identify the underlying factors contributing to these difficulties.

Despite the existing interventions, the reading challenges among senior secondary school students in Jos North Local Government Area persist. This persistence calls for a deeper understanding of the unique barriers and obstacles that hinder their reading progress. The reading challenges experienced by these students have far-reaching effects. Academically, their comprehension and performance in various subjects are compromised. Socially, they may struggle to engage in discussions, express their ideas effectively, and participate fully in classroom activities. Furthermore, these challenges may negatively impact their self-esteem and confidence, further perpetuating the cycle of reading difficulties.

It is imperative to conduct research to gain insights into the specific reading challenges faced by senior secondary school students in Jos North Local Government Area. By understanding the root causes and unique circumstances contributing to these difficulties, appropriate strategies and interventions can be developed to address the problem effectively. While there may be existing studies on reading challenges among students, there is a gap in knowledge regarding the specific issues faced by senior secondary school students in Jos North Local Government Area. By focusing on this specific population within the local context, a comprehensive understanding of their reading challenges can be obtained, leading to targeted and tailored solutions.

Given the persistent reading challenges faced by senior secondary school students in Jos North Local Government Area and the potential long-term consequences on their academic performance and personal development, it is essential to investigate and address these challenges effectively. This research aims to explore and understand the specific reading difficulties experienced by these students, with the ultimate goal of developing interventions and strategies that will improve their reading skills and enhance their overall educational experience.

  • Purpose of the Study

            The main purpose of this study is to investigate into reading challenges students experience in reading comprehension in Senior Secondary Schools in Jos North.

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


  1. Find possible solutions to the identified problems
    • 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?
    • Significance of the Study

Senior Secondary School Students: The primary beneficiaries of this study are the senior secondary school students themselves. By identifying the specific reading challenges they face, such as comprehension difficulties, vocabulary gaps, or lack of reading motivation, the study can provide tailored recommendations and interventions to help improve their reading skills. The findings can lead to enhanced learning experiences, increased engagement with academic materials and improved academic performance among the students.

Teachers and Educators: The study’s findings are valuable for teachers and educators in Jos North Local Government Area. Understanding the specific reading challenges faced by senior secondary school students can enable teachers to adapt their instructional methods, create targeted reading interventions, and develop appropriate teaching materials. By incorporating the recommendations from the study into their teaching practices, educators can better support their students’ reading development and foster a more inclusive and effective learning environment.

School Administrators: School administrators play a crucial role in implementing policies and allocating resources to support academic success. The study’s outcomes can provide school administrators in Jos North Local Government Area with evidence-based insights into the reading challenges faced by senior secondary school students. This information can inform decision-making processes, such as resource allocation for reading materials, professional development opportunities for teachers, and the implementation of literacy programs. By addressing the identified challenges, school administrators can contribute to improved educational outcomes for the students.

Curriculum Developers: The study’s findings can be beneficial to curriculum developers at the local or state education boards. By examining the reading challenges faced by senior secondary school students in Jos North Local Government Area, curriculum developers can evaluate the alignment between the existing curriculum and the students’ needs. This information can guide the revision or development of curriculum frameworks, ensuring that reading skills are appropriately addressed across subjects and grade levels. By incorporating effective reading strategies into the curriculum, curriculum developers can enhance the students’ overall literacy development.

Education Researchers: Researchers and scholars in the field of education can benefit from the study’s findings. The insights gained from this study can enrich the existing body of knowledge regarding reading challenges faced by senior secondary school students. Researchers can build upon these findings to conduct further investigations, explore related aspects of literacy education, or design interventions to address specific reading difficulties. The study can contribute to advancing the field of literacy research and inform future studies on improving reading proficiency among secondary school students.

Policy Makers: Policymakers at the local, state, or national level can utilize the study’s findings to make informed decisions regarding education and literacy policies. The insights gained from the study can help policymakers develop evidence-based strategies and initiatives to enhance reading skills among senior secondary school students. This can include policy interventions such as providing professional development opportunities for teachers, allocating resources for reading materials, or implementing reading support programs. By incorporating the study’s recommendations into policy frameworks, policymakers can positively impact the educational experiences and outcomes of students in Jos North Local Government Area.

Parents and Guardians: The study’s outcomes can also benefit parents and guardians of senior secondary school students. By understanding the specific reading challenges faced by their children, parents can provide targeted support at home to complement classroom instruction. This may involve creating a reading-friendly environment, encouraging reading habits, or seeking additional resources to address specific reading difficulties. The study can empower parents and guardians to actively engage in their children’s education and promote literacy development outside of school.

  • Scope and Delimitation of the Study

            The study covers reading challenges  and their effects on the performance of students in reading comprehension in Senior Secondary School. The study shall be limited to Jos North 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.

  • 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.

  • Format: ms-word (doc)
  • Chapter 1 to 5
  • With abstract reference and questionnaire
  • Preview Table of contents, abstract and chapter 1 below

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