- Background of the study
Reading according to Moyle (1969) is thinking the thoughts that a writer is communicating to his readers by way of the written or printed words. Suleiman and Crossman (1980) defined reading as interactive not passive. They viewed reading as sense making, an act of becoming where new questions, insights and understandings that were once held are subject to modification, re-interpretation and even dismissal. Reading can also be seen as a psycholinguistic process involving the interaction of languages and thought as language is decoded and meaning is reconstructed. The importance of good reading culture cannot be over-emphasized. It provides individual’s welfare, social progress and international understanding; provides skill, knowledge and right attitude; frees one from boredom or idleness, etc. Reading is not just for school but also for life. It enhances the chances of success at school and beyond. Reading is a term used to refer to an interaction by which meaning encoded in visual stimuli by an author makes meaning in the mind of the reader. It involves the recognition of printed or written symbols which serve as stimuli for the recall or meaning through the intellectual manipulation of concepts already possessed by the reader. The resulting meanings are thereafter organized into thought process according to the purpose adopted by the reader, such an organization leads to modified thought and/or behavior, or else leads to a new behavior which takes its place either in personal or in social development. From another perspective, reading is defined as the vocalization of words in a given passage and the process of giving meaning to materials. This definition refers to reading aloud which beginners do quite often and enables teachers to detect and to correct errors spontaneously. Although, reading can be done aloud but vocalization in the course of silent reading slows down reading pace. For reading to be effective, it should be done with a good speed. Reading speed is expressed in the number of character or words read per minute. Johnson (1999) observed that there are two types of reading namely, reading aloud and silent reading. Reading aloud involves audible vocalization of what is being read and is good for young learners because it exposes error for timely corrective measure. Reading aloud is used for speech delivery in public gatherings, and is also the format for dictation and oral comprehensive tests. In silent reading, the reader reads in the inside of him. In other words, he does not vocalize what he reads. Wide reading imposes reading silently and this is necessary for developing the reading habit, effective reading and for a profound understanding of literate and technical tests. The ability to read is essential to being able to learn any subject taught in school. In our high-tech society, proficiency in reading is a must to compete favorably in today’s job market. There is a general feeling that many Nigerian students do not like reading. Many teachers often complain about the poor reading habit among their students which can have implication on the personal and intellectual development. Edomwandagbon (2005) held tenaciously to the view that if students who were preparing for examination avail themselves of facilities in the various Libraries, read their notes and text books diligently, the incidence of cheating, impersonation and examination malpractice and cultism will be greatly reduced. Also, the in-thing according to him was that student prefers to stay in their homes and watch home videos instead of reading. Both reading and reading habits seems to be almost the same, but nevertheless, Okoro 2004 emphasized the importance of introducing children to reading very early in life even before the child steps into school so that children can see reading as a means of enjoyment, self development, love of literature and learning, it is widely believed that enterprise of developing reading habit has to start at the early part of one’s life and that these should be a conducive reading environment to stimulate lifelong reading. Therefore, Sanzkaeo (1999) sees reading habits to be the behavior which expresses the liking for reading of individual types and tastes for reading. Reading habit is a pattern in which individual organizes his reading. Having a reading habit in students is very necessary, because one of the most important factor of education is the ability to read, understand and critically apprehend the text.(Hetting and Knapp 2001). However to be able to inculcate reading habit, students must develop the habit of reading on daily basis. Beck and Mckeoun (2001) is of the view that the capability of understanding text and reading habits should be developed from early childhood through the whole life. Green, (2001) explained that reading habit is best formed at a young impressionable age in school, but once formed it can last one’s life.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The importance of reading cannot be overemphasized, because no learning activity or situation can take place without reading. But one of the major problems facing secondary school student in Nigeria is the abysmal failure of students in public examinations especially at the secondary level of education. (Ajayi 2012). This abysmal failure can be conceived to be linked with the absence of reading habit among students or non challant attitude to reading to the use of internet. Although there are many reasons why student read, but observations and researches have shown that there is a low reading habit among students in recent times, especially in developing countries, because reading is not considered as a relevant leisure activity as it does not form part of children’s social interaction. Another major problem that leads to the absence of reading habits among students is on the advents of ICTs like internet, cell phone, video games and other viewing gadgets. Umar (2009) is of the view that students now have viewing culture instead of reading culture because of the advents of these ICTs gadgets. Also the lack of available information resources like texts books both in the school library and at homes also could lead to lack of students forming the habits of reading. The foregoing reasons prompted the researchers to investigate on an assessment of reading culture among secondary school student.