Children who possess adequate basic language skills develop cognitive and social skills required in life and workplace. It also enhances smooth transition, performance, and retention and completion rate. The purpose of this study was to establish the determinants of teachers‟ use of instructional strategies to enhance grade one pupils‟ literacy skills in Nambale Sub-county, Busia County Kenya. Nambale Sub-county was selected because it constitutes the highest number of primary schools within Busia, which recorded low levels of pupils‟ performance in literacy achievements reported by Uwezo study. Grade one was chosen because it forms a basis for pupils‟ achievement in upper primary education, their personal holistic developments and gains in abilities to solve social problems faced later in life. The study was anchored on Paul Freire‟s theory of Participatory Learning Approach (PLA). Descriptive survey design was employed in the study to find out the teacher qualities which influence the use of instructional strategies to promote pupils‟ literacy skills during instruction. The study methodology used in the research was quantitative. The dependent variable of the study was; instructional strategies teachers use to promote pupils‟ literacy skills. The independent variables of the study were; teachers‟ professional training, teaching experience, and scores in English in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations. The target population were grade one teachers and pupils in all primary schools within Nambale Sub-county. The sample size was grade one pupils and teachers in forty seven primary schools within the sub-county. Purposive and stratified sampling techniques were employed to select sample for the study and data collected using questionnaire and observational checklist. A pilot study was conducted in two schools to ensure validity and reliability of the instruments. Content validity was used to measure validity of instruments while test re-test method was used to measure reliability of study instruments. Reliability co-efficient were calculated using Cronbach‟s alpha whereby the acceptance co-efficient was .70. Data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics that is Independent Sample t- test and ANOVA with the help of a Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The results were presented and discussed using tables and texts. Results revealed that there was no significant difference in use of instructional strategies across teachers‟ level of professional training, teaching experience and scores in English in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education. The study recommends that school board of management should organise teacher-capacity-refresher trainings on use of variety instructional strategies to meet diverse needs of pupils. This would stimulate teachers to consistently use variety instructional strategies to enhance literacy skills among children during early years of school and increase their overall academic outcomes and social performance later in life.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT OF THE STUDY
This chapter presents the background to the study. The section highlights statement of the problem, purpose of the study, research objectives, hypotheses and significance of the study. The section further discusses delimitations and limitations of the study, assumptions of the study, theoretical and conceptual framework and operational definitions of key terms.
Background to the Study
Children who possess adequate basic language skills such as reading, writing and communication develop cognitively and acquire adequate social skills (Ngaka & Masaazi, 2015). Children who are able to read well influence the social development of a society (Konorio & Mse, 2016). This is because mastery of literacy skills provides a strong development of communications skills in school and out of school. This further provides children the opportunity to advance their language skills, especially oral and writing skills.
Mainly, definition of literacy skills comprises of two complementary dimensions, that is, reading and writing. Comprehension develops later after the two skills are developed. Available literature has demonstrated that strong background in basic reading and writing skills among young children forms a pillar for early childhood education (Lee & Son, 2015). Also, adequate language skills development in children enhances their life skills and enables them cope well with life challenges (Ngaka & Masaazi, 2015). Teacher factor plays a significant role to ensure improved language
skills in children during instruction. It was, therefore, imperative to seek the influence
of teacher factors on use of instructional strategies to enhance development of literacy skills.
The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), a literacy skills assessment initiative, acknowledged that competency on literacy skills expand children‟s thinking and ability to concentrate more in life (Luckin, 2008; Zhao & Frank, 2003). Adequate literacy skills help children to develop problem solving skills, self-concept and become productive members of a society. This further motivates young children to participate in development programmes such as access to quality education, which contributes to national agenda of Kenya. On the other hand, lack of adequate competences in literacy skills might deny children opportunities such as successive development in speech and negatively influence their socialization.
The term instructional strategies refers to the integrated techniques used during teaching and learning. They include directed reading thinking activity, question answer, read aloud, use of visualization texts, and story maps among many others (Misulis, 2009). Quinan, Anderson, and Mundy (2014) observed that teachers who often used these instructional strategies sufficiently enhanced development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in learners. Teachers who successfully used varied teaching strategies recorded higher performance index on learners during post-assessment evaluation. They also improved in socialisation, speech production, and comprehension skills. Therefore, adequate acquisition and development of literacy skills helps learners cope easily with education and life at school and out of school respectively.
The education curriculum in Kenyan primary schools outlines more emphasis on 21st century skills (Konorio & Mse, 2016). Young children whose basic language skills such as reading, writing and communication skills have fully developed can communicate well (Konorio & Mse, 2016). Teachers are implementers of the curriculum because they often interact with learners. Strategies used in classroom during instruction have been closely associated with extent to which learners develop literacy skills and utilize them. The basic education act of Kenya states that children have a right to access to quality education to enhance transition and completion rates (Konorio & Mse, 2016). This means that teachers should have qualities to enable them use variety teaching strategies to enhance pupils‟ literacy skills (Trudell & Piper, 2013).