Reading like its related language skills-speaking, listening and writing, forms part of a complex information processing system. Its relevance becomes more pronounced in this computer age when one is compelled to be abreast with its constant developments and changes.

            The intricate relationship between reading and success in all sphere of life endeavour cannot be over stressed. According to Smith (1971), “To live dangerously in these times is unavoidable, but to live ignorantly is inexcusable”. He goes on to state that one does not only have to read just for the reading sake, but argued that one who does not read enough, can neither promote one personal growth nor contribute to national welfare.
            Some reading experts have argued that reading is synonymous with knowledge. Since the primary aim of education is to impack knowledge for a total development, reading ability will undoubtedly equip one particularly students with the requisite knowledge for a successful career in education.
            Nduka in Njlita (1989) rightly pointed out that our society contributes to change to a technological one, more and more types of employment require skill in reading. He goes further to state:
            … as long as competition among nations is based to a large extent on technological achievements, there will be a premium on knowledge that will be attained through reading (p.93).
            Nigerian educational planners/curriculum designers seem to be aware of the importance of reading in the education of the child. This is evident in the number of textbooks recommended for use in both primary and post primary schools. In addition, all examinations (in primary and post primary schools) usually contain compulsory comprehension passages, which test the child reading ability.
            Never- the-less, the reading habit/proficiency of an average educated Nigerian, particularly secondary school students is much more below that of their counterparts in the developed countries. This has resulted in poor performance of students in examinations and has contributed to the fallen standard of Education in Nigeria. According to Achebe (1985):
            In most cases a child of 10 in those countries has read more books than a Nigerian Graduate Believe me. Sometimes, I was ashamed of myself. A child of 10 would tell me the names of all the animals, reptiles and birds in Africa and others part of the world, the geography of part of Africa; rivers mountains plateaus, forests, mineral resources; the names of races and their languages. (pg 2). He goes on to state that the child is always at home with any topic and would always ask you have you not read this or that book.
            Similarly, Ekong (1986), lamented on the poor library services obtainable in Nigeria unlike in the United States of America, Britain and other developed countries. He observed that right from the elementary school, the Nigerian child is not exposed to reading; hence he sees reading as a boring, difficult and unpleasant exercise. The average Nigerian student sees reading as a necessary evil that must be done for the purpose of examination only.
            However, the complex nature of reading makes its almost always impossible for what may be called “Examination period” or periodic readers to attain the level of comprehension necessary for academic success. It is not surprising then, that researchers have identified poor reading habit as a major contributory factor to the poor performance of students in examination at all levels of education in Nigeria.
            Against this backdrop therefore, this study aims at an in depth study of reading in the junior secondary schools with a view to identifying students problems and then make recommendations.

            Today, everybody in Nigeria seems to agree that the standard of education has fallen. Teachers and parents alike complain that children in the secondary schools cannot read simple texts. It is an indisputable fact that reading disability among students is one of the greatest obstacle to educational growth in Nigeria.
            In this modern world which is fast, becoming a global village, reading deficiency places one at a disadvantage position. This is so because most of the information one needs in order to be abreast with one’s contemporaries can be got through reading-newspapers; magazines manuals e.t.c.
            Moreover, reading skill is an indispensable skill is an indispensable skill for success in the university, and for further scholastic achievements. In fact, there will be no meaningful development in any nation if her citizens lack an appreciable reading habit. The main thrust of this research therefore is to expose the problems of reading among junior secondary school students since the identification of a problems is the first step towards solving it.
            The researcher believes that the problem of reading can best  be tackled in the Junior secondary schools since it is at this level that students being ‘Reading to Learn”  as opposed to their  “ Learning to Read” in the primary schools.
1.3       Purpose of the Study
            The purpose of this study is to:
i.          Expose teachers, syllabus designers and policy makes to research based views on reading in the Junior Secondary Schools;
ii.         Expose the factors that militate against the academic achievements of students with particular  reference to students in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
iii.       Highlight to teachers, syllabus designers and Education managers, students’ reading predicaments in order to educate them on ways of solving them.
1.4       Research Questions
            The major assumptions of this study is that the reading habits of our Junior Secondary School Students is deficient and schools are inadequately equipped with relevant text books to tackle the problem. As a result, the following research questions were formulated for the study.
1.         How often to students read?.
2.         Is there any implication of poor reading habit on educational development?
3.         How often do teachers point out reading faults among students.
4.         Can the nature of Reading habit affect the JS students performance?
            It has become fashionable in this part of the world for people to criticize students reading disability while little or no effort is made to remedy it. Confidently, facts got from this study could throw some tight on the causes of this problem and the effects of this predicament of the students’ educational development. The result of this study can also be of benefit to students and parents as it will give them insight into reading as well as provide them with suggestions on reading disabilities. Teachers, Education planners and the society will also benefit form this study.
1.6       Scope of the Study
            This study will limited to the investigation of student’s reading habit in Ikwo Local government area. It will be restricted to four Junior Secondary Schools in Ikwo Local Government Area.
The school are:
This is to enable the researcher thoroughly investigate the causes of reading disability among students since that will lead to solution and subsequent development of good reading habits.

            Reading experts hold the view that reading has not received adequate attention as its related language skills.  Writing and speaking, some of them believed that Nigerians in general have no value for reading. Others argued that teachers and education managers had not given reading the proper place in our educational system.
            In this review therefore, the researcher has tried to explore on reading in general. For convenience, the review was divided into four sections as follows:
Definition of reading;
Importance of reading;
Reaching habits of Nigerians/students;
Causes of reading disabilities;
            Experts have postulated various definitions of reading. Gates in Njelita (1949), defines reading as a mental process by which a reader tries to identify, understand and interpret the thought of  another person as represented on the pages of paper. He writes:
Reading is not a simple mechanical skill, nor is it a narrow scholastic tool. Properly cultivated, it is essentially a thought process. However, to say that reading is a thought getting process is to give it too restricted a description. It should be developed as a complex organization of patterns of higher mental process. It can be and should embrace all types of thinking, evaluating, judging imagining, reasoning and problem-solving. (p. 92).

Gate sees reading as a psycholinguistic activity. The reader reads for knowledge for inform for understanding, and in order to solve problems.
            Obah in Oluikpe (1981), describes reading as a complex information process. According to her.
            Reading, like its related language skills, listening, speaking and writing forms part of a complex information processing system. Information is passed from the writer to the reader who without the props of facial movements gestures or tone of voice, the ready accompaniment of speech concepts that are represented by black and white symbols (p.145) she further argues that reading operates on two levels - the level of symbols and the levels of concept. On the first levels, the reader tries to recognize words, groups them and attempts an interpretation. On the second level of reading, the reader matches the recognized words with his previous knowledge and experiences, certain shared ideas. According to her, ‘we the readers follow the writer’s line of thought, recreating in our minds mental images or ideas transmitted by the writer” (Ibid).
            Ekpumobi in Osakwe et al (ed) (1997), says that reading requires a lot of mental activity. She states:… It involves much more than looking at the literal meaning of words. Reading requires one to be able to sift these from facts as he reads. He has to do this in order to decipher the relevant points from the irrelevancies. (p. 38).
            Orisawvanyi (1992), contends that contrary to popular opinion, reading is not a passive or receptive activity, it is an active communicative activity, which is of no less importance than speaking or writing. He writes:
The reader is indeed actively involved in communicative deal with the writer-agreeing, disagreeing, questioning, doubting, filling details and so on. Response to text, is therefore as much a communicative task as writing and speaking. (p. 89).

Smith (1971), shares the view of Orisawayi that reading is an active communication between the writer and the reader. He describes it as a transfer of information from a transmitter to a receiver.
            Reading experts are unanimous in their view that good reading habit is sine-qua-no in every field of human endeavor particularly in this age of advanced technology.
            Unoh in Orisawayi (1972), Opines that a student who has good reading habit develops new ideas enriches his mind and imagination with new ideas and experiences which, makes him not only useful to himself and his country but also a worthy and prospected citizen of the world. Unoh therefore states:
The pupil who will eventually make some contribution even if a small one to the welfare of government, or social life of his will make a better one of he is a reader (p.112).

Unoh’s view was corroborated by Postinan (1989) in a seminar on “the politics of reading”. He contends that it is now a world wide opinion that encouraging reading in a country eliminates illiteracy and in turn creates good citizens.
He states:
One cannot be governed unless he can read forms, regulates, and notices catalogues, read signs and the like. Thus, some minimal reading skill is necessary of you are be a good citizen (p.112).
The assertion above implies that for one to be a good citizen, one should able to read the laws of one’s country as well as the daily news to keep oneself adequately informed about the happenings in the society.
            Osakwe et al (1997) emphasize that a student at the polytechnic, College of education or university normally has to do a lot of reading. He maintains that despites the lectures he attends, most of the information he needs can only be got through private reading.
            Smith in Njelits (1989), shares the opinion of Unoh on the importance of reading to individual and national development. According to him:
To live dangerously these times is unavoidable but to live ignorantly is inexcusable. To be able to read just enough to get by is not enough to promote one’s growth; and make however slight contribution to the national welfare, each of  us must read well. (p.93).

Similarly, Dallman et al (1974), say that reading is the only known time-machine that can recreate the events of the past and open the vistas of the future.
            They argue that reading is essential to the existence of our complex social system. They posit that reading is link between the past and the present as well as the future. They further contend that even if all the inventions of a hundred of years were destroyed and only books were left man would lose nothing. Dallman concludes that reading is a humanizing process.
            Penty et al (1955), observes that poor reading abilities are important contribution factors to poor scholastic achievement. They affirm that poor readers contribute to a majority of school dropouts.
            Blugh (1976) observes that reading is synonymous to acquisition of knowledge and knowledge is education. He argues that knowledge is education. He argues that education to a great extent is development.
            King (Jnr), in Torch 2004 holds that a nation is prosperous to the extent it has enlightened its citizens. He says:
The prosperity of a nation depends not on the strength of its fortifications not on the beauty of its public buildings, but consists on the number of cultivated citizens, its men (and women) of character and enlightment (p. 14).

The implication of Kings view is that any nation that desires to prosper must encourage its citizens to read wide so as to be enlightened.(p.14)
            The implication of king’s view is that any nation that desires to prosper must encourage its citizens to read wide so as to be enlightened. Contributing to the importance of reading, particularly among students, Hugnes (1975), states:
Reading is a skill of paramount importance. It may be regarded as a ‘tool’ skill in the sense that it affects most of children’s learning in school and a child’s progress in other subjects will depend considerably on reading ability. (p.11).

Reading is the core of the syllabus. It is tied to language acquisition and where little reading is done, there will be little learning. Bright and Mcgregor, (1970) in Orisawayi (1992), writing on enhancing the literary ability of the Junior readers through reading says that reading is “double-phased”.
(a)       Learning to read and
(b)       Reading to read
She maintains that at the secondary school level, a child graduates from “learning by to read” to reading to learn”. She states that “reading cuts across all subjects”, and that it is important to start meaningful reading at the JS stage which is the foundation level in the Nigerian educational system.
            It is generally believed that Nigerian students and indeed Nigerians in general have poor reading habits. Some reading specialists have gone further to postulate reasons for this ugly trend.
            Achebe (1988), regrets that the level of reading of Nigeria students is nothing to compare with that of their counterparts in the developed countries like the Western Germany Austria and Switzerland. He writers:
Books for the young abound, and the young people read almost to excess. In most cases, a child of 10 in those countries has read more books than a Nigerian Graduate. Believe me. Sometimes, I was ashamed of myself. A child of 10 would tell me the names of all the animals, reptiles and birds in Africa and other parts of the world; the geography of any part of Africa: rivers, mountains, plateaus, forest, mineral resources; the names of their race and their languages.

….Bring any topic and he is at home with, and would, even embarrass you by asking “have you not read this or that book” (p.2).
            Achebe says that in those countries, nothing is spared in the training of youths. Contrary to the Nigerian situation, the parents, the church and the government at all levels give priority to the training of youths.
            Adebiyi in Unoh (1990), quoted a professor of Education who observed that the quality of graduates produced by universities today is by far inferior to those produced years ago. Adebiyi insits that one of the factors that one of the factors responsible for the inferiority is the reading ability of our students which is on a downward trend.
He states:
We read mostly to pass examinations or for immediate economic gains. We have not learnt to read to broaden our horizon, develop the personality and gain knowledge from all areas of study. Cultivation of good reading habits starts from childhood at the primary school or latest at the secondary school. But this is not so in Nigeria. (p.42).

Ekpa in Orisaway, (1992) observes:

Efficient reading is without doubt one of the most valuable study skills any student can acquire.
Unfortunately, this important aspect of all the students’ career has been grossly ignored by educational authorities, teachers and students themselves (p. 111).
            Ekpa regrets that the education system places undue emphasis on writing which in affect makes students to learn effective writing but lack the skills required for efficient reaching, without which they cannot understand what they have learnt and written.
            Different writers attribute poor reading habits/Reading deficiency among Nigerians to different factors most of which are particular to Nigerians.
            Widdowson (1985), blames students and teachers for the students’ inability to read. He indicts students for over dependence on introduction and notes to edition of books they are required to study, and says that over dependence on those” little booklets of potted critical judgments’ should be discouraged. Widdowson also blames teachers of literature for their students’ inability or unwillingness to read. He contends that what they rather do is instruct students in sort of simplified version of literary criticism so that the may be given access to significant aspect of the work they are studying, without having to go through the brother of learning to read it themselves.
            He goes on to suggest that teachers should develop a pedagogy which will guide learners towards an in depth ability to read literature for themselves as a pre-condition for subsequent study.
            Ekpa in Orisawayi (1992), Corroborates Widdowson’s opinion that teachers should be indicated for the reading deficiencies among Nigerian students. She says that the result of a research carried out in Cross River State reveals that teachers emphasize writing as opposed to reaching. She argues:
What is apparent is that these teachers seem to be unaware of the fact that the child who copies down verbatim what the teacher writes on the blackboard without being able to read these notes independently is as good as a child who has  never  gone to school. (p. 111).

According to her, the teachers argued that the students should be able to write we well before they are taught reading.
            Ekpa contents that reaching and writing are complementary. She also identifies language problem as a cause of reading inability in Nigeria students, from primary to the university level, have been blamed for poor performance in school examinations due to their poor attitude to reading….
            Similarly, many reasons have been proffered as the causes of the poor reading culture among Nigerian students a major problem which creates an impediment to reading and high comprehension for these students  is the language barrier (p. 113).
            She concludes by reiterating that the teacher makes or mars the student through makes or mars the student through his teaching method, she suggests that teachers should do the following to make reading (particularly literature texts) interesting to their students;
(a)       Make necessary explanations from the text in the students mother tongue.
(b)       Place emphasis on oral performances of poetry and drama as a way of arousing the children’s interest in reading the text.
(c)       Choose interesting texts especially books on love and adventure for the students.
(d)       Try to understand what motivates their students.
            This view is supported by Unoh. She writes that the teacher that teachers reading is to see that the learners develop and sustain the necessary reading skills, particularly at the JS level.
            However, Nduka in Njelite et al (1989) holds the opinion that all the stake holders in education share equally the causes of poor reading habits in Nigeria according to him:
The major cause of the state of affairs is that reading has not been given its rightful place in our schools. Many teachers have not fully grasped the concept of reading and only teach with purpose of helping the children to pass specified examinations.
There are no supplementary readers, not to talk of school libraries. The result is that students think of reading as what is done only in the school and it is for school use. To them, outside the school, reading has no relevance. Therefore, reading habit is not formed (p.96).

Nduka makes the following recommendations:
(a)       Language should be studied through the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing the language Art approach.
(b)       Workshop and seminars be organized for language teachers to make them aware of the concept and scope of reading.
(c)       Government should provide facilities for extensive reading within and outside the schools such as establishment of more school and public libraries.
(d)       Public spirited individuals, publishing houses and writers could be called upon to donate books to the libraries.
(e)       Young writers and students should be encouraged to write through grants by government.
(f)        Adults and school leavers should be encouraged to read to broaden their views.
 2.6      SUMMARY
            This review has sought to analyze the existing literature in the area of reading. The review looked at the works from four perspectives:
            Definition of reading, importance of reading. Reading habits of Nigerians and causes of reading disability.
            It is discovered that all the authors consulted in this review agreed that reading is a complementary language skill of no less importance. The review reveals that the level of reading habits of Nigerians in general is very low.
            Most reading experts blamed the teachers of English language for poor reading habits of students and are of the view that this could be remedied in the secondary schools.




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