The study focused on the relationship between reading interest and students’ achievement in reading comprehension in Afikpo education zone of Ebonyi State, Nigeria. The purpose of the study was to determine the relationship between reading interest and students’ achievement in reading comprehension. The correlational survey design was used. 

The study was carried out in Afikpo education zone of Ebonyi State. The sample of the study consisted of seven hundred and sixty nine students in Afikpo Education zone of Ebonyi State.Two instruments were used: a questionnaire titled “Reading Interest Inventory’’ (RII) and a ‘‘Reading Comprehension Achievement Test” (RCAT) was used to elicit data from students. The instruments were distributed and the data collected were analyzed. The research questions were answered using the Mean and Standard Deviation while the hypotheses were tested using the Product Moment Correlation Coefficient. The results show that there is no significant relationship between reading interest and reading comprehension achievement of SSS 2 students in Afikpo Education Zone of Ebonyi State. It was concluded that students' reading interest does not necessarily determine their achievement in reading comprehension tests. This resulted to the recommendation that reading instruction should be well accommodated in the school timetable and adequate reading materials and enough time provided for the students to engage in meaningful reading activities.
Cover Page
Table of Contents

Background to the Study
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Significance of the Study
Scope of the Study
Research Questions

Conceptual Framework
The Concept of Reading/ Reading Comprehension
The Concept of Voluntary Reading
The Concept of Reading Interest
Student’s Attitude towards Reading/Teacher’s Competence
The Place of Reading Comprehension in the Secondary School Curriculum/
The Concept of Large Classes
Environmental/Cultural Factors and the Students’ Reading Interest
Methods of Teaching Reading
Gender and Reading Interest
The Chief Examiners Reports on SSCE past Examinations
Analysis of Students Five-Year Performances on WASSCE
Relationship between Reading and  Students Reading Aacademic Achievement
Theoretical Framework
Theories of Learning
Anderson’s Schema-Theoretical Model of Reading
Edward L. Thorndike’s Theory of Connectivism (S-R)
Empirical Studies
Summary of Literatures Reviewed

Design of the Study
Area of the Study
Population of the Study
Sample and Sampling Technique
Instrument for Data Collection
Validation of Instrument
Reliability of the Instrument
Method of  Data Collection
Method of Data Analysis


Discussion of Findings

Implication of the Study
Limitations of the Study
Summary of the Study

Appendix A: Questionnaire (RII/RCAT)
Appendix B: Reading Comprehension Achievement Test
Appendix C: The reading interest of male and female students (29 items)
Appendix D: The reading interest of male and female students (20 surviving items     after Factor Analysis)
Appendix E: Reliability Analysis Scale of K-R 20
Appendix F: Reliability using Cronbach Alpha approach
Appendix G:Tables

Background to the Study
The importance of English language cannot be over-emphasized. Among the numerous benefits, it is the language of communication which unites the various ethnic groups in Nigeria. The Nigerian constitution, National Policy on Education and many books are all written in the English language. To access the information contained in any document, reading has to be employed. Also, reading is an important skill for any student who wants to excel academically.  Agwu (2011) explains that it is a vital ticket for graduating from one level of learning to another. According to Omojuwa (2005), reading is getting meaning from a text or symbols that represent the language we speak and that it is interacting with the language that has been coded into print. Furthermore, Maduabuchi (2005:66) conceives reading as “a process and not a product” which characterizes an ongoing activity that begins long before the child gets to school and continues to develop through life. Reading, therefore, involves learning which incorporates the individual’s linguistic knowledge and can positively or negatively be affected by non-linguistic internal or external variables.
Interest on the other hand, according to Hidi (2001), is the desire to learn more about something. It manifests in any activity or subject that one enjoys and that one spends ones free time doing or studying. Schraw (2001) equally conceives interest as a relatively long-lasting habit of re-engaging with particular objects and events. It is this re-engagement that increases knowledge, value and positive attitude. Reading interest, consequently, may be seen as the inner urge or desire to engage in reading always. In addition, interest leads to more elaborate and deeper processing of texts.
Potter (2011) argues that reading fires children’s imagination, encourages quick learning, widens views, expand horizons, and helps readers learn about climes. Reading encourages imagination, curiosity and the ability to handle complex ideas. It plays a vital role in any worthwhile effort to learn. It is a tool for learning other subjects and a yardstick for measuring academic progress. It is also through reading that educational objectives can be accomplished. Above all, reading is related to other language skills such as writing and speaking. Fatimayin (2012) describes it as the core of the English language syllabus by explaining that the acquisition of the large vocabulary needed for clear and accurate oral and written expression depends to a large extent on reading.
It is a gateway to academic success. That is the reason its importance cannot be overstated. However, in spite of this acclaimed importance of reading, many Nigerian students according to Agwu (1994) have reading problems. As if to compound these problems, Nigerian schools do not have a time specifically set aside for the teaching of reading in the school timetable and this is part of the reasons for the poor performance in reading comprehension in external examinations.
 In addition, the reason for the poor performances of students in reading, according to Chief Examiner’s Report (2011) of West African School Certificate Examination is that students do not engage in substantial reading to retain that which will enable them perform well in reading comprehension tests. It is failure in reading comprehension that gives rise to failure in the English Language which directly or indirectly affects other subjects. This analysis underscores the importance of reading especially to students.
According to Ekpu (2005), Omojuwa (2005), Udosen & Ukpak (2005), reading is making meaning from texts. The implication is that a poor reader or a person who finds reading boring also has comprehension problems. When a student has comprehension problems, he/she is bound to have a wrong interpretation of questions during examinations which may lead to answering examination questions out of context. This consequently culminates to failure.
The whole essence of studying English language based on the provisions of the National Policy on Education is for effective communication. For a student to communicate effectively, he/she needs to build background knowledge which could be gained from a well developed reading interest. For instance, when Ekpu (2005) points out that good readers make good writers he means, by implication, that the background knowledge one acquires from reading feeds into the writing engagements.
Furthermore, Aliyu in Ekpu (2005) has traced the high failure rates in some subjects like mathematics, biology, physics, to mention but a few, to failure in English Language. Since school failure has been blamed on reading failure, there appears to be a link between school poor performance and reading comprehension. In the same vein, students’ inability to comprehend could be linked to low reading interests.
As important as reading is, it is particularly problematic for children within the school system. A great majority of them are failing to learn to read and many more are unable to read to learn. Oyetunde (2001) believes the reading failure is as a result of the nature of the reading process which is not generally understood by language teachers in Nigeria, perhaps because English is a second language, and as such a school language.
Oyetunde (2001) further maintains that many teachers and teacher trainers do not readily appreciate the difference between teaching the English language and teaching of reading. Reading, therefore, is not usually conceived as something separate from English. This may explain the reason reading is not included in the Nigerian secondary school time-table. The general assumption is that children learn to read in the course of schooling through learning the English language. People, therefore, see reading as what is caught and not taught. Because of the failure to make a distinction between reading and English language, it is sometimes assumed that once a child can speak the English language he/she can already read. This assumption leaves the child struggling on his/her own to develop interest in reading which he knows very little about.
Potter (2011) is of the opinion that reading is a major source of pleasure in any society. This is true of a society with a reading culture. In the views of Fatimayin (2012), Nigeria is a country with a poor reading culture and this has a corresponding negative effect on the young students who look up to the adults as their models. This further helps to kill the students’ interests in reading.
However, in spite of the immense benefits derived from reading, secondary school students do not seem to have interest in it. Obanya  (2002) and Anderson (2012) note that in Nigeria, many students do not come to school with the necessary texts or at least the basic reading materials. The reason may be traced to environmental factors which have to do with family background (where adult models do not have reading interests themselves) and inadequate school facilities. Fatimayin (2012), on the other hand, observes that the place of reading by students is gradually being taken over by home video watching. This causes their interests in reading to wane at the stage when in fact it should be the period for building for higher learning. This accounts for why students are not doing well in both internal and external examinations owing to their decline interest in reading.          
Uyoata (2005) holds that an important means of realizing the goals of the National Policy on Education (2004) is the mastery of skills of reading and comprehending the contents of subject areas. Potter (2011) equally argues that reading serves as one of the language skills employed for effective academic pursuits. For reading to be meaningful, children must be able to comprehend and learn from text. This will not just be in the classroom but equally in their spare time. The major problem encountered is that teaching reading is erroneously conceived as testing reading comprehension by most teachers of the English Language. This confusion of reading and testing reading comprehension further helps to kill the reading interests of students.
Reading is a prerequisite for graduating from one level of learning to another. To a student, a good academic performance is not divorced from thorough reading and understanding of the content areas of a particular subject, just as an excellent performance requires an extra reading especially beyond the content areas. According to Scraw (2001), when a student indulges in this ‘extra’ reading (by personal choice) either for pleasure or for information, he/she is said to be engaging in voluntary reading. It can be deduced that interest in reading could gradually build students' voluntary reading habits which could in turn boost students’ performance in examinations and consequently reduce the rate of failure recorded in reading comprehension tests.
In addition, Schraw (2001) notes that reading interests activate text-processing strategies that result in readers being engaged in deeper–level processing. It follows that the connections readers make between information and their prior knowledge or previous experiences increase their reading interests. When this happens, comprehension is facilitated which subsequently leads to higher academic achievements.
Another factor that has been associated with reading interest and increased learning is attention. Hidi (2001) argues that interest is associated with automatic attention that facilitates learning. More specifically, Hidi (2001) argues that such attention frees cognitive resources and leads to more efficient processing and better recall of information.
Another factor that may influence the reading interest of students is gender. Schraw (2001) believes that social categories such as gender and race function as individual interest factors that may affect classroom engagement. In his view, individual interest in a subject may help individuals deal with relevant but boring texts. It is this interest that sustains the reader as he/she gets through to the information that led to the reading of the text.
In addition, Oyebola (2004) argues that gender influences stereotypes thereby affecting the text choice and achievement of the students. This argument is convincing because gender stereotyping has permeated the school system, manifesting in both direct and subtle ways. Certain subjects are usually perceived as ‘masculine’, for example science, technology and mathematics while others like home economics, literature, and secretarial studies are usually seen as ‘feminine’. Oyebola (2004) equally upholds that the African society emphasizes gender and this greatly affects both the students reading, reading interest and reading comprehension achievement. Boys believe that certain subjects perceived to be easier are for girls. Thus their interests tend to tilt towards the ones they believe to be appropriate to their gender.
Statement of the Problem                                                                                           
Available research indicates that most students do not have interest in reading (Agwu 1994). The implication is that they only read when they are compelled by teachers and adults to do so, especially during examinations and as a result, they find reading very difficult and boring. Most of the students struggle through reading tasks, not understanding what they read because their interest is simply not there. This seems to explain the reason for the poor reading comprehension achievements recorded in examinations. This is evidenced in the poor performances recorded yearly in almost all subjects especially in reading comprehension tests. High failure rate in the English Language has a correlative effect on other subjects. This is a cause for concern to educationists and well meaning individuals because students are gradually loosing reading interest which is the master key to success in examinations.
The problem of selection of reading materials that are gender biased by the students is another issue that led to the birth of this study. Oyebola (2004) explains that gender affects stereotypes in the Nigerian society. This stereotyping which has found its way to the schools leads to the students’ interests tilting towards the subjects they perceive to be appropriate to their gender. This seriously affects their reading interests, reading comprehension and reading comprehension achievements. All these problems exrays the weakness in the school curriculum.
            To avert the near total collapse of the education system in Nigeria based on these problems so identified, there is a strong need for the overhaul of the school curriculum to put the teaching of reading at the centre of all curricular activities. It is in view of these problems that this study looks at the Relationship between Reading interest and reading comprehension achievement of senior secondary school students in Afikpo Education Zone of Ebonyi State.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between reading interest and reading comprehension achievement of senior secondary school students in Afikpo Education Zone of Ebonyi State. This study specifically seeks to:
                  determine the reading interest of the students,
                  ascertain the achievement of the students in reading comprehension,
                  determine the reading interest of the students based on gender,
                  ascertain the reading comprehension achievement of the students based on gender.
                  determine the relationship between reading interest and reading comprehension achievement of the students.
Significance of the Study
This study determined the relationship between reading interest and reading comprehension achievement of senior secondary school students and made recommendations for improved reading comprehension. It may be useful to all stakeholders of the education sector: curriculum planners, Ministry of Education, schools, school heads and teachers, students, future researchers and the general public.
            It would be useful to curriculum planners because it would expose the need to pay serious attention to reading as a core subject in the school system during curriculum planning and development. This is because the Nigerian school curriculum does not accord it the importance it deserves by separating it from the English Language and allotting it a separate time in the school time table.
The Ministry of Education would benefit immensely from this study because the ministry would become aware of the relationship between reading interest and reading comprehension achievement and thereby plan the language curriculum to properly accommodate reading instruction for the student’s greater reading comprehension achievement. It would equally help the ministry to allot appropriate time to reading instruction in the school time table. They would also begin to organize workshops and in-service training for teachers of the English Language who are currently used as substitutes to reading instruction teachers pending when curriculum planners would include reading as a separate subject in the school curriculum and more teachers trained for reading instruction.
Every school would want to achieve the best result both in internal and external examinations. This study would benefit school authorities immensely as they would realize that students’ interest in reading would bring improved performance in all the subjects. The school authorities, therefore, would become aware of the importance of good and well equipped libraries with current books as well as interesting ones to attract the reading interest of the students for better academic performance.
This study may also be beneficial to teachers generally and the English language teachers as they may be motivated to employ teaching methods that would raise reading interests of the students.
It may also be useful to students because through what their teachers may have gained through the study, they would begin to enjoy improved lessons. This would in turn lead to better performances in reading comprehension achievement. More so, students would, through reading, develop the basis for greater achievement in vocabulary knowledge, verbal fluency, spelling, reading comprehension and general world knowledge. This is possible because the gap between reading interest and reading comprehension achievement has been established and teachers would take advantage of it to teach students properly. The study may also be beneficial to future researchers as it would provide some bench marks upon which to back their own findings.
Scope of the Study
This study determined the relationship between reading interest and reading comprehension achievement of senior secondary school students in Afikpo Education Zone of Ebonyi State. It focused mainly on reading, reading interests, reading comprehension, and reading comprehension achievement. The study was delimited to all the SSS 2 students in Afikpo Education Zone of Ebonyi State.
Research Questions
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
1.         What is the extent of the students’ reading interests?
2.         What is the extent of the students’ achievement in reading comprehension passages?
3.         To what extent would the students’ reading interest relate by gender?
4.         To what extent would the students’ achievement in reading comprehension differ by gender?
5.         What is the relationship between the students’ reading interest and their reading comprehension achievement?
Research Hypotheses
The hypotheses that guided the study include:
Ho1:    There is no significant relationship between the mean student’s reading interest and their mean in reading comprehension achievement.
Ho2:    There is no significant difference between the reading interest rates of male and female students.
Ho3:     There is no significant difference between the mean achievement of male and female students in reading comprehension tests.


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