AN ANALYSIS OF READING INTEREST AND HABITS OF THE FEDERAL POLYTECHNIC STUDENTS IN NIGERIA
Reading habits are well-planned and deliberate pattern of study which has attained a form of consistency on the part of students toward understanding academic subjects and passing at examinations. Reading habits determine the academic achievements of students to a great extent. Both reading and academic achievements are interrelated and dependent on each other. Students often come from different environments and localities with different levels of academic achievement. Therefore, they differ in the pattern of reading habits. While some students have good reading habits, others tend to exhibit poor reading habits. Academic achievement means how much knowledge the individual has acquired from the school (Bashir &Mattoo, 2012).
A creative and pragmatic education involves the habit of personal investigation. The act of personal investigation requires self-study to be followed by self-thinking and analysis. Self-study, otherwise referred to as reading at one’s own accord, requires a habit, which is known as reading habit. Reading makes way for a better understanding of one’s own experiences and it can be an exciting voyage to self-discovery. “Reading habit is best formed at a young impressionable age in school, but once formed it can last one’s life time (Green,2001).
Reading and academic achievement are essential for research workers and educationists to know that every child whether he or she is gifted, average, normal or backward etc, should be educated in his or her own way but if he or she possesses good study habits, he or she can perform well in academics and in every situation. It is the reading habits which help the learner in obtaining meaningful and desirable knowledge. Good reading habits act as a strong weapon for the students to excel in life (Bashir &Mattoo,2012).
According to Palani (2012), reading habit is an essential and important aspect for creating a literate society in this world. It shapes the personality of individuals and it helps them to develop proper thinking methods, and creates new ideas. However, the developments in the Mass Media, had continued to influence interest in reading (hard copy of literatures such as…) books, magazines and journals, among others.
Palani (2012) is of the opinion that, effective reading is important avenue of effective learning and reading is interrelated with the total educational process and hence, educational success requires successful reading habit. He believes reading is the identification of the symbols and the association of appropriate meaning with them. It requires identification and comprehension. Comprehension skills help the learner to understand the meaning of words in isolation and in context. Before the advent of the television, both the young and the old found enough time to read. Apart from teachers, other professionals used to spend their leisure time in reading both English and vernacular literature. English medium schools almost always demanded extra reading from their students. But all these have become a thing of the past. Palani (2012) further added that, nowadays, reading habit has lost its importance as both the young and the old are glued to the television. As far as educational institutions are concerned, coaching students for the examinations seems to be the be-all and end-all of our educational system.
A lot of researchers like Ogbodo (2002), Bhan& Gupta (2010), and Singh (2011) have done work on reading, especially how it affects the academic performance of students. However, most of these works pertain to the international community. Few ones such as Ward, (1997), Agbezree, (2001) conducted in Nigeria were limited to primary and secondary levels of education. It is against this backdrop that it has become necessary to conduct similar study in Nigeria to examine the effect of reading habits on the academic performance of students in the tertiary level of education in Nigeria with particular reference to Nuhubamali polytechnic.
Statement of the Problem
The problem most students have that contributes to their poor performance in tests and examinations is lack of proper reading habits. For an excellent performance, there is the need for the student to form good reading and study habits. At present, due to the influence of the mass media, people do not show much interest in reading books; magazines and journals, among others (Palani, 2012). Even the cankerworm of examination malpractices may be traceable to the prevalent poor reading interests and habits among the wide spectrum of students. In addition, the by-products of scientific and technological inventions and innovations have also contributed greatly to the dwindling fortunes of the good practice of reading among majority of the students. Today, many students prefer to watch movies and other shows on the television, listening to audio-CDs, watching video-CDs, among others (Issa, 2012). Many parents and teachers complain about students of our generation who have not developed reading habits among themselves. Officials of the West African Examinations Council and teachers of English complain of the kind of English written by today’s generation of students (WAEC, 2008). The net result is the poor performance of many students in final examinations. One of the many issues confronting students nowadays is perhaps, not their inability to read but their lack of interest. From the assertion above, the work was conducted to examine the reading habits among students and the effects on their academic performance in tertiary institutions, specifically among Nuhubamali polytechnicstudents.
Objectives of the study
The general objective of the research is to assess the reading habits of students and how it affects their performance. The specific objectives are as follows:
- To examine the reading habits (styles) amongstudents
- To assess the effect of reading habits on students’performance
- To examine the material students read when they visit thelibrary
- To ascertain why students engage inreading
- To ascertain the relationship between reading habit and academicperformance
The objectives were achieved based on finding answers to the following research questions:
- What are the reading habits amongstudents?
- Does reading habit have effect on academicperformance?
- Is there a relationship between (Students’) reading habits and academicperformance?
- What kind of materials do students read when they visit thelibrary?
- Why do students engage inreading?