Role of Extensive Reading Habits in Students’ Acquisition of Composition Writing Skills in English in Kenya

Francis G. Mwangi, Adelheid M. Bwire


Despite the important role reading proficiency plays in learners daily lives both within and outside school, there has been a lot of concern from educationist, researchers and media in Kenya who have reported a saddening trend on poor reading culture among many students in Kenya, This study was prompted by the observed poor reading and writing in English by secondary schools learners in Laikipia County in Kenya. The study therefore sought to establish whether there existed any relationship between extensive reading habits and composition writing amongst learners. The study was guided by Schmidt's (1975) Schema Theory. The descriptive survey research design was used for this study. Fifteen secondary schools in Laikipia County were sampled by proportional stratified sampling technique in five sub-counties across the county. Purposive sampling was used to sample 30 out of 80 (37.5%) English language teachers. Simple random sampling was used to sample 327 students out of about 2670 students (12.24%) in form 2 and 3 in the County. The research instruments used for data collection included: questionnaire for students, interview guides for teachers and composition writing test. The instruments were pilot tested to ensure validity and reliability in a co- educational secondary school in the neighbouring county that was not included in the study. The reliability of the questionnaire and interview guide was estimated using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient which was 0.871 which met the recommended threshold of 0.7 and above. Analysis of data was done using descriptive statistics such as frequency, tables and percentages. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was done at 95% confidence level (F(2) = 80.933, P = .001) to establish whether there was statistically significance difference between composition writing mean scores of different categories of school using (SPSS) version 17. Qualitative data were organized according to the study themes and presented descriptively on the basis of the study objective. It was found that learners who engaged actively in extensive reading performed better in composition writing than those who did not. However, it was established that acute shortage of reading resources was a major hindrance to engagement in extensive reading in schools. The study recommended that schools should come up with strong extensive reading policy to promote independent reading so as to improve their writing skills.

Keywords: Extensive reading, Habits, Acquisition

DOI: 10.7176/JEP/11-30-09

Publication date:October 31st 2020

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