Effects of interventions of selected reading difficulties on academic performance among pupils from public primary schools in Nakuru west Sub-County, Nakuru County - Kenya
Matunga, Hellen Agutu
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There are empirical evidences attributing poor academic performance to environmental factors and remedies on the same have been suggested. Little attention has been given to the effects that are brought about by pupil’s intrinsic factors such as reading difficulties and their respective intervention measures. At the center of this study, are intervention measures for selected reading difficulties which are hypothesized to have effects on academic performance. This study was therefore set out to find out the effects of interventions of selected reading difficulties on academic performance among pupils from public primary schools in the Nakuru West Sub-County, Nakuru County, Kenya. In particular, the study examined the effects of word recognition training, phonological decoding, and comprehension monitoring and inculcating cooperative thinking skills as reading interventions on academic performance of pupils in the area. It was guided by the Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development, the Double-Deficit Theory, the Cognitive Model of Reading Comprehension and the transformation leadership theory. Both descriptive survey and quasi-experimental research designs were used. The target population comprised of 342 language teachers and 1770 class four pupils; all of which were drawn from 12 public primary schools. From these, the study obtained a sample size of 174respondents who were selected using purposive sampling for class four language teachers while pupils with reading difficulties were selected scientifically using a reading test. Data was collected using a well-structured questionnaire, an observation schedule and through administering a reading test. The instruments were pretested for both content and construct validity and also for reliability using the internal consistency and use of Cronbach reliability coefficient. Data was analyzed with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 21. Descriptive statistics involving means, modes and standard deviations, and inferential analysis involving Pearson’s Product Moment correlation, regression analysis and ANOVA, were used to analyze data whose results were presented in tables and figures. The results from the tests and the observation schedule were analyzed using content analysis and integrated during interpretations and discussion. The findings revealed that word recognition, comprehension monitoring and cooperative thinking skills traininghad significant effects on academic performance of pupils with reading difficulties. Phonological decoding, however, did not register any significant effect on academic performance. In the combined model, cooperative thinking skills was the only intervention that significantly affected academic performance of primary school pupils. The findings, however, showed that there was significant improvement in reading comprehension test scores after the learners with reading difficulties had received interventions as compared to when they had not received the interventions. Hence, the study concluded that the reading difficulties interventions had the potential of improving academic performance of the learners if well emphasized. The study recommend theneed for the language teachers to emphasize word recognition as an intervention, especially, among learners with reading difficulties in all primary schools. With regard to phonological decoding, teachers need to encourage their pupils to speak in the languages they use in learning to enable them improve on their phonological decoding. Teachers should introduce regular comprehension tests to monitor the pupils reading abilities. There is also need for the teachers to introduce critical thinking skills to learners when doing group work to enable them solve problems in reading. This study has far-reaching implications on academic excellence in all public primary schools in Kenya.