1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
A student's reading abilities must have evolved to a pretty high quality in order to score substantially above average in any academic task at an institution of learning. "Accomplishment in reading is crucial to achievement in school," writes Kirlin (1964), as cited by Unoh (1995), "and when no provision is given for achievement by the poor reader, that kid finally becomes frustrated into a sad condition of failure." He goes on to add that there is no doubt about the link between reading competence and academic accomplishment. In a similar spirit, Unoh (1995) cited Cullough and Traxder (1967) as saying, "Reading proficiency is the royal way to knowledge." It is necessary for academic achievement in all courses," and the same can be said for study skills. A pupil who does not have strong study abilities will struggle to excel in reading. According to the Nigerian Teachers Languages, Volume 4, written language is considerably distinct from spoken language, and the act of learning to read and write is capable of altering the person, bringing with it a new and higher level of awareness. It should be emphasized that some of our primary school students may be extremely poor readers, meaning they may not know many of the terms we require them to understand.
Reading is referred to be a receptive talent since it decodes the information contained in books and other written materials. Even at a young age, reading is essential for the acquisition and application of information (Okoye & Ene 2011). It is much more important in today's information era. Reading and writing are the most fundamental of the four language skills; reading is vital to the success of any educational endeavor and is required for effective life both in and out of school. The act of reading is glancing at written words in order to decipher the information contained by the author. According to Okwaligwe, as stated in Akaegbobi et al (2014), reading should be more like reasoning, needing all forms of thinking abilities such as critical, analytical, creative, imaginative, evaluative, judgemental, and problem solving. Reading includes internalizing the writer's meaning as well as the reader's interpretation in order for the reader to think, anticipate, question, and evaluate. As a result, reading enhances a person's cognitive function. One can wonder why it is necessary to teach reading. Why is reading such a crucial aspect of language acquisition and proficiency? What role does reading play in language acquisition, education, and everyday life? The process of reading entails determining what has been conveyed in textual form. We read, according to Doff (1989), because we want to learn something. According to Uwatt & Nta (2010), reading has taken on a significant role in the life of a learner since the majority of information is kept in written form. As a result, a lack of reading skills hinders learning in any discipline. Hence the need to look into an evaluation of the reading skills of student in selected junior secondary schools
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The study will determine the barriers to students' reading skills in junior secondary schools. It is observed that the number of students in a class and the effect of mother tongue on the kind of environment a kid is exposed to during his or her early years may have a detrimental or good impact on a child's reading ability. According to reading research results, the following reading barriers impede appropriate comprehension of information read.
- Using language as a point of reference.
- Singing or reading aloud is one option.
- There will be a regression.
- Uncontrollable head movement, and so forth.
This study will look at the reading abilities of students in a few junior secondary schools, and appropriate suggestions will be made to help them improve their reading skills.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The general objective of the study is the reading skills of student in selected junior secondary schools. Therefore, the study aims at the following:
i. To examine if inadequate interest in reading affects the reading skills of students.
ii. To evaluate if mother tongue hampers on a students’ reading ability.
iii. To investigate if a students environment influences their performance in reading activities.
iv. To proffer recommendation on how to improve a students reading ability.