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An evaluative study on reading for pleasure in secondary schools in Trinidad

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      Shade Francis

      In Trinidad and Tobago, there is a paucity of research on reading for pleasure in secondary schools. This is a cause for concern as there has been an observed decline. This study seeks to highlight strategies which can be used to reinvigorate pleasure reading in secondary schools.

      Aim: To evaluate the perceptions, inhibitors, promoters and strategies fostering pleasure reading in secondary schools.

      Methods: This study was based on a literature review. Mixed methodology using quantitative and qualitative approaches employing an online questionnaire and two online focus groups were utilized. Thematic analysis and descriptive statistics were applied where necessary. The study was exempt from ethics approval.

      Findings: Ninety one participants: 29 teachers, 23 librarians and 39 students participated in the study. There were 71 females and 19 males. Questionnaire revealed both reading and pleasure reading was enjoyed by about 60% of students. About half actually pleasure read in the last six months. Students love for pleasure reading were less than that of librarians and teachers. Most students found pleasure reading beneficial even if disliked. Teachers and librarians observed a decline over time and students reported a transitional decline from primary to secondary school. On average participants spent 3 ± 3.18 hours (median 2, range 0-
      18 hours) on daily pleasure reading. Students in particular pleasure read using a range of differing mediums, giving preference to digital formats.
      Five major themes inhibiting or promoting pleasure reading were people, environment, activities, materials and the curriculum. Most cited inhibitors by students were social media followed closely by school based assignments (SBAs). Others included resource availability, dissatisfaction with resources, cell phones, homework and television. Amongst the promoters, teachers, librarians and adults at home and school role modelling and encouraging pleasure
      reading, fun activities, and suitable materials were instrumental.

      Conclusion: The decline in pleasure reading can be addressed as people, environmental factors, activities, materials and the curriculum are aligned with students interests.

      Recommendation: Integrating pleasure reading in secondary schools is dependent upon collaborative, holistic, student centered approaches tailored to individual school cultures.

      • This topic was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Shade Francis.
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