Among the reading skills students need to learn, the following three are of
particular importance:

  1. ability to follow directions in written communication,
  2. ability to answer specific questions on a given passage,
  3. ability to read for main ideas.
    Analysis of the Chief Examiners’ reports on WAEC examinations, for example,
    has shown that candidates perform poorly because they failed to carry out the instructions in the examination rubric. For example, Biology candidates who were asked to emlain a biological concept merely gave its definitions. In typewriting, Economics, Food and Nutrition, Agricultural Sciences, candidates wrote long answers where only short ones were asked for and ultimately ended up failing to answer all of the required number of questions. They failed to pay attention to key words such as either, for or against and many wrote on both of the propositions. In literature, candidates gave straight-forward accounts where the question demanded character sketches. There were equally many examples in which candidates gave only partial answers because they could not follow instructions accurately. One can go on and on. Effective teaching of the necessary reading skills in the initial stages of secondary education might have prevented such poor performance in the final stage of secondary edumtion. We now present suggestions on how these skills can be taught and the activities to ensure their mastery.