The Influence of Economic Status on the Reading Preferences of Nigerian Primary Pupils

Conclusive evidence that socio—economic status, among other factors, affects the book choices of young readers has so far eluded reading comprehension researchers. Thus, the quest still goes on for a statistically valid instrument that may be used as a measure of reading preferences. Through such investigation, an accurate reading interest scale might be provided. Accordingly, the present study sets out to determine the effect of social status on the book selections of children while employing a non-verbal test instrument in the form of pictures. With similar purpose of mind, previous research studies have sought to find reading interest categories through interest inventories (Kottmeyer, 1958; Jordan, 1971), analysing frequency of library selections (Fetuga & James, 1980), relating high frequency topics extracted from free discussion to book interests (Byers, 1964), administering attitude scales in conjunction with book scanning (Palmer & Palmer, 1983) and the use of non-verbal, non—reading evaluations (Ford & Koplyay, 1968; and McNinch, 1971). In contrast, the present study is a further modification of the Ford & Koplyay
(1968) strategy and the McNinch (1971) investigation. In addition to the previous research methods used, the number of preference categories has been increased as recommended by McNinch. Moreover, the effect of culture on reading preference has been incorporated into the study. Though the bulk of research found in the literature
has examined Black and White American children or African children in general groupings without considering level of development or economic status as variables, the present paper concentrates on low and high-income primary two and primary six Nigerians readers.

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