Title: the effects of reading difficulties on academic performance among grade two learners
Primary education is the basic education which aims at preparing children to attain the competence needed to advance further in making a worthwhile contribution to society which is constantly undergoing changes central to the success of the teaching and learning process in the level of attainment by learners in the area of learning. For most people living in today’s world, reading is an everyday ordinary task to which little attention and thought is given, yet it is one of the most important skill that learners acquire at school as it forms the foundation for all further reading CITATION DeC84 l 7177 (De Certeau, 1984). Unfortunately this has created a course of concern in many societies since it forms the basis for all other areas of learning. It is necessary to ensure that learners attain proficiency in reading.

CITATION DeC84 l 7177 (De Certeau, 1984) Defines reading is a complex cognitive process of decoding symbols in order to construct or derive meaning. It is a means of language acquisition, of communication and sharing information and idea. It is a complex interaction between the text and the reader which is shaped by the reader’s prior knowledge, experiences, attitude and language community which is culturally and socially situated. Many of our daily activities require reading and a person who can read well can function more effectively in everyday activities. CITATION Obe05 l 7177 (B.Oberholzer., 2005)Describes reading as a basic life skill and a cornerstone for a learner’s success at school and throughout life.

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The ability to read is an essential skill for learners to master because most of the information is presented through text. In the early grades, learners work with decodable readers and short stories and this is where they build their reading competence. CITATION Man72 l 7177 (Manzo, 1972)Reading is a complex process and being an effective and critical reader is essential for learners to be able to engage in the schooling process. Learning forms basis for all other areas of learning and it is expected that children succeed in in the process.
Statement of the problem
A number of learners for unexpected reasons are unable to use reading as a tool for learning. The Namibian government is working towards education for all by vision 2030 through the provision of quality education that is accessible and relevant to the lives of all children including those with special needs. CITATION Wag11 l 7177 (Wagner, 2011) Infer that reading is essential for learning and that if learners do not properly master this learning tool, their potential for success in the learning context is limited.
Research questions
What are the effects of reading difficulties on academic performance among grade two learners?
What factors influence reading?
What strategies could be used to minimize reading difficulties of learners and improve their academic performance?
Learners without reading difficulties perform better academically than those with reading difficulties.

Significance of the study
The finding of this study will be rebound to the benefit of the society considering that reading plays an important role in our society today. The data and information that will be obtained from this study can be used to inform teachers, learners and parents about learners reading difficulties and how to help them improve their academic performance.

Definition of terms
CITATION DeC84 l 7177 (De Certeau, 1984)Defines reading is a complex cognitive process of decoding symbols in order to construct or derive meaning. It is a means of language acquisition, of communication and sharing information and idea. It is a complex interaction between the text and the reader which is shaped by the reader’s prior knowledge, experiences, attitude and language community which is culturally and socially situated. It is the ability to understand words contained in a document and make use of the knowledge for personal growth and development.

Literature review
Academic achievement means how much knowledge the individual has acquired from the school CITATION Ove07 l 7177 (Overal, 2007). They emphasize that reading and academic performance are essential for educators to know that every child whether gifted, average, normal or backward should be educated in his or her own way but if he or she possesses good reading habits, he or she can perform well in academics and in every situation. Both reading and academic performance are interrelated and dependent on each other CITATION Obe05 l 7177 (B.Oberholzer., 2005). Learners often come from different backgrounds and localities with different levels of academic achievement. Therefore they differ in the pattern of reading habits. While some students have good reading habits, others tend to exhibit poor reading habits.
Typical reading difficulties of learners include problems with vocabulary, word recognition, reading comprehension and reading rate CITATION Bak08 l 7177 (Baker, 2008). These can affect their academic performance because they will not be able to comprehend what they read and make meaning from it. Learners who are not proficient with the form, content and function of language have reading difficulties. Form includes phonologic, morphologic and syntactic skills. Content refers to semantic, or vocabulary and the relationship among words. Function means a learner’s ability to use a language for pragmatic social purposes. There are several common problems experienced by some learners who suffer from reading disabilities. These include; omitting letters, syllables or words; inserting extra letters, words or sounds; substituting words that look or sound similar; mispronouncing words and repeating words.

Learner’s reading ability and desire to read is affected by the structure of the texts they read. If texts are well organized, have a logical flow, and include relevant information, they are inviting and reader friendly CITATION Obe05 l 7177 (B.Oberholzer., 2005). Unfortunately, the quality of writing used in some content of textbooks found in classrooms today is considered deficient in some respects.

The primary socialization of the child begins from the home. There are some problems which are home based. Children from illiterate homes scarcely ever come in contact with books before they come to school CITATION Ove07 l 7177 (Overal, 2007). In such homes, parents do not read and so their children have no models to imitate. Another factor is the low standard of living of people. Some families are not wealthy. Many parents are poor and so cannot afford the high cost of books for their children
To improve and develop reading awareness of learners today, there are certain policies and actions which government, teachers and more especially the parents will have to put in place to enhance the growth of a reading public. Government has to make a greater commitment to increasing the adult literacy programme CITATION Sad07 l 7177 (Sadoski,M & Paulo A, 2007). Its benefit is that children will be motivated to read when they see adults around them read. Above all, it should motivate learners to read by providing the necessary reading materials they need.
Good readers know that the purpose of reading is to understand, enjoy and learn from reading material. In contrast, learners with reading problems often think that reading means recognizing words. Some feel that once they read all of the words orally, they are finished! These learners can be assisted by always asking them for comprehension responses after they have read the material. They can be asked to answer questions based on the texts or storytelling. Silent reading needs to be encouraged Silent reading helps them to understand that reading is a personal, meaningfully focused activity
Research design
This study will adopt a qualitative research approach to facilitate entry into the participants’ life-world and to explore their life experiences with a view to understanding the phenomena from the participants’ perspective. The main focus of this study is to explore the effects of reading difficulties on the academic performance among grade 2 learners. A case study of one school will be used with the aim of capturing the case in its uniqueness. In this study researcher will study the school in detail in order to obtain a complete understanding of the phenomena under study.
Population and Sampling Method
This will be a purposive sample as the researcher will purposefully select participants that would best help me to understand the problem under study and the research questions.
Instrument and data collection method
This study will use two data collection methods, namely observations and interviews. An observation sheet will be used. CITATION DeV11 l 7177 (De, Vos, Strydom, Fouche and Delport, 2011) States that interviews are regarded as a social relationship designed to exchange information between the participant and the researcher. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted. The researcher will ask the participants questions that are related to their opinions about the effects of reading difficulties on the academic performance of learners. Interviews containing open-ended questions will be used to enable the participants to express themselves freely during the interviews.
Method of data analysis
After data will be collected, it will be analysed and interpreted. In this study coding will be used to analyse all the data obtained during the interviews and observations by cutting words and phrases that are not relevant for the current analysis. Coding of the data in order to focus, organize and process data. Due to the large amount of data that will be received, data reduction will be performed and data will be displayed by means of themes, whereupon conclusions will be drawn.

References BIBLIOGRAPHY B.Oberholzer. (2005). Reading difficulties and Acadenic Performance Among Foundation Phase Laearners. Washington.

Baker, E. (2008). early Identification of Reading Difficulties.
De Certeau, M. (1984). The Practice of Everyday Life.
De, Vos, Strydom, Fouche and Delport. (2011). Resaerch at Grassroots and Human Resource proffession. 4th Edition. Pretoria: Van Schaik .

Manzo, A. (1972). Self Discovery Through Reading. Eric.

Overal, P. (2007). Supporting Children’s Learning: A Guid for Teaching. London.

Sadoski,M ; Paulo A. (2007). Towards a United Theory of Reading. London.

Wagner, D. (2011). What happened to Literacy? Historical and conceptual Perspective on Literacy. International Journal on Education Development.


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