Reading Habits Amongst University Undergraduates: Implications for Academic Performance

Serifat Olubunmi Labo-Popoola


Human beings transmit knowledge from one generation to another through many ways/skills. This is why the human being is different from other creatures. One of the many tools used by humans is reading. Reading is, no doubt, a complex but very important skill needed by everyone who wishes to succeed in life. The ultimate goal of reading is to be able to understand/comprehend written material, evaluate it, and use the material for one’s need. Comprehension, therefore, is required of the material read. Reading has a lot to do in one’s life as it is the foundation of enjoyment in life; it is equally a valuable key needed to carry out certain skills. For every student, reading takes a large chunk of time in academic pursuit if he/she plans to succeed. A student who finds it difficult to engage in serious reading is not likely to do well in his/her studies. A student must be able to read fluently to gain comprehension, thereby improving in his/her studies. Today, casual observation of students have shown that students do not want to engage in reading, let alone in serious reading, though when confronted with examinations, they are compelled to read. The age of reading novels, science fiction, etc. seems gone. If this is the situation, how do they fare in their academics? This study is therefore conducted to investigate/assess students’ reading habits/culture and how this impacted on their level of intelligence or academics. Four research questions guided the conduct of the research work. A questionnaire was used for data collection from university undergraduates. The data obtained was analyzed quantitatively using the Statistical Package for Social Science. The study reported a high perception of reading among the university undergraduates. The respondents agreed with the proposition that there exists a relationship between reading and their academic performance. Though there is a decline in reading, this can be addressed by inculcating reading as a subject into the academic curriculum at the tertiary level. Other means are establishing reading clubs/centres/clinics in and around the higher institutions. The paper therefore recommends that teachers/ lecturers should be equipped with trainings that will make them teach reading effectively. The General Studies Programme of all Universities should incorporate reading as a course into the curriculum of the Programme.

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