Date of this Version
Reading is an essential tool for lifelong learning. It is important for everyone to develop the rudiments of reading and the culture of reading always so as to survive in life. Reading according to Holte (1998) adds quality to life and provides access to culture and cultural heritage. He pointed out that reading empowers and emancipates citizens and bring people together. Okeke (2000) reaffirms that the art of reading is a priceless instrument for everyone. It is one of the most important activities of life through which we enter into the life and experiences of others and extend our knowledge, scope of experience and enjoyment. It has critical role to play in the overall development of an individual and the nation at large. Reading experience can be obtained in the library. The school library is a gateway to knowledge and will serve as a starting point or road map to reading and the promotion to reading culture. The library provides books and other resources which will help shape thoughts and influence the actions of students throughout life with active supervision by an experienced librarian.
Due to technological development, reading habits are changing. In our society today, while technology is slowly taking a steady control over individual lives, the reading habit is fast vanishing into thin air (The Hindu, 2004). Students now lack the skill of reading. Instead they spend more hours on electronic media. Browsing the net, playing with funky handsets and passing non-stop SMSs seem to be the order of the day, there by making reading a book or any other piece of written material in a quiet or peaceful corner of a library or home become an archaic idea for most school children and adults (The Hindu, 2004). Obama (2008) in his speech pinpointed that children cannot achieve unless they raise their expectations and turn off television sets. Shabi and Udofia (2009) noted that active learning from books is better than passive learning such as watching televisions and playing games.
Students are rarely interested in reading for pleasure and enjoyment instead they read only to pass examination. The declining interest in reading culture among our children (especially those in primary and secondary schools) is a cause for alarm and a challenge to all and something need to be done to alleviate this yawning problem. Unfortunately, reading is not taught or included in school curriculum. Reading is not a subject and cannot be taught separately as most other subjects in the curriculum rather it is subsumed in every other subject and is regarded as a tool facilitating many other types of learning. Nowadays, due to the rat race syndrome, parents pay little or no attention to their children's reading ability, parents themselves lack the skill and the culture of reading such that some do not read to their kids.
Mefor (2010) urged all Nigerians schools to launch a readership promotion campaign which will help to inculcate the culture of reading in children. It is also important to start early to inculcate the culture of reading early enough in a child. Also Olukemi (2010) advised Nigerian youths to imbibe the reading culture in all their endeavours. She lamented that lack of reading culture among youths nowadays has greatly affected quality of graduates being produced by the nation's higher institutions. It is against this background that this study tries to investigate on the influence of electronic media on the reading habits of pupils in homes and schools. Improving access to relevant information and promoting a reading culture are prerequisites for strengthening literacy skills, widening education and learning opportunities, and helping people to address the causes of poverty (Makotsi, 2005).
Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study was to investigate the influence of electronic media on the reading habits of pupils in two primary schools in Nsukka town, in Enugu State, Nigeria. Specifically, the study aimed at identifying the following:
1 the activities pupils engage in at home.
2 the number of hours the pupils devote in reading books, magazines, playing games, watching television, chatting with friends and listening to music.
3 the influence of electronic media on the children's reading hours.
4 the influence of electronic media in the homes and school libraries on the pupils' reading ability.
5 the number of times children visit their school library.