Journal for Language Teaching

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Reading habits and attitudes of grades 8-10 English second language learners in Eersterust, South Africa

F.M. Olifant, E Rautenbach, M.P. Cekiso


The reading habits and attitudes of learners are continuously discussed by academics and reading enthusiasts on an international platform. The purpose of these dialogues is to search for methods that could cultivate a love for reading and improve reading skills among learners. Subsequently, this paper reports the results of a study conducted on the reading habits and attitudes of Grades 8-10 English Second Language (ESL) learners in Eersterust, South Africa. The study was both quantitative and qualitative in nature. A questionnaire was administered to 73 Grades 8-10 learners, who were purposefully selected from two schools. In addition, individual interviews were conducted with five ESL teachers and two learner focus groups, in which the grades 8-10 learners from both schools were represented. The findings showed that the learners read English material, however, the majority of learners only read ESL materials in school, with the purpose of doing well academically. The results further showed that the learners were not reading for pleasure and had a negative attitude towards ESL printed material and preferred to spend their time on the Internet. Strategies to cultivate a culture of reading, in order improve the reading habits and attitudes of the ESL learners were suggested in the study.

Keywords: Reading, reading habit, attitude, reading skills, academic performance, reading preferences
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