n Mousaion - Reading behaviour and preferences of Namibian children : children's reading and literacy

Volume 33, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



This study was motivated by the observation that most Namibian children have not developed adequate reading habits. The study gauged the percentages of Namibian children who either do or do not read in their free time. It also explored the reasons why some children do not read in their leisure time; the kinds of reading material readers are inclined to choose; whether they prefer to read either in their mother tongue or in English; and the role of traditional storytelling and oral literature as a form of pre-literacy in Namibia. The findings revealed a picture of deprivation in the schools and environment of the majority of Namibian children. Of the 1 402 Grade 6 students in seven regions of Namibia selected for the study, 77.6 per cent do not read in their free time, while 22.4 per cent, most of whom attend well-resourced, mainly urban schools, read in their free time. Many children struggle to read, and reading materials, particularly in their mother tongues are scarce. The study established relationships between the students' reading behaviour and various other factors, including resource provision in Namibian schools, the availability of reading materials in the environment as well as the socio-economic conditions of Namibian families. Extensive recommendations have been made for government, educators, libraries, publishers and other authorities responsible for the education of children, including ways in which a more concerted effort could be made to promote good reading habits and develop the various Namibian languages.

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