Reading habits of first-year students at a university of technology in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mbhele, Sebenzile Paulette.
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Reading plays a very vital role in the academia and for individuals’ personal growth and development. There appears to be a strong link between good reading habits and academic success. This study explored the reading habits of first-year students at a University of Technology in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The objectives of the study were to identify the materials that students read and explore the purposes for reading. The study was underpinned by various theories on motivation. This was a qualitative case study research and data was collected using three data collection tools: an open-ended questionnaire, draw-and-write technique and focus group discussion. The sample for the study was a class of 83 first-year students from the Faculty of Engineering. The findings showed that while students valued reading, they read occasionally or once a week, implying that students are not in the habit of regular reading. The study found that the materials read and enjoyed by students were books (inspirational, religious, novels), internet (social media and websites), magazines and newspapers. Academic books were less popular. The main purposes for reading for many students were largely extrinsically motivated to pass tests and examinations and to improve their English language proficiencies. The study recommended that lecturers should design reading materials that are visually appealing and they should incorporate the use of technology in their teaching. The study also recommended early introduction and exposure to different reading materials to improve reading habits.