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The study was designed to find out the effect of selected games on pupils’ achievement in reading. The study adopted a non-equivalent control group quasi-experimental design in which three research questions were posed and three null hypotheses tested. The population of the study
comprised of 4,850 primary 2 pupils in the 29 primary schools in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State. A total number of 60 (boys and girls) primary two pupils were randomly sampled from two primary schools in Asaba. A structured questionnaire titled “Word Recognition Achievement Test (WORAT)” was developed by the researcher which guided the tudy. The reliability of the instrument was determined, using K-R 20 (Kudar Richardson). This gave an overall score of 0.76. The regular classroom teachers in the schools sampled were used as research assistants. The schools were purposively assigned to the experimental and control groups. The three research questions were analyzed using mean and Standard Deviation, while Analysis of Variance was used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. An overview of the overall results showed that pupils taught using games teaching method obtained a higher mean achievement score than those taught with conventional method, female pupils in the experimental group had a higher mean achievement scores than their male counterparts, though the differences was not statically significant and that gender has a significant effect on the mean achievement scores of pupils exposed to games and conventional teaching methods.
Based on the findings of the study, the researcher recommends among others that; teacher preparation institutions should incorporate games teaching method in the relevant areas of their curriculums units and expose both pre-service and in service teachers to the use of game reading
methods to enhance teaching and learning. Judging from the findings of the study, limitations of the study were identified and suggestions for further studies were made.



Background of the Study

Education is an instrument “per excellence” for effecting National development. This statement indicates the importance of Education to every
Nigerian citizen, which begins at the primary level of education. This is the bedrock of education. Primary education is the Education for children aged six to eleven plus. This level of education has among its goals, the inculcation of permanent literacy and numeracy and the ability to communicate effectively (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004;14). At this level of education, the medium of communication is the language of the immediate environment. Ogbuchi, (2003),
sees language as the expression of idea by means of speech sounds combined into sentences, and its combination leading to ideas and thoughts. She goes further to describe it as a process that an idea passes through before meaning is achieved while Trager (2001), describes language as a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group co-operates. Language therefore can be defined as a means of expressing thoughts and ideas between two or more persons.
Language has been a major factor for learning in Nigerian. The National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004), recommended L1 and L2 as the language of instruction for both the lower and upper primary school level. Manuel (1998), claims, that for children to be able to understand, critique and learn from spoken information, which is as necessary as the ability to read and write with precision on daily basis, to interact with peers, decode and interprete complex audio visual messages, greet and converse with people and deal with a lot of challenges in their private and academic lives. Children at the upper primary  school level are now faced with the challenges of speaking, reading and writing in the language they are not familiar with because the use of English as a medium of instruction has adverse effect on teaching and learning situation. The implication is that the, Nigerian school child is faced with problems of vocabulary development and word recognition.

Word recognition is the development of a set of process by which words in print are recognized. It is an important factor to reading development because before children can begin to read,
they need to understand the relationship between a combination of symbols and the sound they represent and the ability to sound out or decode words is an important step to reading.
Reading is an indispensable tool for learning which is one of the fundamental factor in language development in children. Reading is the process of
constructing meaning from signs and symbols from written text. It is the process of constructing meaning through the dynamic interaction among the readers knowledge, the information suggested by the written language and the context of reading. Reading is an interactive process between a reader and a text leading to fluency or automaticity (Alyousef, 2006).

Cameron, (2001), likens a reader to a satellite searching for information, just as the satellite zooms into different levels of scale to get information for understanding the world, a reader also needs to integrate information from different sources to really understand a text. Cameron further stated that learning through reading means learning to pronounce words, identify words and comprehend its meaning and to bring meaning to ones text and actualize meaning from it. Reading provides the basic for the primary school  curriculum and to ensure that children learn to read effectively, they must be taught and teachers must understand the way in which reading skills are learnt.
Furthermore, the importance of reading to the primary school child cannot be over emphasized due to the facts that it is a fundamental part of education and a criteria factor in language development in children, leading to a good solid education. For this reason, Dike (2003), also stated that it is crucial for mastering all other subject. Dike goes further by saying that reading should therefore be introduced as a natural, joyful, stimulating experience in childhood. 
Reading is the key to learning and has been useful to man in his daily living.
It is therefore important to lay a solid foundation on reading at the primary level which is the foundation of education. However, in spite of the importance, the teaching of reading in our primary schools and the performance of pupils examination have been reportedly poor. Thus, pupils achievement in primary school examination in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State from 2006- 2010 revealed that the level of achievement pass in English language is average and this could be attributed to pupils reading at frustration level (See appendix III). In the same vein, findings of Adeniyi (2010) revealed that a large number of elementary school pupils lack literacy skills especially reading which they require in their formal and non formal learning situation.
Adenyi, stated also that some of the pupils find it difficult to read and understand while some of them also show carefree attitude to reading. The
reason for this persisting poor academic achievement and examination according to Okpara (1995), could be that teachers are using conventional talk or lecture method rather than the strategies that will involve the pupils in active participation. Researchers such as Kolawole, Adepoju and Adelore (2000), identified teachers choice of method as one of the main factors of poor performance in reading. There is therefore the need to adopt a method that will engage the children in active learning and participation and that is games.
It is expedient to note that young children learn by doing things. It will be absolutely difficult for them to remember what they are taught without practical experience to demonstrate the ideas. They may hear but forget, they may see but cannot remember, they may do things but cannot understand Harins (1984). Harins further stated that there is need for practical demonstration and the essence is to employ games for the teaching of reading. Games activity are natural to children.
All learning activities of children involve games, hence, game is used as the central agent and motivating force for all aspects of children’s learning. Igboabuchi and Azubuike (2006). In the light of Teoria (2007), games are indispensable part of teaching materials. They are usually fun, and it is well known with studies on the field of pedagogy most children learn better when they are having fun. Games are activities carried out by a group of people which involve cooperation in other to achieve stated objectives.

According to Hartgill (2008), games helps children develop reading skills that can be used for children demonstrating reading difficulties or disabilities. Maduewesi (1990) cited in Chukwu (2001), stated that games can be used to teach English, mathematics, social studies among other. 
Therefore, if games can be used to teach reading in primary schools, the pupils may likely do better. The researcher in this study will adopt two types of games; fishing game and clock game. First, in fishing game a number of fish with words cut from the reader of primary two pupils will be clearly printed on the fish.

Thereafter, each child in a group will be asked to go fishing by reaching into the box to pull out a fish. If the fisherman (pupil) can read the word on his fish he keeps it for his supper. If the fisherman is unable to read the word, he throws it back in the box. The child with the most fish at the end is the winner. While in the clock game, there will be clock face with words from the pupils reader in place of members. The hand of the clock will be moveable and each child from the groups will come forward to read the words on the clock, if the child reads the word correctly , he will be rewarded with a bottle top.
It is believed however that having employed these games to the teaching of reading in the primary school, it may likely have positive impact on the pupils.
Although, there is no literature to show that such a study on the effect of selected games on pupils reading achievement in word recognition has been carried out within our cultural context.
Furthermore, gender is a factor that has been linked to reading. It is a relevant variable in the achievement of learners. Mboto and Bassey (2004)
describe gender as the behaviour expected of individual on the basis of being born a male or female. Canadian council on learning (2009), opined that boys predominantly held negative attitudes towards reading stating that reading is a feminine activity. Nigeriama (1974) sited in Chukwu (2001), asserted that girls achieve better than boys in general academic achievement.

Gambell and Hunter (2000), on the other hand, claim that boys do less well than girls in reading regardless of the criteria used to assess competency. Okeke (1999) opined that some socio-cultural impediment such as role stereotyping and the belief that  reading is a male gender subject pose obstacles to female pupils participation in
reading. So far, it appears that gender issues on reading achievement are inconclusive. 

Primary Education level is the formation stage of children and as such, it is expedient for teachers in primary schools to device the adequate strategy to improve learning situation in schools. As Adekpoju and Adelore (2000), identified teachers choice of method as one of the main factors of poor academic performance. Hence, this study is motivated by the desire to adopt games in the teaching of reading in primary schools in Oshimili South Local Government area of Delta State.


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