Isang Awah

Project Manager - University of Oxford; Department of Social Policy and Intervention

Isang Awah

Project Manager - University of Oxford; Department of Social Policy and Intervention

Biography

“Isang is an experienced researcher who has over a decade of experience in researching with children and young people in Africa. Her research interests include literacy and social issues especially in developing countries and poor communities around the globe. She has done presentations on literacy and children‚Äôs reading engagement at a number of international conferences including the Pan African Literacy for All Conference (PALFA) 2017, Abuja, Nigeria; The 54th UK Literacy Association (UKLA) International Conference, 2018 at Cardiff, UK; The 16th (biennial) Conference of The International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature and Media (IGEL), 2018, Stavanger, Norway; and The 10th International Conference on Education and New Developments (END), 2019, Portugal.
Isang won the award for the best oral presentation at the 2017 Kaleidoscope Conference, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. She was one of the keynote speakers at Xcelerate Literacy Conference held at the University of Cambridge, UK in 2018 which was attended by students from within and outside the UK. Isang holds a master‚Äôs degree from Harvard University, U.S.A. and a PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK. Her PhD involved research with a group of children in Nigeria on their reading habits and the factors that affected these, and culminated in a set of recommendations for parents, educators, and policy makers. Isang currently works at the University of Oxford‚Äôs Department of Social Policy and Intervention where she is part of the Accelerating Achievement for Africa‚Äôs Adolescents Hub.”

Do You See What I See? These Children Love Reading But…. (Factors That Affect Nigerian Children’s Reading Engagement)

This qualitative study therefore explores reading for pleasure done by a group of 9–12 year olds in a book club in Nigeria. It sheds light on the extent to which the children read and the different factors that affect their engagement with reading for pleasure. The findings could provide guidance on practices that strengthen children’s engagement in reading for pleasure and literacy.

In recent decades, Nigeria has repeatedly had low pass rates in examinations taken at the end of secondary school. There are claims that the low student achievements are largely because Nigerian children do not read for pleasure, even though these claims lack the backing of empirical research. This qualitative study therefore explores reading for pleasure done by a group of 9–12 year olds in a book club in Nigeria. It sheds light on the extent to which the children read and the different factors that affect their engagement with reading for pleasure. Through an interpretivist theoretical perspective, the study gathered data using the methods of collage making, observation, questionnaire, and interviews. Findings indicate that the participants read for pleasure, though their level of engagement with reading for pleasure differs. Some research done in the United States and the United Kingdom indicates that factors such as availability of books, choice of texts, pedagogies of reading and an enabling adult affect children’s engagement with reading for pleasure. This study examined the relevance of these factors to the participants’ reading habits and found that the reading engagement of all the participants may have been, in varying degrees, influenced by them. Other factors that possibly affected the participants’ reading habits were the reading environment, reading aloud, and the availability of social networks and affordances that support leisure reading. The findings could provide guidance on practices that strengthen children’s engagement in reading for pleasure and literacy.

All sessions by Isang Awah