The main objectives of the study were: (1) To count the readability indices of each of the lessons of the textbooks of Standards VIII, IX and X. (2) To categories the lessons of each textbook into high and low readability levels. (3) To construct scientific tests of reading comprehension based on the contents of the lessons of high and low readability levels from each of the three standards. (4) To determine the influence of language stimulation (LS), family size and self concept of the pupils of Standards VIII, IX and X on their reading ability (RA) in English. (5) To determine the influence of LS, RA in English and their interaction upon their reading comprehension of the pupils of Standards VIII, IX and X. (6) To assess the correlation between ranks of the reading materials of the textbooks and the ranks determined by the readability scores.
For the major study, a large initial sample of 540 pupils [180 from each standard] was selected from six schools of Ahmedabad city. From this, finally 216 pupils (72 from Standard VIII, 64 from IX and 80 from X) were selected on the basis of their LS and RA. The equal number of pupils with high and low LS and high and low RA were selected from a particular standard. Employing the Aukerman formula assessed the readability of each lesson of the English textbooks of Standards VIII, IX and X. On the basis of its result, two lessons, one easiest and one most difficult, were selected from the textbook of each standard.
The investigator constructed and used tests of reading comprehension,one for each selected lesson, to measure the reading comprehension of the pupils. For the exploratory study, the sample was taken from one school of Ahmedabad city. To assess the language stimulation at home (LS), a structured interview with the parents of the children was held. The self concept (SC) of the pupils was assessed by using Oles scale from Osgood’s evaluative dimension. The family size was determined by the standard of National Family Planning Programme. The reading ability was measured by developed cloze tests separately for Standards VIII, IX and X.
First, an exploratory study was undertaken in order to isolate and select scientifically the appropriate independent variables of the major studies.
The result of the ANOVA showed that only the LS influenced significantly the reading ability of the pupils. Hence, LS was selected as an independent variable for the major study. The data were analysed by using a “fixed effect" model of 2 X 2 factorial design ANOVA and Rank Difference Method of correlation.
The major findings: (1) The main as well as interactive effects of language stimulation (LS) and Reading Ability (RA) were significant in terms of reading comprehension of pupils of Standards VIII, IX and X in the lessons with high and low readability. (2) The high level of LS was responsible for better achievement in easy as well as difficult lesson of English. (3) The high level of RA was responsible for better achievement in easy as well as difficult lesson of English. (4) The components of all the variance studies showed that RA was more important than LS. (5) The correlation between the ranks given by the textbooks and those derived from the readability scores was significant only in Standard IX. It was concluded that the arrangement of reading materials was not scientifically made by the textbook Board of Gujarat in the case of Standards VIII & X.
Keyword(s): Readability, Text Books, Gujarat, Reading Comprehension