Social Competencies and Reading Skills Acquisition in Childhood: Is there a Link?

Innocent Messo


This paper is based on a study that deployed quantitative research methods to examine the relationship between social competencies and the acquisition of reading skills in childhood. The paper is a response to the Tanzanian government’s efforts towards improving the learning outcomes among primary school learners. Literature shows that among the key skills that need to be instilled by teachers in pupils is reading ability. Several attempts have been made by the government to improve learners’ learning outcomes; yet empirical evidence reveals that things have not worked to the expectations. It was, therefore, important to investigate the position of social competence skills in the acquisition of reading skills. The study was conducted in Babati Town Council, Manyara region in Tanzania. The study involved six wards from which 17 primary schools were randomly selected. Stratified random sampling was deployed to recruit pupils from the selected schools. A total of 340 pupils were recruited (163 boys and 177 girls). Data on social competence skills were collected using the social competence skills assessment tool, while those on reading skills were collected using an age-appropriate reading skills assessment tool. Logistic Regression analysis was run to estimate the impact of social competence skills on binary outcomes, while Ordinary Least Square Regression (OLS) with multiple predictors was used to estimate outcomes of continuous variables. The findings generally show that the studied six social competence skills (predictors) had no statistically significant contribution towards the pupils’ reading acquisition. The study concludes that social competence skills have a slightly positive impact on children’s acquisition and mastery of reading skills.  This study represents an important shift in the focus of research by shedding light on the children’s social adjustment and reading acquisition in early childhood education.

Keywords: Social competence skills, reading skills, academic success, early childhood education, reading achievement, socio-cultural

DOI: 10.7176/JEP/13-12-12

Publication date: April 30th 2022

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