Investigating the use of pictures to enhance reading in early years: A case study of an early childhood development Centre in Western Kenya

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Nipael Mrutu

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Fortidas Bakuza


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Reading is one of the four language skills that are required for acquisition of literacy. The others are writing, listening and speaking. Studies have shown that learning to read achieved during the early years is likely to be sustained throughout the primary school years and is an important basis for successful early performance in school. It is a foundational skill and serves as the base for later competence and proficiency. Unfortunately, many children proceed to formal schooling and even finish school without having attained the expected literacy achievement for their level. This study therefore set out to investigate the use of pictures by teachers to enhance reading acquisition in the early years. The study employed a qualitative case study design that involved six teachers and one head teacher and six classes comprising two for each level of baby class, pre-primary I and pre-primary II. Data was collected through multiple methods such as one-on-one semi-structured interviews, document analysis and classroom observations. The findings of the study reveal that teachers employed mainly the phonics and whole-word strategies to teach reading. The alphabetic strategy and language experience method were lacking in practice. In the strategies employed, teachers used pictures in various ways such as, as cues to letters and sounds when teaching the alphabetic principle, as attention retainers, to develop oral language skills needed for reading, to concretize ideas and to make learning easier for slow learners. The study recommends that teachers be well equipped with knowledge and skills that will enable them employ creativity and innovativeness in addressing the learning needs of their learners. It also suggests that shared reading as a strategy for reading be looked into and the use of pictures in the same.

Key words: Literacy, pictures, shared reading, early years.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library