Social networking sites in cultivating the reading habits of secondary school learners in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe


Technological developments, especially social networks, have brought about changes in social and educational conditions. These technological developments also apply to the reading habits of secondary school learners. The general purpose of this study is to examine the adoption of social networking sites in cultivating the reading habits of secondary school learners in Bulawayo Metropolitan province in Zimbabwe. The study employed a multiple-case study with 14 focus groups, consisting of 210 learners. Data was collected through interviews with eight school librarians and analysed thematically. The key findings revealed that learners are using different types of social networks, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Watt pad, Pinterest, and YouTube to connect with friends and family and keep abreast with the latest events. The study further revealed the positive effects of using social networking sites, such as the availability of up-to-date reading materials that can be easily shared amongst learners. However, these sites were not fully used by learners for reading. The findings also showed that some learners spend approximately five hours on social media for entertainment purposes and this has a negative effect on their reading habits. The study then concluded that learners are using social networks, but mainly for social engagement purposes. If guided, they could use social networking sites to cultivate and enhance their reading habits.

Author Biography

Sifundo Nkomo, University of South Africa
Lecturer, Department of Publishing Studies, started a small children's library in a small community.
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