THE EFECTIVENESS OF PREVIEWING AS PRE READING ACTIVITY TO IMPROVE STUDENTS READING COMPREHENSION
This chapter gives a brief description of some fundamental reasons underlying the topic of the research. In detail, this chapter consists of background statement of the problem, the scope of the research, the aim of the research, hypothesis, research method, research procedure.
Not all teachers realize the important of teaching reading. In teaching reading, there are some teachers that just say “Please turn to page 34. Read the passage and answer the questions.” The teachers who start the lesson in this way are hardly likely to motivate students to read. It can make students just read the text and do not comprehend the text; while in the competence standard, it is stated that students have to comprehend the text.
To comprehend the text, the students need some motivation, background knowledge, and some strategies and skills. Students may fail to comprehend the texts while researching text. Lazar (1993:76) groups such problems as motivation, comprehension, making interpretations, and inadequate reading strategies. Those kinds of failure occur, because of the lack of appropriate knowledge structures.
To solve those problems, pre-reading activity is appropriate. Eddie Williams (1989: 37) states the functions of pre-reading activity are to introduce and arouse interest in the topic of the text, to motivate learners by giving a reason for reading, and to provide some language preparation for the text. In line with Williams, Chastain (1988) states that the purpose of pre-reading activities is to motivate the students to read the assignment and to prepare them to be able to read it.
There are some research such as The Effects of Pre-Reading Activities on ELT Trainee Teachers’ Comprehension of Short Stories, Increasing Comprehension by Activating Prior Knowledge and Sehema Theory-Based Pre-Reading Tasks: A Neglected Essential in the ESL, Reading Class that investigate the effectiveness of pre-reading activity in improving students’ reading comprehension. And the result of their researches showed that the use of pre-reading activity in improving students’ reading comprehension is effective. The researchers use different reading activity for the different subject.
Pre-reading activity creates an opportunity to challenge the students to call on their collective experiences (prior knowledge). Pre-Reading activity has been developed to help students relate new information in written discourse to their prior knowledge. Prior knowledge is an important element in reading process. It is an essential factor in comprehension that makes sense of reading experiences.
A number of organized pre-reading approaches and methods have been proposed in the literature for facilitating reading through activation of background knowledge. Lazar (1993) classifies the provide knowledge that the reader lack as: previewing, providing background knowledge, pre-questioning, and brainstorming. In this research, the writer will use previewing as pre-reading activity. Previewing the text by using the title, pictures, illustrations, or subtitles of a text as stimuli, can help students predict or make some educated guesses about what is in the text and thus activate effective top-down processing for reading comprehension.
Through this process, the teacher moves students from memorizing information to meaningful reading activity and begins the process of connecting reading activity rather than remembering bits and pieces.
In this research, referring to those descriptions, writer would like to observe the effectiveness of previewing as pre-reading activity to improve students’ reading comprehension ability.
In order to reach the aims of the research, it is a must for the writer to select the problem that is going to be investigated. According to Arikunto (1998), to enable the research to be conducted appropriately, a researcher should formulate the problem as clear as possible.
Relating to the theory above, this research address the following questions:
1. Would the use of previewing as a pre-reading activity lead to significantly higher reading comprehension than when they read without previewing?
2. What is students’ perception of the use of previewing as a pre-reading activity to improve students’ reading comprehension?
The Scope of the Study
This study focused on investigating the effectiveness of previewing as pre-reading activity to improve student’ reading comprehension and students’ perceptions toward previewing.
The Aims of the Study
In conducting the study, the researcher has aims to achieve. There are two aims as follow :
1. To investigate whether the use of previewing lead to significantly higher comprehension than when they read without previewing.
2. To discover whether the students’ perception toward the use of previewing improve their reading comprehension.
According to Hatch and Farhady (1982) hypothesis is a tentative statement about the outcome of research. It means that a hypothesis should be formulated before starting a research.
Thy hypothesis proposed in this research is “previewing is effective to improve students’ reading comprehension”.
To get the empirical data, the quantitative method was employed since the goal is to find out the effectiveness of previewing to improve students’ reading comprehension, the experimental study used is quasi-experimental design. This category of design is most frequently used in the evaluation of education program when it is not possible for the researcher to use random assignment (Gribbons and Herman, 1997).
This design was used due to the reason that there is limited of time. As Hatch and Farhady (1982:23) state:
Because of these and many other limitations, constructing a true experimental design may be difficult if not impossible. However, it does not mean that we should abandon research that our studies need to be approximate as closely as possible the standards of true experimental design. The some care we take, the more confident we can be that we can share with others.
In this research, the method used is quasi-experimental design with formula :
G1 : Experimental group
G2 : Control group
X : Treatment
T1 : Pretest
T2 : Posttest
The research employed some procedures of follows:
1. Library research
The writer read lot journals, research papers, books, and other literary related to the research.
2. Preparing the investigation
a. Observation on the spot
b. Preparing questionnaire
3. Giving a pretest
Treatment was given only to the experimental group.
5. Giving Posttest
6. Giving questionnaire.
Population and Sample
A group of subjects who were chosen as a population was simply a group that had or more similar characteristic in common. In this research, the population was the second year students of SMP NEGERI 12 Bandung. The samples of this research were two classes which were selected based on the classification made by school.
The instruments used in this study were reading comprehension test and questionnaires. The reading comprehension test was used in pretest and post test. The pretest and posttest ware given to both experimental and control groups. The pretest was conducted at the beginning and the post test was given at the end of the research. The purpose is to measure students’ reading comprehension. The questionnaire was given only to the experimental group to investigate students’ perceptions toward previewing.
The data analysis performed in this research involved several statistical processes. First, analyzing the students’ scores on try-out test to investigate the validity and reliability of the instruments. Second, analyzing the experimental and the control groups’ scores in the pretest and post test using t-test formula to investigate whether the tow groups are equivalent or not. Third, analyzing the scores of pretest and posttest of each group to investigate whether there was a significant improvement in students’ scores. Fourth, analyzing the students’ perceptions using percentage. The last is interpreting the research findings.
Clarification of Terms
In this study, there are some terms need to be clarified to avoid misinterpretation and unnecessary misunderstanding of the terms used in this paper. Some terms are clarified as follow:
a. Previewing: predict or make some educated guesses about what is in the text by using several stimuli in a text such as title, photographs, illustrations, or subtitles.
b. Pre-reading: the activity that introduce the topic of the text, motivate the learners to read, and provide some language preparation for the text.
c. Reading: a process of retrieving and comprehending some form of stored information or ideas.
d. Reading comprehension: the process of inferring the ideas and information that depends on that depends on the information contained and the background information available with the reader.
The Nature of Reading
Reading is a process of deriving meaning from written or printed text. Although reading is a receptive skill, reading is a active and interactive process. Anderson (1999) states that reading is an active process that involves the reader and the reading material in building meaning.
Furthermore, Reading is a selective process. (Goodman, 1970: 260) states:
Reading is a selective process. It involves partial use of available minimal language cues selected from perceptual input on the basis of the reader’s expectation. As this partial information is processed, tentative decisions are made to be confirmed, rejected or refined as reading progresses.
Moreover, Mackay and Mountford (1997) make inferences from the definition proposed by Goodman above as follows:
1. The definition assumes that reading is an active process.
2. Reading must be viewed as a two-fold phenomenon involving process comprehending-and product-comprehension
3. Reading involves an interaction between thought and language. Additionally, according to Wallace (1992):
.….texts do not contain meaning; rather they have potential for meaning. This potential is realized only in the interaction between text reader. That is, meaning is created in the course of reading as the reader draws both on existing linguistic and schematic knowledge and the input provided by the printed or written text.
Furthermore, reading is viewed as a kind of interaction that occurs between the reader and the text (Carrell and Eisterhold, 1983; Grabe, 1983). The meaning, as an outcome of the interaction between the reader and the text, not only resides in the text itself, but also lies in the interaction between the reader and the text (Grabe, 1991). Grabe and Stoller (2002:18) state that reading is also interactive in term that linguistic information from the text interacts with information activated by the reader from long-run memory, as background knowledge.
In addition, Jones (2003) states that the keys to comprehension are the activation of background knowledge, active engagement in content, and metacognition. Furthermore, Hayes and Tierney (1982) states that presenting background information related to the topic to be learned help readers learn from texts regardless of how that background information is presented or how specific or general it is.
Reading is an activity with purpose. A person may read in order to gain information or verify existing knowledge, or in order to critique a writer’s ideas or writing style. Grabe & Stoller (2002:18) says that reading is always purposeful not only in the sense that readers read in varied ways derived from differing reading purposes, but also in the sense that some individual purpose or task, whether imposed internally or externally, activate any motivation to read a given text. According to Grabe & Stoller (2002:18) there are seven purposes of reading, those are reading to reach for simple information, to skim quickly, to learn from text, to get an integrate information, to search information needed for writing, to critique texts and to achieve general comprehension.
Lastly, both teachers and students need to recognize the knowledge of reading definition and purposes. It facilitates teachers to determine the appropriate approach for teaching reading. For students, it helps students’ awareness of reading process and reading strategies.
The Characteristics of Good Readers
Reading is an interactive process that goes on between the reader and the text, resulting in comprehension. The text presents letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs that encode meaning. The reader uses knowledge, skills, and strategies to determine what that meaning is. According to Solomon (1990:12) there are several characteristics of good readers. Those characteristics are:
a. Concern with meaning rather than making sounds
b. Reading quickly and not focusing on every letter or word
c. Leaving out unknown words when fluency is more important than accuracy
d. Using different reading strategies depending on the content and purpose of reading
e. Paying attention only to the relevant information
f. Guessing and predicting ahead
g. Looking quickly through something unfamiliar before reading it in detail
h. Picking up key words to get an idea of what it is about
In addition, according to Byrnes (National Capital Language Resource Center, 2004) there are six characteristic of a good reader, those are read extensively, integrate information in the text with existing knowledge, have a flexible reading style depending on what they are reading, have motivation, rely on different skills interacting, and read for a purpose in the sense that reading serves a function.
Furthermore, according to Duke and Pearson (1999) a good reader has several strategies:
a. Have clear goals for their reading
b. Look over the text before reading
c. Activate prior knowledge
d. Make predictions
e. Use meaning and expect the text to make sense
f. Makes connections: text to self, text to text, text to world
g. Used text features (pictures, headings, boldface type)
h. Identify important ideas and words.
One of the main purpose of teaching reading is to teach student to be a good reader. To accomplish it, teachers need to comprehend the characteristics of good readers.
Grabe & Stoller (2002:17) state that reading comprehension is the ability to understand information in a text and interpret it appropriately. Reading comprehension is the process through which the dynamic interaction of the reader’s background knowledge, the information inferred from the written language, and the reading situation context is constructing meaning (Dutcher 1990).
In reading comprehension, processes in reading play an important role. According to Grabe & Stoller (2002 : 17) there are several processes involved in reading comprehension; those are interactive process, strategic process, and evaluating process. Interactive process means that linguistic information from the text interacts with information activated by the reader from long-term memory, as background knowledge strategic process mean that reader able to read flexibly in line with changing purposes and the ongoing monitoring of comprehension. Evaluating process mean that reader must decide if the information being read is coherent and matches the purpose of reading.
Reading comprehension is one of the purposes of teaching reading, so teacher must recognize the process to achieve it.
The Concept of Teaching Reading in Classroom
Traditionally, the purpose of teaching reading in a language is to encourage the students to develop their reading skills and strategies thus they can read efficiently and effectively. Therefore, an appropriate teaching technique should be organized in order to achieve teaching reading objectives.
Brown (2001: 315) states that reading technique is divided into three activities; pre-reading activity, during-reading, and after reading activity. Pre-reading activity is the time for introducing a topic and activating students’ schemata (students’ knowledge). During reading activity is the time for acquiring the information from the text. After reading activity is the time for checking students’ reading comprehension.
Furthermore, according to Byrnes (National Capital Language Resource Center, 2004) instructors can help their students become effective readers by teaching them how to use strategies before, during, and after reading.
Reading strategies play an important role in reading process. According to Duke and Pearson (2005) there are six reading strategies that can be used by teachers in helping students improving their comprehension, those are prediction, think aloud, text structure, visual representation of text, summarization, and questioning.
Effective language instructors show students how they can adjust their reading behavior to deal with a variety of situations, types of input, and reading purposes. They help students develop a set of reading strategies and match appropriate strategies to each reading situation.
Pre-reading Activity as an Activity on Teaching Reading
According to Chastain (1988), the purpose of pre-reading activities is to motivate the students to want to read the assignment and to prepare them to be able to read it. Ringler and Weber (1984) call pre-reading activities enabling activities, because they provide a reader with necessary background to organize activity and to comprehend the material. These experiences involve understanding the purpose (s) for reading and building a knowledge base necessary for dealing with the content and the structure of the material. They say that pre-reading activities elicit prior knowledge, build background, and focus attention.
Furthermore, Parviz Ajideh (2003) says that pre-reading activities have tended to focus exclusively on preparing the reader for likely linguistic difficulties in a text; more recently attention has shifted to cultural or conceptual difficulties. However, pre-reading, activities may not just offer compensation for second language reader’s supposed linguistic or socio-cultural inadequacies; they may also remind readers of what they do, in fact, already know and think, that is to activate existing schematic knowledge.
There are many kinds of pre-reading activity that can be used in reading teaching. The experience-text-relationship (ETR) method of Au (1979) consists of students expressing their own experience of knowledge about the topic prior to reading. After the student have adequately shared their knowledge, the text become the focus of the class. During this segment of the lesson, the teacher asks the students to read short sections of the text and then questions about the content. The teacher must be sensitive to those text areas that could elicit misunderstandings and work through any difficulties that the students may have. In the final stage, the teacher aids the students to draw relationships between personal experience and the material discussed in the text stage. This provides an opportunity for each student to make comparisons and contrasts with what they already know and to accommodate the new information into their preexisting schemata. Through this process, student’s schemata become redefined and extended. The teacher has the responsibility of leading the students to the appropriate answers without giving them too much information, so the task becomes one of self-discovery and integration.
Moreover, Langer’s (1981) pre-reading plan is a three-step assessment/ instructional procedure. It is in line with Au’s ETR method, uses a discussion based activity in the assessment stage, which allows the teacher and the student to define the amount of information and vocabulary items need to be taught. The aim of this activity is to facilitate the students to comprehend the text. The pre-reading plan begins with the teacher introducing a key word, concept or picture to stimulate a discussion. By having the students say anything that in their mind and having that information recorded on the blackboard; students are able to see the associations. By asking the students question, such as, “What made you think of…?” they become aware of their network of associations. The students also have the opportunity to listen to other explanations and interact with other students. This interactive process also provides students the opportunity to accept, reject or alter their own initial associations and to integrate them into more accurate pictures of the target concept. The third and final step is the reformulation of knowledge, which provides the opportunity for students to verbalize any changes of modifications of their associations that may have occurred during the discussion activity. The purpose of helping the student to link his/her background knowledge with concepts in the text is to set up appropriate expectations about the language and content of the passage.
In addition, Auerbach and Paxton (1997) states the following pre-reading strategies of which three major ones as a good indication of schema-theory-based pre-reading tasks/strategies more favor us in this study.
1. Accessing prior knowledge
2. Writing your many into reading (writing about your experience related to the topic)
3. Asking questions based on the title
4. Semantic mapping
5. Making predictions based on previewing
6. Identifying the text structure
7. Skimming for general idea
8. Reading the introduction and conclusion
9. Writing a summary of the article based on previewing
Previewing as Pre-reading Activity
One type of pre-reading strategy is previewing. Swaffar et. al. (1991) state that previewing techniques have benefits that allow students to formulate hypotheses about text. According Chia (2001) the purpose of previewing is to help readers to predict or make some guesses about what is in the text and thus activate effective top down processing for reading comprehension. Several stimuli in a text, such as the title, illustrations, photographs, or subtitles, are usually closely connected to the author’s ideas and content of the text.
The make more specific predictions students apparently need more guidance. The following guidelines are used in previewing.
1. The teacher asks the students to read the title of the text. Do they know anything about the subject?
2. Then ask them to see the picture in the text which is related to the content of the text. Do they know anything about the picture?
3. After that, ask the students read the first few paragraphs, which generally introduce the topics discussed in the text. Can they determine the general themes of the text.
4. Then ask them to read to first sentence of cash paragraph, usually the topic sentence, which gives the main idea of the paragraph. Can they determine the major points of the text.
5. After that ask them to read the last paragraph, which often reveals the conclusion of the author. Let the students to discuss how the author organizes the information to present his point of view.
6. The last, the students then read the entire article for more detailed information. As they already have an overview of the text, they can understand the rest of the information much more easily.
Pre-reading activity activity can be used by teacher as a motivation activity. The appropriate pre-reading activity will help the students in comprehending the text. Teacher’s guidance is needed in this activity.
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