You are on page 1of 41

About the Author:

Sanjan anak Daik is currently a lecturer at Batu Lintang Teachers’ Training Institute, Kuching,
Sarawak. He teaches the students in the ‘Program Ijazah Sarjana Muda Pendidikan’ (PISMP)
foundation and degree programmes for the Teacher Education Division, Ministry of Education in
collaboration with Malaysia Open University. In addition to lecturing, he is also an examiner of the
PISMP foundation and degree programme examinations. His previous experience includes being a
primary school teacher for fifteen years, a secondary school teacher for five years and as a part-
time lecturer and tutor in private colleges and local universities. The experience gained in these
fields has served to help develop professionally and personally in his current position as a teacher
educator. His research “Reading Habits of Teachers in Four Government-aided Secondary
Schools (Mission Schools) in Kuching District” focuses on the types of reading materials, frequency
of reading and factors that influence reading habits. This research would be of interest to
educators who seek to find the reading habits of teachers in other schools or institutions.
READING HABITS OF TEACHERS IN FOUR GOVERNMENT-AIDED
SECONDARY SCHOOLS (MISSION SCHOOLS) IN KUCHING DISTRICT

SANJAN ANAK DAIK

UNIVERSITI TEKNOLOGI MALAYSIA


PSZ 19:16 (Pind. 1/97)
UNIVERSITI TEKNOLOGI MALAYSIA

BORANG PENGESAHAN STATUS TESISυ


JUDUL: Reading Habits of Teachers in Four Government-Aided Secondary
Schools (Mission Schools) in Kuching District

SESI PENGAJIAN: 2006/2007-1

Saya SANJAN ANAK DAIK

mengaku membenarkan tesis (PSM/Sarjana/Doktor Falsafah)* ini disimpan di Perpustakaan Universiti


Teknologi Malaysia dengan syarat-syarat kegunaan seperti berikut:

1. Tesis adalah hakmilik Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.


2. Perpustakaan Universiti Teknologi Malaysia dibenarkan membuat salinan untuk tujuan pengajian
sahaja.
3. Perpustakaan dibenarkan membuat salinan tesis ini sebagai bahan pertukaran antara institusi
pengajian tinggi.
4. ** Sila tandakan ( 4 )

SULIT (Mengandungi maklumat yang berdarjah keselamatan atau


kepentingan Malaysia seperti yang termaktub di dalam
AKTA RAHSIA RASMI 1972)

Mengandungi maklumat TERHAD yang telah ditentukan


oleh organisasi/badan di mana penyelidikan dijalankan)

√ TIDAK TERHAD

Alamat Tetap:

INSTITUT PERGURUAN BATU LINTANG .


JALAN COLLEGE
93200 KUCHING SARAWAK

Tarikh : 30 September 2006 Tarikh : 30 September 2006 .

CATATAN: * Potong yang tidak berkenaan.


** Jika TESIS ini SULIT atau TERHAD, sila lampirkan surat daripada pihak berkuasa/organisasi
berkenaan dengan menyatakan sekali sebab dan tempoh tesis ini perlu dikelaskan sebagai SULIT
tau TERHAD.
υ Tesis dimaksudkan sebagai tesis bagi Ijazah Doktor Falsafah dan Sarjana secara penyelidikan,
atau disertasi bagi pengajian secara kerja kursus dan penyelidikan, atau Laporan Projek
Sarjana Muda (PSM).
“I hereby declare that I have read this project report and in
my opinion that this project report is sufficient in terms of scope and
quality for the award of the degree of Master of Education
(Teaching of English as a Second Language)”
i

READING HABITS OF TEACHERS IN FOUR GOVERNMENT-AIDED


SECONDARY SCHOOLS (MISSION SCHOOLS) IN KUCHING DISTRICT

SANJAN ANAK DAIK

A project report submitted in partial fulfillment of the


requirements for the award of the degree of
Master of Education

Faculty of Education
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

SEPTEMBER 2006
ii

I declare that this project report entitled “Reading Habits of Teachers in Four
Government-Aided Secondary Schools (Mission Schools) in Kuching District” is the
result of my own research except as cited in the references. The project report has been
accepted for any degree and is not concurrently submitted in candidature of any other
degree.

Signature: …………………………………………

Name : SANJAN ANAK DAIK

Date : 30 SEPTEMBER 2006


iv

ABSTRACT

Specifically, this study attempts to investigate the different types of reading materials,
frequency of reading, teaching load and factors that influence reading habits among
teachers in the four (4) government-aided secondary schools (Mission Secondary
Schools) in Kuching District. The respondents in this study were 118 teachers from the
four schools. The main methodology employed in this study was a survey
questionnaire. Interviews were also conducted on twenty (20) of the teachers who had
responded to the questionnaires. The data were analysed and concluded that most of the
teachers have poor reading habits. The findings showed that most of the teachers read
both academic and non-academic reading materials, having reading frequency of only a
few hours a week and prefer to read at home while some teachers have heavy teaching
load that inhibit their reading habits. Based on this study, it will raise awareness on the
importance of readings among teachers. The result of this study has an implication on
the importance of inculcating the reading habit among school children at an early age.
v

ABSTRAK

Secara khusus, kajian ini bertujuan mengkaji pelbagai jenis bahan bacaan,
kekerapan membaca, beban mengajar dan factor-faktor yang mempengaruhi amalan
membaca para guru di empat buah sekolah menengah bantuan (Mubaligh Kristian) di
daerah Kuching. Responden dalam kajian ini adalah terdiri daripada 118 orang guru
yang mengajar di empat buah sekolah menengah tersebut. Kaedah kajian yang utama
digunakan ialah soalselidik. Temuduga juga di jalankan ke atas 20 orang responden
yang turut menjawab soalselidik. Maklumat yang diperolehi dirumus dan didapati
kebanyakan para guru mempunyai amalan membaca yang kurang memuaskan. Hasil
kajian juga menunjukkan kebanyakan para guru membaca pelbagai bahan bacaan
akedemik dan juga bukan akedemik, mempunyai kekerapan membaca cuma beberapa
jam seminggu dan memilih untuk membaca di rumah manakala segelintir para guru
mempunyai beban mengajar yang berat sehingga menghalang mereka daripada
membaca. Hasil kajian ini dapat memberi kesedaran kepada para guru betapa
pentingnya amalan membaca. Hasil kajian ini juga mempunyai implikasi betapa
pentingnya amalan membaca dipupuk dikalangan kanak-kanak sekolah sejak usia muda.
vi

TABLE OF CONTENT

CHAPTER TITLE PAGE


1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Introduction 1
1.2 Background of the Study 2
1.3 Statement of the Problem 4
1.4 Objectives of the Study 5
1.5 Research Questions 5
1.6 Significance of the Study 5
1.7 Scope of the Study 6
1.8 Limitation of the Study 6
1.9 Definition of Terms 7
1.9.1 Mission Schools 7
1.9.2 Chung Hua Middle School 7
1.9.3 Academic Materials 7
1.9.4 Non-academic Materials 7
1.9.5 Teaching Loads 7
1.9.6 Extra Class 7
vii

2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Introduction 8
2.2 What is Reading? 8
2.3 The Reading Process 10
2.3.1 Bottom-up Theory of Reading 11
2.3.2 The Top-down Theory of Reading 13
2.3.3 The Interactive Theory of Reading 15
2.4 Attitude Towards Reading 17
2.5 Reading Motivation 18
2.6 Factors Affecting Reading 18
2.6.1 The Nature of Reading Materials 19
2.6.2 Purpose of Reading 20
2.6.3 The External Errors 21
2.7 Explanatory Model of Reading Behaviours 22
2.8 Why Don’t Adults Read? 24
2.9 Reading and Teaching 26

3 METHODOLOGY
3.1 Introduction 28
3.2 Sample of the Study 28
3.3 Data collection Instrument 29
3.3.1 The Questionnaires 29
3.3.2 The Interviews 30
3.4 Research Procedure 31
3.4.1 Administration of the Questionnaires 31
viii

3.4.2 Administration of the Interviews 32


3.5 Data Analysis 32

4 FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION


4.1 Introduction 34
4.2 Findings of the Questionnaires 34
4.2.1 Demographic Information of the Respondents 35
4.2.1.1 Gender 35
4.2.1.2 Age 35
4.2.1.3 Ethnicity 36
4.2.1.4 Marital Status 37
4.2.1.5 Academic Qualification 37
4.2.1.6 Working Experience 38
4.2.2 Types of Reading Materials Read by the
Respondents 39
4.2.2.1 Types of Books Read by the Respondents 39
4.2.2.2 Types of Magazines Read by the
Respondents 40
4.2.2.3 Types of Newspapers Read by the
Respondents 40
4.2.2.4 Reading Other Kinds of Publications 41
4.2.3 Respondents’ Frequency of Reading 42
4.2.3.1 Respondents’ Reading Time 42
4.2.3.2 Time Spent on Reading per Week 43
4.2.3.3 Total Number of Hours Spent on Reading
per Week 43
4.2.4 Respondents’ Teaching Load 44
4.2.4.1 Classes Taught 44
4.2.4.2 Number of Subjects Taught 45
4.2.4.3 Teaching Periods per Week 45
ix

4.2.4.4 Extra Classes Directed by the School 46


4.2.4.5 Frequency of the Extra Classes 47
4.2.4.6 Total Time Spent for Extra Classes 47

4.2.5 Factors that Influence Respondents’ Reading Habits 48


4.2.5.1 Places Where Respondents Read 48
4.2.5.2 Reasons for Reading at the Different Places 49
4.2.5.3 Reasons for Reading at Home 49
4.2.5.4 Reasons for Reading in the School
Staffroom 50
4.2.5.5 Reasons for Reading in the School Library 51
4.2.5.6 Reasons for Reading in the Public Library 51
4.2.5.7 Reasons for Reading in the University
Library 52
4.2.5.8 Reasons for Reading in all of the above
Places 53
4.2.5.9 Reasons for Reading in Other Places 53
4.2.6 Respondents’ Opinion on Reading 54
4.3 Findings of the Interview 56
4.3.1 Demographic Information of the Respondents 56
4.3.2 Types of Reading Materials Read by Respondents 59
4.3.3 Respondents’ Reading Frequency 61
4.3.4 Teachers’ Teaching Load 62
4.3.5 Factors that Influence Respondents’ Reading Habits 64
4.3.5.1 Places and Reasons for Reading 65
4.3.5.2 Reading Materials and Purpose of Reading 67
4.4 Discussion of the Findings 68
4.4.1 Demographic Background of the Respondents 69
4.4.2 Types of Reading Materials Read by the
Respondents 69
x

4.4.3 Respondents’ frequency of reading 70


4.4.4 Respondents’ teaching load 71
4.4.5 Factors that influence respondents’ Reading Habits 72

5 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS


5.1 Introduction 74
5.2 Summary of the Research 74
5.3 Conclusion of the Study 75
5.3.1 Research Question 1 75
5.3.2 Research Question 2 76
5.3.3 Research Question 3 76
5.3.4 Research Question 4 77
5.4 Pedagogical Implication of the Study 77
5.5 Conclusion 79

REFERENCES 80
QUESTIONNAIRE – Appendix A 85
INTERVIEW INSTRUMENT – Appendix B 91
LETTER OF PERMISSION – Appendix C 92
xi

LIST OF TABLES

TABLE NO. TITLE PAGE

2.1 Factors Influencing Reading Habits 22

4.1 Gender Distribution of the Respondents 35

4.2 Age Distribution of the Respondents 36

4.3 Ethnicity Distribution of the Respondents 36

4.4 Marital status of the respondents 37

4.5 Academic Qualifications of the Respondents 38

4.6 Working Experience of the Respondents 38

4.7 Types of Book Read by the Respondents 39

4.8 Types of Magazines Read by the Respondents 40

4.9 Types of Newspapers Read by the Respondents 41

4.10 Other Publications Read by the Respondents 41

4.11 Respondents’ Reading Time 42

4.12 Total Number of Hours Spent on Reading per Week 43


xii

4.13 Classes Taught by the Respondents 44

4.14 Number of Subjects Taught by the Respondents 45

4.15 Teaching Periods of the Respondents per Week 46

4.16 Extra classes directed by the school 46

4.17 Frequency of the Extra Classes 47

4.18 Total Time Spent for Extra Classes 48

4.19 Places Were Respondents Read 49

4.20 Reason for Reading in the School Staffroom 51

4.21 Reason for Reading in the Public Library 52

4.22 Reason for Reading in the University Library 52

4.23 Reason for Reading at the Different Places 53

4.24 Reason for Reading in Other Places 54

4.25 Likert Scale on Respondents’ Opinion on Reading 55

4.26 Gender 57

4.27 Ethnicity 57

4.28 Academic Qualification 58

4.29 Teaching Experience 58

4.30 Types of Books Read by Respondents 59

4.31 Types of Newspaper Read by Respondents 60

4.32 Types of Magazine Read by Respondents 60

4.33 Other Publications Read by Respondents 61

4.34 Respondents’ Reading Time 61

4.35 Amount of Time Spent on Reading per Week 62


xiii

4.36 Number of Subjects Taught by Respondents 63

4.37 Level of Classes Taught by Respondents 63

4.38 Number of Teaching Periods per Week 64

4.39 Extra Classes Conducted by Respondents 64

4.40 Reasons for Reading at Home 65

4.41 Reading in the Staffroom 66

4.42 Types of Reading Materials and Reasons for Reading 68


xiv

LIST OF FIGURES

FIGURE NO. TITLE PAGE

2.1 The Reading Process 10


2.2 Hierarchy of Data in Texts 12
2.3 The Top-down Model of Reading 14
2.4 The Interactive Model of Reading 16
2.5 The Explanatory Model of Behaviour 23
4.1 Reasons for Reading at Home 50
xv

LIST OF APPENDICES

APPENDIX TITLE PAGE


A A Sample of a Survey Questionnaire 85
B A Sample of an Interview Instrument 91
C Letter of Permission to Carry out a Survey in Schools 92
iii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Firstly, I thank God for the blessings given to me in the preparation of this
project. I am particularly thankful to my supervisor Dr Noor Zainab Bt Abdul Razak
for her continuous guidance, encouragement and constructive criticism without which I
would not be able to complete the project.

I am also very grateful to my fellow course mates and various individuals for
their contributions in whatever forms during the preparation of the project.

Finally, I want to express my sincere gratitude to my family and friends for their
invaluable sacrifices and continued support throughout my studies.
iv

ABSTRACT

Specifically, this study attempts to investigate the different types of reading materials,
frequency of reading, teaching load and factors that influence reading habits among
teachers in the four (4) government-aided secondary schools (Mission Secondary
Schools) in Kuching District. The respondents in this study were 118 teachers from the
four schools. The main methodology employed in this study was a survey
questionnaire. Interviews were also conducted on twenty (20) of the teachers who had
responded to the questionnaires. The data were analysed and concluded that most of the
teachers have poor reading habits. The findings showed that most of the teachers read
both academic and non-academic reading materials, having reading frequency of only a
few hours a week and prefer to read at home while some teachers have heavy teaching
load that inhibit their reading habits. Based on this study, it will raise awareness on the
importance of readings among teachers. The result of this study has an implication on
the importance of inculcating the reading habit among school children at an early age.
v

ABSTRAK

Secara khusus, kajian ini bertujuan mengkaji pelbagai jenis bahan bacaan,
kekerapan membaca, beban mengajar dan factor-faktor yang mempengaruhi amalan
membaca para guru di empat buah sekolah menengah bantuan (Mubaligh Kristian) di
daerah Kuching. Responden dalam kajian ini adalah terdiri daripada 118 orang guru
yang mengajar di empat buah sekolah menengah tersebut. Kaedah kajian yang utama
digunakan ialah soalselidik. Temuduga juga di jalankan ke atas 20 orang responden
yang turut menjawab soalselidik. Maklumat yang diperolehi dirumus dan didapati
kebanyakan para guru mempunyai amalan membaca yang kurang memuaskan. Hasil
kajian juga menunjukkan kebanyakan para guru membaca pelbagai bahan bacaan
akedemik dan juga bukan akedemik, mempunyai kekerapan membaca cuma beberapa
jam seminggu dan memilih untuk membaca di rumah manakala segelintir para guru
mempunyai beban mengajar yang berat sehingga menghalang mereka daripada
membaca. Hasil kajian ini dapat memberi kesedaran kepada para guru betapa
pentingnya amalan membaca. Hasil kajian ini juga mempunyai implikasi betapa
pentingnya amalan membaca dipupuk dikalangan kanak-kanak sekolah sejak usia muda.
vi

TABLE OF CONTENT

CHAPTER TITLE PAGE


1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Introduction 1
1.2 Background of the Study 2
1.3 Statement of the Problem 4
1.4 Objectives of the Study 5
1.5 Research Questions 5
1.6 Significance of the Study 5
1.7 Scope of the Study 6
1.8 Limitation of the Study 6
1.9 Definition of Terms 7
1.9.1 Mission Schools 7
1.9.2 Chung Hua Middle School 7
1.9.3 Academic Materials 7
1.9.4 Non-academic Materials 7
1.9.5 Teaching Loads 7
1.9.6 Extra Class 7
vii

2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Introduction 8
2.2 What is Reading? 8
2.3 The Reading Process 10
2.3.1 Bottom-up Theory of Reading 11
2.3.2 The Top-down Theory of Reading 13
2.3.3 The Interactive Theory of Reading 15
2.4 Attitude Towards Reading 17
2.5 Reading Motivation 18
2.6 Factors Affecting Reading 18
2.6.1 The Nature of Reading Materials 19
2.6.2 Purpose of Reading 20
2.6.3 The External Errors 21
2.7 Explanatory Model of Reading Behaviours 22
2.8 Why Don’t Adults Read? 24
2.9 Reading and Teaching 26

3 METHODOLOGY
3.1 Introduction 28
3.2 Sample of the Study 28
3.3 Data collection Instrument 29
3.3.1 The Questionnaires 29
3.3.2 The Interviews 30
3.4 Research Procedure 31
3.4.1 Administration of the Questionnaires 31
3.4.2 Administration of the Interviews 32
3.5 Data Analysis 32
viii

4 FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION


4.1 Introduction 34
4.2 Findings of the Questionnaires 34
4.2.1 Demographic Information of the Respondents 35
4.2.1.1 Gender 35
4.2.1.2 Age 35
4.2.1.3 Ethnicity 36
4.2.1.4 Marital Status 37
4.2.1.5 Academic Qualification 37
4.2.1.6 Working Experience 38
4.2.2 Types of Reading Materials Read by the
Respondents 39
4.2.2.1 Types of Books Read by the Respondents 39
4.2.2.2 Types of Magazines Read by the
Respondents 40
4.2.2.3 Types of Newspapers Read by the
Respondents 40
4.2.2.4 Reading Other Kinds of Publications 41
4.2.3 Respondents’ Frequency of Reading 42
4.2.3.1 Respondents’ Reading Time 42
4.2.3.2 Time Spent on Reading per Week 43
4.2.3.3 Total Number of Hours Spent on Reading
per Week 43
4.2.4 Respondents’ Teaching Load 44
4.2.4.1 Classes Taught 44
4.2.4.2 Number of Subjects Taught 45
4.2.4.3 Teaching Periods per Week 45
4.2.4.4 Extra Classes Directed by the School 46
4.2.4.5 Frequency of the Extra Classes 47
4.2.4.6 Total Time Spent for Extra Classes 47
ix

4.2.5 Factors that Influence Respondents’ Reading Habits 48


4.2.5.1 Places Where Respondents Read 48
4.2.5.2 Reasons for Reading at the Different Places 49
4.2.5.3 Reasons for Reading at Home 49
4.2.5.4 Reasons for Reading in the School
Staffroom 50
4.2.5.5 Reasons for Reading in the School Library 51
4.2.5.6 Reasons for Reading in the Public Library 51
4.2.5.7 Reasons for Reading in the University
Library 52
4.2.5.8 Reasons for Reading in all of the above
Places 53
4.2.5.9 Reasons for Reading in Other Places 53
4.2.6 Respondents’ Opinion on Reading 54
4.3 Findings of the Interview 56
4.3.1 Demographic Information of the Respondents 56
4.3.2 Types of Reading Materials Read by Respondents 59
4.3.3 Respondents’ Reading Frequency 61
4.3.4 Teachers’ Teaching Load 62
4.3.5 Factors that Influence Respondents’ Reading Habits 64
4.3.5.1 Places and Reasons for Reading 65
4.3.5.2 Reading Materials and Purpose of Reading 67
4.4 Discussion of the Findings 68
4.4.1 Demographic Background of the Respondents 69
4.4.2 Types of Reading Materials Read by the
Respondents 69
4.4.3 Respondents’ frequency of reading 70
4.4.4 Respondents’ teaching load 71
4.4.5 Factors that influence respondents’ Reading Habits 72
x

5 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS


5.1 Introduction 74
5.2 Summary of the Research 74
5.3 Conclusion of the Study 75
5.3.1 Research Question 1 75
5.3.2 Research Question 2 76
5.3.3 Research Question 3 76
5.3.4 Research Question 4 77
5.4 Pedagogical Implication of the Study 77
5.5 Conclusion 79

REFERENCES 80
QUESTIONNAIRE – Appendix A 85
INTERVIEW INSTRUMENT – Appendix B 91
LETTER OF PERMISSION – Appendix C 92
xi

LIST OF TABLES

TABLE NO. TITLE PAGE

2.1 Factors Influencing Reading Habits 22

4.1 Gender Distribution of the Respondents 35

4.2 Age Distribution of the Respondents 36

4.3 Ethnicity Distribution of the Respondents 36

4.4 Marital status of the respondents 37

4.5 Academic Qualifications of the Respondents 38

4.6 Working Experience of the Respondents 38

4.7 Types of Book Read by the Respondents 39

4.8 Types of Magazines Read by the Respondents 40

4.9 Types of Newspapers Read by the Respondents 41

4.10 Other Publications Read by the Respondents 41

4.11 Respondents’ Reading Time 42

4.12 Total Number of Hours Spent on Reading per Week 43

4.13 Classes Taught by the Respondents 44

4.14 Number of Subjects Taught by the Respondents 45

4.15 Teaching Periods of the Respondents per Week 46


xii

4.16 Extra classes directed by the school 46

4.17 Frequency of the Extra Classes 47

4.18 Total Time Spent for Extra Classes 48

4.19 Places Were Respondents Read 49

4.20 Reason for Reading in the School Staffroom 51

4.21 Reason for Reading in the Public Library 52

4.22 Reason for Reading in the University Library 52

4.23 Reason for Reading at the Different Places 53

4.24 Reason for Reading in Other Places 54

4.25 Likert Scale on Respondents’ Opinion on Reading 55

4.26 Gender 57

4.27 Ethnicity 57

4.28 Academic Qualification 58

4.29 Teaching Experience 58

4.30 Types of Books Read by Respondents 59

4.31 Types of Newspaper Read by Respondents 60

4.32 Types of Magazine Read by Respondents 60

4.33 Other Publications Read by Respondents 61

4.34 Respondents’ Reading Time 61

4.35 Amount of Time Spent on Reading per Week 62

4.36 Number of Subjects Taught by Respondents 63

4.37 Level of Classes Taught by Respondents 63

4.38 Number of Teaching Periods per Week 64


xiii

4.39 Extra Classes Conducted by Respondents 64

4.40 Reasons for Reading at Home 65

4.41 Reading in the Staffroom 66

4.42 Types of Reading Materials and Reasons for Reading 68


xiv

LIST OF FIGURES

FIGURE NO. TITLE PAGE

2.1 The Reading Process 10


2.2 Hierarchy of Data in Texts 12
2.3 The Top-down Model of Reading 14
2.4 The Interactive Model of Reading 16
2.5 The Explanatory Model of Behaviour 23
4.1 Reasons for Reading at Home 50
xv

LIST OF APPENDICES

APPENDIX TITLE PAGE


A A Sample of a Survey Questionnaire 85
B A Sample of an Interview Instrument 91
C Letter of Permission to Carry out a Survey in Schools 92
CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Introduction

Teaching is a challenging career as teachers carry the responsibility of moulding


the character of their students and guiding them to be good citizens. According to The
Borneo Post, May 27, 2006, teachers hold the key to the future of the nation as they
have strong influence on their students who are our future generation. Thus, the recent
announcement of the existence of 162,000 “illiterate” students in Malaysia had shocked
teachers, students and parents.

In view of this, something has to be done to reduce and if possible, to totally


eradicate illiteracy among students. Therefore, to start with, teachers must be seen as
role models for the students to emulate. Teachers must read a lot in order to keep
abreast with the fast-changing information age.

Teachers should involve themselves in reading because according to Eskey


(1986. p.21, cited in Renandya & Jacobs, 2002): “Reading…must be developed, and
can only be developed, by means of extensive and continued practice. People learn to
read, and read better by reading.” This view on extensive reading as a reading habit is
also shared by Krashen (1993, p. 23, cited in Renandya & Jacobs, 2002) that through
2

reading we “develop a good writing style, an adequate vocabulary, advanced grammar


and … becomes good spellers”.

Finnochiaro (1989) also suggests that teachers need to read to help facilitate their
teaching-learning activity in the classroom as information obtained through their
reading will help them keep in touch with current issues and to apply them in their
classroom discussion. An effective teacher is a teacher who always keeps abreast with
changes be it in teaching or learning aspects. In view of the above mentioned problems,
the researcher would like to investigate the reading habits of teachers in the four
schools.

The poor reading habits among Malaysians can be seen in surveys conducted by
the Ministry of Education on National Literacy in 1982 and 1996 (Kaur and
Thiyagarajah, 1999). In the earlier survey, an average Malaysian citizen read a mere
page or two a year whilst the later revealed an average of two books a year.

In view of this, the research looked into the reading habits of teachers in four
government-aided secondary schools (Mission Schools) in Kuching district. The study
focused on the types of reading materials that they read, whether their teaching loads
inhibit their reading habits, factors that influence their reading habits, time spent on
reading and reasons for reading.

1.2 Background of Study

Reading is an important part of learning. It helps a person acquire knowledge of


the world and improve ones language skills. Reading is a unique process, as it requires
certain skills in getting meaning from a written text. These reading skills will enable a
reader not only to read the written form as meaningful language, but also to read it with
independence, comprehension and fluency. William (1984) usefully classifies reading
3

into three purposes; getting general information from the text, getting specific
information from the text; and for pleasure or interest. Getting information from texts is
one of the ways to gain knowledge of the world and by having more knowledge will
make a person knowledgeable. However, lack of motivation in reading is one of the
most common problems among Malaysians. This problem has prevented them from
acquiring knowledge of the world and from improving their language skills.

In view of this problem, the government has done its best to inculcate an interest
in reading among Malaysians. The Ministry of Education came up with the NILAM
(Nadi Ilmu Amalan Membaca) programme in 1998 to nurture the reading habits among
school children (Kaur and Thiyagarajah, 1999). Other extensive reading programmes
have also been implemented over the years such as Uninterrupted Sustained Silent
Reading (USSR), ‘Drop Everything and Read’ (DEAR) and the Book Flood Approach
(Elley and Mangubahi, 1983 as cited in Renandya and Jacobs, 2002). The purpose of
the programme is that readers read large quantities of books and other materials in an
environment that nurtures a life long reading habit. While much effort has been put into
reading campaigns and programmes, indication is that more and more Malaysians are
not interested in picking up the habit. Malaysian students at the tertiary level have
indeed shown our students’ poor regards for reading (Mohd Sallehudin 1994, as cited in
Normah 2004).

In Asia, recent surveys have shown that books are being put aside for video and
CD games, television and other electronic forms of entertainment (NST Computimes
May 3, 2004, cited in Normah, 2004). However, in investigating the effects of pleasure
reading among adult learners in Hong Kong, (Yang, 2001 as cited in Normah, 2004)
found that readers made substantial proficiency gains in the language. They were also
motivated to read more.

A study by Kaur and Thiyagarajah (1999) found that most of their respondents
showed very positive attitude towards reading, whereby 85.7 percent of them read in
4

English because they felt that it could improve their English language proficiency.
About 74.7 percent read to obtain good grades in their coursework and 71.4 percent
read in English because they wanted to become good English language teachers upon
graduation.

While for teachers reading is beneficial to them as information obtained through


reading will help them to be in touch with current issues and they will be able to relate
such issues in their classroom discussions. Finnochiaro (1989) pointed out that teachers
need to read because reading helps facilitate teaching and learning. Chitravelu et al.
(1997) stressed that appropriate teaching styles of a teacher in an English Language
classroom can increase the students’ interest in learning English. They summed up by
saying that English language teachers needed to read academic materials related to
English Language teaching and learning as this will further enhance the students’
learning needs and preferences.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

Two surveys conducted by the Ministry of Education on National Literacy in


1982 and 1996 revealed that in the earlier survey, an average Malaysian citizen read a
mere page or two a year whilst the later revealed an average of two books a year (Kaur
and Thiyagarajah, 1999). The researcher’s own experience and observations as a
teacher cum teacher trainer also suggest that teachers do not read much nowadays.
Therefore, in view of the problems, the researcher would like to investigate the
teachers’ reading habits namely; the type of reading materials, their frequency of
reading, their workload and other factors that inhibit their reading habits.
5

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study are to:


1. ascertain the types of reading materials read by teachers in the four
government-aided secondary schools;
2. examine teachers' frequency of reading academic and non-academic
materials;
3. investigate whether the teaching loads inhibit teachers’ reading
habits; and
4. investigate factors that influence teachers’ reading habits;

1.5 Research Questions

This research aims to address the following questions;


1. What types of reading materials do teachers in the four
government-aided secondary schools (Mission Schools) read?
2. How frequent do teachers read academic and non-academic
materials?
3. Do teachers’ teaching loads inhibit their reading habits?
4. What are the factors that influence teachers’ reading habits?

1.6 Significance of Study

It is hoped that the result of this study could contribute to further understanding
of the reading habits of secondary school teachers particularly in the four schools. The
result of this study can also be used as a basis for further research in areas related to
reading such as doing research on literacy or library facilities in schools. The result of
6

this research could also lead to further research on the various reading programmes
currently implemented in schools throughout the country.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study was only confined to teachers in four government-aided secondary


schools (Mission Schools) in Kuching district. The study looked into both academic
and non-academic reading materials frequently read by the respondents, factors that
influence their reading habits, time spent on reading and reasons for reading.

1.8 Limitation of the study

Firstly, the study was only limited to teachers from four government-aided
secondary schools (Mission schools). The reason being there are the only four mission
secondary schools in Kuching district that receive aids/funds from the government
unlike the fully-government secondary schools. Thus, the findings of this research may
not in any way reflect the real situation in all schools but rather confined to respondents
in the four schools.

Secondly, the study meant only to describe the reading habits of the teachers in
the four schools and no comparison of reading habits of teachers between the
government-aided and the fully-government secondary schools.

As such, the findings of this research neither represent the general population of
teachers in Kuching district nor the state of Sarawak.
7

1.9 Definition of Terms

1.9.1 Mission Schools – schools set up by the Christian missionaries during


the colonial days. It uses the name “Saint” before the name of the
school. For example, Saint Thomas Secondary School.

1.9.2 Chung Hua Middle School – schools set up by the Chinese community
during the colonial days, with Mandarin as a medium of instruction.

1.9.3 Academic Materials – any reading material aimed at academic purposes


for example, school’s textbooks and reference books useful for teaching
and learning activities.

1.9.4 Non-academic Materials – any reading material read for general


knowledge and leisure for example newspapers, magazines or books for
personal growth.

1.9.5 Teaching Loads – refers to teaching periods only. Teaching period of


more than 24 periods (40 minutes per period) per week is considered
heavy where as teaching period of less than 24 periods per week is
considered light.

1.9.6 Extra Class – classes conducted as directed by the school authority or


self- volunteered.
CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction

This chapter is divided into four main parts. In the first part the discussion is
centered on the definitions of reading habits and its key concepts. The second part
describes the theories of reading. Thirdly, the discussion is on attitude, motivation and
purpose of reading. In the final part of the chapter, the discussions on reading habits
amongst school teachers will be considered in more detailed.

2.2 What is Reading?

There is a vast literature on the definition of reading. According to Spache and


Spache (1969) there were a variety of definitions of reading due to the complexity and
successive stages of reading development. Reading can also be described in a variety of
headings such as reading for skill development, as a visual act, as a perceptual act as a
reflection of cultural background and a thinking process.
9

Grellet (1981) suggested that understanding a written text means extracting the
required information from it as efficiently as possible. Thus, readers apply different
reading strategies when looking for an advertisement at a notice board and reading an
article. In the former situation, a reader only needs the gist of the information whereas
in the latter, a more detailed comprehension is necessary.

On the other hand, Williams (1984) defined reading as a process in which a


reader looks at a text and understands what has been written. He further stated that
reading does not mean a person needs to understand everything he reads because people
read for different reasons and purposes.

Reading by itself seems easy and simple but many studies have been carried out
to show with scientific evidence that the act of reading is actually a very complicated
process. According to Ponnusamy (1997), the first important description of reading and
its process can be traced back as early as 1917 by Thorndike, a psychologist who coined
reading as reasoning. The process of reading can best be described in an analogy
written by Thorndike (1917) as cited in Ponnusamy (1997: 21) in which he described
the reading process as:

“…understanding a paragraph is like solving mathematics. It consists of


selecting the right element of situation and putting them together in the
right relations, and also within the right amount of weight or influence or
force for each. The mind is assailed as it was bothered by every word in
the paragraph. It must select, repress, soften, emphasize, correlate organize
all under the influence of the right mental shape or purpose or demand.
Thus, it appears that reading an explanatory or argumentative paragraph
involves the same sort of organization and analytic action of ideas as those
that occur in thinking supposedly higher sorts”.
10

2.3 The Reading Process

Various definitions had been given by researchers on reading process. These


researchers tried to describe what a reading process is and how it occurs. In Goodman’s
famous article written in 1967 (as in Wallace, 1992) Goodman describes reading as ‘a
psycholinguistic guessing game’. A reader uses three cue systems, represented by three
levels of language within the texts namely: graphophonic, syntactic and semantic.
According to Goodman, Yates and Burke’s (1980 as in Williams, 1993) model of
reading process, the process of reading involves an interaction between the reader’s and
the author’s knowledge or mind. The reader uses his background knowledge to assist
his understanding of the written texts (Figure 2.1).

Author’s
thought PREDICTING
and Reader selects cues
language and predicts material

CONFIRMING
Reader checks
grapho-phonics
semantic and
syntactic
Reader’s
acceptability
thought
and INTERGRATING
language Reader integrates
meaning gained with
his or her world view

Figure 2.1: The Reading Process