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Chapter 1

INTRODUCTION

At one time in the history of man, the ability to read carried a social prestige as well

as economic value. Long ago, most men might well have lived within the narrow confines

of their brows and the brown of their hands. There were those few men who were destined

for their religious life of the scholars and they were often inseparable. They were isolated

from their fellows in a world so completely different from that of the average man of the

times that there was no real communication between the two.

Reading is so much a part of everyday living that one could hardly imagine modern

life without it and that the man who cannot read and comprehend is an economic cripple.

Studies, surveys and researches have shown that people fulfil many needs in life through

it.

Reading comprehension is the act of understanding what you are reading. While

the definition can be simply stated the act is not simple to teach, learn or practice. Reading

comprehension is an intentional, active, interactive process that occurs before, during and

after a person reads a particular piece of writing.

Reading comprehension is one of the pillars of the act of reading. When a person

reads a text he engages in a complex array of cognitive processes. He is simultaneously

using his awareness and understanding of phonemes (individual sound “pieces” in

language), phonics (connection between letters and sounds and the relationship between

sounds, letters and words) and ability to comprehend or construct meaning from the text.

This last component of the act of reading is reading comprehension. It cannot occur
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independent of the other two elements of the process. At the same time, it is the most

difficult and most important of the three.

There are two elements that make up the process of reading

comprehension: vocabulary knowledge and text comprehension. In order to understand a

text, the reader must be able to comprehend the vocabulary used in the piece of writing. If

the individual words don’t make the sense, then the overall story will not either. Children

can draw on their prior knowledge of vocabulary, but they also need to continually be

taught new words. The best vocabulary instruction occurs at the point of need. Parents and

teachers should pre-teach new words that a child will encounter in a text or aid her in

understanding unfamiliar words as she comes upon them in the writing. In addition to being

able to understand each distinct word in a text, the child also has to be able to put them

together to develop an overall conception of what it is trying to say. This is text

comprehension. Text comprehension is much more complex and varied that vocabulary

knowledge. Readers use many different text comprehension strategies to develop reading

comprehension. These include monitoring for understanding, answering and generating

questions, summarizing and being aware of and using a text’s structure to aid

comprehension.

Reading comprehension strategies must be taught over an extended period of time

by parents and teachers who have knowledge and experience using them. It might seem

that once a child learns to read in the elementary grades he is able to tackle any future

text that comes his way. This is not true. Reading comprehension strategies must be

refined, practiced and reinforced continually throughout life. Even in the middle grades
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and high school, parents and teachers need to continue to help their children develop

reading comprehension strategies. As their reading materials become more diverse and

challenging, children need to learn new tools for comprehending these texts. Content area

materials such as textbooks and newspaper, magazine and journal articles pose different

reading comprehension challenges for young people and thus require different

comprehension strategies. The development of reading comprehension is a lifelong

process that changes based on the depth and breadth of texts the person is reading.

Without comprehension, reading is nothing more than tracking symbols on a page

with your eyes and sounding them out. Imagine being handed a story written in Egyptian

hieroglyphics with no understanding of their meaning. You may appreciate the words

aesthetically and even be able to draw some small bits of meaning from the page, but you

are not truly reading the story. The words on the page have no meaning. They are simply

symbols. People read for many reasons but understanding is always a part of their

purpose. Reading comprehension is important because without it reading doesn’t provide

the reader with any information.

Beyond this, reading comprehension is essential to life. Much has been written

about the importance of functional literacy. In order to survive and thrive in today’s

world individuals must be able to comprehend basic texts such as bills, housing

agreements (leases, purchase contracts), directions on packaging and transportation

documents (bus and train schedules, maps, travel directions). Reading comprehension is a

critical component of functional literacy. Think of the potentially dire effects of not being

able to comprehend dosage directions on a bottle of medicine or warnings on a container


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of dangerous chemicals. With the ability to comprehend what they read, people are able

not only to live safely and productively, but also to continue to develop socially,

emotionally and intellectually

The current explosion of research in second language reading has begun to focus

on readers' strategies. Reading strategies are of interest for what they reveal about the

way readers manage their interaction with written text and how these strategies are

related to text comprehension. Research in second language reading suggests that learners

use a variety of strategies to assist them with the acquisition, storage, and retrieval of

information. Strategies are defined as learning techniques, behaviors, problem-solving or

study skills which make learning more effective and efficient (Oxford and Crookall,

1989).

In the context of second language learning, a distinction can be made between

strategies that make learning more effective, versus strategies that improve comprehension.

The former is generally referred to as learning strategies in the second language literature.

Comprehension or reading strategies on the other hand, indicate how readers conceive of

a task, how they make sense of what they read, and what they do when they don't

understand. In short, such strategies are processes used by the learner to enhance reading

comprehension and overcome comprehension failures.

People need to meet practical demands of everyday living to carry on occupational

activities to further their recreational interests, to satisfy intellectual curiosity, to

understand current events to gain information and to satisfy emotional and spiritual needs.
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Proficiency in reading is closely related to scholastic success as found in good

reading comprehension in subjects like Social Studies, Mathematics, Science and other

subjects that utilize English as the medium of instruction. It can be stated therefore that

important consideration in reading is comprehension.

The major responsibility of training and molding the students to become dynamic

agents of development lies on the shoulders of educators. The teachers’ role is to expand

and deepen students’ interests, motivation and appreciation and develop their powers of

critical thinking so that they will be well—armed to face the challenges of development.

With the recent instructional and curricular innovation ushered by the Department

of Education (DepEd) such as the Secondary Education Curriculum (SEC) that

revolutionizes backward design of learning through the Understanding by Design (UbD)

Framework and the curricular enhancement proposed through the Kindergarten Plus

Twelve (K+12) educational system, it is hoped that the achievement level of the learners

could be improved.

The teachers’ important goal is to see what happens to the students as the results of

the skills they are applying. This may be in terms of clearer insights and broadened

understandings, heightened emotional responses, reinforced or changed attitudes and

modification in behaviour, in short, personal and social development.

In the process of searching for knowledge, developing understanding, skills and

values, students meet difficulties not only in analyzing and interpreting concepts found in

their textbooks but also in synthesizing meanings of these concepts and assimilating them

so that these become a part of their thoughts and behavior patterns.


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Reading comprehension is the perception. Making sense of and comprehension of

written matters in clear words it is to cognize in all respects the information in all respects

the information, feelings and thoughts that are desired to be transmitted, without having

caused any misunderstanding, in its course and without leaving any doubtful points behind.

(Kavcar, Oguzkan &Sever, 1994: 4)

A prosperous reading comprehension necessitates the active participation by the

reader, commencing a arranging the reading process on his own. In this context, the control

of an individual over his reading and reading comprehension is subject to utilization of

cognitive strategies and cognitive awareness (Harris & Sipay, 1990). As matter of fact,

when the sources upon reading comprehension is examined, it will be noticed that the

concepts such cognition and metacognition remain at the forefront of reading

comprehension. Because reading comprehension requires effective utilization of cognitive

structure

Simultaneously, reading also will develop ability to think critically, creatively,

analytically and imaginatively. Therefore, Aksan and Kisac (2009) stated that reading as a

fundamental learning that helping individual for getting knowledge, because reading

activity will shape the ability to think through the processes of capturing ideas or

information, comprehend, imagine, implemented expression (Aksan & Kisac, 2009)

Reading comprehension is as important as learning itself. A learner has to

understand what he reads, thus, enabling him to apply his prior reading skills to more

reading skills. A study of improvement of speed and comprehension in reading among

Indian subjects said that drills with timed reading passages, each followed by a test of
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comprehension is considered to be the easiest, quickest, and the best of the methods known

to improve the two vital skills of speed and comprehension in reading.

Education is the delivery of knowledge, skills and information from teachers to

students, while the above metaphor, Education as a delivery system sounds reasonable.

This conception of education contributes to harming students and teachers by driving

policy makers to insist information that students demonstrate knowledge of on test for

many people the importance of education lies in future job prospects, for others its quality

of citizenship, and yet others want literacy, critical thinking and creativity. A better

understanding of what education is one that builds upon this idea is crucial to enable people

to reason about education productivity

The problem causing the poor quality of education among Filipino students has

been attributed to limited instructional resources such as school buildings, textbooks, and

the like. Indeed, the problem also sprouts because of learner factors that might involve their

inability to learn foundation skills such as reading comprehension.

Reading comprehension, needless to say, greatly facilitates understanding and

learning. This skill is not only necessitated in language subjects, the more it is needed in

other academic subjects. Learners apply what they learn in English and Filipino subjects

in other disciplines. It is therefore imperative that language teachers make a strong point

of developing comprehension skills among learners.

One of the most important subject in education is “ENGLISH”. English is important

for many reasons. For one, you can’t get a great job if you can speak and comprehend it

well, it teaches you great things even about history (poets, etc.) There are definitely a lot

of reason why it is important and now a day many students experience obstacles in reading
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comprehension in taking English test. Sometimes students can’t really comprehend and

understand English that is cause of getting failing grades in English subject.

Language teachers shall therefore not only consider objective measures of learners’

comprehension level but need to find out what behaviors and attitudes they have with

regards to reading comprehension.

Needless to say, one effective means to access students’ objective performance in

their comprehension is through comprehension tests. Through these, the teacher is not only

provided a component in objectively rating students but a ready reference of students’

reading comprehension abilities.

Statement of the Problem

Specifically, this study attempted to answer the following questions:

1. How may the students’ perceptions on English and tests on reading

comprehension be described?

2. How may the one’s students’ self-esteem towards reading comprehension be

described?

3. How may the students’ test-taking skills in reading comprehension be

described?

4. What implication to ELA can be drowned from the findings of this research?
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Conceptual Framework

Perceptions on Students’ self- Students’ test-


Implication to
English and esteem towards taking skills in
ELA in reading
tests on reading reading reading
comprehension
comprehension comprehension comprehension

Figure 1. Paradigm of the Study

The conceptual framework, illustrate the perceptions on English and reading

comprehension test. It determines the students’ self-esteem towards reading

comprehension and students test taking skills. Hence, it shall help to draw the possible

implications.

Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This study aimed to determine the students’ perception in English and test in

reading comprehension in the St. Vincent School Foundation Inc.

This study has been limited to the reason of the students of liking and disliking

reading comprehension in English. This study also determining the weakness of the grade

7 students in reading comprehension in English subject. The implications of this research

to English language teaching will be drawn.


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Significance of the Study

This study looked at Grade 7 students of the St. Vincent School Foundation Inc.

Paniqui, Tarlac perception in reading comprehension that involved their perceptions on

their English tests, self-esteem towards reading comprehension and test-taking skills.

This finding of this study are deemed advantageous to the following:

English Teachers. PE Teachers, not only in the school where this research has been

conducted, will be given research-based information on students’ perceptions on English

and tests on reading comprehension, self-esteem towards reading comprehension and test-

taking skills in reading comprehension which they can use in addressing such problems in

students’ academic performance particularly in English, and specifically in their reading

comprehension performances.

To the school administrator. The findings of this research may be utilized by the

school administrator as bases in formulating over-all plans that address the improvement

of students’ academic performance. The school head will be hoped to be benefited from

this study through integrating the findings of this study in the formulation of school-based

policies that concern learners’ achievement in English, particularly how English subject

affect the life of the student, and what are the obstacle that they have already experience in

reading comprehension in English test and it implemented purposive of making learners

aware of the importance of English, not only as a subject but also as part of their leaves.

To the Students. Because students’ perceptions on English and tests on reading

comprehension, self-esteem towards reading comprehension and test-taking skills in

reading comprehension are accessed, English teachers will thereby be prompted to improve

their teaching strategies in English and be able to improve the reading comprehension
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capabilities of students. The students will be given a treatment, so that the students develop

their self-confidence when it comes to English test, proper teaching strategies is important

to overcome their weakness to that subject. Because the role of the teacher is to make their

students become interested in English reading comprehension and to know how it is

important to their leaves.

Definition and Terms

For the purpose facilitating understanding the following terms are operationally

defined.

Assessment. Assessment is the method of measuring and evaluating the nature of

the learner, what he learns and how he learns.

Comprehension. According to Crowell (2000), comprehension involves

understanding the words on the page together with understanding the ideas being expressed

by the writer.

English. English is a language that being used as a medium of communication.

(google.com)

Perception. Perception is a belief or opinion, often held by many people and based

on how things seem (http://dictionary.cambridge.org). In this study, perception refers to

the respondents’ insight and attitude about assistance.

Reading. Reading is an activity of contacting the eyes on the printed materials by

which a reader is led process; and create a new similar to that of the original one

(Alderson:1980), while Karlin defines reading as a complex of skills that the individual

uses to drive meaning from the printed page (Karlin: 2003)


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Reading Comprehension. Reading comprehension is the process of using

syntactic, semantic and rhetorical information found in printed text to reconstruct in the

reader’s mind, using the knowledge of the world he or she possesses, plus appropriate

cognitive skills and reasoning ability (Devine: 1986).

Self –esteem. Self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth

or personal value. In other words, how much you appreciate and like yourself, it can also

involve a variety of beliefs about yourself, such as the appraisal of your own appearance,

beliefs, emotions, and behaviors.

Strategies. Strategies is method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such

as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem. The art of science or planning and

marshaling resources for their most efficient and effective use. The term is derived from

the Greek word for generalship or leading an army.

Skills. Skills is the knowledge and ability that enables you to do something well. It

is also the ability and capacity acquired through deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort

to smoothly and adaptively carryout complex activities or job functions involving ideas

(cognitive skills), things (technical skills), and/ or people (interpersonal skills)

Test. Test is a series questions, problems, or physical responses designed to

determine knowledge, intelligence, or ability. A basis for evaluation or judgment.


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Chapter 2

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE AND STUDIES

This chapter presents are review of literature taken from books, journals, internet

and other references, and other studies conducted within the Philippines and abroad which

are related to the study. It aims to provide the basic foundation and relevant information

that will facilitate clearer understanding on how each of these information and studies relate

to the present investigation.

Related Literature

Reading is a cognitive process which includes transferring the written symbols by

the reader through the eyes, so these symbols need understanding meaning and then

integrating this meaning into personal experiences. Therefore, there are some highly

complex psychological processes concerned with reading (Ward and Skailand, 1983).

Reading is sometimes referred to as a passive skill, but if we study the abilities that come

into play in fluent direct reading with comprehension of meaning it is clear that readers are

far from passive during this activity (Rivers, 1981). Accordingly, we may conclude that

the ultimate purpose of reading is comprehension of the written passages or the

understanding of the content of the written texts. Hedgcock and Ferris (2009) reflected on

reading comprehension as a complex construct that involves the interaction of several

psycholinguistic processes. It goes far beyond the ability to state the main idea of a text in

one sentence, answer questions about details, define vocabulary, accurately read the text

aloud, and so forth. Comprehension further involves the simultaneous and largely
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subconscious application of various types of background knowledge (schemata) and

reading skills to particular texts.

Brown (2001) confirmed that" reading is as much an emotional as a cognitive

process so that the affective factors strongly impact all phases of the writing process"

(p.300). Hence, the lower standards of reading proficiency could be due to many various

factors including cognitive or affective ones. In fact, reading is a combination of cognitive

and affective processes and to optimize learning, equal attention should be given to the two

sides; cognitive and affective. Learning English as a foreign language is one aspect of that

broad process of learning. Therefore, not having a balance between those two domains,

English learning process will be negatively affected. Andres (2002) argued that language

learning is affected by both domains which are the mental and emotional sides of human

behavior.

The affective domain includes emotions and psychological facets that learners hold

about learning. No wonder, perceptions that the students bring to the learning situation

have been recognized as a significant contributory factor to the learning process (Bernat,

2005). Those facets can be motivation, attitudes, anxiety or self-esteem. They can be

positive or negative factors (Branden, 1994). In recent years, the importance of affective

factors like anxiety, inhibition, motivation and self-esteem has been of interest in the field

of language learning because of their high effects on learning a foreign or a second

language (Andres, 2002). For this reason, researchers (Krashen, 1981; Dornyei, 2001;

Khushaim, 2001; Andres, 2002) called upon reducing anxiety and inhibition and enhancing

learner's motivation and self-esteem in the classroom context. Self-esteem is considered as

one of the important affective factors because success or failure of a person depends mostly
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on the degree of one's self-esteem. Stevick (1990) stated that success depends less on

materials, techniques, and linguistic analysis, and more on what goes on inside and between

the people in the classroom. Indeed, success is not measured of how much one gains but

of how satisfied he is with his work (Daniel and King, 1995; Grandin, 2002). Hence, a

person should put a high value for his performance and be confident of his achievement

because those judgments he makes are the drive for mastering proficiency (Stout, 2001).

Moreover, Branden (1985) indicated that the biggest barrier to success is not lack of ability

or talent but it is lack of self-esteem. Learning English involves challenges and risk-taking;

so to cope with them a learner needs to positively esteem him/herself. Around this issue,

Brown (2007) maintained that "no successful activity can be occurred without some degree

of self- esteem" (p.154). Further, Branden (1994) stated that "the value of self-esteem lies

not in the fact that it allows us to feel better but because it allows us to live better, to respond

to challenges and opportunities" (p.5). Furthermore, as Dornyei (2005) suggested, self-

esteem could be a manifestation of one's performance. Students who have good feeling

about themselves have in their minds high goals to achieve whereas students with low self-

esteem are likely to think about goals that are extremely low and would protect them from

the anxiety of failure. According to the self-esteem model of Ross and Broh (2000)

adolescents who feel good about themselves do better in school than do those who have

low self-worth. If poor performance in academics can lead to a more negative view of

oneself, then knowing this serves as an important motivator in measuring the relationship

between self-esteem and academic achievement (Osborne, 1995). Self-esteem has been

determined to play a major role in learning outcomes and school influences the process of

developing selfesteem (Pepi et al., 2006). In general, more successful academic


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accomplishments are coupled with higher self-esteem. Because there is such a strong,

positive relationship and a continuous interaction between these two factors, studying them

together can serve students, teachers, counselors and anyone working in the school

environment in a beneficial manner (Freih, 2005). In fact, there are many studies that

investigated the relationship between self-esteem and academic achievements and revealed

a positive relationship

Low self-esteem can negatively affect language learning and they especially appear

in oral communication (Nogueras and Rosa, 1997.It was found that self-esteem is related

to EFL speaking ability. Kimura (2002) reached similar results when he investigated the

relationship between affective factors (self-esteem, anxiety and risk-taking) and oral

communicative tasks. Results revealed that successful learners tend to take risks but they

do not show higher self-esteem than less successful ones Accordingly, many researchers

(Stevick, 1990; He, 1996; Khushaim, 2001) underlined the effect of teachers on building

or harming student's self-esteem. Based on that, it is the EFL teacher's role to create a

comfortable, relaxed and non-threatening environment and adopt different strategies to

enable students to achieve well because the possibility to make mistakes in foreign

language learning is greater and learners are exposed more to affective problems. It is the

EFL teachers’ responsibility to create a positive and supportive language learning

environment. They can increase students' achievement through applying different

strategies that make students express themselves freely, feel comfortable and believe that

the teacher cares about them. In this regard, a warm-hearted interaction between teachers

and learners, as well as among learners themselves would be the most essential factor in

successful language learning (Finch, 2001). Students can achieve well and do their best if
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they feel safe. This occurs when the teacher behaves modestly, be a good listener, cares

about their participation and makes them feel they are worthy and efficient. What EFL

teachers should believe in is that they can affect students' whole life and may change their

future (Moskowitz, 1978). They should allow students talk about their interests, feelings

and do not consider this as deviation from the subject but it is to enrich the subject. The

teacher should specify students' objectives in behavioral and measurable terms, and apply

a variety of materials and teaching aids to the class for achieving these objectives. The

teacher should foster student expectations about the reading and arouse their interest to

read. A number of studies suggested that boys and girls diverge in their primary source of

self-esteem with girls being more influenced by relationships and boys being more

influenced by objective success. For instance, Block and Robins (1993) discovered gender

differences in self-esteem. They found that self-esteem was interpersonally oriented for

adolescent girls, while for boy’s self-esteem was person-oriented. Thus, while self-esteem

was related to the masculine trait of unique superiority for boys, high self-esteem was

related to interconnectedness with others for adolescent girls. Butterfield (1999)

demonstrated that there were statistically significant differences in self-esteem by gender

on the academic competence scale, peer popularity scale, and personal security scale.

Reading comprehension is the ability to fully understand what is being read. A

person with great reading comprehension can visualize, question, and interpret what they

are reading, and they can think about their own feelings and opinions while reading text.

The comprehension process is mostly unconscious- it happens without our active

involvement or awareness.
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People learn comprehension skills through education or instruction and some learn

by direct experiences. Proficient reading depends on the ability to recognize words quickly

and effortlessly. It is also determined by an individual’s cognitive development, which is

“the construction of thought processes”. There are specific characteristics that determine

how successfully an individual will comprehend text, including prior knowledge about the

subject, well-developed language, and the ability to make inferences from methodical

questioning and monitoring comprehension like “Why is this important? And “ Do I need

to read the entire text? Are examples of passage questioning.

Comprehension levels are observed through neuroimaging techniques like

functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI). fMRIs are used to determine the specific

neural pathways of activation across two conditions, narrative-level comprehension and

sentence level comprehension, suggesting a shared reliance with comprehension pathways.

The language use strategies employed by learners on the various forms of language

assessment are referred to as test-taking strategies (Cohen, 1998). To be specific, test-

taking strategies are techniques that test takers resort to with the aim of getting correct

answers on a given form of language assessment (cf., Cohen, 1986; Cohen & Upton, 2006).

The successful use of these strategies does not necessarily imply mastery of the testing task

at hand, as Cohen (1986) explains clearly when suggesting that test takers may get their

answers to a multiple-choice reading test right “without fully or even partially

understanding the text” (p. 132). In a later article, Cohen (1992) notes that test-taking

strategies represent processes that test takers can have control over by selecting what they

believe would help them tackle a test question, suggesting that test-taking strategies are

conscious processes. He adds that these strategies can either be a short move (e.g., looking
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for a clue that links the information in the question to that in the reading text) or a long one

(e.g., reading the whole text after reading the questions). Scholars (e.g., Allan, 1992;

Cohen, 2014; Phakiti, 2008) have referred to two categories of test-taking strategies: test-

management strategies and test-wiseness strategies. The former call for logical and

purposeful response behaviors, are reflective of the underlying competence, and are

responsive to the underlying construct being assessed, whereas the latter involve the use of

textual and/or technical aspects of the test to get the right answers, are not reflective of the

underlying competence or responsive to the underlying construct being assessed. From a

different perspective, Rupp, Ferne and Choi (2006) classify the test-taking strategies used

on reading tests into general strategies that can be applied to any test format, text-related

strategies that test takers employ with the text, and item-related strategies that test takers

use with the question items. Some research evidence suggests that the extent to which test

takers make use of test-management versus test-wiseness strategies can substantially

determine the quality of their test performance (e.g., Wu & Stone, 2015).

www.scholink.org/ojs/index.php/selt Studies in English Language Teaching

Related Studies

Foreign

In 1997, Elin Oliver keene and Susan Zimmermann, partners of the Denver-based

Public Education and Business Coalitiom, published “Mosaic of Thought”, which

explained how good readers use thinking strategies to build comprehension. Zimmermann

followed with “Seven Keys to Comprehension,” a work designed to give parents and

teachers practical advice on teaching children to read strategically. She explains how
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readers use their background knowledge and imagination to visualize what they read.

Zimmermann also reveals how children can learn to ask themselves questions to help them

find important details and make key inferences. Finally, she shows how readers can put

ideas together to form a complete understanding of what they’ve been trying to

comprehend.

Debbie Miller, the author of several books on reading, outlines methods for

teaching reading comprehension to elementary school students in “Reading with

Meaning”. Miller discusses setting up a classroom where plan instruction around what

students need individually and help those students with one-on-one conferences. Reading

teachers, Miller believes, need to build relationships with their students based on trust and

open communication. Miller teaches students to work with the same reading strategies.

However, in the book, Miller describes teaching students to apply those comprehension

strategies independently.

In many second or foreign language-teaching situations, reading comprehension

receives a special focus for several reasons. It is considered as an important language ability

because it enhances the process of language acquisition and helps students to read for a

variety of purposes. Besides, written texts serve various pedagogical purposes. Therefore,

extensive exposure to linguistically comprehensible written texts can enhance the process

of language acquisition. In addition, suitable reading texts serve as good models for

writing, and provide opportunities for introducing new topics, stimulating discussions, and

studying the features of language. Many foreign language students often have reading as

one of their most important goals. In fact, in most EFL academic situations, the ability to

read in a foreign language is all that students ever want to acquire. Reading, then, is highly
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valued by students and teachers alike. The ability to read, no matter what the purpose of

reading is, requires that readers extract information from the text and combine it with

information and expectations they already have. Therefore, reading is a meaning-

construction process which involves an interaction between text and reader. During

reading, readers subconsciously try to interact with the passage in order to understand the

text. However, since in this interaction readers approach a text with differing background

knowledge, interests, motivations, skills, and strategies, they arrive at different

interpretations of the same text. Reading is also a problem-solving behavior that actively

involves the reader in the process of deriving and assigning meaning. During this problem-

solving activity, readers have to draw on contextual information that contains syntactic,

semantic, and discourse constraints which affect their interpretation of the passage (Rivers,

1988, 11 p.71). Syntactic constraints are provided by the word order and the syntactic rules

of the language. Semantic constraints include the distribution of meaning within a specific

language and culture. Discourse constraints are those provided by the topic of the text and

its development. According to Chastain (1988, p.26) these constrains make reading

comprehension a highly cognitively demanding skill which involves careful attention,

memory, perceptual processes, and comprehension processes. It also includes

understanding words, sentences, or even texts, along with a complex integration of the prior

knowledge, language proficiency, and metacognitive strategies. Language learners may

have various problems in reading comprehension. Some may have specific difficulties with

phonological skills, others with word recognition. Most, however, have some difficulties

in more than one area. Of course, reading difficulties can be the result of many factors such

as cognitive, affective, and so forth and it is never easy to find the causes. Developing
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reading abilities assists students in overcoming their reading problems and in becoming

competent readers. Another important factor that contributes to students' reading ability is

the extent of their knowledge about various reading strategies (see Chastain, 1988; Rivers

& Temperley, 1978). Beginners have fewer strategies at their disposal and are less skilled

than more experienced readers. Good readers try to create a structure on what they are

reading and this stimulates further expectations about what is to come next. According to

Rivers (1990, p. 30), students can progress in reading if the knowledge of the language in

the oral form precedes reading, as this is the order of learning the mother tongue. Therefore,

it becomes easier for readers to recognize what they already know orally, in its graphic

form. Oral reading fluency has attracted considerable attention as a potentially reliable

indictor of reading competence (Kame'enui & Simmons, 2001, p. 208). Practice in reading

aloud can be considered as a primary step to both reading and writing. Before students can

do either well, the connection between the sound and its written symbol(s) needs to be

recognized because competent reading requires adequate attention to the meaning of the

word while focusing on its sound. As a result, when a word is misread, good readers tend

to recognize the error, because it does not make sense in context. Without this knowledge,

students are not likely to be successful in the typical language class in which all language

skills are stressed. 12 Many reading specialists (e.g., Chodkieiwicz, 2001; Hadley, 2003;

Rivers, 1990; Wallace, 2001) emphasize the importance of selecting authentic materials

for the purpose of both teaching and testing reading comprehension without having to

worry about unfamiliar structures and vocabulary. During working on reading

comprehension tasks that preserve authenticity, students should be encouraged to use their

knowledge of the syntax by paraphrasing, simplifying, avoiding, and even inferring from
23

rules they know in the new language. Simplifying an authentic reading passage can

improve understanding of the passage if it is performed by the readers themselves.

However, simplifying texts for the purpose of publication reduces the texts' natural

redundancy which might actually make them more difficult to read. Therefore, authentic

materials should be presented to students, if possible, in their original form, to allow them

to use non-linguistic cues to interpret meaning. Authenticity is also important in testing

reading comprehension. Reading comprehension tests ought to be constructed in relation

to the ways people read texts in normal life. "Since most test methods are unusual in real-

life reading, the purpose for which readers on tests read, or possibly the manner in which

they read, may not correspond to the ways they normally read such texts" (Alderson, 2000,

p. 248). In other words, the danger is that the test may not reflect how students would

understand the passage in the real world. One resolution to this problem may be employing

test methods that most probably reflect the ways in which readers read in the real world.

Reading comprehension skills are also improved if learners are exposed to reading

materials that are at the right difficulty level. This has been emphasized by many reading

experts (e.g., Nassaji, 2003; Nunan, 1989; Soranastapon & Chuedoung, 1999; Widdowson

1990; Willis & Willis, 2001). The difficulty level of a reading passage depends on the

degree of structural and lexical complexity of the language used. It should be in accordance

with the readers' current level of competence and permit students to decode the passage's

structure and its lexicon in other to understand it. Decoding a passage consists of both

syntactic and semantic processes. Fluent readers rely more on semantic than syntactic

information except when the meaning is not clear (Rivers, 1988, p.73). During syntacdc

processing, readers have to recognize meaningful structural relationships within the


24

sentences. During semantic processing, they should be able to identify the lexical meaning

of words and try to create a broader meaning for these words within the contexts of phrase,

sentence, and discourse. However, sometimes this semantic processing becomes more

complicated because of the existence of 13 difficult words. One criterion for deciding about

the difficulty level of the words is th length. According to Bernhardt (1984, p. 39), longer

or multi-syllable words in a passage are considered as difficult because they do require

considerable processing attention.

To be good readers, language learners should develop and improve three distinctive

reading abilities that contribute to competent reading: (a) recognizing familiar written

words, (b) using phonic skills to pronounce unfamiliar words, and (c^ understanding what

is being read (Funnel & Morgan, 1995, p. 46). Since these three abilities are, to a

considerable degree, independent of each other, readers may rely mostly on one skill and

rarely make use of the others. One way of helping these students to apply all these skills is

preparing suitable materials in the form of reading comprehension tasks and passages that

are interesting, relevant, and at an appropriate level of complexity (Dobrenow, 1981, p.

www). Materials should also match the learners' objectives, put them in control of their

learning, be socio-culturally appropriate, be based on the norms of the society, be gender

sensitive, be age appropriate, match the ability of the students, be up to date and authentic,

be well organized and easy to use, and facilitate interaction among learners. Appropriate

reading materials can noticeably help readers to improve their comprehension of textbook

assignments, directions on exams, homework assignments, job applications, or

questionnaires. They can also assist students in comprehending the discourse structure and

the organization of the reading passage, if they clarify the passage's function, its general
25

argumentative organization, its rhetorical structure, the use of cohesive devices, and the

understanding of intersentential relationships (Hadley, 2003, p. 198). Comprehension is

also enhanced if students are familiar with various types of reading materials and if such

materials are related to understanding the plain facts as well as the implications,

suppositions, and evaluations of the text (Grabe & Stoller, 2001, p.l93).
26

Chapter 3

METHODS OF STUDY AND SOURCES OF DATA

Research Design

The descriptive method of research was employed to bring forth the result of the

study. The descriptive method was used to describe a situation or given state affairs in

terms of specified effects or factors. What may be described are characteristics of

individual or groups (students, administrative, faculty members, patients and others) or

physical environment (school’s establishments and others). The descriptive method is

designed to gather information about present conditions. With this method, one can

describe the nature of a situation existed at the time of the study and explore the causes of

a particular phenomenon. Since the study aimed to describe students’ perceptions on their

reading comprehension, the descriptive method of research was the most appropriate.

Respondents of the Study

The twenty-seven (27) Grade 7 students of the St. Vincent School Foundation Inc.

Paniqui, Tarlac, enrolled during the school year 2018-2019 were the respondents of the

study. The researcher used questioner to determine the attitude of the students towards

the reading comprehension test.

Methods of Gathering Data

Questionnaires were constructed to be reliable instruments in the research data

gathering. The descriptive survey involved the gathering of data through a questionnaire,

to answer queries on the existing or current conditions of the subject of the study and the

assessment of perceptions towards events, procedures, or problems. Essential in bringing


27

forth the necessary data needed to answer the present study’s problems, the descriptive

method of research was used by the researcher.

The contents of the questionnaire greatly draw on the researcher's reading of

educational literature and available worldwide web (international network) related

materials to gain a substantial data. The questionnaire utilized to answer question 1 of this

research was based on the teacher-researcher’s reading of educational materials.

Meanwhile, the questionnaire used to answer questions 2 and 3 of the research were based

on the instruments developed by Querol (1995) will be utilized and Rosenberg (1986).

Since these instruments were originally intended to measuring attitudes towards

Chemistry, the researcher had to revise the items to fit them to English and English reading

comprehension.

The drafts of the questionnaires were checked and revised by Mr. Jonathan

Gamboa, Ed,D (2019), an English reader. He is employed as public school teacher and he

is teaching English subjects.

After the school head’s permission has been sought to conduct the study, the

questionnaire which was printed in the form of visual aids had been answered in individual

papers by the students. Questions from the students during the conduct of data gathering

were entertained by the teacher, enabling the respondents to fully understand what they are

answering. The answer sheets were immediately collected by the teacher, tabulated,

interpreted, and analyzed results in accordance with the goals of this research.

Random interview among the students was carried out purposively to verifying

respondents’ answers and to check the correctness of all entries supplied in the

questionnaires. Vague responses were made clear through interview.


28

Statistical Treatment

Tables were used to present the findings of the study. To statistically express the

findings, the researcher made use of a five (5)-point Likert scale. The numerical equivalents

of the respondents’ answers were summarized using Average Weighted Means with the

following index of limits:

Table 1
Limits

Scale of Limits Description


4.2 - 5 Very True
3.4 - 4.19 True
2.6 - 3.39 Neither True Nor Untrue
1.8 - 2.59 Not True
1 - 1.79 Very Untrue

Intervals Interpretation
4.2 - 5 Very True
3.4 - 4.2 True
2.6 - 3.4 Neither True Nor Untrue
1.8 - 2.6 Not True
1 - 1.8 Very Untrue
29

Chapter 4

PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA

This chapter presents the analysis and interpretation of the statistical measures of

the problems. Tabular presentation has been employed by the researcher to cleanly show

the salient feature of the study.

1. Perceptions on English and Tests on Reading Comprehension

This study describes the perception of the grade 7 students towards their reading

comprehension test.

SOP 1
Indicators WM Interpretation
1. I feel uncomfortable before English exams. 2.6 Neither True nor Untrue

The indicator which states that the students feel uncomfortable before an English
exam received a weighted of 2.6 and is interpreted as neither true nor untrue to them.
This shows that the students do not generally feel
30

Indicators WM Verbal Description


I feel uncomfortable before English exams. 2.6 Neither True Nor Untrue

English is a very important subject in the school. 4.4 Very True


I become distracted during the test. 2.7 Neither True Nor Untrue
I check my work before submitting it to my teacher. 3.8 True
I do relaxation exercises during the test. 2.5 Not True
I feel comfortable taking reading tests in English. 3.1 Neither True Nor Untrue
I feel smart enough to answer English tests. 3.1 Neither True Nor Untrue
I feel that I cannot improve my performance in English reading 1.9 Not True
comprehension.
I find myself thinking “I can’t do this” during English exams. 3.1 Neither True Nor Untrue
I find ways to improve my performance in English, particularly in 4 True
reading comprehension.1
I get stomach aches before English exams. 1.4 Very Untrue
I have distracting thoughts of failure during English tests. 2.5 Not True
I like to be tested on reading comprehension tests in English. 3.8 True
I look around at other students during English exams. 2 Not True
I plan my time when I take English tests. 3 Neither True Nor Untrue
I prepare for reading tests. 3.6 True
I score much lower on tests than on homework or other assignments. 2.3 Not True
I share the results of my tests with my parents. 4.3 Very True
I suddenly know the answers during English tests. 2.7 Neither True Nor Untrue
I think about failing when I take reading tests. 2.5 Not True
I wish I could learn without having exams. 2.8 Neither True Nor Untrue
I wish I had studied more so I will score on English reading 3.9 True
comprehension tests.
It is important to get high marks in English. 4.4 Very True
My mind goes blank and I forget what I knew during English tests. 2.6 Neither True Nor Untrue
My parents know when I have an English test. 4.4 Very True
Total Mean 3.1 Neither True Nor Untrue
31

Indicators WM Verbal Description

At times, I think I am no good in reading comprehension. 2.5 Not True


I certainly feel useless at times especially in my reading 2.4 Not True
comprehension performance.
I feel I do not have much to be proud of in my reading 2.3 Not True
comprehension ability.
I feel I have a number of good qualities in learning English. 3.5 True
I take a positive attitude towards myself in learning reading 3.8 True
comprehension.
I wish I had the desired amount of patience in learning 3.9 True
reading comprehension.
On the whole, I am satisfied with myself towards learning 3.6 True
through reading comprehension.
I think I am a student of worth in my learning reading 3.7 True
comprehension.
Total Mean 3.2 Neither True Nor Untrue
32

Indicators WM Verbal Description

I cannot sleep the night before a test because if I fail I may 2.9 Neither True Nor Untrue
be labeled as “slow learner”.
I feel at ease when taking tests in Math. 3 Neither True Nor Untrue

I feel uncomfortable taking tests because if I fail my ego 2.6 Neither True Nor Untrue
will be hurt.
I find the test very challenging and makes me study harder. 3.7 True
I get really tense during tests because if I fail, my friends 2.7 Neither True Nor Untrue
will tease me.
I get scared in taking tests, the result will show my ability. 3.1 Neither True Nor Untrue

I hate tests because failure may create impression of poor 1.7 Very Untrue
ability.
I like tests because they challenge me to strive for a better 3.9 True
performance in class.
I like tests because they show how good I am in class. 3.5 True
I perspire a lot during test because I know I do not have 2.4 Not True
the skill in taking it.
I usually do not worry about my ability to pass tests, if I 3.5 True
study harder.
My mind goes blank and unable to think clearly during test 2.5 Not True
because I am afraid of the result.

Tests in learning reading comprehension are really 3 Neither True Nor Untrue
exhausting because I have to do a lot of reading.
Tests in learning reading comprehension make me feel 3.3 Neither True Nor Untrue
relaxed because the answers are easy to achieve.
Tests make me nervous and uneasy because my teacher 2.9 Neither True Nor Untrue
will find out how I am doing in class.
Total Mean 3 Neither True Nor Untrue
33

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Gamboa, Jonathan (2012), English reader, San Julian-Sta. Maria High School,
Moncada, Tarlac.

Meena Singhal (2001), Reading Proficiency, Reading Strategies, Metacognitive


Awareness and L2 Readers, The Reading Matrix Vol. 1, No. 1, April 2001.

Miedel, W.T. & Reynolds, A.J. (1 999), Parent involvement in early intervention
for Disadvantaged children: Does it matter?, Journal ofschool Psychology, 37, 379-404.
Retrieved from http:llww.seldl.org on March 05, 2012.
Nimer, Merlina (2012), School English Leader, Cardona High School, Gerona,
Tarlac.

Oxford and Crookall, 1989) as cited by Singhal (2001), Reading Proficiency,


Reading Strategies, Metacognitive Awareness and L2 Readers, The Reading Matrix Vol.
1, No. 1, April 2001.

Rosenberg, M. (1986). Self-concept from middle childhood through adolescence.


In J. Suls & A.G. Greenwald (Eds.). Psychological perspectives on the self. Hillsdale, NJ:
Erlbaum.
34

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR STUDENTS

Name: Date and Time Answered


Year and Section English Teacher

B. Instruction: Please describe the degree to which you may believe the following
statements which describe your perceptions on English tests and reading
comprehension. Using the legend below, ENCIRCLE THE LETTER of your
answer on each statement.
A-Agree, D-Disagree, U-Undecided

No. Statements A D U
1 I feel uncomfortable before English exams. A D U

2 English is a very important subject in the school. A D U


3 I become distracted during the test. A D U
4 I check my work before submitting it to my teacher. A D U
5 I do relaxation exercises during the test. A D U
6 I feel comfortable taking reading tests in English. A D U
7 I feel smart enough to answer English tests. A D U
8 I feel that I cannot improve my performance in English reading A D U
comprehension.
9 I find myself thinking “I can’t do this” during English exams. A D U
10 I find ways to improve my performance in English, particularly in reading A D U
comprehension.1
11 I get stomach aches before English exams. A D U
12 I have distracting thoughts of failure during English tests. A D U
13 I like to be tested on reading comprehension tests in English. A D U
14 I look around at other students during English exams. A D U
35

15 I plan my time when I take English tests. A D U


16 I prepare for reading tests. A D U
17 I score much lower on tests than on homework or other assignments. A D U
18 I share the results of my tests with my parents. A D U
19 I suddenly know the answers during English tests. A D U
20 I think about failing when I take reading tests. A D U
21 I wish I could learn without having exams. A D U
22 I wish I had studied more so I will score on English reading A D U
comprehension tests.
23 It is important to get high marks in English. A D U
24 My mind goes blank and I forget what I knew during English tests. A D U
25 My parents know when I have an English test. A D U

C. Instruction: Please describe the degree to which you may believe the following
statements which describe your self-esteem towards English reading
comprehension. Using the legend below, ENCIRCLE THE LETTER of your
answer on each statement.
A-Agree, D-Disagree, U-Undecided

No. Statements A D U
1 At times, I think I am no good in reading comprehension. A D U
2 I certainly feel useless at times especially in my reading comprehension A D U
performance.
3 I feel I do not have much to be proud of in my reading comprehension A D U
ability.
4 I feel I have a number of good qualities in learning English. A D U
5 I take a positive attitude towards myself in learning reading A D U
comprehension.
6 I wish I had the desired amount of patience in learning reading A D U
comprehension.
7 On the whole, I am satisfied with myself towards learning through A D U
reading comprehension.
8 I think I am a student of worth in my learning reading comprehension. A D U

D. Instruction: Please describe the degree to which you may believe the following
statements which describe your test-taking skills in reading comprehension.
Using the legend below, ENCIRCLE THE LETTER of your answer on each
statement.
A-Agree, D-Disagree, U-Undecided

No. Statements A D U
36

1 I cannot sleep the night before a test because if I fail I may be labeled as A D U
“slow learner”.
2 I feel at ease when taking tests in Math. A D U
3 I feel uncomfortable taking tests because if I fail my ego will be hurt. A D U
4 I find the test very challenging and makes me study harder. A D U
5 I get really tense during tests because if I fail, my friends will tease A D U
me.
6 I get scared in taking tests, the result will show my ability. A D U
7 I hate tests because failure may create impression of poor ability. A D U
8 I like tests because they challenge me to strive for a better A D U
performance in class.
9 I like tests because they show how good I am in class. A D U
10 I perspire a lot during test because I know I do not have the skill in taking A D U
it.
11 I usually do not worry about my ability to pass tests, if I study harder. A D U
12 My mind goes blank and unable to think clearly during test because A D U
I am afraid of the result.

13 Tests in learning reading comprehension are really exhausting because I A D U


have to do a lot of reading.
14 Tests in learning reading comprehension make me feel relaxed A D U
because the answers are easy to achieve.
15 Tests make me nervous and uneasy because my teacher will find out A D U
how I am doing in class.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!