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KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ATTITUDE TOWARDS


READING ENGLISH TECHNICAL MATERIALS
AMONG STUDENTS IN SELECTED TECHNICAL
SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN PERAK

MUHAMMAD PUTRA ADHA

UNIVERSITI PENDIDIKAN SULTAN IDRIS


2016
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ATTITUDE TOWARDS READING ENGLISH
TECHNICAL MATERIALS AMONG STUDENTS IN SELECTED TECHNICAL
SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN PERAK
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MUHAMMAD PUTRA ADHA

THESIS SUBMITTED IN FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS


FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE
(TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION)
(MASTER BY RESEARCH)

FACULTY OF TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION


UNIVERSITI PENDIDIKAN SULTAN IDRIS
2016
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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.0 Introduction

English has been widely acknowledged as an international language (Tsui in Mohd

Sidek, 2010). According to Bruthiaux (2004; 415), “English has all the key

characteristics that make it likely to remain the dominant worldwide language”. The

importance of the English language has been established universally as a tool for

social, economic, and political success. As a result, many non-English speaking

countries promote English proficiency as an effort toward modernization and

internalization (Pennycook, 1994; Tollefson, 1995). For example, in Hong Kong, the

shift from English to Chinese language instruction was rejected by many education

stakeholders, such as parents, because English continued to be seen as the language of

economic opportunity (Tsui et. al, 1999).

English is a mandatory subject in Malaysian schools and formally offered as

the second language for students from primary to secondary school. English is a

means of communication in everyday activities and private section. It is an important


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language to enable Malaysia to engage meaningfully in local and international trade

and commerce. It also provides an additional means of access to academic,

professional and recreational materials (Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia, 1998).

English has also seen as a main language in areas such as education, administration

and trade to continue study to the higher levels, to hold the proffessional positions to

be absorbed into the administrative and public service of Malaysia and to be legalised

in posts, all requires passing grade English, Lim Hock Yuan in (Evelyn lim, 2003).

As a developed nation, Malaysia have to compete with the other developed

nations because of globalization. Therefore, it is necessary to be competent in the

language; the language of technology, the language used globally, the language that

will enable developing nations to survive. English is taught as a subject from year one

in all Malay medium primary schools and year three in Chinese and Tamil schools.

However, in higher educations, most of the reference widely used as texts are in

English. University undergraduates study English as a compulsory subject on

condition that it plays an important role in the social, economic and educational life of

the students (Manjet, 2012). In addition, regarding the decline in the English language

and the need to improve English language proficiency among students, the Ministry

of Education in Malaysia implemented the teaching of Mathematics and Science in

English in the year 2003 (Ministry of Education Malaysia, 2002).

Technical secondary schools are a type of educational institution offering

technical and vocational subjects that was introduced by the British in 1987 to train

local youths as technicians and engineers (Ramlee Mustapha, 1999). Basic technical

and vocational education under the Ministry of Education begins at the primary
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school level. Whereby, students are introduced to the study of pre-vocational subjects

that cover various aspects of manipulative skills. As the students progress into the

lower secondary level, pre-vocational education is continued through a living skills

subject, which exposes students to various basic vocational skills. The upper

secondary level (Form 4 and Form 5) is where technical and vocational education

formally commences. The technical and vocational schools offer the same core

subjects as normal academic schools including languages, mathematics and sciences,

but in addition, students are required to take selected technical and vocational subjects

from a group of several different options (The Ministry of Education, 2010).

The teaching of English for specific purposes (ESP) was flourished in the

1950s and 1960s. However, ESP gained popularity and became a vital and innovative

for the teaching of English in the 1970s. This is because much of its infancy, ESP was

dominated by the teaching of English for Academic Purposes (EAP); most of the

material produced, the course descriptions written and the research carried out were in

the are of English for academic Purposes. As the main branch, English for Academic

Purposes (EAP) was developed and offered for many reasons: to help international

students reach their full academic potential, to expose these students to the

expectations and requirements of the faculties in terms of target situation needs

and academic culture. EAP programmes are offered in academic institutions of

English-speaking countries such as USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New

Zealand. In addition, EAP programmes are also offered in academic institutions of

many developing countries, Jordan, Dudley-Evans & St. John in (Momtazur rahman,

2012).
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In the Malaysian polytechnic education system, English for Technical

Purposes (ETP) is taught 3 semesters for certificate courses and 5 semesters for

diploma courses. It is exactly called by English for specific purposes (ESP). The

course content for ETP prepares students with fundamentals study skills in

information processing, reading, oral communication, report writing, occupation

hunting, and description of object / product specification. These skills will initially be

required during a mandatory one-semester industrial attachment programme with

either government agencies or private organizations. Information collected from

Malaysian polytechnic graduates thronugh the Graduate Tracer Studies (2004 to 2008)

confirmed the concern expressed by the employers when the respondents opined that

they lacked skills to converse and write in English. Responses from open-ended

questions obtained from the graduates on the quality of teaching and learning in the

polytechnics indicated their disappointment with the teaching of English in

polytechnics (Ahmad Yasruddin et al., 2010).

The English language competency issues have raised concerns in Malaysia.

The issue of competence in English among students regained attention of language

policy makers in Malaysia in the 1990s (Ridge, 2004). In line with language

competence, Brown (2004) said that competency is ability, expertise or proficiency

implying a high level of skill, well - developed knowledge or polished performance.

Tsui and Tollefson (2006) labelled proficiency in the English language as the “global

literacy skill” which has become a commodity for communication (Crystal,

2003). Communication in terms of language skills are listening, speaking, reading and

writing. The importance of English is prominent at school level in this era of

globalization. For students who are learning a second language in an academic


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context, especially in Malaysian schools and colleges, second language reading is

extremely important because most of the target language input is obtained through the

channel of reading.

One of language skills that should be learnt by English learners is reading.

Reading is considered as a necessary skill because of its essential role in facilitating

learners to master English. Reading is a complex cognitive process of decoding

symbols for the intention of deriving meaning (reading comprehension) and/or

constructing meaning. Reading is a means of language acquisition, of communication,

and of sharing information and ideas. Like all language, it is a complex interaction

between the text and the reader which is shaped by the reader’s prior knowledge,

experiences, attitude, and language community which is culturally and socially

situated. The reading process requires continues practisec, development, and

refinement.

While reading skill is a door for getting information, reading knowledge

become a key for knowing the meaning of a text and opening the reader’s mind.

Background knowledge plays an important role in understanding reading of a text.

Readers comprehend the texts better when they are able to relate to the text as it is

culturally familiar. When the text is culturally unfamiliar, it is important that

teachers activate background knowledge by the use of text previewing which can be

in the form of various types of pre-reading activities leading learners towards a

better understanding of background knowledge.


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Besides, reading attitude comprising of interest, preference and habit is highly

interconnected in which reading interest is important in enhancing students’s success

in school and out of it while reading habit influences to what extend someone can

understand and command his reading skill (Zurina Khairuddin, 2013). Therefore,

reading attitude is a key for reinforcing reading skill. Reading attitude is an integral

part of the development and use of lifelong reading skills. Having positive attitudes

toward learning is one of the most important psychological concepts in education.

A positive attitude determines the success of any instruction, so it is crucial for

instructors to engage, maintain, and rekindle students' positive attitude. Positive

reading attitudes affect the students' ultimate academic success by increasing the

amount of time that is spent on reading. Whether students read or not is largely

determined by their attitudes toward reading. If students do not like to read or think

reading is boring, negative attitudes are likely to hold back their reading

improvement. Poor readers generally have more negative attitudes than good

readers (Inderjit, 2013).

1.1 Research Background

Learning to read is one of the greatest accomplishments in childhood because it is the

foundation for learning and academic achievements. In the world today, the ability to

read English fluently will be useful particularly if one needs to obtain information

from internationally-based references and materials. As students gain wider access to

electronic data bases through the Internet, it is reading, more than any of the other

English language skills, that offers access to information. The ability to read has long

been considered by literate societies to be one of the basic building blocks affecting
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commercial exchange, cultural advancement and personal independence. High levels

of literacy are even more important as we move through the 21st century. In fact, we

are now exposed to more information that requires reading and synthesizing. Now we

depend on our reading abilities in every area of our life: our careers, assembling

household items as well as being an informed citizen. The demands on students to

read, comprehend and evaluate complex information have never been greater. Jobs in

technology, information and management dominate the workplace, leaving few

opportunities for the uneducated. Students in schools today require a strong

foundation of literacy to enable them to participate in an increasingly educated

workforce (Euphrasia Lee Chin Yan, 2007).

Learning to read and then improve and sustain reading skills involves a variety

of interconnected elements. These include students’ attitudes to reading and

motivation to read for enjoyment. Based on the aspirations to become an

industrialized nation, Malaysia has made many conscious efforts to improve and

develop literacy so that it will achieve a literacy rate of 100% by the year 2020. The

country still has a long way to go but there are positive indications that the literacy

rate is increasing. The World Education Report (1993) states that Malaysia then had

one of the lowest literacy rates (78.4%) compared to her other Southeast Asian

neighbors like Singapore (100%), Indonesia (81.6%), Thailand (93%), and the

Philippines (89.7%), respectively. Today, the country's population is close to 20

million, the Malaysian literacy is 85%. It indicates that there has been an increased

focus on reading instruction in higher education in recent years. Eventually, in an

effort to improve the quality of instruction, much research has been conducted to

break down and understand the complex process of reading (Interjit S, 2014).
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In English language classroom, reading is one of the most emphasized skills to

study. This emphasis is necessary considering that reading is not a skill that can be

automatically learned. Rather, it involves a complex process of making meaning from

a text for variety of purposes and in a wide range of contexts (Allen & Bruton, 1998).

In Malaysia, emphasis is given by the Ministry of Education in trying to develop

reading skills in English language especially among the primary students. This can be

seen through the introduction of reading programmes such as ‘The Structured Early

Reading Programme’ which aims to inculcate a love for reading at a young age.

Schools are given ‘big books’ to be used with students through an extensive induction

programme (UNESCO, 2004). Presently, there is also a move to include the literature

component in English, Primary School English Syllabus as a further effort to instil

positive reading habits among the young school children as stated in Krishnasamy &

Jenan Isa (2009).

Reading is a skill that must be learned, yet the process of learning to read can

become pleasurable and easy for some students or displeasing and complicated for

others. Some will employ reading as a learning opportunity while others will avoid it

because they find it complex and they struggle at it (Wallace, 2007). This could be the

reason why students nowadays are said to be lacking the interest in reading, Ley,

Schaer & Dismukes in Zurina (2013). A Malaysian Reading Profile Survey conducted

in 2010 also reported that Malaysians who are at the age of 10 and above only read

approximately eight to twelve books a year (National Library of Malaysia, 2010).

This number is worrisome (Imran Ariff, 2010). He also stated that students
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nowadays have higher interests in reading; nonetheless, they still do not adopt

reading as a habit.

On the other hand, developing good reading skill will help poor readers keep

up with their classmates, open new worlds to them, and help them succed in life.

Students who are not good readers fall behind their classmates. They don’t understand

the lesson and they come to school unprepared. By learning to read, these students can

keep up with their classmates. They can learn their lessons and be active participants

in class. When students improve their reading skills, they can travel to different places

and experience new ideas without ever leaving their classrooms. Students who can’t

read well will know only what they see around them. Students who are poor readers

are severely handicapped. Someone without good reading skills will have to work at

most manual jobs. Good readers, on the other hand, have the whole universe open to

them. They will have the possibility to learn any job that interests them.

Reading in English must be stressed and guided to students to make them

skillfull and not perplexed when finding technical english materials. Most text that

students encounter in their studies is either narrative or expository. In science courses,

much of the text that students will encounter is expository. Students also generate

their own knowledge in science and technical courses by the nature of the activity-

centered learning found in such content areas. Essensially, scientific/technical

contents (materials) are found in publications such as: Reference books, Newspaper

articles, Websites, Blogs, Editorials, Instruction manuals, Direction sheets, Science

fiction, Scientific papers, Article abstracts, Biographie, Magazine articles, Lab reports

and Field studies. Students often treat expository text found in science textbooks as
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just a listing of facts. By first understanding the different ways in which scientific and

technical information is presented in text, teacher can then develop strategies to

enhance students’ understanding and comprehension (Mark Van Hecke, 2009).

A great number of researchers had attempted to identify the problems

confrontend by low English proficiency students by examining the differences

between successful and unsuccessful learners. These two groups of learners were

distinguished by their academic performance in tests, examinations, or learning tasks.

Studies found that major differences lie in aptitude, learning strategies, beliefs and

learning behaviors (Huang & Tsai, 2003). For example, the behaviors of

underachievers have some characteristics. They lacked good learning attitude,

motivation, or persistence. In class, they need more personal attention, take longer

time to finish a learning task, often skip class or attend class late, and often delay or

do not submit homework assignments Chang in (Lina Hsu, 2008).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Prior to this study, little was known about the level of reading knowledge, skills and

attitude in terms of understanding technical materials in English among form four

students in technical secondary schools in Perak. Therefore, a new study was needed

to fill a gap in the research.

Problems related to the teaching and learning of English language is recently

realized among secondary school students in Malaysia. As English is not students

mother tongue and not widely spoken at home, they tend to face problems in reading

skills. Some of the problems that can be identified here are, students are unable to
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express their ideas the way it should be; students prefer to communicate with their

peers in their mother tongue rather than the second language; students have

difficulties to comprehend what they are reading and having difficulties pronouncing

certain words which leads them to do any reading in English at all (Salehuddin, 2002).

Studies on the mastery of the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and

writing) and reading habits indicated that although students perceived English to be

important for their academic needs, the language was mostly used for reading

purposes only (Tan cited in Othman, 2005; Kaur & Thiyagarajah, 1999). In ranking

the importance of the skills, students ranked writing as their least competent skill and

regarded speaking and reading as the most important skills needed to master the

language. Pandian as cited in Mohamad Jafre (2011) revealed that only 20% of the

Malaysian populations are ‘regular readers’ and the rest 80% are ‘reluctant readers’ of

English language materials. It was also found that students’ purpose of reading is only

to pass exams. Malaysian students were reluctant to read for information or pleasure.

It was also added that if this phenomenon was left unattended, the future of Malaysia

would eventually be directed by ‘reluctant readers’ who were ‘retarded’ in terms of

knowledge, intelligence and maturity.

Students in secondary schools face a lot of problems with their English in

terms of grammar and vocabulary (Tok Hoon Seng, 2006). This study indicated the

level of their English proficiency is low. Continuous observation revealed that this

situation existed due to the lack of exposure to English in their daily life, as well as

lack of interest in learning and using English. Furthermore, they do not have much
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interest in reading materials in English language because they do not understand what

is being read. Therefore, they perform badly in their public examinations like PMR

and SPM. Furthermore, recent statistics from the education department showed that

the secondary school was the beginning of a high rate of dropouts.

Generally, the eight year students at junior high school have been able to read

a text in English, although they still make mistakes. It is not unusual because English

is a foreign language. They can read, but it does not mean that they like to read. They

will read only when the teachers ask them, or when they are going to face an

examination. Reading has not been a culture in Malaysia society, whereas by reading

we can acuire knowledge. Regardless of the discipline or course of study of

technical secondary schools students, as it is elsewhere, English Language is the

most common of communication, with which all teaching – learning activities are

performed. A corollary can thus be established between the reading habits of

students and their academic performance (Stanovich, 2000).

In the technical and vocational system, this situation is worsened where most

of the students who attended technological and vocational courses tended to be those

who had rather minimum proficiency particularly in the English language. With the

policy imposed i.e. English language as the medium of instruction, students found it

difficult. Many of them even suffer low self-esteem. The lack of proficiency in

English language can seriously affect the students’ overall academic achievements.

Although research on language learning strategies has prospered since the 1980s,

rather limited study was done in the Malaysian context (Mah 1999; Mohd Amin 2000;

Faizahani 2003).
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Technical materials in this study refer to content in science and technology in

which a lot of subject terminologies are written in English. Obviously, technical

materials are reading materials that are related to the subject such as textbook,

magazine, journal, etc. Most of the scientific papers, journals and engineering graphs

are written and marked in English. Therefore this situations demand them to have

sufficient skills in reading in English. Furthermore, usage of English is important to

enhance student’s ability especially reading skill to comprehend what they learn and

to fulfill the need of learning purpose.

Reading technical material is the main concern in this study as the level of

understanding English technical materials reading among Malaysian students is very

low. Therefore, it is very important to examine further about their ability or

proficiency to create a better improvement in reading technical materials.

1.3 Objectives of the study

The purpose of this study was to analyze reading competency on English technical

materials among secondary technical school students. Specifically, the objectives of

this study were as follows:

1. To determine the level of reading knowledge in English technical materials

among Technical Secondary Schools (SMT) students.


2. To determine the level of reading skills in English technical materials among

Technical Secondary Schools (SMT) students.


3. To identify reading purpose in English technical materials among Technical

Secondary Schools (SMT) students.


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4. To identify reading interest in English technical materials among Technical

Secondary Schools (SMT) students.


5. To identify reading preference in English technical materials among Technical

Secondary Schools (SMT) students.


6. To identify if there are significant differences in reading knowlege, skill, and

attitude in English technical materials among Technical Secondary Schools

(SMT) students of different demographics.


7. To determine the relationships among variables; reading knowledge and

reading skill, reading attitude; purpose, interest and preference in English

technical materials.

1.4 Research Questions

This study attempted to answer several research questions such as the following:

1. What is the level of reading knowledge in English technical materials among

Technical Secondary Schools (SMT) students?


2. What is the level of reading skill in English technical materials among

Technical Secondary Schools (SMT) students?


3. What is the reading purpose in English technical materials among Technical

Secondary Schools (SMT) students?


4. What is the reading interest in English technical materials among Technical

Secondary Schools (SMT) students?


5. What is the reading preference in English technical materials among Technical

Secondary Schools (SMT) students?

6. Are there any significant differences in reading knowledge, skill, and attitude in

English technical materials among Technical Secondary Schools (SMT) students

of different demographics?

7. Are there any relationships between reading knowledge and reading skill, reading

attitude; purpose, interest and preference in English technical materials?


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1.5 Conceptual Framework

The study is based on the theory of Spencer & Spencer (1993) model focusing on

competency of language as for reading is a skill in English language. The concept

elaborated about the three variables; knowledge, skill and attitude as the core aspects

of competency in reading. In accordance with the theory of the study, two separated

variables are independent variables comprising of knowledge, skill and attitude and

dependent variables comprising of reading technical materials. The three focused

reading aspect means that knowledge, skill and attitude can determine a proficiency of

a reader in reading technical materials. Since the reader have good or insufficient

competency in reading technical materials as dependent variables, the reader must

have been affected by the independent variables. According to the Spencer & Spencer

(1993), communicative competence is a concept that can measure reading English

proficiency. This model have four components of communicative competence:

1. Grammatical competence - the knowledge of the language code (grammatical

rules, vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling, etc.).

2. Sociolinguistic competence - the mastery of the sociocultural code of language use

(appropriate aplicatin of vocabulary, register, politeness and style in a given situation).

3. Discourse competence - the ability to combine language structures into different

types of cohesive texts (e.g., political speech, poetry).

4. Strategic competence - the knowledge of verbal and non-verbal comunication

strategies which enhance the efficicacy of communication and enable the learner to

overcome difficulties of communication.


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Figure 1.1 indicated that conceptual framework of this study. In the conceptual

framework, the reseacher took only one of the two models put forward by Spencer &

Spencer (1993) which is regarded to represent communicative competence in learning

second language. According to Spemcer and Spencer (1993) “ A competency is a

cluster of related knowledge, skills, and attitudes that affects a major part of one’s job

(a role or responsibility), that correlates with performance on the job, that can be

measure against well-accepted standards, and that can be improved via training and

development”. In learning process, a student will have good knowledge and skill if

there is good or positive attitude glued in him because the aspect of attitude is

determining the knowledge and skill in which attitude manifests it in habit, interest,

and preference. Habit is a behaviour that encourage someone to do an action. A good

reading habit is important for the development of personalities and mental capacities.

Furthermore, an individual's interest to read is determined by the considerable

extent of the amount and intensity of pursuing the reading activity. In this case,

dependent variable is reading knowledge, skill and independent variable is reading

attitude comprises of reading purpose, interest and preference. While demograpic

variable is gender, and language used at home students’ residence location and

parents’ job.

Independent Dependent
variables Variables

Reading Knowledge Reading Technical


Reading Skill Materials
Reading Attitude
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Reading Purpose
Reading Interest
Moderator Reading Preference
Variables

Demographics:

Gender : Male, Female


Parents’ occupation
Students’s residence
Location

Figure 1.1 Conceptual framework of the study based on Communicative model of


Spencer & Spencer (1993).

1.6 Limitation of the Study

There were several limitations of the study that were identified. This research only

discusses the level of reading competency including the reading skill, and reading

attitude (reading purpose, reading interest, reading preference). The respondents

selected for this study were limited to 120 students of technical secondary school

(SMT) in Perak, Malaysia. The subjects are form four students only. The researcher

restricted the respondents selection only to form four since the students were not

involved in any public examinations. Respondents from form three and five were not

allowed by the schools partly because they were involved in public examinations such

as Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).


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The selected sample comprised a variety of different characteristics and

demographics background. This study only included three aspects of competency;

knowledge, skill and attitude that were minority from preponderance aspects

discussed by the previous researchers. Conclusions of the study could be better if the

research data engaged the tehnical secondary schools in the entire country which

could provide more accurate answers to the researchh questions that were posed.

1.7 Significance of the Study

The result of the study is expected to assist secondary technical secondary schools

(SMT), administrators and education practitioners to improve the English reading

skills and to give contribution for developing students’ competency in reading

learning process that is affected to student’s learning results. Practically, the result of

the study could give contribution to increase the effort of learning quality in technical

secondary schools (SMT) in Perak. In detail, the expected study can be useful for:

first, for administrator of technical secondary school (SMT) in Perak as information

sources or suggestions especially in administering the learning so that it can be a

guidance to find out whether the learning during this time has been administered well

or not. Lastly, for other researchers, it is expected that the findings of the study can

provide a guidance about reading competency to develop student’s skill and creativity.

1.8 Operational Definitions

In this part the researcher employed some operational definitions adopted from the

one of expert theory only. There are some terms used in this reseacrh needed to be
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defined in order to avoid missunderstanding. To make the readers easier to understand

this research report, the clarification of terms were made as follows:

1.8.1 Reading

Reading is known as one of the most important aspects of any language and it

becomes an essential tool for lifelong learning for learners. Reading is a visual

process that begins with one´s ability to use ones´s vision to interpret graphic

symbols. It is a cognitive process of decoding symbols to derive meaning from text

(as in reading a book or reading music). In English language classroom, reading is one

of the most emphasized skills to study. This emphasis is necessary considering that

reading is not a skill that can be automatically learned.

1.8.2 Reading knowledge

Reading knowledge is an aspect needed in reading to analyze and justify the kind or

model of reading or text. Knowledge is often defned as a belief that is true and

justifed. This defnition has led to its measurement by methods that rely solely on the

correctness of answers. A correct or incorrect answer is interpreted to mean simply

that a person knows or does not know something. The reader uses knowledge, skills,

and strategies to determine what the meaning is. These include: linguistic competence

(the ability to recognize the elements of the writing system); knowledge of

vocabulary, knowledge of how words are strctured.

1.8.3 Reading Skill


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Reading skill is an essential skill for learners of English as a second langugae. It is the

most important skill to master in order to ensure success not only in learning English,

but also in learning in any content class where reading in English is required. With

strengthened reading skills, learners will make greater progress and development in

all areas of learning. Reading activity requires strong and efficient skill in order to

become a good reader and success in academic. Successful learning is come from

cognitive skill to process information properly.

1.8.4 Reading Purpose

Reading with a purpose means approaching texts with a specific goal and when

possible, students can be asked to read a text from a specific point of view, depending

on what the text might suggest. In the classroom, students can be given reasons to

read that approximate their purposes in a variety of real-world situations. They can

read ads for apartments to find one that fits a particular set of requirements, look

through movie listings and reviews to decide whether to see a particular movie, or

respond to a written invitation.

1.8.5 Reading Interest

Reading interests is important in enhancing students’ success in school and out

of it. Hence, students need to have high reading interests. Attitude and interest

toward reading can be related in association with feeling and learners’ spirit to learn

or in this situation it can be said best with readers’s spirit to read.


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1.8.6 Reading Preference

Reading preferences is a complex process directed from interest to broaden it to

immerse in reading deeply and comprehensively. Therefore, reading preference is a

feeling that intrigues to what is read and take it continuously for example magazines

and newspapers were found to be the most preferred reading materials of teenagers

since their reasons for leisure reading were for entertainment and for acquiring

information.

1.8.7 Reading Attitude

Attitude refers to individual’s response to anything related to the immediate context in

which the language is taught. Reading attitude is an integral part of the

development and use of lifelong reading skills. Positive reading attitudes affect the

students' ultimate academic success by increasing the amount of time that is spent on

reading. Whether students read or not is largely determined by their attitudes toward

reading. If students do not like to read or think reading is boring, negative attitudes

are likely to hold back their reading improvement. Poor readers generally have more

negative attitudes than good readers.

1.8.8 Reading Technical Materials


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Reading technical materials refer to those printed materials written in English

pertaining to science and technology. In this study, technical materials include science

fictions, journals, articles, bulletins, newspaper. Students will also find

scientific/technical content in other publications such as reference books, jargon

computers, and scientific papers, etc.

CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.0 Introduction
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This chapter discusses about the previous studies and theoritical views relevant to the

field of study conducted by the researcher. The theoritical views were obtained

through some journals and theses related to the research title. In this section, the

researcher examines the knowledge, skill and attitude in reading English technical

materials and a brief role of education in Malaysia made by introducing an overview

of vocational and technical schools. It describes the research on reading and technical

materials, including the definitions of both by several experts.

2.1 Secondary Education and Its Role in Education

In most contemporary systems of the world, Grabe in Muhammad Arshad (2005),

secondary education consist of the second after primary phase of formal education

system that occurs during adolescence. It is a link between primary and higher

education, which keeps balance between them and provides raw material higher

education. So it is called a vital component of the entire system of education. It is

considered a turning stage of education. It also provides human resources necessary

for economic development of a country. According to World Bank Report of 2005,

secondary education is a gateway to the opportunities and benefits of economical and

social development. Demand for access to higher levels of education is growing as

countries approach universal primary education. The global Education for All (EFA)

provides added momentum for the growth in secondary education.


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Futhermore, globalization and the increasing demand for a more sophisticated

labour force combined with the growth of knowledge based on economies give a

sense of urgency to the heightened demand for secondary education. In today’s world,

secondary education has a vital mission – one which combines the policy peculiarities

of being at the same time terminal and preparatory, compulsory and post compulsory,

uniform and diverse, general and vocational. Secondary education is now being

recognized as the cornerstone of educational systems in the 21st century. According

Asian Development Bank Report in Muhammad Arshad (2003), Secondary Education

is absorbing rising number of primary school graduates and preparing qualified

graduates for higher education and/or the labour market, Secondary education needs

to be further developed and improved with the passage of time.

2.2 Secondary Education (Technical School) In Malaysia

Malaysia adopts 6-3-2-2 system of education comprising six years of primary

education, three years of lower secondary education, two years for upper secondary

education and two years of post secondary education.

1. Lower Secondary Education

Students in lower secondary schools take core subjects, Malay, English, Science,

History, Islamic Studies / Moral Education, Living Skills. In form 3, students'

performance is evaluated through the Lower Secondary Assessment (PMR)

examination.
27

2. Upper Secondary Education

Upon completion of lower secondary education, students have the opportunity to

pursue two years of study in upper secondary (form 4 - form 5). Since the

implementation of the open certificate, students are required to take five compulsory

subjects that are (1) Malay Language, (2) English Language, (3) Mathematics, (4)

Islamic or Moral Education and (5) History.

3. Science and Arts Streams

Inclined academically students can choose between the two main streams. Students

who are interested in science will take Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Additional

Mathematics and English for Science and Technology. If the art streams are preferred,

students will take Integrated Science and any other non-science subjects such as

accounting or commerce.

2.2.1` Vocational and Technical Schools in Malaysia

During the past decades, the technological and vocational system in Malaysia has

already successfully cultivated many professionals who contribute greatly to their

organizations and society. However, due to the system of university entrance

examinations and the high value culture places on academic performance, most of the

students who choose to attend technological and vocational colleges tend to be those

who do not perform well in academic subjects. Better performing students usually do

not choose technological and vocational education schools, but instead choose general

universities to continue their higher education, Ministry of Education in (Min-shun

2005).
28

In another move to strengthen its education sector, Malaysia is upgrading 78

vocational schools into colleges. The move produced 13,000 skilled workers in four

years’ time. This was being done under the Education Ministry’s vocational education

transformation programm. These colleges will provide diploma qualifications through

the pioneer programme that began before. Currently, the schools offered basic

vocational education which was only a stepping stone for the pupils to further pursue

their studies, the ministry’s technical and vocational education (Ahmad Tajudin Jab,

2012). The ministry have collaborated with private colleges, especially in high impact

fields such as oil and gas, biotechnology and renewable energy.

According to Ahmad Tajudin Jab (2012), the new vocational colleges admited

former PMR students from. Penilaian Menengah Rendah (commonly abbreviated as

PMR; Malay for Lower Secondary Assessment) is a Malaysian public examination

taken by all Form Three students in both government and private schools throughout

the country. Technical schools maintained their traditional functions, and students

have learned basic vocational education there before they went into specialised fields

such as engineering and architecture in universities, colleges and polytechnics. The

ministry has stressed having robotic studies as a subject in technical schools as it was

“very suitable and appealing for technical students.”

2.2.2 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

In Malaysia, there are many types of schools such as national schools, technical

schools, vocational schools, politechnic schools. In polytechnic, English for Technical

Purposes (ETP) is taught 3 semesters for certificate courses and 5 semesters for
29

diploma courses. It is exactly called by English for specific purposes (ESP). Besides,

English is taught for mathematics and science with more semesters at technical and

vocational school. Based on the function, technical and vocational have their own way

of in programming the students to be as their own interest and talent.

A vocational school, also called a trade school, is a higher-level learning

institution that specializes in providing students with the vocational education and

technical skills they need in order to perform the tasks of a particular job. Vocational

schools are traditionally distinguished from two-year junior colleges and four-

year universities by their goal to impart job-specific training and education to students

who are typically bound for blue-collar jobs in the workforce, rather than the aim to

provide academic education for students pursuing careers in white-collar disciplines.

While many schools have largely adhered to this convention, the purely vocational

focus of other trade schools has since begun to shift "toward a broader preparation

that develops the academic" as well as technical skills of their students, following the

advent of the 1990.

In line with the system, vocational and technical shools are included in

Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) that have further journey to be

promoted and progressed by the goverment. TVET is back on the development

agenda of many Asean countries after years of benign neglect, instigated by a

complex set of reasons that included budgetary constraints and criticisms of the World

Bank in the early 90's on its direction and focus. The World Bank had argued at the

time that the cost of technical and vocational education was too high compared with

the returns to the economy, that the quality of training was poor and that there was
30

considerable mismatch between training and the needs of industry. Simply put, the

delivery of vocational education and training was not cost-effective. However, since

the beginning of the new millennium, a fresh awareness of the critical role that TVET

can play in economic growth and national development has dawned among policy

makers in many Asian countries and within the international donor community.

The increasing importance that Malaysian government now attaches to TVET

is reflected in the various Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers that governments have

developed in collaboration with The World Bank. In its poverty reduction strategy

document, Indonesia for example intends to develop vocational and professional

training to facilitate integration into the labour market; talks about strengthening

vocational training; Singapore links vocational education and training with education

of the youth and the development of technical and entrepreneurial skills; focus on

linking TVET to businesses while Filipihine emphasises the need to promote self-

employment through skills development. Other countries that have prioritised TVET

initiatives in their national development policy documents include Ethiopia, Japan,

Senegal, Korea, China and Thailand.

2.2.3 The Importance of Technical and Vocational Education

Since TVET is concerned with the preparation of learners for employment, through

the provision of knowledge, skills and attitudes desirable in the world of work, its

contribution to industrial and national development cannot be overemphasized. TVET

remains the country’s hope of reducing the high level of widespread poverty and

deprivation because whether on the farm, the clinic, in the office, at sea, in the mines,
31

in the forest, at the workshop, or the dressmakers, among others, the science or

technology, which is applied, depends on a workforce of skilled, competent

technologists, technicians and craftsmen. The most important role of TVET is

enhancing economical, social and industrial development. This is the reason TVET

programmes in Malaysia should match current and future labour market needs. A

standard TVET is expected to mobilize resources needed to face the present problems

and future challenges. Due to its concentration on the actual needs of labour market

and focus on the output, it designs flexible programmes that serve the needs of

production and service sectors and design practices and learning experiences that best

serve job requirements, Johanson and Adam in Samue (2013). In today’s knowledge

driven and competitive global economy, Technical and Vocational Education is a

fundamental element in the development equation because it allows individuals and

societies to unlock their potentials, expand their horizons and adapt to changes in the

dynamic world. TVET provides a mix of knowledge and career focused, hands-on,

and skills based education that is needed to run the productive sectors of the economy

and build the nation. Quality technical and vocational education and training (TVET)

helps develop the individual’s knowledge of science and technology in a broad

occupational area requiring technical and professional competencies and specific

occupational skills.

2.3 Background of English for Specific Purposes

It has been researched about ESP that ESP is very important for science and

technology. There have been many researchers did it, one of them is Robinson in

Mansoor et.al, (2013). Robinson argued that ESP philosophy can be used in order to
32

carry out the specific needs of the learners. Thus, Engineering learners have an

explicit English language need that focuses to develop ESP courses according to the

different engineering fields’ requirement in order to meet certain needs of the learners.

These courses follow the principles based on ESP needs analysis theory. Because, it is

a fact that without ESP need analysis principles, no ESP courses whether it may

be formal or informal can be designed, developed, implemented and presented for

teaching learning process in an engineering class room setting.

2.4 English in Technical and Vocational Schools

One of the major goals of higher education is to cultivate students’ attitudes, habits

and competence as a lifelong learner. Knowles in Min-hsun, (2005) pointed out that

teachers have to help learners develop the attitude and concept that learning is a

lifetime process, and learners need to be equipped with the skills of self-directed

lifelong learning. Applying the idea to language learning, language learning itself is a

lifelong task, and language learning strategy is the skill for learners’ self-directed

language learning. According to Oxford’s definition in Min-hsun, (2005), language

learning strategies refer to the specific actions, behaviors, steps or techniques that

students use to improve their progress in apprehending, internalizing and using the

second language. Research has shown that second language proficiency/achievement

is related to language learning strategies (Bremner, 2000).


33

All language learners use certain types of language learning strategies to a

certain level, but there are differences in the frequency and choice of use among

different learners. It appears that successful language learners have the ability to

orchestrate and combine particular types of language learning strategies in effective

ways according to their own learning needs (Oxford, 1990). Thus, to facilitate the

learners’ language learning and to promote learner autonomy, language learning

strategy is a key point for instructors to pay attention to Technological and vocational

education has played an important role in the educational system for decades.

Employability skills of fresh graduates have constantly received considerable

attention in the local media. Lack of English language proficiency has often been

cited as one of the major factors contributing to graduate unemployment, Sharif in

Ahmad Yasruddin (2005). Jawhar in Wan Mohd Haniff (2002) stated that in the

private sector, graduates are becoming unemployable as a result of lack of proficiency

in the English language. Various surveys have been carried out on employers in

relevant industries to gauge whether graduates are meeting industry needs and the

recurring theme that emerged from these surveys has been the lack of English

language skills among fresh graduates and workers (MoHE, 2008; The World Bank,

2005; Ambigaphaty & Aniswal, 2005; Sibat, 2005). In general, these studies implied

that the majority of graduates and workers were limited users of English especially in

writing and speaking. Academics and the government have expressed their concern

over the deteriorating level of English proficiency among the students in Malaysian

schools and universities. In 2000, the Malaysian Ministry of Education introduced the
34

Malaysian University English Tests (MUET) with the objective of enhancing the

English language ability of pre-university students.

This was followed by the implementation of the teaching of science and

mathematics in English in secondary schools in 2003 with the objective of enhancing

the English proficiency of students when they enter universities or the job markets.

Findings from studies conducted by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education

MoHE (2006) and Pawanchik (2006) however, revealed that more that 50 % of

MUET scores were either in Band 1 (extremely limited user), 2 (limited user) or 3

(modest user). Studies on the mastery of the four skills (listening, speaking, reading

and writing) and reading habits indicated that although students perceived English to

be important for their academic needs, the language was mostly used for reading

purposes only, Tan cited in Othman (2005; Kaur and Thiyagarajah, 1999). In ranking

the importance of the skills, students ranked writing as their least competent skill and

regarded speaking and writing as the most important skills needed to master the

language (Othman, 2005). Pandian as cited by Girdharan and Enriquez (2002) on the

reading habits of students in Malaysia revealed that 80.1 % of university students

were reluctant readers of English language materials. The lack of proficiency in the

writing skills as required in the workplace is demonstrated by a study conducted by

Stapa and Mohd Jais (2005) where students stated that the English programme that

they went through before their practical training was inadequate in preparing them for

workplace writing tasks.

This ranged from failure in both written and oral communication skills to

presentational and other work-specific communication skills such as informal


35

discussions, public speeches and interviews. According to Riemer in Affidah

Mardziah (2005), the concept of English for Special Purposes (ESP), will achieve

more in the education of engineering students by focusing on the learner’s attention

on the particular terminology and communication skills required in the workplace.

Attributes identified for English proficiency of engineering students are: 1) spoken

language fluency, 2) written language fluency, 3) regional/national dialects, 4)

technical terminology, and 5) professional jargon. The author also suggested that

engineering exercises incorporate oral and written communication skills throughout

the curriculum. This includes presentation and communications as part of the

assessment process. Curry, Sherry and Tunney in Noor Izma (2005) report of a project

to identify the transferable skills graduates believed had been important to them in

their careers since graduation. One of the main findings of the survey showed that oral

communication skill was ranked as the most important transferable skill, ahead of

presentation and writing skills.

This finding is consistent with another study (Kwok, 2004) where students

recognized the importance and the need to develop oral and written communication

skills. In the Malaysian polytechnic education system, English for Technical Purposes

(ETP) is taught for 3 semesters for certificate courses and 5 semesters for diploma

courses. The course content for ETP prepares students with study skill, information

processing skill, reading skill, and oral communication skill. Other skills in ETP

modules are report writing, job hunting, and description of object/product

specification. Information collected from Malaysian polytechnic graduates through

the Graduate Tracer Studies (2004 to 2008) confirmed the concern expressed by the

employers when the respondents opined that they lacked skills to converse and write
36

in English. Responses from open-ended questions obtained from the graduates on the

quality of teaching and learning in the polytechnics indicated their disappointment

with the teaching of English in polytechnics.

2.5. Reading Technical Materials

Reading technical materials is very important to be learned as technical materials

students’ skill or ability can be measured and seen to what extend they can master the

contents of the material and comprehend the meaning of the contend of the text as

much as they read comprising of words, sentences, vocabularies, grammars, etc.

The materials can be text, articles, papers, or books. Thus, if students can

understand them, they can be categorized as competent in reading technical materials.

In this research, technical materials is the content of reading that contains of technical

matters. Obviously, technical material is reading materials that related to the subject

or course pertaining about technical, science, technology, industry, magazine and

other source of information. Generally, in technical material, tend to have headings,

sub headings, bold-faced words, pictures, diagrams, charts, bullet points, objectives,

oulines that is applied in a book containing the structure of textbook chapter.

In technical and vocational schools, reading is one of the most impotant skill

that have to be mastered by the students to obtaint their achiement in reading and

other subject. Therefore, reading technical material becomes a skill in teaching

learning. Reading has been a core of language learning skills and an essential tool for

lifelong learning for centuries. Malaysian’s language classroom scenario looks upon

reading as a toughest task amongst the students in comprehending English texts. Facts
37

were found referring to reading and the selection of materials correlates in

bringing the best in comprehending what has been read. In Polytechnic System,

language learning in diploma courses is compulsory. In an absolute condition,

it’s to highlight on the selection of reading materials on what do students seek

and preferred. Students want variety and look into many modes for aspiration

as a guide and input for the language learning classroom.

Reading is known as one of the most important aspects of any language and it

becomes an essential tool for lifelong learning for learners (Noorizah, 2011). However

it appears that Malaysian students largely are facing the problem of comprehending

English texts. These can be seen in the poor performance of the students

reading comprehension examinations (Nair,2003). There are many factors that

may contribute to the less encouraging performance in students reading

comprehension, one of the most important factors is identified as material selection.

Students will have difficulties learning English as a second language without

appropriate learning materials in the classroom. Over the years linguist / researcher /

educators have been debating in order to decide the most appropriate reading

materials to use in reading comprehension. A significant amount of research shows

that there is something about the type of reading text that should be looked into and

analyzed carefully.

Selecting reading materials for students especially in English language

classroom could be very challenging for teachers/educators as according to Aries,


38

in Shanty Subbarau (2013). Since many criterion need to be taken into account

in the selection process including students’ interests. Aries also pointed out that no

matter how difficult or easy the text might be, it will still be problematic for students

if it it’s not tackling their interest. Hence, the first step of selecting material for

students is that; choose a text that that is based on students’ interest as what stated by

Arnstead (2004), children paid more attention to interesting than non-interesting

materials. The materials which are selected on the basis of students’ preferences

will actively encourage students’ participation in reading comprehension and

subsequently will improve their reading comprehension performance.

2.5.1 Language Competency: Receptive and Expressive Language Abilities

Oral language (listening and speaking) involves receiving and understanding

messages sent by other people and expressing our own feelings and ideas using facial

expressions, voice tones, gestures, spoken words and sentences. Language is used

everyday is almost every situation – at home and in our communities. People use the

language to transmit family and cultural values to their children and pass on their

personal histories. Language supports social relationships and allows people to think

and learn. Language development can be divided into two areas of receptive language

development and expressive language development. Receptive language is what a

child can understand of what he/she hears said by others or interprets from gestures

and sign. Expressive language is the term by which the child’s spoken language or

other communication to others is known (Keiko Koda, 2007).

Receptive language skills (reading and writing) are relatively passive and the

child can often rely on using the redundancy (extra or dulpicate information) which is
39

built into spoken language to supply contextual cues to fill in the gaps or help

interpretation. As a result, most children understand more of what is said to them then

they are able to tell to others because their receptive language skills are often further

advanced then their expressive skills. Expressive language skills require the child to

be an active participant in the communication. To be able to communicate to others

the child has to take the idea it wants to communicate, build up a seriesof words

which describe what is to be communicated and then produce the sounds which the

other person will interpret as that the child wants to say. This is the area of most

frequent difficulty in a child’s language development process.

Language proficiency is not merely knowledge of a set of grammar rules or

vocabulary. Language proficiency is a complex interaction of knowledge with a

number of skills and abilities. Linguists continue to work to define what it means to

know a language. In the 1980’s, the linguists Michael Canale and Merrill Swainii

developed a working definition of communicative competence that continues to be

refined and elaborated. So, English proficiency is the the ability to speak, read and/or

write in English. To be considered truly proficient, one should have advanced abilities

in all three areas of communication (Keiko Koda, 2007).

2.5.2 The L1 and L2 reading (English)

In many parts of the world, reading has traditionally been the skill most emphasized

in FL and EFL situastions, and this is still true today inspite of the current emphasis

on oral/aural approaches. Reading has been the most emphasized skill in traditional

foreign language (EFL) teaching and it is the mainstay of English as a foreign

language (FL) instruction in many countries (Susser & Rob, 2001). Reading can not

be regarded as a set of mechanical skills to be learned once and for all, but rather as a
40

complex process of making meaning from a text for variety of purposes and in a wide

range of contexts (Allen & Bruton, 1998). It should be considered that reading in

English is essential for learners’ academic success, and therefore teachers and

researchers attribute attention to understand the factors effecting success in reading

comprehension. Without comprehension, reading would be meaningless. To provide

comprehension, teachers should aid learners in understanding and using reading

strategies. In trying to understand how teachers deal with teaching reading, it is

necessary to examine beliefs and thinking processes of teachers which constitute

classroom actions.

2.5.3 The Importance of reading materials

Reading material becomes very influential matter in determining an interest and

ingenuity in reading. If the material is good and interesting, it will be very much

desirous to be read and understood, but if the material is not interesting and

monotonous, it will be very much left by the reader. Therefore, materials in reading is

very much lifted and taken into consideration. According to Dechant cited by

Macceca (2007), reading is a visual process that begins with one´s ability to use ones

´s vision to interpret graphic symbols. According to Dechant cited by Macceca (2007),

It refers to understand what is read, so readers must be able to cognitively process the

words by drawing meaning from their own experience and knowledge to understand

the author´s message.

2.5.4 Research on Reading in Malaysia


41

Reading is generally accepted as a way of reaching new information and new

knowledge. Besides, it is an essential language skill for successfully completing all

college-level courses. That is, college students who are more proficient readers are

most likely to experience more success in their courses (Kim & Anderson, 2011). It is

not only to increase knowledge but also to build maturity and widen awareness of

contemporary issues. A good reading habit is an important tool for the development of

personalities and mental capacities. The reading habits of young people in Malaysia

have long been the concern of educators and policy makers. Studies in Malaysia have

reported that Malaysian students read very little (Kaur & Thivagarajah, 1999). Many

of them prefer to watch television and video than reading for information or leisure.

Malaysian teachers have often complained about the poor reading habits among their

students. Pandian (2000) found that the majority of university students are “reluctant”

readers in English language materials. Based on his study, the Chinese were behind

the Indian and Malay students as habitual readers in the English language. However, it

cannot be said that Chinese students do not read, as many available reading materials

are in Chinese.

Researchers have found various changes in the reading habits of college

students due to the impact of digital media made available through the internet (Liu,

2005). Recreational reading has changed for young adults and students in an era of

eBooks and laptops and hours spent online. Students have been known to be very

receptive to different forms of media. With the advent and evolution of the internet,

information can be transmitted quickly. Reading time using digital media is made

shorter by skimming and browsing the hypertexts that are less structured and non-

linear. Liu (2005) found that younger people can tolerate more time reading screen-
42

based materials. However, students tend to print out material (for school) to read

more slowly.

A study conducted by Nor Shahriza and Amelia (2007) focused on the gender

and choice of reading material by university students revealed that university students

spend a significant amount of time reading newspapers, academic books and websites.

Not surprisingly, they reported that IT-based students tend to use electronic resources

more than art based students. Kaur and Thivagarajah (2000) did a study on the

English reading habits of students at University Sains Malaysia and found that

students are motivated to read in English as they knew that it would improve their

English proficiency so as to get good grades in their courses. The students spent little

time on leisure reading but 3-5 hours a week on literary works and ELT books.

Similarly, Yang (2007) found that in many EFL situations, English is learned as an

examination subject rather than a tool for life. Most students do not use English

outside the classroom so they read English books only as requirement and not for

leisure.

Many studies have been conducted to identify the nature of the reading habits

of individuals. Among them are studies on reading that have been done on teenagers

or young people, on college students and adults (Gallik, 2000), and on specific

cultures and society such as Malaysia. The research on online reading is still new and

progressing in the Malaysian context. Most of Malaysian students are able to read

efficiently after finishing their secondary education, approximately of eleven years in

formal education. However, even equipped with literacy skills particularly reading

skills, the reading habits of students are still at an unsatisfactory level (Mozihim in
43

Mohamad Jafre, 2011). Reading habits among Malaysians recently surprised the

Information, Communication and Culture Minister of Malaysia when he says that

“reading has become an enveloping habit for Malaysians with most reading an

average of eight to twelve books per year” (Teh in Mohamad Jafre, 2011). As the

internet is a part of the technological and digital culture of the teenagers; therefore,

online reading would better suit teenagers compared to reading printed materials or

books.

In recent years, there has been an increased focus on reading instruction in

higher education. In an effort to improve the quality of instruction, much research

has been conducted to break down and understand the complex process of

reading (Denton & Fletcher, 2003). Learning to read and then improve and

sustain reading skills involves a variety of interconnected elements (Byrne, 2007).

These include students’ attitudes to reading and motivation to read for

enjoyment (Chamberlain, 2007). Based on the aspirations to become an industrialized

nation, Malaysia has made many conscious efforts to improve and develop literacy so

that it will achieve a literacy rate of 100% by the year 2020. The country still has a

long way to go but there are positive indications that the literacy rate is

increasing.

The World Education Report (2007) states that Malaysia then had one of

the significant improvements in literacy levels. According to the 2000 Census, more

than 91% of the population above 10 years who were attending or had attended

school) are literate. This is in line with school enrolments. Malaysia has achieved

significant improvements in enrolment. Statistically, from primary education, more

than 96% of primary-aged children were enrolled in 2005. There are no significant
44

gender disparities in primary enrolment rate. The percentage of children who Year

One and successfully reach Year Six had improved from 96.7% in 1989 to 98.1% in

2005.

Reading is regarded as a process, a mode of thinking, a kind of real experience

And involves many complex skills: the ability to perceive printed words, to skim for

information and then perhaps read intensively. With almost everyone in Malaysia

owning a data based computer or phone, digital reading is much easier to access

rather than the “hard copy” books which is costlier and occupy space. But why is that

Malaysian are not reading enough and how do we inculcate the reading habits

amongst them especially conditioning the younger ggeneration to have a passion for

reading. Research has proven that Malaysian are poor readers especially adults whilst

children prefer to read in preparing for their examination rather than read for

entertainment and acquiring knowledge.

Many studies have been done on reading and researchers are looking for

changes in reading patterns due to the widespread use of the internet and the use of

alternative reading resources notably using hypertexts and multimedia resources (Liu,

2005). Pandian (2000) raised two major concerns involving Malaysian readers.

According to him, only 20% of the Malaysian populations are ‘regular readers’ and

the rest are ‘reluctant readers’. Students’ purpose of reading is only to pass exams.

Malaysian students were reluctant to read for information or pleasure. Pandian (2000)

also says that if this phenomenon is left unattended, the future of Malaysia would

eventually be directed by ‘reluctant readers’ who are ‘retarded’ in terms of knowledge,

intelligence and maturity.


45

Many researchers are captured by the emergence of the new digital

environment. With a vast and speedy amount of available digital information people,

particularly the young, are spending more time reading electronic materials (Liu,

2005; Ramirez, 2003). More time is spent on skimming and browsing for information

on the internet. As students spend time on skimming and browsing for information,

they develop a mode of thinking creatively and critically. The habit of reading is an

essential life skill. Reading is not limited to increase in knowledge but it also builds

maturity and character, sharpens thinking, and widens awareness in social, economic,

political, and environmental issues. Reading is not a process that is inculcated over

nightly; it takes effort and hard work. inculcating a reading habit pays off handsomely

in our lives either directly or indirectly.

2.5.5 Reading Knowledge

Background knowledge plays an important role in understanding reading of a text.

Readers comprehend the texts better when they are able to relate to the text as it is

culturally familiar. When the text is culturally unfamiliar, it is important that

teachers activate background knowledge by the use of text previewing which can be

in the form of various types of pre-reading activities leading learners towards a

better understanding of background knowledge. Knowledge is awareness in cognitive

field. Knowledge is information that is interpreted and used by decision-makers to

meet their goals. It is a public good, in that, there is no additional cost when shared

with other users and others cannot be excluded from using it once it is created.

Knowledge is generally divided into two types, namely, knowledge about technology
46

and knowledge about attributes or tacit knowledge. The latter refers to knowledge

gained from experience and which is often a source of competitive advantage

(Euphrasia lee Chin Yan, 2007).

In reading, knowledge is very crutial element that influences readers’s ability

to catch the meaning in a passage because knowledge can be able to remember the

experience of the reader in some fields of reading or passage. The more the reader

have knowledge the better the reader in analyzing a passage of reading. That’s way

knowledge is related to the reader’s experience and background knowledge or called

by reading knowledge hystory in which many comprehension are taken and deepen to

be remembered in mind both cognitive and meta cognitive. Obviously, Knowledge is

awareness in cognitive field. Knowledge is information that is interpreted and used by

decision-makers to meet their goals.

It is a public good, in that, there is no additional cost when shared with other

users and others cannot be excluded from using it once it is created. Knowledge is

generally divided into two types, namely, knowledge about technology and

knowledge about attributes or tacit knowledge. The latter refers to knowledge gained

from experience and which is often a source of competitive advantage. Prior

knowledge are activated through reflection and recording. One of the simplest

methods for helping students activate background knowledge is to prompt them to

bring to mind and state, write down, or otherwise record what they know (Susser,

2000).
47

Sometimes, a reader should read more than once to be able to understand the

meaning. This condition can be different with some people. Fagan as cited in Lina

Hsu (2008) also explained that reading proceess with the series of connections which

are attending, analyzing, associating, predicting, inferring, synthesizing, generalizing,

and monitoring. All of these processes depend on the reader purpose. In the L2

comprehension context, the process of reading is much more complex than only

decoding specific words. Cameron (2005) explains that “comprehension a text needs

skills and knowledge. All the skills and knowledge are connected to construct a

meaningful meaning. After the reader decodes the letters, it is then processed into

morphemes and trying to know the meaning of words. It is then linked into sentences

and the text. For the last step, the reader connects the information from the text with

his prior knowledge”.

Researchers in the field of second language (L2) reading comprehension argue

that two major factors account for differences in reading comprehension: a language-

specific factor such as L2 vocabulary knowledge or L2 grammar (syntactic

awareness) and a general and transferable reading knowledge factor such as

metacognitie awareness of reading strategies. Metacognitive awareness is considered

a component of general reading knowledge that may be transferred from first

language (L1) to second language (L2) reading. Thus, some researchers claim that

good L1 readers should also be good L2 readers (Stanovich, 2008).

Activating relevant prior knowledge by expressing in some form what one

already knows about a topic has been demonstrated to be more effective than

activating irrelevant background knowledge or not activating any background


48

knowledge at improving text recall and / or comprehension. Activating background

knowledge through reflection and oral elaboration during text reading was a more

effective strategy than taking notes on main ideas and their corresponding details.

Equally, good effectiveness when embedding instruction in prior knowledge

activation within a Reciprocal Teaching approach. Strategy instruction that

incorporated direct instruction in prior knowledge activation promoted student

reading comprehension more effectively than the regular program of instruction

(Spires et al, 1998).

Prior knowledge and background knowledge are parent terms for many more

specific knowledge dimensions such as conceptual knowledge and metacognitive

knowledge. Subject matter knowledge, strategy knowledge, personal knowledge, and

self-knowledge are all specialized forms of prior knowledge/background knowledge.

The research studies selected and reviewed for this article targeted the parent concepts

prior knowledge/background knowledge for study, and in discussing these studies and

throughout the remainder of this article, these two terms are used interchangeably

(National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum, 2015).

It is tempting to conclude from observations such as these that prior

knowledge promotes better learning and higher performance, but different research

methods are needed to establish such a causal relationship. In the sections below we

consider research findings that speak directly to the ability of prior knowledge to

influence academic outcomes. In the first section, we discuss research findings from

studies that have investigated instructional approaches for building students’ prior

knowledge. In the second section, we discuss findings from research studies that have
49

investigated instructional approaches for helping students activate prior knowledge. In

the course of these discussions we identify instructional approaches that the research

indicates can effectively support students’ use of background knowledge and improve

their academic performance.

Direct instruction on background knowledge can significantly improve

students’ comprehension of relevant reading material. For example, in one study,

students who received direct instruction on relevant background knowledge before

reading an expository text demonstrated significantly greater reading comprehension

than peers who received direct instruction on an irrelevant topic area. Teaching

students important background ideas for an expository or narrative text led to

significantly greater performance on comprehension questions than did no prereading

background knowledge instruction. By building students’ background knowledge

teachers might also help to counteract the detrimental effects that incoherent or poorly

organized texts have on comprehension (McKeown et al., 2002).

Direct instruction on background knowledge can be embedded into an

approach such as previewing, where students are presented with introductory material

before they read specific texts. Such introductory material may include important

background information such as definitions of difficult vocabulary, translations of

foreign phrases, and explanations of difficult concepts. For example, in a study by

Graves et al., (1983), students were given previews of narrative texts that included a

plot synopsis, descriptive list of characters, and definitions of difficult words in the

story. Thus, students were given both a framework for understanding the stories and
50

important background information. Students not only liked the previews but made

significant improvements in both story comprehension and recall.

By building students’ background knowledge, teachers may also be able to

indirectly influence other aspects of academic performance such as writing. The

students felt better prepared to write a research paper when they took part beforehand

in an extended course of building background knowledge through individual research

and in-class sharing and discussion. While this study does not show any direct impact

on writing quality, it might be expected that improving students’ sense of

preparedness might raise their engagement and/or motivation, translating into better

performance (McKeown et al., 2002).

The studies discussed above provide corroborating support for the

effectiveness of direct instruction on background knowledge as a means to build

reading comprehension. The degree of effectiveness of this approach could

presumably be influenced by a variety of factors including student characteristics,

duration of instruction, grade level, and ability level. None of these factors have been

routinely investigated, and the studies we have reviewed do not identify any of them

as notably influential. On the contrary, these studies support the effectiveness of direct

instruction on background knowledge under a range of conditions. Research by

Stevens (2006) and Graves et al., (2006) demonstrates effectiveness for grades five,

seven, eight, and ten and with students with poor reading ability as well as students

from “average classes.” After controlling for reading ability in the sample, Stevens

(2006) still reported a significant effect of prior knowledge building on reading

comprehension. Thus, this approach appears to be effective for a range of grade levels
51

and student populations. Additional research is needed to extend these findings and

investigate more comprehensively the factors that might influence the success of

direct instruction of background knowledge.

2.5.6 Evidence for Effectiveness of Strategies for Activating Prior Knowledge

There is a good amount of research investigating the effectiveness of instructional

strategies for activating prior knowledge as a means to support students’ reading

comprehension. As a whole, the research base provides good evidence to support the

use of prior knowledge activation strategies; prior knowledge activation is regarded as

a research-validated approach for improving children’s memory and comprehension

of text (Pressley, Johnson, Symons, McGoldrick & Kurita, 1989). There are a variety

of strategies for helping students to activate prior knowledge. We have divided this

review into six sections, each addressing a different approach. As an alternative to a

direct instruction approach, teachers might consider one more indirect, such as

nimmersing students in field experiences through which they can absorb background

knowledge more independently. Koldewyn (1998) investigated an approach that

combined reading trade books, journal keeping, fields trips that put students in

authentic experiences related to their reading, and follow-up Language Experience

activities. Qualitative observations in Koldewyn’s report reflect positively on the

technique. However, the data is too preliminary to clearly establish the effectiveness

of the approach or clarify which of its elements are most valuable (National Center on

Accessing the General Curriculum, 2015).


52

2.5.7 Reading Skill

Reading is one of the most important activities any successful student does in

any course of study. It is important to note that reading is an active process; students

need to apply strategies that will enable them make sense of what you read. Reading

is the most important components of our language and it is an essential tool

for lifelong learning for all learners. In order to face the 21st century, education has to

prepare these learners to adapt to social and technological changes that are taking

place at an unprecedented rate. Education under these circumstances depends

largely on language competency. In this context, reading especially is a resource for

continued education, for the acquisition of new knowledge and skills, for gaining

information through media, especially newspapers, books, radio, television, and

the computers. Thus the achievement of quality basic education calls for the

development of good reading habits of both young and adult learners (Noorizah

Noor, 2011).

Reading, in the context as a skill is an important skill and students should

be trained in effective reading skills. The expert divide reader into two criteria: they

are skilled and unskilled readers. Skill readers are those who are included in
53

intermediate and advanced level, whereas unskilled readers are those who are

beginners in reading. Unskilled readers do not reread are those who are beginners in

reading. “ Unskilled readers do not reread the parts in which inconsistencies occur

when given passages containing inconsistent information, and they fail to ask

questions or request assistance to clarify difficulties” They just read without bothering

about the content of the reading matter. For them, being able to pronunce words

correctly is a proof this at they can read well. They also dislike asking others when

they do not understand something in a pass (Abdul Wahab & Mulikat Bola, 2012).

Reading skills are important throughout our lifespan, particularly as we

respond to new demands and changes in jobs and reading for pleasure or

recreational has been found to improve reading comprehension, writing style,

vocabulary, and grammatical development. The importance on teaching students

to read and ultimately reducing illiteracy has been a major agenda in Malaysia.

When adults in today’s age who can read, choose not to read, they are likely to create

a generation of non- readers as perpetuate the problem of reading reluctance. The

term reluctant readers to people who can read but do not read and the term

reluctance to describe the phenomenon of people who can read but choose not to

read. The focus on reading is crucial given the development of communications

technology and the changed reality we confront in contemporary societies. For

reading to be meaningful, it is essential that young people learn not only to read

but they cultivate reading behavior for lifelong learning. While new forms of

reading texts (mass and multimedia) have emerged, it is still not certain if

communications technology will be used to maintain their reading for pleasure and

lifelong learning (Inderjit, 2014).


54

Although Malaysia has a fairly high literacy rate and a good educational

system, the reading habit has not developed as it should. Relatively recently,

reading research has broadened in scope to consider the way in which social

contexts influence reading ability. The development of reading skills is now

accepted to occur not only in the classroom, but also within social settings, at home

and in the wider community, including the public library. International research

provides powerful demonstrations of the impact of the actions of young people

and family members as they combine languages, illiteracies and cultural practices

from a variety of contexts. In many studies grounded in ‘‘real world settings’’,

in other words, beyond the school gates, children’s learning is supported and in

turn supports the learning of others, in ways that are not necessarily recognized

or understood within the school. It is much better to begin with to take books to

the people than to expect people to come to libraries to look for books. There are two

reasons for this. The first reason is that people do not go to libraries because it is not a

culturally familiar thing to do. The second reason is that if people do pluck up

courage and venture through library doors they often find that it is such an alien

place that they leave as soon as possible and do not come back. Almost all our

valuable life- enriching habits are given to us by our parents, our peers or our

teachers ( Wang, 2004 ).

Reading skills are important among the four language skills. Students

must have ideas about reading skills and sub-skills. Jordan (1997) suggests these

reading skills and subskills for academic reading aspect:

1. Prediction

2. Skimming (reading quickly for the main idea or gist)


55

3. Scanning (reading quickly for a specific piece of information)

4. Distinguishing between factual and non-factual information

5. Distinguishing between important and less important items

6. Distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant information

7. Drawing inferences and conclusions

8. Deducing unknown words

9. Understanding graphic presentation

10.Understanding text organization and linguistic/semantic aspects (e.g

relationship between and within sentences – cohesion and recognizing

discourse/semantic markers and their function).

If students want to participate actively in the class, they are likely to perform

extra work on their own in order to improve their reading skills, Wilson in Roszainora

Setia (2012). When students are intrinsically motivated, they are undertaking an

activity for its own sake, for the enjoyment it provides, or the feeling of

accomplishment it evokes. Intrinsic motivation has more potential benefits than

extrinsic motivation. Students with intrinsic motivation use more logical

information gathering and decision- making strategies than students with

extrinsic motivation, Wang & Guthrie in Shazila (2012). When intrinsically

motivated, students tend to employ strategies that demand more time and effort, and

that enable them to process information more deeply. Students with an intrinsic

orientation also tend to prefer academic tasks that are moderately challenging,

whereas extrinsically orientated students gravitate toward tasks that are low in

degree of difficulty. Extrinsically oriented students are inclined to put forth the
56

minimal amount of time, energy, and effort necessary in order to receive the

maximum reward, Fatimah, & Vishalache, 2006 in Puteri Rohani Megat (2012).

Students are more active when they are performing extra work on their own to

improve their reading skill. Motivation is very important to undertake an activity of

reading for the enjoyment it provides, or the feeling of accomplishment it evokes.

Intrinsic motivation has more potential benefits than extrinsic motivation. Students

should be provided with sufficient homework and class work in order to help

improve reading comprehension in their courses. Critical reading and thinking

skills require active reading, White in (Inderjit, 2007). Being active readers mean

students have to engage with the text, both mentally and physically. Students should

do the tips: skim ahead, jump back, and highlight the text when they are studying.

They should make specific observations about the text. Students should skim and

scan homework and class work assignments to get the general idea of its contents.

Instructors should provide class-related topics that are exciting and interesting. The

best instructors tell stories related to topic; when students are taking a quiz or exam,

they will remember the story associated with the lecture to recall the information.

Practice exercises are also essential to improve reading comprehension in college

courses. Practice exercises in class and homework help students to remember the

information for quizzes and final exams. New words appearing in the scripted

materials are printed on a flipchart. In this way, students could see and take careful

notice during the discussion of each new word as it is used in a textbook illustration,

and is identified and printed on a chalkboard. These new words are referred to in the

reading activity (Inderjit, 2007).


57

When you are reading, make it pleasurable and fine a quiet place. Make

your reading time your favourite time of day like have some good tea or coffee.

Find a quiet place that you are comfortable and be easy to understand what

you read. A quite place will make you peace. If you find yourself stressful

while reading the book, don’t continue reading under pressure like that.

Reading is for pleasure, so don’t push yourself too hard that you can quit reading

forever, or even if you can read, the outcome won’t be so good either. After

approximately 11 years in formal education, majority of Malaysian students are able

to read efficiently after finishing their secondary education. However, even equipped

with literacy skills particularly reading skills, the reading habits of students are still at

an unsatisfactory level. Society at large, especially parents, need to change this

mindset and be more proactive in guiding and cultivating reading habits among

children from a young age. The people that are culturally closest to us and who are

therefore most influential are our parents and our peers.

Reading begins at home and parents are the key indicators on whether their

child is acquiring the habit of learning. Children at a tender age are like sponge

feeding into their minds knowledge and information from their parents which act as

their role model. Conditioning the child with positive reading habits must be

inculcated at this young age to provide a strong pillar and platform for them to create

a passion in reading. Teachers in schools are busy with their daily stressful job of

educating children and this require the parents to push the extra mile in spending time

reading and this will improve the social bondage between them. If our youth spend

their free time in reading and cultivate critical thinking, we will have less social

problems such as illegal racing, wild sex, baby-dumping, drug-taking and so on.
58

Another aspect of reading skill is the learning of speed reading which enables one to

read and understand much faster and more knowledge in a shortest time. Speed

reading is a collection of reading methods which attempt to increase rates of reading

without greatly reducing comprehension or retention. The ability to read fast in a

comprehensive manner is like any ability, something people can develop over time

(Guthrie, 2002).

In learning English as a second or foreign language, asserts that reading is the

most important skill to master. In Malaysia, where English is taught as a second

language, reading in English would undoubtedly help a learner to be proficient in the

language as language can be learned through reading. Nevertheless, a few surveys on

reading habits in Malaysia showcased that tertiary level students spent less time

reading than they used to before joining the university. A similar result was found in a

reading habit survey. The survey indicated that even though most subjects had high

level of motivation and attitude, only about two third of the subjects did spend time

on reading English materials outside class hours. Two third who spent time on

reading, almost half of them spent only less than one hour a week on English reading

Fatimah and Vishalache, (2006).

The habit of reading improved someone’s reading skill. Therefore, the issue of

reading whether it is for learning or leisure is important since it helps broaden young

people’s experiences and knowledge. Many studies have been conducted to identify

the nature of the reading habits of individuals. Among them are studies on reading

that have been done on teenagers or young people, on college students and adults and

on specific cultures and society such as Malaysia (Greene, 2001).


59

2.5.8 Strategies for motivating reading skill

Reading motivation refers to a person’s personal goals, values and beliefs on

reading topics, processes and outcomes. Motivation can be in the form of intrinsic

(internal) and extrinsic (external) factors. When the desire to read is controlled

externally, for example, to meet teachers’ or parents’ expectations, readers are only

extrinsically motivated because they may not be interested to read but they want

to achieve certain outcomes like rewards or good grades. In the mid-1940's,

Francis Robinson developed the SQ3R method of self- regulated reading. College

students and professionals need a method to help them become proficient in

reading in order to help them learn more effectively. Proficient reading skills give

students the potential to be better self-directed learners, and therefore acquire

more expertise within their professional fields. There are four items that

proficient readers partake of. First, students have a reason for why they are

reading and how they will read. Second, students know their skill process when

they read. Third, students keep track of their reading comprehension. Finally,

students use a large assortment of reading methods for different reading

passages. The SQ3R method includes survey, question, read, recite and review

(Sherfield, 2005). To survey the reading material, students need to quickly

overview the text and understand the main points and how this information is

structured. Using the survey part of this reading method, students will skim the

textbook chapter to see the overall structure, decide which reading method will be

best based upon the headings and view the larger image of the chapter to
60

understand the reading. By knowing what the textbook chapters are about,

students can provide questions to promote critical thinking skills (Guthrie, 2002).

2.5.9 Reading Attitude

Reading is considered as a foundation for functioning in school. Attitudes toward

reading are defined as an individual’s feeling about reading. It causes learners to

adopt or avoid a reading situation (Alexander & Filler, 1976). Attitude and interest

toward reading can be related to feeling and their willingness to read. Reading

attitude is defined by McKenna, Kear and Ellsworth in Subhasini and Balakrishnan

(2013) as a system of feelings related to reading which causes the learner to

approach or avoid a reading situation.

Due to the critical importance of reading in today’s society, it is important that

children develop a positive attitude towards reading at a young age. Positive reading

attitudes lead to positive reading experiences. Wang (2000) explains that children’s

future success in reading was determined by their literacy development, and children’s

reading habit is determined by their attitudes toward reading. Reading attitude also

fulfils a pivotal role in the development and use of lifelong reading skills

(Lazarus and Callahan, 2000).


61

Reading attitudes can produce major barriers to the students, especially in the

academic and it would also impact the development of information literacy and the

ambitious to be information literate people where the product know how to find,

evaluate and use information effectively whether the information they select comes

from computer, a book, a goverment agency, a film or any number of possible

resources. Attitude toward reading are defined as an individual’s feeling about reading

– causing learners to approach or avoid reading situation, Alexander in Haslinda

(2011).

Indeed, there will be an attitude owned by students in learning both in writing

and reading because by having attitude, students can direct their way of learning in

their skills (writing and reading). Reading is one of skill that needs attitude toward it

as manifestation of knowledge and skill itself. Therefore, attitude can be a big

problem for many students in learning like motivation, interest and prefernce.

Attitudes are relatively stable evaluations of persons, objects, situations, or issues,

along a continuum ranging from positive to negative. Most attitudes have three

components: 1) a cognitive component, consisting of thoughts and beliefs about the

attitudinal object; 2) an emotional component, made up of feelings toward the

attitudinal object; and 3) a behavioral component, composed of predispositions

concerning actions toward the object Some attitudes are acquired through firsthand

experiences with (Wood, et al., 2007).

According to Worthy (2002), children’s level of engagement in reading

is influenced by their attitudes to reading and this impact directly on their


62

achievement as those students who engage more regularly with reading achieve

significantly higher results. Yet, to date, studies that evaluate children’s reading

attitudes in relation to achievement have produced inconsistent results. Many studies

are focused only on intellectuanl gifted children or children with learning difficulties,

but the research about the relationship between academic achievement and reading

attitude is scarcely dearth. Much of the evidence has consistently linked reading

attitude with ability, but studies also do exist that show that there is no correlation

between the two. There is a need for more current research.

In motivation, basic theory defining motivation are believed to be the created

that drive students to choose whether they will engage in an persist with the

reading process. Current motivational researchers have started to incorporate the

more traditional motivation constructs with cognitive theory and social theory.

With this newly constructed explanation motivation for reading is no longer

limited; it now includes the individual’s personal goals, values, beliefs, cognitive

processes, and academic abilities, as well as the interactions occurring within the

culture and situation. Therefore, motivation for reading is a crucial entity for

successfully engaging in the reading process because it is the element that what

activates and maintains students’ engagement throughout the entire reading process,

Schunk in Habibah Elias (2011).

As research has demonstrated, students who are motivated to read are

engaged in the reading process for a variety of personal reasons (Guthrie,

McGough, Bennett, & Rice, 1996). They have social goals in that they share

their thoughts and feelings related to their interpretations of the text with their
63

peers and their families. They have strategic goals in that they use a variety of

comprehension strategies during the reading process that enable them to obtain their

knowledge goals. That is, they are able to successfully use an array of strategies to

help them assimilate and accommodate their understanding of new knowledge.

Successful readers also have personal goals in that they read a variety of genres, in

various settings, and across time. In contrast, readers who are disconnected with the

reading process avoid reading. They rarely enjoy reading. They do not have a purpose

for reading, they do not have goals, nor are they able to seek understanding

of the text by using strategic, personal goals, Cambourne in (Habibah Elias, 2011).

Motivation for reading is viewed as one link between engagement in reading

and reading achievement. Some researchers believe that by increasing the student’s

competence in reading and by increasing the belief in reading abilities, the motivation

to read will also increase. By increasing this motivation, it can increase reading

activity and in turn, increase knowledge and academic success. Students with and

without learning disability are consistently found to differ in their motivational and

behavioral profiles. For example, students with and without learning disability

differ in their achievement motivation, and helplessness. Motivated readers spend

more time reading than other students and as a result attain higher levels of

achievement and perform better on standardized reading tests (Guthrie, Wigfield,

Metsala, & Cox, 2000).

2.5.10 Reading Attitude in Malaysia


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The definition of reading has undergone through many improvements. In the past,

reading was meant to interpret visual information of any given codes or systems,

Lone in Subhasini and Balakrishnan (2013). However, after that, reading became

more complex and involved the understanding process of a whole text composed of

written signs (Fisher, 2004). Smith and Robinson in Subhasini (2013) define

reading as a process for reader to understand a writer’s message. Additionally,

Toit (2001) suggests reading as a process of thinking, recalling and relating concepts

under the functioning of written words. Irvin (1998) describes the reading process as

interaction between the writer’s mind with what is on the page within a particular

context that causes readers to comprehend what they read. Furthermore, Williams in

Balarishnan (2013) defines reading as a process in which a reader looks at a text and

understands what has been written. He further states that reading does not

mean a person needs understand everything he reads because people read for

different reasons and purposes. Thus, reading can define as ability to recognize,

examine the meaning of written or printed characters, words or sentences and

understand the information within (Lone, 2011).

Malaysian educators have often complained about the poor reading habits

among their students. Based on the study by Kaur and Thiyagarajah in Subhasini

(2013), Malaysian students read very little. They prefer to watch television and

video compared to reading for information or leisure. Similar results are also

found by Pandian (2000), Frank Small and Associates (2006) and the Malaysian

National Library (2006). In the survey by Malaysian National Library (2006) with a

sample of 60,441 respondents, it was found that the literacy rate has slightly

decreased to 92% from 93% in 1996.


65

Ajzen and Fishbein Subhasini (2013) define attitude as a learned disposition

on how to behave, either negative or positive; and the reading attitude refers to

the person’s nature towards reading as an activity. McKenna Model of Reading

Attitude Acquisition (McKenna, Kear & Ellsworth, 1996) suggests that the

individual’s reading attitude develops over time as a result of three factors: (i)

normative beliefs (how one’s friends view about reading); (ii) beliefs about

outcomes of reading (whether reading is likely to be pleasurable, useful,

frustrating or boring) and beliefs about outcomes of competing activities; and

(iii) specific reading experiences. The degree of positive or negative attitudes

towards reading differs according to the kind of reading to be performed and the

purpose of reading McKenna et al., in . Thus, it is more meaningful and practical to

discuss reading attitudes with reference to a particular type or use of reading (Taylor,

Harris & Pearson, Subhasini and Balakrishnan (2013).

2.5.11 Reading Purposes

The way to read a book or a text depends very much on a reason for reading it. This is

why it is so important to know the reading purpose. Someone should read a question

in his math examination differently from an entry in an encyclopedia which he is

looking at quickly to find out the date of an event. The kind of reading someone do in

class or for his homework is different from how he read a novel for pleasure in the

summer vacation. If someone know his reading purpose – perhaps by looking first at

the questions he must answer after reading – he can choose the best reading method.
66

If a teacher gives a student something to read and doesn’t tell him what he need to

find out from the text or what student will do after the reading, ask the teacher is the

best way.

There are many purposes planned by people in reading and it depends on the

materials they want to read whether academic or non academic materialsa. Besides, it

also based on the target people want to reach whether for getting knowledge or

experience only. Actually, the purpose of reading is to find information. Reading is

done for various purposes which are for learning or studying, for having fun, for

survival and for working. Reading for learning or studying consists of the reading

textbooks, bibliographies, abstracts dictionaries, reference works, encyclopedias,

journals, magazines, documents, thesaurus, and other academic-related texts. It is

done to support, unite and clarify as ideas as well as to add to our knowledge about

half-known facts or vaguely formulated ideas. It is also “goal-oriented” (Willis, 2002

and Nuttall, 2006).

Knowing the purpose of reading is important because it influences the way

the reader reads. A tenageer for example, will be motivated to read a teenage

magazine. A mother is more interested to read articles about baby. In academic

setting, reading is diferent. A student needs a deep understanding about the text to

answer the questions related to the text. Sometime he needs to write it back more than

one to get the main idea and comprehend the text well. Further, Grabe and Stoller

(2002) said the purpose of reading are: reading to search for simple information,

reading to skim quickly, reading to learn from texts, reading to read information and
67

reading to write ( to search for information needed for writing), reading to critique

texts, reading for general comprehension.

Furthermore, there are some purposes of reading that are for pleasure, for a

general impression, for organizing reading and study, for learning content or

procedures and for language learning. Thus, it is clear that there is a wide of specific

purposes for which we may read and that our specific purposes may change during the

course of reading a single text. Thus the questions we ask our students to consider will

vary according to the both the nature of the text and the level and background of our

students. It provides a selection for the selection of questions for different group of

students and different context of study. It also provides a basis for considering the

types of reading most appropriate for specific reading purposes.

When reading purposes and text is clear, the reader should be in a position to

consider the most appropriate of reading to adopt. When reading for pleasure, a

certain degree of ‘skipping’ can be tolerated; when reading in order to organize study,

it is usually sensible to start by ‘skimming’ the text for key signal of content etc. But

reading for the learning of content, or procedures, requires slower reading, reading in

depth, and time for reflection. Reading for learning the language will require a

combination of strategies in sequence, Grabe and Stoller (2002).

Unfortunately these simple principles are ignored in many textbooks,

particularly in EFL where the pre dominant exercises are aimed at ‘getting the gist

and/or is at the skimming and scanning of test which, by their very nature, need to be

read very carefully. In view of the pervasive influence of such exercises, it is


68

important at this stage that we examine the terms commonly used to describe such

reading activities both in course book and in the research literature, Grabe and Stoller

(2002).

Skilled readers do not read blindly, but purposely. They have an agenda, goal,

or objective. Their purpose, together with the nature of what they are reading,

determines how they read. They read in different ways in different situations for

different purposes. Of course, reading has a nearly universal purpose: to figure out

what an author has to say on a given subject. When we read, we translate words into

meanings. The author has previously translated ideas and experiences into words. We

must take those same words and re-translate them into the author’s original meaning

using our own ideas and experiences as aids. Accurately translating words into

intended meanings is an analytic, evaluative, and creative set of acts. Unfortunately,

few people are skilled at translation. Few are able to accurately mirror the meaning

the author intended. They project their own meanings into a text.

In general, then, we read to figure out what authors mean. Our reading is

further influenced by our purpose for reading and by the nature of the text itself. For

example, if we are reading for pure pleasure and personal amusement, it may not

matter if we do not fully understand the text. We may simply enjoy the ideas that the

text stimulates in us. This is fine as long as we know that we do not deeply understand

the text. Some of the various purposes for reading include : a. Sheer pleasure: requires

no particular skill level, b. To figure out a simple idea: which may require skimming

the text, c. To gain specific technical information: skimming skills required, d. To

enter, understand, and appreciate a new world-view: requires close reading skills in
69

working through a challenging series of tasks that stretch our minds, and e. To learn a

new subject: requires close reading skills in internalizing and taking ownership of an

organized system of meanings. How you read should be determined in part by what

you read. Reflective readers read a textbook, for example, using a different mindset

than they use when reading an article in a newspaper. Furthermore, reflective readers

read a textbook in biology differently from the way they read a textbook in history.

Having recognized this variability, we should also recognize that there are core

reading tools and skills for reading any substantive text, some of which will be the

focus of this and our next few our columns (Ting, 2003).

2.5.12 Reading Interest

Studies on the mastery of the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and

reading habits indicated that although students perceived English to be important for

their academic needs, the language was mostly used for reading purposes only (Tan

cited in Othman, 2005; Kaur & Thiyagarajah, 1999). In ranking the importance of the

skills, students ranked writing as their least competent skill and regarded speaking and

reading as the most important skills needed to master the language. Mohamad Jafre on

“ The reading habits of students in Rural Secondary School Students in Malaysia “

revealed that only 20% of the Malaysian populations are ‘regular readers’ and the rest

80.1 % are ‘reluctant readers’ of English language materials. Moreover, students’

purpose of reading is only to pass exams. Malaysian students were reluctant to read

for information or pleasure. It was also added that if this phenomenon was left

unattended, the future of Malaysia would eventually be directed by ‘reluctant readers’


70

who were ‘retarded’ in terms of knowledge, intelligence and maturity Mohamad Jafre

in Pandian (2011).

Through reading, one has access to a wide range of knowledge found in

various reading materials like academic books, magazines, newspapers and journals

(US Department of Education, 2005). One who does not know how to read or does

not like to read will likely be archaic as he or she fails to benefit from the opportunity

to gain access to the wide range of knowledge. Besides, when readers read to get

information, they indirectly improve their reading skills. This is supported by

Eskey in (Zurina Khairuddin, 2013) who stated that by reading, one learns to

read and becomes better at reading. Due to this, people who read extensively

can become good readers as they are exposed to new words. As a result, they will

like reading and become successful.

The early experience ESL students encounter when reading second

language materials could determine their attitudes towards reading (Marrero, 2009).

She also stated that students will employ the attitude that they have adopted towards

reading in a second language as they advance to the development stages of

reading (2009). Furthermore, students in the English language classroom come from

different cultures and backgrounds (Grabe, 2003). Due to this, they vary in terms of

their reading interest in English reading materials.

Reading interests is important in enhancing students’ success in school

and out of it. Hence, students need to have high reading interests. Attitude and

interest toward reading can be related in association with feeling and learners’ spirit to
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learn or in this situation it can be said best with readers’s spirit to read (Nor Shariza

Abdul Karim, 2007). Walberg and Tsai in Haslina (2011) said that a positive attitude

toward reading is one of the stronggest correlates of reading achievement. The activity

of reading is regarded as a habit when it is repeatedly carried out. In measurable terms

reading habits is often considered in terms of the amount of materials being read, the

frequency of reading as well as the average time spent on reading.

Reading interests often refer to the selection of subject matter or preference for

a genre of literature being read. It is therefore often equated that an individual has

developed a reading habit and interests when such activity is repeatedly carried out

voluntarily for leisure. Krashen (1993) believes that this habit and interests could be

nurtured at an early age. There would naturally be differences in interests between

individuals of different age, gender and are greatly inluenced by the internal factors

such as home, motivation and attitude as well as the external factors such as peers,

schools, teachers, and the library facil- ities available to the individuals. Apart from

that, many students were actually not negative to reading but gave priority to other

activities such as sports, social life and school work. They would read during

convenient times such as during school breaks or after completion of major projects.

Several researchers have found that light reading does not automatically result in an

ability to read advanced materials (Krashen, 1993).

According to Mc Kool (2007), reading interest is defined as readings done

when students are outside the school compound. Furthermore, the US Department

of Education (2005) defined reading interests as whether or not students like to

read in their spare time or at home or whether they like to go to the library. Besides,
72

reading interest is also defined by the number of books read in a month and the

number of times students read in a week and the favourite genres and types of English

reading materials.

According to research conducted by Taylor, Frye and Maruyama (1990),

Anderson, Fielding and Wilson (1988), Stanovich (1986) and Walberg and Tsai

(1984), reading interest has a strong positive relationship with the success of

students both in school and life. When students read, they will gain more knowledge

and this will help them to have wider and broader perspectives on certain issues.

Besides, Anderson, Fielding and Wilson (1988) found that students’ reading interest is

one of the best predictors of a child’s growth in reading. In addition, other research

also revealed that reading interest has been linked and related to vocabulary

development, comprehension, fluency as well as general intellectual development,

Guthrie & Wigfield; Taylor, Frye & Maruyama; Anderson, Fielding & Wilson,

Stanovich, 1986 in (Zurina Khairuddin, 2013). Consequently, reading interest is also

linked to academic success as students who love to read will be able to write well and

have more ideas which will make them more creative and innovative (Grabe,

2003; Stansberry, 2009). This means that students who have little or no interest in

reading will not be able to force themselves to pick up a book and read for academic

purposes, let alone to read for pleasure. This is maintained by UNESCO (1983) who

stated that students who do not like to read at an early stage will not adopt reading

habit as they grow older.

Another important matter to look at in terms of students reading interests is

the differences based on genders. A study conducted by Coles and Hall revealed that
73

10 to 14 year-old male students read less frequently than female students (2002).

Another study showed that more female students reported that they enjoy

reading and rate themselves as confident and independent readers (Gambell &

Hunter, 2000). The female students in this study also described that they read for

pleasure for 15 minutes or more every day. These research illustrate that female

students have higher reading interest compared to male students.

In the Malaysian context, Sapiah (2000) carried out a study on reading

interests among year four students. From a sample of 166 students, she discovered

there is no significant difference between male and female students in terms of how

many books they read in a month. However, in the same study, Sapiah (2000)

discovered that there is a significant difference in terms of the choice of genres based

on gender. A more recent study by Nor Shariza and Amelia revealed that there were

some differences between male and female Bachelor of IT and Bachelor of Arts

students in terms of their reading habits and reading attitudes (2007).

2.5.13 Reading Preference

According to the Malaysian Reading Profile Survey, 93% of Malaysians are

literate (National Library of Malaysia, 1998). However, a lot of Malaysians have

yet to adopt the habit of reading (Imran Ariff, 2010). In other words, there is quite

a number of Malaysians still do not read for pleasure nor they read when they have

the time. This is proven by the Malaysian Reading Profile Survey conducted by the

National Library of Malaysia (1998) in 1996 (Zurina Khairuddin, 2013), which


74

indicated that only 87% of Malaysians adopt the habit of reading in which this

number is meant for reading in both the first and second language. Apart from that,

according to this reading profile, only 29% of the population uses the library and this

is a very small number.

Additionally, it is found that university students spent a significant

amount of time in reading newspapers, academic books and websites due to the

demands from doing assignments, instead of for pleasure (Nor Shariza & Amelia,

2007). In the Malaysian Reading Profile Survey in 2010, it was revealed that

Malaysians above 10 years old read at the average of eight to twelve books a year

(National Library of Malaysia, 2010). Apart from that, the reading habit in Malaysia is

still considered an issue although 93% of Malaysians are literate (Imran Ariff, 2010).

Senu, as cited in Imran Ariff, (2010) also mentioned that every family in

Malaysia only spends RM50 yearly to buy books and this is a small amount of money

to be spent on reading materials.

This shows Malaysians still have not adopted the habit of reading. A

study by Imran Ariff (2010) discovered that students have interests in reading,

however, they have not reached to a point where they take reading as a habit. A

research conducted by Mohamad Jafreinvestigated the readi ng interests of

Chinese Malaysian students found that 48% of the respondents in the study stated that

they read during their spare time. These students mentioned that they mostly read

newspapers, magazines and comics (Mohamad Jafre, Majid & Ooi, 2011).

However, it is also found that only 20% of the respondents read to pass time and 10%

indicated that they read because they believe reading is fun. In addition to this, the
75

result of this research also indicated that the only two students out of 60 students read

novels or story books for more than four hours per day (Mohamad Jafre, Majid

& Ooi, 2011). These findings show that Malaysian Chinese students still do not

adopt the habit of reading for pleasure.

In addition to that, 22% of Malaysians develop their ability to read through

television or the video medium instead of through reading books or other reading

materials. This shows that Malaysians prefer to watch televisions or videos than read.

Similar findings were found by Kaur and Thivagarajah (1999) who revealed that

Malaysian students preferred to watch television and videos compared to reading

for pleasure and as a result, they read very little. Other than that, another

research found that the majority of the students were considered as reluctant

readers when it came to reading second language materials (Pandian, 2000).

There are a number of studies that have been conducted which related to the

present study. Nomakhosazana (2002) have conducted a study, looking into the

Grade 11 ESL students’ reading preferences. The study also has elicited some

other important aspects for instance, role played by people in their surrounding

as well as the environment in promoting a love for reading. The findings show

that learners are most interested in reading magazines and newspapers as well

as topics related to love, sport and politics. Mothers seem to play a more

important role than either fathers or teachers in inculcating reading habits among

students. What emerged from this study is that reading is seen as a means to obtain

information about topics which perceive as important, but is not seen as a means of
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independently finding out about their school subjects which suggests that schools

might not be encouraging this important aspect of lifelong learning.

According to Croston (2005), he reported that many students enjoy reading

popular magazines, horror story, mysterious and other few other topics when they are

outside of school. Apart from that, the middle school students also mentioned that

they enjoy reading comics. As for the genres of assigned book, it is found that that the

students enjoyed both the genres of fiction, and non-fiction but most favourably

choose a topic of fantasy, adventure, horror and humour, which indicate to the fiction

genres. Some studies have reported that girls, more than boys, are mostly

recommended by family and friends when it comes to selection of books to read as

highlighted by Arnstead (2004) who. And again, magazine has been listed as one of

the most preferable materials chosen by the students although the topic of interest

differs across gender. As for the girls, they enjoy reading magazines about teen issues

and pop culture people while the boys read magazines about people of interest to

teens and sports magazines. They also reported that Back-of-the-book summaries and

series books are primary influences on what they choose to read. Again, family

members are named as recommender to what to read.

Reading interest or preferences seemed to be different with different age

levels. Bremner (2000) surveyed the leisure reading choices of rural teenagers and

found this at their reasons for leisure reading was for entertainment and for acquiring

information. Magazines and newspapers were found to be the most preferred reading

materials of teenagers. Krashen (2003) reviewed several selected studies on reading

preferences of adolescents, and concluded that adolescents do read extensively in


77

books, periodicals, and newspapers. Graduate and undergraduate students’ reading

behaviors are slightly varied. Preference studies are those that look at children's

expressed attitudes toward reading, and they indicate what children might read if

given the opportunity. Reading interest studies, on the other hand, examine actual

reading behaviors of children by analyzing the books children have indeed read.

In literate societies reading is a vital element in the life of most adults both in

terms of amount of time spent reading and correlation of reading. Findings from a

national survey of a large number of adults in the United States indicated this at the

average adult spent approximately two hours per day reading. Responses from a

representative sample of adults in the United States showed that 90% read

newspapers, 81% read magazines, and 83% read books. Responses from an American

community sample of adults indicated the subjective importance of reading in that 72

percent of respondents reported reading often or very often. Responses to a British

survey indicated that half of those questioned had read five or more books in the

previous year and 20% had read 20 or more books. In Canada, 81% of adults reported

reading newspapers, 71 report reading magazines, and 61% report reading books for

leisure. A survey of the reading habits of adults in 15 European nations found that

averaged across countries, 87% of the respondents regularly read newspapers, 82%

read magazines, and 58% had read books in the previous year (Krashen, 2003).

Researchers have found various changes in the reading habits of college

students due to the impact of digital media made available through the internet (Liu,

2005). Recreational reading has changed for young adults and students in an era of

eBooks and laptops and hours spent online. Students have been known to be very
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receptive to different forms of media. With the advent and evolution of the internet,

information can be transmitted quickly. Reading time using digital media is made

shorter by skimming and browsing the hypertexts that are less structured and non-

linear. Liu (2005) found that younger people can tolerate more time reading screen-

based materials. However, students tend to print out material (for school) to read

more slowly.

A study conducted by Nor Shahriza and Amelia (2007) focused on the gender

and choice of reading material by university students revealed that university students

spend a significant amount of time reading newspapers, academic books and websites.

Not surprisingly, they reported that IT-based students tend to use electronic resources

more than art based students. Kaur and Thivagarajah (1999) did a study on the

English reading habits of students at University Sains Malaysia and found that

students are motivated to read in English as they knew that it would improve their

English proficiency so as to get good grades in their courses. The students spent little

time on leisure reading but 3-5 hours a week on literary works and ELT books.

Similarly, Yang (2007) found that in many EFL situations, English is learned as an

examination subject rather than a tool for life. Most students do not use English

outside the classroom so they read English books only as requirement and not for

leisure.

The technology driven lifestyle is definitely changing the reading habits of the

young. Studies on reading among college students have gained much attention in

recent years due to the impact of the digital media. More and more students are using
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technology to satisfy their information needs. Books, newspapers and other printed

media are now considered old-fashioned. Such traditional media have to adapt to meet

the challenges of a new age. Several news websites and on-line news providers such

as Malaysiakini have been started to compete with the printed media and major book

publishers have made many of their latest publications digital. In July 2010, the

ComScore. Inc., an internet information company, released ranking of the top

news/information sites in Malaysia. According to the release, the report found that 5.5

million Malaysians age 15 and above who went online visited a news/information site

(Nor Shahriza et al., 2007).

Many studies have been conducted to identify the nature of the reading habits

of individuals. Among them are studies on reading that have been done on teenagers

or young people, on college students and adults. The research on online reading is still

new and progressing in the Malaysian context. Most of Malaysian students are able to

read efficiently after finishing their secondary education. However, even equipped

with literacy skills particularly reading skills, the reading habits of students are still at

an unsatisfactory level. Reading habits among Malaysians recently surprised the

Information, Communication and Culture Minister of Malaysia when he says that

“reading has become an enveloping habit for Malaysians with most reading an

average of eight to twelve books per year”. As the internet is a part of the

technological and digital culture of the teenagers; therefore, online reading would

better suit teenagers compared to reading printed materials or books (Mohamad Jafre,

2011).
80

Many studies have been done on reading and researchers are looking for

changes in reading patterns due to the widespread use of the internet and the use of

alternative reading resources notably using hypertexts and multimedia resources (Liu,

2005). Pandian (2000) raised two major concerns involving Malaysian readers.

According to him, only 20% of the Malaysian population are ‘regular readers’ and the

rest are ‘reluctant readers’. Students’ purpose of reading is only to pass exams.

Malaysian students were reluctant to read for information or pleasure. Pandian (2000)

also says that if this phenomenon is left unattended, the future of Malaysia would

eventually be directed by ‘reluctant readers’ who are ‘retarded’ in terms of knowledge,

intelligence and maturity. Many researchers are captured by the emergence of the new

digital environment. With a vast and speedy amount of available digital information

people, particularly the young, are spending more time reading electronic materials

(Liu, 2005; Ramirez, 2003). More time is spent on skimming and browsing for

information on the internet. As students spend time on skimming and browsing for

information, they develop a mode of thinking creatively and critically. The habit of

reading is an essential life skill. Reading is not limited to increase in knowledge but it

also builds maturity and character, sharpens thinking, and widens awareness in social,

economic, political and environmental issues. Reading is not a process that is

inculcated over nightly; it takes effort and hard work.

2.5.14 Reading Process

Reading is the receptive process of written communication (Goodman, 1995).

Reading is described as a complex process of making meaning from a text, for variety

of purposes and in a wide range of contexts (Allen & Bruton, 1998). Reading is a
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psycholinguistic process in that it starts with a linguistic surface representation

encoded by a writer and ends with meaning which the reader constructs (Goodman,

1995). Readers typically make use of background knowledge, vocabulary,

grammatical knowledge, experience with text and other strategies to help them

understand a written text. Additionally, in the reading process, readers use their

background knowledge about the text’s topic and structure along with their linguistic

knowledge and reading strategies to achieve their purpose for reading. During the

reading process, the brain seeks to maximize information it acquires and minimize

effort and energy used to acquire it (Goodman, 1995). In reading process, it becomes

very complex and intricate for some peole to get comprehension when they reading

very dense, technical material in text book. There are some ways of basic of reading

process, among others are: preview, over preview, read, final review and Recite / Talk

2.6 The Simple View of Reading

Gough and Tunmer (1986) proposed the simple view of reading, in which reading

comprehension is seen as the product of decoding and listening comprehension.

Though simple, this approach does a remarkably good occupation of accounting

for the data, and it reminds us that the ability to decode words is absolutely

essential for skilled reading; those with either very low decoding skills or very

low oral comprehension skills will be poor in reading comprehension. Decoding

or word reading is often the bottleneck that prevents readers from attaining higher or

adequate text comprehension. However, listening comprehension, which represents

verbal ability, is also essential. Verbal ability is a key component of intelligence, and

may be very difficult to improve through instruction; it includes knowledge of


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vocabulary, grammar, the ability to make inferences, etc. Decoding provides a more

promising and fruitful target for instruction.

Comprehension involves the relating of two or more pieces of information

(Kintsch, 2009). Those pieces of information can come from long-term memory (prior

knowledge), but in reading comprehension at least one piece must come from the text.

The information to be integrated is held in working memory, and the relating

operation takes up space there too. As we read, we update our mental representation

of the text’s meaning; these mental representations are known as mental models or

situation models, Kintsch in Charles Perfetti & Suzanne M.Adolf (2012).

These pieces of information are the different types of content shown in

Figure 1, for instance, words, ideas, main ideas, or themes. As information is

processed, the lower-level units are integrated into higher-level units; long-term

memory stores some low-level information, but comprehension relies critically

upon long-term memory’s higher-level, more abstract or schematic information. The

abstract information is stored in the form of schemes, which functions like

generalized mental or situation models. For readers with rich knowledge, a word such

as democracy evokes and brings to life many ideas without taking up additional

working memory space; for readers with less relevant knowledge, the word itself may

take up one or more spaces, with no additional information brought along “for

free”. Comprehension is enhanced when the contents of working memory are higher-

level units; children struggling to identify words are unlikely to be able to attain even

modest levels of comprehension. When lower-level units are recognized

automatically, there is a greater chance of higher levels being attained. It is critical to


83

build up the automaticity of the lower-level units (for example words). It is

equally important to remember this at the processing of lower-level units does not

guarantee the comprehension of higher level units, Kintsch in Charles Perfetti &

Suzanne M.Adolf (2012).

2.6.1 Levels of Processing in Reading

It is important to understand that reading occurs at several different levels, and

how these levels interact. Successful word recognition (either pronunciation, or, more

rarely, recognition of meaning without being able to pronounce) is a prerequisite for

the higher levels of comprehension. If some words cannot be recognized, the higher

levels can compensate to some extent. Unknown words can be inferred in some

cases; however, this is more difficult than it sounds, it can only work for some

kinds of words and only for a small number of words in any text, and it is very

processing intensive. Once words have been recognized, the question of word

meaning arises, it is possible to make sense of text when the meaning of some words

is lacking or hazy, but beyond a modest level of uncertainty, comprehension

becomes impossible.

Two types of processing occur: “bottom-up” and “top-down”. In bottom-up

processing, words are formed into phrases, and phrases are formed into more abstract

units called propositions or ideas; these processes require knowledge of syntax


84

(grammar). Just as several words can be processed into one phrase, several

phrases can be processed into one idea. Comprehension is at the phrase or idea level

results in a relatively shallow understanding of what the text stated directly, often

termed literal comprehension. Further processing of these ideas either selects

particular ones as main ideas, or constructs main ideas from them, and then

thematic generalizations or abstractions out of the main ideas. Top-down

processing occurs when higher-level information, just as knowledge of the

general topic of the text, helps the reader identify lower-level information. It is

important to recognize that both bottom-up and top-down processing often

occurs in reading comprehension. This is called interactive processing. The higher

levels of processing require prior knowledge to help decide what is important,

and especially to see the deeper implications of the text, Kintsch in Charles Perfetti &

Suzanne M.Adolf (2012).

2.6.2 A textbook for Vocational education

The textbook is considered to be the basic didactical tool which provides the

realisation of educational and developing functions within educational processes.

It includes information according to the curriculum as well as information

necessary for pupils during their education. It may seem that a written textbook

is no longer needed in the current information society. However, those textbooks

cannot be avoided. The textbook still remains at its positions as it is one of

the factors which can influence the effectiveness of educational processes. It

forms the basic material for teachers as well as for pupils (Prucha et.al.,2003).
85

The textbook for vocational education transforms knowledge of art, science

and technology into words and sentences. However, it should not contain only an

amount of information because it plays an important role also during the whole

education. Even textbooks for vocational education have to follow didactical

principles and all phases of learning. There are many secondary schools in Malaysia

which use those textbooks which were published many years ago. Thus, they do

not include the newest information. Although many teachers point on the bad

economic situation within education system, the truth is that there are no newer

textbooks available at the market. A textbook, as the main aid for students, is one

of the most important factors which influence the efficiency of learning processes.

Thus, it is very important to focus on the elaboration and evaluation of textbooks

based on the pedagogical theory. Many textbooks for different subjects at

different levels of education were evaluated. However, nowadays there are many

books published for business reasons and not for pedagogical aims.

That is why, it is very important to focus on evaluations of textbooks. There

are several factors which can be evaluated. First of all, a textbook includes

many facts which must be divided into logical order. The text itself has to be

comprehensible and readable. The textbooks can be evaluated based on the text

itself, based on the assignments related to the text, based on students’ and

teachers’ opinions, etc (Chráska, 2007; Turek, 2002). Thus, the aim of the

survey was to evaluate the current condition of textbooks for vocational education

which are being used within educational processes at Malaysia secondary

schools. The evaluation was provided by an expert method. First-year university


86

students have evaluated their textbooks at different secondary schools in

Malaysia.

2.6.3 Summary of the Chapter

In the end of part of chapter II, there are some summaries drawn out to make the

conception of the chapter comprehensively understood and entailed. This chapter

discusses the theoretical views by which the present study underpinned and

highlighted so that it is important to summarize the essential things of it. The

summaries are:

1. Education in Malaysia with TVET;

Education in Malaysia is highly considered as the most important part (compulsary) in

developing human resource either from primay or university. Primary and secondary

educations in Malaysia are regulated by the Ministry of Education whereas tertiary

education is under the supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education.Basic

technical and vocational education under the Ministry of education begins at the

primary school level. The goverment has determined that the Technical and

Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sectors as the main route in providing

highly-skilled human resources and also one of the key drivers of economy for

Malaysia to become a high-income nation.

2. Model of language on research


87

Model of language used here is communicative competence. Communicative is the

model taken from Spencer & Spencer, while competence produce some aspects or

variables used in the research. The variables used are knowledge, skill and attitude

comprising purpose, interest and preference. From all, the aspects are integrate in one

model of communicative competence with reading technical material in which

dependent variables (reading knowledge, reading skill, reading attitude) and

independent variable (reading technical material) and (reading purpose, reading

interest and reading preference).

3. Theories

Theories is important in expanding the research. Theories focusing the theoritical

views are relevant to the field of study conducted by the researcher. In this section,

throuh the literature review, the researcher examines the knowledge, skill and attitude

in reading English technical materials and a brief role of education in Malaysia made

by introducing an overview of vocational and technical schools. It describes the

research on reading and technical materials, including the definitions of both by

several experts.

4. Reading in Malaysia

Reading is becoming a big issue in which many students have not good ability in

mastering it because reading is one of language aspects that is very difficult,

challenging, and influent in learning and obtaining well achievement so that research

conducted is related to reading prociency of technical because technical materials or


88

texts are full of confusing words and deeply comprehension to be understood.

Meanwhile students are only frequent in reading materials out of them such as novel,

game, story book which are not related to technical materials at all. It is supposed that

the students are accustomed with reading especially english reading technical material

that can grow reading habits.

By having habit toward reading, students will have good knowledge and skill

in it. Furthermore, knowledge and skill are sharpened and toughen with attitude

toward reading because attitude in reading comprising purpose, interest and

preference that make students proficient or competent in reading. Broadly, purpose

mean students have objective before reading too many materials. Interest means

students are being interested before reading a material or when they are looking at a

title book and when they are reading the material partly or fully. Preference means

students have options to read or they can choose whatever they like to read around the

materials. Which materials they choose is showing the willingness of reading well or

not and willingness of reading much or less.

5. Variables / Construct Understanding

This research clearly distinguish between concepts, constructs and variables so that

the reader knows the difference between the broad concept/construct that are

interested in and the variables that you use to measure these concepts/constructs (e.g.,

whether an individual is male or female; etc.). Broadly, to emphasize

concepts, constructs and variables in different ways is depending on whether the

researcher needs quantitative or qualitative theses.


89

Essentially, the contruct of the research is English technical materials reading,

it means that technical material as the primary and English material as the secondary

Whereas, variables are reading comprising of knowledge, skill, and attitude. To

construct the variable, the research focused on English technical materials in which

the materials are being the factor that influence or measure the students proficiency in

reading. In this case the research measures students’ proficiency from the aspects of

knowledge, skill and attitude. In terms of knowledge aspect, the variable contains of

comprehension, application, and awareness. Meanwhile, skill contains of strategy and

technique and attitude contains of purpose, interest and preference.

6. Reading English Technical Materials

Technical materials becomes the main matter as a focus on the research because the

materials are very useful to be researched in which from technical materials, the

researcher can see and measure to what extend the students are able to master the

contents of the material and comprehend the meaning of the contend of the text as

much as they read comprising of words, sentences, vocabularies, grammars, etc. The

materials can be text, articles, papers, or books. Thus, if students can understand them,

they can be categorized as competent in reading technical materials. In this research,

technical materials is the content of reading that contains of technical matters.

Obviously, technical material is reading materials that related to the subject or course

pertaining about technical, science and mathetic at book, magazine and other source

of information. Generally, in technical material, tend to have headings, sub headings,


90

bold-faced words, pictures, diagrams, charts, bullet points, objectives, oulines that is

applied in a book containing the structure of textbook chapter.

Reading technical materials requires a different skill set than reading for

pleasure. In this set of activities, there will be an emphasis on strategies that can assist

with reading technical materials. The students is supposed to keep a notebook for

these activities, and have the following materials: highlighter, pencil, pen and eraser.

In today’s world, there is so much information available that it can be overwhelming.

Learning how to handle the quantities of information, and how to process this, is an

extremely important skill. Organizing, summarizing, skimming, and capturing the

main idea are just a few skills needed to process information efficiently. Similarly in

reading process of technical materials, a lot of people have question on how to get

comprehension when when they are reading very dense, technical material in text

book. There are some ways of basic of reading process, among others are: preview,

over preview, read, final review and recite / talk.

Reading materials becomes very influential matter in determining an interest

and ingenuity in reading. If the material is good and interesting, it will be very much

desirous to be read and understood, but if the material is not interesting and

monotonous, it will be very much left by the reader. Therefore, materials in reading is

very much given priority to and taken into consideration by the researcher.

There are many factors that may contribute to the less encouraging

performance in students reading comprehension, one of the most important factors is

identified as material selection. Students will have difficulties learning English as a


91

second language without appropriate learning materials in the classroom. Over the

years linguist/researcher/educators have been debating in order to decide the most

appropriate reading materials to use in reading comprehension. A significant amount

of research shows that there is something about the type of reading text that should be

looked into and analyzed carefully.

Choosing reading materials whether they are preffered or not for students

especially in English language classroom could be very challenging for

teachers/educators since many criterion need to be taken into account in the

willingness process including students’ interests and preference. English that becomes

the first problem will add much burden forstudents to understand technical materials

as the problem as well because of their lack of abilities toward the them.

7. Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

In Malaysia there are many streams of educations such as national schools, technical

schools, Politechnic schools, etc. In the Malaysian polytechnic education system,

English for Technical Purposes (ETP) is taught 3 semesters for certificate courses and

5 semesters for diploma courses. It is exactly called by English for specific purposes

(ESP). Besides, English is taught for mathematics and science with more semesters.

Therefore it is very important to make English priority subject to learn and teach at

schools. Secondary technical schools refer to TVET (Technical Vocational Education

and Training) which educate people to work and seek a chance of jobs. In Malaysia,

TVET have been established and promoted as the way of increasing economic, social

and workforce empowerment.


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Since TVET is concerned with the preparation of learners for employment,

through the provision of knowledge, skills and attitudes desirable in the world of

work, its contribution to industrial and national development cannot be

overemphasized. TVET remains the country’s hope of reducing the high level of

widespread poverty and deprivation because whether on the farm, the clinic, in the

office, at sea, in the mines, in the forest, at the workshop, or the dressmakers, among

others, the science or technology, which is applied, depends on a workforce of skilled,

competent technologists, technicians and craftsmen. The most important role of

TVET is enhancing economical, social and industrial development. It is therefore an

essential approach in preparing human resources within the educational economical

nsystem. TVET by itself does not create jobs, but is beneficial when it is associated

with the actual needs of the labour market. This is the reason TVET programmes in

Malaysia should match current and future labour market needs.

8. Reading Process

There are two types of processing occur when people are reading: “bottom-up” and

“top-down”. In bottom-up processing, words are formed into phrases, and phrases are

formed into more abstract units called propositions or ideas; these processes require

knowledge of syntax (grammar). Meanwhile, Top-down processing occurs when

higher-level information, just as knowledge of the general topic of the text,

helps the reader identify lower-level information.


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Reading for vocational education transforms knowledge of art, science and

technology into words and sentences. However, it should not contain only an amount

of information because it plays an important role also during the whole education.

Even reading for vocational education have to follow didactical principles and all

phases of learning. There are many secondary schools in Malaysia which use those

textbooks reading which were published many years ago or varieties of sources.

Thus, they do not include the newest information. Furthermore, although many

teachers point on the bad economic situation within education system, there are no

newer textbooks available. A textbook, as the main aid for students, is one of the most

important factors which influence the efficiency of learning – reading processes.

There it is very essential to reinforce the way of reading process to understand or

comprehend what contents or ideas of texts or materials delivered from the source of

reading.

Levels of Processing in Reading

There are several different levels in reading that is interconnected each other to show

the level of ability, skill and comprehension of the reader. It is very complicated to get

the meaning when someone reads. Because of that, it is important to put the reader

himself in what level they are. Therefore, the reader can know his ability, skill and

comprehension as an efford to cultivate and prastise more in reading until beeing a

competent or proficient reader. Too much disruption also always happen when read.

Sometimes the wrong way of thingking the meaning of word, mispronounciation,

missing word, inability to memorize the content and misunderstanding to idea of

reading. In reading level, successful word recognition (either pronunciation, or, more
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rarely, recognition of meaning without being able to pronounce) is a prerequisite for

the higher levels of comprehension. If some words cannot be recognized, the higher

levels can compensate to some extent. Unknown words can be inferred in some

cases; however, this is more difficult than it sounds, it can only work for some

kinds of words and only for a small number of words in any text, and it is very

processing intensive. Once words have been recognized, the question of word

meaning arises, it is possible to make sense of text when the meaning of some words

is lacking or hazy, but beyond a modest level of uncertainty, comprehension

becomes impossible.

Two types of processing occur: “bottom-up” and “top-down”. In bottom-up

processing, words are formed into phrases, and phrases are formed into more abstract

units called propositions or ideas; these processes require knowledge of syntax

(grammar). Just as several words can be processed into one phrase, several

phrases can be processed into one idea. Comprehension is at the phrase or idea level

results in a relatively shallow understanding of what the text stated directly, often

termed literal comprehension. Further processing of these ideas either selects

particular ones as main ideas, or constructs main ideas from them, and then

thematic generalizations or abstractions out of the main ideas. Top-down

processing occurs when higher-level information, just as knowledge of the

general topic of the text, helps the reader identify lower-level information. It is

important to recognize that both bottom-up and top-down processing often

occurs in reading comprehension. This is called interactive processing. The higher

levels of processing require prior knowledge to help decide what is important,

and especially to see the deeper implications of the text.


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CHAPTER 3

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.0 Introduction

This chapter provides an overview of the research design, population and sample,

instrumentation, data collection and data analyses.


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3.1 Research design

A quantitative research survey method was used in this study. Questionnaires were

distributed to measure the levels of skills and attitudes. Attitude consisted of purpose,

interest, and preference. The questionnaires used in this research were modified from

Majdi Abdullah et al., (2009).

3.2 Population and Sample

The population of this study constituted form four students from four technical

secondary schools in Perak. Based on the data provided by the Perak State

Department of Education, a total of 400 students were identified. Using Watson’s

(2001) table of sample size, a total of 120 respondents (30%) were required from a

population of 400. The sampling procedure utilised for the current study was simple

random sampling. Respondents were randomly selected to reduce sampling error.

Table 3.1 shows four schools that were selected for this study.

Table 3.1

Four selected technical secondary schools in Perak

Schools Sample

SMT Slim River 30


SMT Teluk Intan 30
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SMT Lebuh Catur 30


SMT Pesiaran Brush, Ipoh 30
Total 120

3.3 Instrumentation

The research instruments used in this study were a set of questionnaires and a set of

achievement tests. It consisted of five ratings: strongly agree, agree, uncertain,

disagree and strongly disagree. An instrument is a tool used to acquire information, to

measure or to study a problem (Bashah, 2007). A Likert scale is a form of graded

scale and widely used in a research study using a scale of agreement. If the responses

to statements are related to each other, the researcher can employ a scale value of 5 to

1 (Mohd. Majid, 2000) as seen in Table 3.2.

Table 3.2
Five Likert Scale ranking

Score Scale
5 Strongly agree
4 Agree
3 Uncertain
2 Disagree
1 Strongly disagree

The questionnaires consisting of 50 items were divided into five parts; A, B,

C, D and E. Part A was designed to collect respondents’ demographics; gender,

parents’ education level, students’ residence location and languages spoken at home

by students. Part B, C, D and E consist of items requesting students to respond to five-

point Likert scale items (Strongly Agree, Agree, Uncertain, Disagree and Strongly

Disagree).
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In order to ensure the data analysis was smoothly run, some items in the

questionnaires were computed. The first 17 items in Section B of the questionnaire

were computed as ‘Students’ Reading Skill’. The second 8 items in section C were

computed as ‘Students’ Reading Purpose’. The third 10 items in section D were

presumed as ‘Students’ Reading Interest. The fourth 15 items in section E were

presumed as ‘Students’ Reading Preference. In part E, the items were about the

frequency and material of reading students prefer to. The items were scored on a 5

point Likert scale. Each item was rated from 1 – 5 as seen in the Table 3.4.

Table 3.3

Items follow aspects of skill and attitude measured

No. Aspect Positive items

1 Reading Skill 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,12, 13,14,15,16,17


2 Purpose 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
3 Interest 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35
4 Preference 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48,
49,50

Table 3.4
Items based on the measured aspects

Scale Frequency

1 Never (none)

2 Seldom (2 times / month)

3 Sometimes 3 (4 times month


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4 Frequently (2, 3, 4 times a week or 6 –

16 times / month)

5 (Always 5 or 6 times a week or

everyday)

Norani (2007)

3.3.2 Test

Test was one of the techniques employed to collect data. The purpose of reading

comprehension test was to measure students’ knowledge in terms of the overall

reading knowledge level. In the test, the researcher asked students to answer 15

questions in Yes or No and multiple-choice format. However, the multiple choice

items in the test were applied most because they are effective in assessing

comprehension (Nana, 2009: 25). Each correct item was given 5 with a total score of

100. If a student made one mistake they would lose a score of 5. All of the questions

in this study were related to the content within a descriptive text.

The test consisted of four different criteria; main idea, supporting detail,

inference and making conclusions. Before applying the test to the students, the

researcher gave explanation about the test that are materials content, instructions and

allocated time of the test. The duration of the test was 60 minutes. The test questions

provided four possible answers (a, b, c, and d), but there was only one correct answer
100

from these options. The tests were undertaken by 120 form four students of four

selected technical secondary schools; SMT Slim River, SMT Teluk Intan, SMT Lebuh

Catur and SMT Pesiaran Brush, Ipoh. The data were matched with the criteria of

scores related to their knowledge level in reading. Table 3.5 shows the criteria of

scores that classified students into appropriate levels of knowledge according to their

achievement test results.

Table 3.5

Criteria of score

Score Scale
0 – 33 Poor

34 – 66 Average

67 – 99 Good

100 Excellent

Source : Yeni (2008)

3.4 Procedure of the Study

Before conducting research at schools, permission was obtained from Educational

Planning Research Division (EPRD), Ministry of Education Malaysia. After receiving

approval letter from Ministry of Education, the proposal was assigned to Perak State

Department of Education to conduct this research. Essentially, it is important to have

permission from headmasters with the attached approval letter from Ministry of

Education Malaysia and Perak State Department of education before undertaking the
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research to four schools in Perak. Nonetheless, discussion with schools about the

suitable dates and time for collecting data was done.

3.5 Pilot Study

A pilot study was conducted on March 14, 2012 in which a total of 30 form four

students from SMT Slim River took part. The purpose of the pilot study was to test the

students’ understanding in terms of content, and to determine the reliability of the

instrument. A total of 30 questionnaires were distributed randomly for 30 students to

provide the research team with the early feedback on the construction of the

questionnaire.

To measure the reliability of the instruments, Cronbach’s alpha was employed

with the Alpha value obtained in this study being 0.76. According to Alias Baba

(1997), if the Cronbach’s alpha is less than 0.6, it means that the instrument used has a

low reliability. If the alpha value is within 0.7, the instrument is acceptable. Sekaran

Uma (2006) stated; although no specific limitations can be used for determining the

reliability coefficient for the particular gauge, the coefficient of reliability more than

0.6 is often used and referred to as the acceptable minimum. Acceptable reliability

value is between 0.6 to 1.0. Table 3.6 shows the general rules of Cronbach's Alpha

Coefficient Size.

Table 3.6

Cronbach's Alpha Coefficient Size


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Cronbach's Alpha Coefficient Size

Coefficient Alpha Range Strength of Relationship

0.00 – 0.20 Very Low

0.21 – 0.40 Low

0.41 – 0.60 Moderate

0.61 – 0.80 High

0.81 – 1.00 Very high

Source : Alias Baba (1997)

To measure the validity of the instrument, construct and content validity were

used. To test a construct validity, experts’ judgments are necessary. Content validity

ensures that the measurement of a set of items is adequately and represently revealed

concept. The more items reflect the scale or the whole concept measured, the greater

the content validity. Content validity is a function of how well the dimensions and

elements of a concept have been described, (Sekaran, 2006), experts were appointed

to verify the instrument (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2005).

In the current study, the faculty appointed a panel of experts to verify the

validity of instruments. The purpose of the verifying construct validity was to seek any

opinions from the experts on how improving the instruments. After the experts verified

the instrument, questionnaires were modified and improved. A minimum number of

the experts is three individuals and they are experts in their own areas” (Sugiyono,

1997). The three experts who verified the instrument were:

1. Professor Dr. Ramlee bin Mustapaha (Former Dean of Faculty of Technical

and Vocational Education, Sultan Idris Education University).


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2. Dr. Jawakhir binti Mior Jaafar (Head of English Department, Faculty of

Language and Linguistics, University of Malaya).


3. Mohd Saidfudin Masodi, B. Arch (Fellow, Center for Engineering Education

Research, National University of Malaysia).

3.6 Variables

Both dependent and independent variables were used. The independent variables were

reading knowledge, reading skills and reading attitude; reading purpose, reading

interest, and reading preference. Meanwhile dependent variable was reading technical

materials in English. Demographics of respondents labeled as moderator variables

that are gender, parents’ education level, students’ residence location and spoken

languages used at home.

3.7 Data Analysis

A quantitative method was used to analyze all of the data obtained from the survey

using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 20. The results were

presented in term of the frequency (ƒ), percentage (%), mean, and standard deviation,

T- test and Pearson Correlation.

Table 3.7

Range of interpretation for mean score


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Interpretation Mean score

Strongly disagree 1.00 – 1.80

Disagree 1.81 – 2.60

Uncertain 2.61 – 3.40

Agree 3.41 – 4.20

Strongly agree 4.21 – 5.00

Source : Sekaran Uma (2006)

CHAPTER IV

DATA ANALYSIS

4.0 Introduction

In this chapter, research data were reported, summarized, and interpreted based on

descriptive statistic and inferential statistic. The researcher used SPSS Version 20 for

analysis of the data. The data were organized and analyzed according to the research

objectives posited for the study.


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4.1 Respondents’ Demographic Information

In this study, respondents’ demographics information; gender, parents’ education

level, students’ residence location and language used at home are presented in Table

4.1. Majority of the respondents were males (53.3 %) and the rest were females (46.7

%). In terms of parents’ education level, most of them were secondary school leavers.

The majority (74.2 %) of their fathers possessed secondary school qualifications while

only about one-fourth (25.8 %) were university graduates. Similarly, about one-fourth

(26.7 %) of the mothers’ possessed university degrees. Majority (73.3%) were

secondary school leavers while one fourth possessed university degrees (26.7)

Regarding the language used at home, over one-half (59.2 %) of the

respondents spoke only their mother tongue. While, the rest (40.0 %) spoke mixed-

language at home with the exception of only one respondent (0.8%) who used only

English at home. In terms of students’ resident, majority of the respondents (73.3 %)

live in cities and only about one-fourth (26 %) of the respondents live in rural areas

(Table 4.1).

Table 4.1

Demographic Information of the Respondents

Variables n (%)

Gender:
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1.Male 64 53.3
2.Female 56 46.7

Parents’ Educational level:

Fathers:

1. University level 31 25.8


2. Secondary school level 89 74.2

Table 4.1 (Continued)


Variables n (%)

Mothers:

1.University level 32 26.7


2.Secondary school level 88 73.3

Language used at home:

1. Mother tongue 71 59.2


2. Mixed-language 48 40.0
3.English only 1 0.8

Students’ residence location

1. City 88 73.3
2. Rural 32 26.7

Total 120

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4.2 Objective 1: To Determine the Level of Reading Knowledge in English

Technical Materials among Technical Secondary School (SMT) Students

In this study, the students were given a 60-minute reading comprehension test to

measure their reading knowledge. Based on the results of test, the students’ marks of
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reading knowledge were categorized as poor (0-33), moderate (34.66), good (67 – 99)

and excellent (100).

Table 4.2

Means and standard deviations of items of test for reading knowledge

No. Item Mean SD

1. What does expensive mean? 6.50 1.6

2. Do many people make electricity for their 6.20 0.80


house with photovoltaic cells today?

3. Does solar energy cause pollution? 6.11 0.87

4. What can a solar collector do? 6.07 0.84

5. Is solar energy less expensive than nuclear 6.05 0.81


Energy?

6. How do people use the hot water from a solar 6.04 1.74

7. What problems may solar energy solve? 6.02 0.87

8. Where are people building solar houses? 6.02 0.93

9. What is the topic of this paragraph? 6.01 0.92

10. What is ‘storage tank’ meaning in line 4? 5.85 1.64

11. What is photovoltaic? 5.83 1.56

12. What is the source of solar energy? 5.82 0.84

13. Does solar energy come from the sun? 5.22 1.17

14. Are people building house on the sun? 5.12 1.68

Total of mean and standard deviation 5.91 1.10


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Based on the Table 4.2, the top three items which scored highest means were:

1. What does expensive mean? (M= 6.50; SD= 1.64).

2. Do many people make electricity for their house with photovoltaic cells

today? (M=6.20; SD= 0.80)

3. Does solar energy cause pollution? (M= 6.11; SD= 0.87).

Nevertheless, the three items from bottom were:


1. Are people building house on the sun? (M=5.12; SD= 1.68).
2. Does solar energy come from the sun? (M=5.22, SD= 1.17)
3. What is the source of solar energy? (M= 5.82; SD= 0.84).

The overall mean was (M= 5.91; SD= 1.10) which means that majority of the

respondents were at the moderate level. Meanwhile, the overall standard deviation

value was 1.96. This indicates that the answers were somewhat polarized. Items with

high standard deviations in items number 1, 2, 11, 12, 13 and 14 indicates high

variability in the responses. It means the level of reading knowledge based on mean

and standard deviation was moderate.

4.3 Objective 2: To Determine the Level of Reading Skill in English Technical

Materials among Technical Secondary School (SMT) Students

Based on the Table 4.3, there are the top three items. The first highest mean was “I

imagine scenes of what I am reading” (M= 4.25; SD= 0.89) which means that the

respondents strongly agreed that they imagine scenes of what they are reading. The

second highest mean was “ I focus on key words, and phrases to expedite reading”

(M= 4.10; SD = 0.97). This means that the respondents agreed that they focus on key

words, and phrases to expedite reading. The third highest mean was “I try to

understand the new vocabulary of the text thoroughly (M= 4.09; SD= 0.75). This
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means that the respondents agreed that they try to understand the new vocabulary in

the text thoroughly.

Table 4.3

Means and standard deviations of items for reading skill

No. Items Mean SD

Items Mean SD

1 I imagine scenes of what I am reading 4.25 0.89

2 I focus on key words, and phrases to 4.10 0.97


expedite reading

3 I try to understand the new vocabulary 4.09 0.88


of the text thoroughly

4 I control my reading speed for 3.95 0.97


difficult passages

5 I read the sentence first then I guess 3.94 1.00


the meaning of the difficult words

6 I use context, like familiar words, pictures, 3.78 0.92


and the content to help me guess the meanings
of unfamiliar words

7 While I read, I periodically check whether 3.75 1.02


the material is making sense to me (understood)

8 I keep reading if I find difficulty to 3.75 1.04


understand what I read in order to guess
the context

9 I summarize (in my head) important 3.71 0.88


information that I read

10 I read the title and 3.65 0.92


predict what the text is about

11 I take notes while reading 3.59 1.03

12 I test my understanding toward 3.55 0.94


110

material by trying to answer the


preview questions without referring
to my notes

13 I look for the words that are bold faced, 3.52 1.06
italics, or in a different font size, style,
or color for identifying main ideas

14 Before I read, I think of what I already 3.42 0.98


know about the reading topic

15 For intensive reading, I’m aware of the 3.30 1.04


time limit for reading the text

16 I rephrase what I am reading in my 3.20 0.97


own words

17 I make guesses about up-coming 3.18 0.97


information in the text

Total of mean and standard deviation 3.69 0.96

Nevertheless, the three bottom means were; the first lowest mean was “I make

guesses about up-coming information in the text (M=3.18; SD= 0.97). This means

that the respondents were unsure whether they make guesses about up-coming

information in the text. The second lowest mean was “I rephrase what I am reading in

my own words. This depicted that the respondents slightly agree to think of what they

are reading in their own words (M=3.20, SD= 0.97). The third lowest mean was “For

intensive reading, I am aware of the time limit for reading the text. This means that

the respondents were not sure that whether they are aware of the time limit for

reading the text as intensive reading (M= 3.30; SD= 1.04).


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The overall mean was 3.69 which means that the majority of the respondents

were at the high level or agreed (M= 3.69, SD= 0.96 ). Meanwhile, the overall

standard deviation value was 0.96. This indicates that the responses were somewhat

polarized. Items with high standard deviations such as items 2, 4, 5, and 13 indicates

high variability in the responses. Table 4.3 shows means and standard deviations for

the aspects of reading skill. The overall standard deviation value was 0.96. This

indicates that the answers were somewhat polarized.

4.4 Objective 3: To Identify Reading Purpose in English Technical Materials

among Technical Secondary School (SMT) Students

With regard to reading purpose, there are the top three items. The first highest mean

was “I read English materials for self-development (M= 4.30; SD=0.86). This means

the majority of the respondents strongly agreed that they read for self-development.

The second highest mean was I read English to ease me to master grammar of

English (M=3.86; SD=1.03). This means the respondents have their intention to

master grammar of the language. Next, the third highest mean was I read English

materials for academic purpose (M=3.80, SD=1.00). This depicted the respondents’

aim of reading in English was for academic purpose.

Nevertheless, the three from bottom means were; first, the lowest mean was “I

read English to ease me to write in English” (M= 2.77; SD= 1.06). This means that

the respondents were unsure if they read in English for the purpose of improving their

writing skills or not. The second lowest mean was “I read English materials as a

hobby” (M= 2.99; SD= 0.99). This means that the respondents were uncertain

whether they read English material as a hobby. Similarly, the third lowest mean was
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“I read English to get many vocabularies” (M=3.05, SD=1.03). This means that most

of the respondents read English to acquire many vocabularies.

In terms of standard deviation, items 2, 3 and 8, they were relatively high. This

shows the high variability in the responses. Overall, the results demonstrate that the

respondents have many different reasons for being intended in reading in English.

Table 4.4 shows means and standard deviations for the aspect of reading purpose.

Table 4.4

Means and standard deviations of items for reading purpose

No. Items Mean SD

1. I read English materials 4.30 0.86


for self-development

2. I read English to ease me to 3.86 1.03


master grammar of English

3. I read English materials for 3.80 1.00


academic purpose

4. I read English to ease me to 3.80 0.95


listen to English

5. I read English materials to obtain 3.58 0.96


general information

6. I read English to get many 3.05 1.03


vocabularies

7. I read English materials as a hobby 2.99 0.99

8. I read English to ease me to write 2.77 1.06


in English

Note: Indicator of mean, 1.00 – 1.80; Strongly disagree, 1.81 – 2.60; Disagree, 2.61 – 3.40;
Uncertain, 3.41 – 4.20; Agree, 4.21 – 5.00; Strongly agree.
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4.5 Objective 4: To Identify Reading Interest in English Teachnical Materials

Among Technical Secondary School (SMT) Students

Pertaining to reading interest, the top three items with highest mean were: The first

highest mean was “Reading is important for me to add knowledge” (M=4.30;

SD=0.86). This means that the majority of the respondents strongly agreed that they

enjoy reading in English. The second highest mean was, “I choose English materials

based on whether it is interesting or not (M=3.86; SD=1.03). This indicated that the

respondents strongly agreed that they chose reading materials that they find

interesting. The third highest mean was “I also read comics, newspapers, magazines,

and novels in English” (M=3.80; SD=0.95). This showed that the majority of the

respondents agreed that they preferred to read comics, newspapers, magazines, and

novels.

Meanwhile, the first lowest mean was “I frequently forget another subject

when I am reading English” (M=2.67; SD= 1.17). This means that the respondents

were unsure whether they compete with their friends to read materials in English. The

second lowest mean was “of all the English materials available, I prefer to read

textbooks (academic book) (M= 2.77; SD= 1.06). This depicted that the respondents

were unsure whether they prefer to read textbook from all the English materials. The

third lowest mean was “I compete with my friends to read (M= 2.87; SD= 1.03). This

indicated that the respondents were not sure whether they compete with their friends

to read or not.

Table 4.5

Means and standard deviations of items for reading interest


114

No. Items Mean SD

1. Reading is very important 4.30 0.86


for me to add knowledge

2. I choose English reading 3.86 1.03


materials based on whether
it is interesting or not

3. I also read comics, newspapers, 3.80 0.95


magazines and novels in English

4. My reading skill in English is 3.80 1.00


better than my writing skill in English

5. I like reading English materials 3.58 0.96

6. I read something in English every day 3.05 1.03

7. I do a lot of reading in English 2.99 0.99


materials because it is my hobby

8. I compete with my friends to read 2.87 1.03


article, material in English in quantity
(many or little)

9. Of all the English materials available, 2.77 1.06


I prefer to read textbooks
(academic book)

10. I frequently forget another subject 2.67 1.17


when I am reading English

Note: Indicator of mean, 1.00 – 1.80; Strongly disagree, 1.81 – 2.60; Disagree, 2.61 – 3.40; Uncertain,
3.41 – 4.20; Agree, 4.21 – 5.00; Strongly agree.

The standard deviations for items 2, 4, 9 and 10 were rather high which

indicate the responses were polarized. Overall, the results demonstrate that the

respondents have many different reasons for being interested in reading in English.

Table 4.5 shows means and standard deviations for the aspect of reading interest.
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4.6 Objective 5: To Identify Reading Preference in English Technical Materials


among Technical Secondary School (SMT) Students

Concerning reading preference, the top three items were also elaborated with highest

mean. The first highest mean was “English writing on computer” (M=4.08;

SD=1.28). It was demonstrated that the respondents utilized computer as a source for

English reading material more than the other media. The second highest mean was

“Fiction books (story books) (M=3.70; SD=1.06). It stated that fiction books (story

books) were the second in popularity among the reading sources. The third highest

mean was Newspaper (M=3.53; SD=0.92). This means that the respondents

frequently read English newspapers.

Table 4.6

Means and standard deviations of items for reading preference

No. Items Mean SD

1. English writing on computer 4.08 1.08


(eg, reading e-mails, blogs or facebook)

2. Fiction books (story books) 3.70 1.06


3. Newspapers 3.53 0.92
4. Articles on the internet 3.47 1.09
5. Magazines 3.45 0.96
6. Comics 3.45 1.63
7. English songs / repertoire 3.34 1.46
8. English puzzles/game 3.30 1.12
9. Special interest books 3.28 1.09
10. Announcement or advertisement in English 3.24 1.28
11. Novels 3.05 1.22
12. English dictionary 2.98 0.88
13. Journal articles 2.82 0.82
14. Library reference books 2.78 0.76
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15. Religion book in English 2.24 1.17

Similarly, the three from bottom means were also elaborated with mean score.

The first lowest mean was “religion book in English” (M=2.24; SD=1.17). It showed

that the respondents seldom read religion book in English. The second lowest mean

was “library reference book” (M=2.78; SD=0.76). This means that Library Reference

books (M=2.78; SD=0.76) were sometimes read by the respondents. The third lowest

mean was “Journal articles” (M=2.82; SD=0.82). This shows that journal articles were

seldom read by the respondents. Meanwhile, the standard deviations for items 6, 7, 8,

10, 11, and 15 were rather high which show the high variability in the responses.

Overall, the results demonstrated that the respondents have different reasons for being

preferred in reading in English. Table 4.6 shows means and standard deviations for

the aspects of reading preference.

4.7 Objective 6: To Identify If There Are Significant Differences in Reading Skill,


Attitude and Demographic Variables among Technical Secondary School (SMT)
Students

4.7.1 Reading skill

To determine if there is a significant difference between male and female students in

reading skills, a t-test was used. Table 4.7 shows that the mean value of females

(M=4.23, SD=.107) was higher than male students (M=4.15, SD=.152). The result

also shows that there was a significant difference at p< 0.05 (t=-3.297, p=.001). This

indicates that female students tend to have higher reading skills than their male

counterparts.
117

Table 4.7

T-test results in reading skill based on gender

_____________________________________________________________________

Gender n M SD t df p

__________________________________________________________________

Male 64 4.15 .152 - 3.297 118 .001

Female 56 4.23 .107

_____________________________________________________________________

The results in Table 4.8 show that there was no significant difference among the

respondents whose fathers graduated from secondary school and those whose fathers

graduated from university in reading skill. Likewise, the results in Table 4.9 show that

the education level of the mothers had no significant effect on reading skills.

Table 4.8

T-test results in reading skill based on fathers’ education level


118

_____________________________________________________________________
Fathers’ education n M SD t df p
level

Secondary school 31 4.21 .097 .981 118 .329


graduates

Univeristy 89 4.18 .150


graduates

Table 4.9

T-test results in reading skill based on mothers’ education level

_____________________________________________________________________
Mothers’ education n M SD t df p
level

Secondary school 32 4.22 .106 1.226 118 .223


graduates

Univeristy 88 4.18 .148


graduates

A t-test was also used to determine if a significant difference exists among students

who are from cities and those who are from rural areas in reading skill. The analysis

of the t-test shown in Table 4.10 reveals that there was no significant difference at p>

0.05 (t=0.041 p=.967). This means that students did not significantly differ in their

reading skills based on their residence location.

Table 4.10

T-test results in reading skill based on students’ residence location


119

_____________________________________________________________________

Location n M SD t df p

_____________________________________________________________________

City 88 4.19 .1222 .041 117 .967

Rural 31 4.19 .1795

_____________________________________________________________________

To determine if students who use Malay language at home differed from students who

speak more than one language or speak English exclusively at home, one-way

analysis of variance test (ANOVA) was deemed appropriate. Data in Table 4.11

shows that there was no significant difference among these two groups of students

(Malay speakers and those who speak mixed-language at home) (F=2.546, p=.083) in

terms of their reading skills.

Table 4.11

The results of ANOVA test in reading skill based on language used at home

Sum of squares df Mean Square F Sig

Between Groups .096 2 .048 2.546 .083

Within Groups 2.197 117 .019

Total 2.293 119

4.7.2 Reading purpose


120

A t-test was conducted to examine if any significant difference exists in reading

purpose by gender. As shown in Table 4.12, the results reveals that there was a

significant difference in the mean scores of male (M=3.31, SD=.190) and female

students (M=3.44, SD=.140). More specifically, female students scored higher than

male students in terms of their reading purposes.

Table 4.12

T-test results in reading purpose based on gender

_____________________________________________________________________

Gender n M SD t df p

_____________________________________________________________________

Male 64 3.31 .190 -4.058 118 .000

Female 56 3.44 .140

_____________________________________________________________________

The results in the Table 4.13 showed that there was no significant difference in

reading purpose among respondents whose fathers graduated from secondary school

with respondents whose father graduated from university. Similarly, the result in Table

4.14 also showed that there was no significant difference in reading purpose among

respondents whose mothers graduated from secondary school with the respondents

whose mothers graduated from university.

Table 4.13

T-test results in reading purpose based on fathers’ education level


121

____________________________________________________________________

Fathers’ education n M SD t df p

level________________________________________________________________

Secondary school 31 3.40 .171 .953 118 .342


graduates

University level 89 3.36 .185


graduates

Table 4.14

T-test results in reading purpose based on mothers’ education level

Mothers’ education n M SD t df p

level

Secondary school 32 3.41 .150 1.401 118 .164


graduates

University level 88 3.3 .191


graduates

Again, t-test was used to compare the reading purpose based on the students’

residence location. The results in Table 4.15 demonstrated that there was no

significant difference in reading purpose between students living in cities and those

who live in rural areas (t=-.568, p=.571).

Table 4.15

T-test results in reading purpose based on students’ residence location


122

_____________________________________________________________________

Location n M SD t df p

_____________________________________________________________________

City 88 3.36 .184 -.568 117 .571

Rural 31 3.39 .176

T-test was used to compare the reading purpose based on language used at home

( malay language, mixture of Malay). The results in Table 4.16 demonstrated that

there was no significant difference in reading purpose between students who use

Malay language and mixed-language; Malay and English (p = 0.015).

Table 4.16

The results of test T- test in reading purpose based on language used at home

Language n M SD t df p

used at home

Malay language 71 3.34 .183 -.251 117 .013

Mix – language 48 3.42 .171

4.7.3 Reading Interest


123

With regards to gender, the results in Table 4.17 showed that there was significant

difference between the mean scores of male and female students (t=-2.155, p=.033).

This means that students did not significantly differ between male and female students

in their reading interest at p> 0.05 (p=0.03).

Table 4.17

T-test results in reading interest based on gender

_____________________________________________________________________

Gender n M SD t df p

_____________________________________________________________________

Male 64 3.47 .191 - 2.155 118 .033

Female 56 3.54 .161

In terms of the respondents fathers’ education level, t-test analysis in Table 4.18

showed that there was no significant difference among students whose father of

different education level secondary school and university graduates (t=.542, p=.589).

Similarly, Table 4.19 shows no significant difference in their reading interest based on

their parents’ education level (t=.408, p=.684).

Table 4.18

T-test results in reading interest based on fathers’ education level


124

_____________________________________________________________________

Fathers’ education n M SD t df p
level________________________________________________________________
Secondary school 31 3.51 .142 .542 118 .589
graduates

University level 89 3.49 .192


graduates

Table 4.19

T-test results in reading interest based on mothers’ education level

Mohers’ education n M SD t df p

level

Secondary school 32 3.51 .162 .408 118 .684


graduates

University level 88 3.49 .187


graduates

Regarding students’ residence location, data in Table 4.20 shows that there was no

significant difference between students living in cities and those who live in rural

areas (t=-.228, p=.820) in terms of their reading interest.


125

Table 4.20

T-test results in reading interest based on students’ residence location

Location n M SD t df p

City 88 3.50 .180 .228 117 .820

Rural 31 3.49 .187

To see if there is a significant difference based on language used at home, T-test was

used. The result of T-test in Table 4.21 revealed that significant difference exist in

reading interest within comparison of the two components of language used at home;

Malay language and mixed-language; Malay and English (p = 0.015).

Table 4.21

T-test in reading interest based on language used at home

Language at n M SD t df p

home

Malay language 71 3.46 .176 -.246 117 .015

Mix – language 48 3.55 .176

4.7.4 Reading Preference


126

Concerning gender, the result in Table 4.22 shows that male students (M=3.28,

SD=.204) scored significantly higher than females (M=3.92, SD=.172) in reading

preference. Nevertheless, it did not showed a significant difference between male and

female students.

Table 4.22

T-test results in reading preference based on gender

Gender n M SD t df p

Male 64 3.82 .204 -2.867 118 .005

Female 56 3.92 .172

In regard to with parents’ education levels, Table 4.23 shows that there was no

significant difference in reading preference among respondents with father of different

education background (t=.129, p=.898). Similarly result were also found among

respondents of different education background (t=.517, p=.606) shown in Table 4.24.

This revealed that there was no significant difference in reading preference based on

the parents’ education levels.

Table 4.23
127

T-test results in reading preference based on fathers’ education level

_____________________________________________________________________

Fathers’ education n M SD t df p

level________________________________________________________________

Secondary school 31 3.87 .170 .129 118 .898


graduates

University level 89 3.86 .205


graduates

Table 4.24

T-test results in reading preference based on mothers’ education level

_____________________________________________________________________

Mothers’ education n M SD t df p

level________________________________________________________________

Secondary school 32 3.88 .189 .517 118 .606


graduates

University level 88 3.86 .199


graduates

When examining students’ residence location, the result in Table 4.25 shows that cities

dwellers obtained same mean score as rural areas dwellers. Therefore, no significant

difference was found between students lives in cities and those who live in rural areas

(t=.113, p=.910).
128

Table 4.25

T-test results in reading preference based on students’ residence location

n M SD t df p

City 88 3.86 .183 .113 117 .910

Rural 31 3.86 .233

When considering language used at home, T-test was also used. Data in Table 4.26

demonstrated that p < 0.05 within comparisons of the two components of language

used at home. Thus, significant difference exists in reading preference between the

respondents who use either Malay or mixed-language (Malay and English).

Table 4.26

The results of T- test in reading preference based on language used at home

Language at n M SD t df p

home

Malay language 71 3.82 .186 -.314 117 .002

Mix – language 48 3.92 .184


129

4.8 Objective 7: To Determine the Relationships among Reading skills, Reading

Purpose, Reading Interest and Reading preference

Table 4.27 shows that reading knowledge did not relate significantly with any of the

variables, so it did not exist among the variables. However, relationships existed

among other variables at moderate level, such as between reading skills and reading

purpose (r=0.532) and also with reading interest (r=0.536). Reading purpose was

also related significantly with reading interest (r=0.567) and reading preference with

reading interest (r=0.503).

Table 4.27
The results of the Pearson Product

Correlations

Preference
Reading

Reading
Reading

purpose

Reading
interest
skill

Pearson

Correlation 1 .170 .129 .026 .015

Sig. (2- .063 .159 .781 .874

tailed) 120 120 120 120 120

N
Pearson

Correlation .170 1 .532 .536 .363


Reading
Sig. (2- 063 .000 .000 .000
skill
tailed) 120 120 120 120 120

N
130

Pearson

Correlation .129 .532 1 .567 .575


Reading
Sig. (2- .159 .000 .000 .000
purpose
tailed) 120 120 120 120 120

N
Pearson

Correlation -.026 .536 .567 1 .503


Reading
Sig. (2- .781 .000 .000 .000
interest
tailed) 120 120 120 120 120

N
Pearson

Correlation -.015 .363 .575 .503 1


Reading
Sig. (2- .874 .000 .000 .000
preference
tailed) 120 120 120 120 120
131

CHAPTER 5

SUMMARIES, DISCUSSIONS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMENDATIONS

5.0 Introduction

This chapter summarizes and discusses the research findings in terms of knowledge,

skills and attitude in reading English technical materials among technical secondary

school students in Perak. Conclusions and recommendations based on the research

results will be dealt with.

5.1 Summary

This study is a survey research using both descriptive and inferential statistics in data

analyses. The purpose of this study was to analyze the current status of knowledge,

skills and attitude in reading among form four students in technical schools in Perak.

This study was also intended to measure relationships among variables and to identify
132

if significant differences existed in reading among students in secondary technical

school based on gender, parent’s educational background, students residence and

spoken language at home. From a total population 400 students identified by

Department of Education, Perak, a sample of 120 students were randomly selected

from four secondary technical schools. A set of questionnaires containing 50 items

was distributed to form four students. The students were also given a set of 60-minute

reading comprehension test containing 14 items to measure their reading knowledge.

The research instrument used a five-point Likert scale to measure students’

perceptions toward their reading knowledge, skills and attitude.

Based on mean scores of items in reading knowledge, the results showed that

the level of reading knowledge gained by the students was at the moderate level

(M=5.91; SD= 1.10). As for 60-minute reading comprehension test to measure their

reading knowledge, slightly more than half of the students (63, 53%) scored at

moderate scale.

The level of reading skill was found to be at a high level (M= 3.69; SD=

0.96). The respondents strongly agreed in three items which showed highest means

namely, imagining scenes through reading (M=4.25; SD=0.89), focusing on keywords

and phrases and understanding of new vocubalary. As for reading purpose and

reading interest, the respondents showed a high variability in their responses. In other

words, the perceptions’ respondents denoted varying responses for their purpose and

interest toward reading. For reading purpose, respondents strongly agreed the most

in three items namely reading for self-development (M=4.30, SD=0.86), grammar

and academic purpose. In terms of reading interest, they strongly agreed that reading
133

is very important for them to increase knowledge (M=4.30; SD=0.86) and they are

interested toward reading comics, newspapers, magazines and novels. As for reading

preference, they strongly agreed that they prefer the most in writing English in

computer (M=4.08; SD=1.08), fiction books and newpapers.

As for demographics, based on gender, this study showed that male students

scored significantly higher in reading skills, reading purpose, reading interest and

reading preference than their female counterparts. This study also indicated no

significant difference existed in reading skill among respondents with parents from

different educational background. Similar results were also revealed in reading skills

among respondents from different place of residence and spoken language at home.

In terms of reading purpose, this study showed that the respondents whose

father received secondary school education achieved significantly higher mean scores

than those whose parents graduated from university. On the contrary, significant

difference did not exist in reading purpose among respondents with mothers of

different educational background. This study also showed no significant difference in

reading purpose among students living in urban and in rural areas. Based on spoken

language at home, students who use English exlusively at home and those who speak

Malay and mixture of Malay and English showed significant difference in reading

purpose.

In terms of reading interest, this study showed no significant difference

among students based on educational background of their parents. In reading

preference, the respondents whose parents come from different educational

background did not differ significantly. Respondents living in different localities also

showed no significant difference in reading interest. Similar results were also found in
134

reading preference among respondents who live in urban and in rural areas. In terms

of spoken languages at home, it was found that there was a significant difference in

reading interest among respondents who speak different languages at home. Similar

results were also found among respondents who speak different languages at home in

reading preference.

This study also found positive relationships among reading skill, reading

purpose, reading interest and reading preference. The variables which gained highest

relationships but at moderate levels were reading skills and reading purpose (r=0.532)

and reading interest (r=0.536); reading purpose and reading interest (r=0.567) and

reading preference and reading interest (r=0.503).

5.2 Discussion

5.2.1. Reading knowledge level

The findings of this study showed that reading knowledge of the respondents were at

moderate level and they achieved moderate scale in reading comprehension test.

These results are in consistent with the findings of Catherine et al., (2009) who

indicated that the level of reading knowledge of secondary school students was

moderate. However, findings put forward by Anderson & Freebody (1981); Wilson

& Fielding (1988) and Stavonich (1986) indicated that more than half of students at a

school performed high level and only two third of the students performed at moderate

level.

5.2.2. Reading skill level


135

In this study, reading skill of the respondents was reported to be high. This is

contradictory with Nor Fadila Mohd Amin & Adibah Abd. Rahim (2010) who stated

that the levels of reading skill among technical and engineering students were at a

moderate level. Essentially, the lack of English reading skill is likely to explain why

students seemed rather ambivalent in their views about the importance of using

reading skills, strategies and techniques in the English class.

5.2.3. Reading purpose

Respondents reported high level in their reading purpose. It is interesting to note that

reading English technical materials for self-development appeared to be the most

important reason given by the respondents for reading purpose. Surprisingly, three

items which scored the highest mean were “I read English materials for self

development followed by “ I read English to ease me to master grammar of English”

and “I read English materials for academic purpose.”

This revealed that the main reason for reading was to gather knowledge and

information to fulfill their academic purpose. Basically, when a person is reading,

firstly he or she must determine the purpose of reading a material. When the student is

aware of the purpose, then it will be easier to determine the appropriate reading

techniques to use. This is in line with the earlier studies conducted by Abdullah

Hassan & Ainon Mohd (2002) which emphasized two important things in the reading

process; to know the purpose and be able to focus. Furthermore, Muhlise (2009)

revealed that most secondary school students consider reading as an indispensable

part of life in which they can get information as a source of knowledge. However,
136

most of those who borrowed books from library cannot find the books they were

interested in. Students usually preferred reading texts from the internet and best-seller

books.

5.2.4 Reading interest

This study demonstrated that the respondents’ perceptions on reading interest were

slightly moderate. Three items which scored the highest mean were reading is

“important for me to add knowledge (M=4.30, SD=0.86). Followed by “ Reading for

interest” and “reading comics, newspapers, magazines, and novels in English. These

contradict with the findings of Zurina Khairuddin (2013) who stated that the form

four students had a rather low interest in reading English reading materials as most of

them have never read English reading materials and did not have any preferred genres

or types of English reading materials. Interestingly, this is consistent with the findings

of Abdul Wahab Olanrewaju Issa (2012) who revealed that the majority of the

polytechnic students are interested in course/subject-based reading notebooks and

lecturers’ textbooks in English. Only a small percentage of them indicated that they

preferred reading novels, newspapers and magazines in English. This does not present

a favourable image of positive reading habits; since both notebook and textbook

readings are essentially forced reading. They do this for utilitarian purposes such as

achieving success in examinations and interviews. Reading among the respondents

was primarily for examinations reason. However, this is not in line with the findings

by Naemah (2003) who indicated that the level of reading interest among students

was very poor. As an average, they only read one book or magazine and five
137

newsprints in a month. The respondents showed an interest in reading magazines

which are related to science and technology.

5.2.5 Reading preference

This study demonstrated that the respondents’ perceptions on reading preference were

also moderate. Reading preference refers to see how frequent and what types of

materials they prefered to read. Respondents agreed that they read for knowledge and

interest and comics, newpapers, magazines and novels are reading material they

prefer most.

This is in line with the research conducted by Abdussattar and Gladys (2009)

who indicated that newspapers were the most preferred for reading. Fiction was

favoured over non-fiction. Another study conducted by Nor Shahriza and Amelia

(2007) revealed that university students spend a significant amount of time reading

newspapers, academic books and websites.

In terms of the amount of time spent and the types of prefered reading

materials, the findings of this study also corresponded to those of Gan Say Eng

(1999) who highlighted that the reading volume of students was not impressive with

the majority read only four to ten hours per week. This meant that on the average,

they spend about an hour or less for reading per day. This study found that they spent

most of their reading time on newspapers and magazines. These indicators showed

that their overall preference was for magazines and books.


138

5.3 Conclusions

Results from the current study, revealed that respondents’ reading knowledge, reading

interest and reading preference were at moderate levels while their reading skills and

reading purpose as they perceived were at high levels. Thus, their English literacy is

still inadequate. Nonetheless, students have acquired substantial amount of reading

skills while at school and they also have clear purpose of reading but they do not

show much interest and preference in reading. Therefore, it is crucial for instructors to

effectively teach students with a better strategies and tehniques in order to attain

adequate knowledge, interest and preference. However, teaching reading strategies

must start with bottom-up and top-down cognitive strategies before proceeding to

more difficult metacognitive skills. Students must be provided with ample exercises to

equip them with more innovative reading strategies. Teachers should not assume that

their students have acquired proficiency in English language as these skills are

difficult to master and need longer time to develop. Therefore, students must be

motivated and inspired to learn. It is suggested that instructors do not only force

students simply to read but rather teach them how to read using a variety of strategies

and tehniques that will improve their reading abilities.

As for gender, female students need further improvements in reading skills,

reading purpose, reading interest and reading preference as compared to their male

counterparts. Students whose parents used their mother tounge at home need to

enhance their reading purpose, reading interest and reading preference.


139

As the four variables mentioned above were found to be significantly related

at moderate level, efforts should be geared toward enhancement of these variables in

an integrated manner.

5.4 Recommendations

Based on the research findings, discussions and conclusions, the following is a list of

recommendations put forward to be considered by the higher authority concerned:

i) Since students’ levels in reading knowledge, reading purpose, reading interest

and reading preference were found to be moderate; efforts should be geared

toward improvement in these areas of reading abilities. Students should be

inculcated the ability to comprehend, interprete, analyse and justify reading

text, and also, instill reading interest, reading habits and preference. Teachers

should give more reading drills and exercises in the classrooms, while

policymakers and curriculum developers in the Ministry of Education should

undertake steps to review and revise the present English language curriculum

and curriculum materials. More intensive skills-upgrading course for English

language teachers and students should be organized.

ii) Technical secondary schools should create conductive environment for

learning of English language. Providing libraries with relevant English

technical materials, creating self-access learning centres and giving greater

access to students will undoubtedly attract and cultivate students in reading

English technical materials.


140

iii) To improve and intensify students’ reading proficiency, students themselves

need to be more creative and active in learning process. Similarly, teachers

must be more innovative in teaching English by exploring instructional

technologies and materials such as web-based learning, computer-assisted

learning, CD’s and other technological devices to stimulate students’ interest

in learning and reading in English. Furthermore, teachers should integrate and

emphasize various reading activities in their teaching plans.

iv) As most respondents stated that reading is one of the most complicated skills

to master in learning a language, teachers need to encourage students to

increasingly practise reading skills in their daily life. It is reasonable to assume

that as more students practise reading comprehension, the better they will

become in reading skills and knowledge. Teachers need to exhibit a good role

model in improving and promoting English communicative skills among

students and school staff.

v) It is suggested that teachers or educators who seek to improve students’

reading attitudes should organize seminars, workshops, competitions and

debates that can motivate them intrinsically.

vi) Teachers need to develop students with greater access to quality English

technical materials such as technical books, CD’s, resource books, modules

and bulletins.
141

vii) Reading technical materials in English is one of the most difficult skills to

acquire in learning a particular language. Teachers need to give clear insight

and motivation toward the importance of English language for students’ career

and livelihood. Schools should create conducive atmosphere that can enhance

learning and teaching processes particularly in dealing with reading English

technical materials.

5.5 Suggestions for Future research

This current study is conducted to form four students in selected technical schools.

Further research should include students from ordinary/daily secondary schools. In -

depth study is recommended to identify other factors that may influence reading

knowledge, reading skills and reading attitude. The researcher would like to suggest

some other designs/instruments such as interviews, observations, document analyses

and quasi-experiments be used in research design. This will enhance the validity and

reliability of data. Furthermore, sampling frame for future studies should cover also

primary school students.

Future studies should be also be concerned about the impact of reading

abilities toward one’s academic achievement and job performance. There is also a

need to focus on wider perspective of variables such as ethnicity, academic

achievement and socio-economic status of family that may have influence toward

reading.
142

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