English: Reading and Strategies

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European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 12, Number 2 (2009)

The Use of Reading Strategies in Developing Students’ Reading Competency among Primary School Teachers in Malaysia Majdi Abdullah Ahmad AD-Heisat School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia E-mail: majdi-jor@hotmail.com Syakirah Mohammed MARA University of Technology Malaysia E-mail: syakirah_mohammed@Hyahoo.com K.A. Sharmella a/p Krishnasamy School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia E-mail: mesha1279@yahoo.com Jenan H. Issa School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia E-mail: jenanfiras@yahoo.com Abstract In this study we investigated the use of reading strategies in developing students’ reading competency among primary school teachers. For the purpose of the study, sixty primary school teachers from Penang have been randomly selected as the research subjects. A questionnaire survey was administered to determine whether the teachers have knowledge of reading strategies and to teach their students. The findings of the study showed that while teachers were aware of the use of reading strategies in developing reading competencies, they did not fully utilized them in teaching reading to primary school students. Effective reading strategies such as setting context, relating the text to students’ schemata and predicting or interpreting text were less frequently used. Apart from that, teachers also failed to encourage readers’ interaction with the text. Among the recommendation to address this problem is for the State education Department to organize workshops for teachers to expose them to activities that can be used to teach reading strategies during reading lessons. In addition, the curriculum planners and text-book writers should include activities which utilize reading strategies in the materials used with students. Keywords: Reading strategies, pre-reading, while-reading, post-reading, reading process.

1. Introduction
Reading is essential to students’ academic achievement and involves a complicated process. Sloat, Beswick and Willms (2007) state that failure to learn reading during primary level may cause a student to be lacking in the ability to read well. In addition, students with limited literacy skills may develop poor self-esteem, lack motivation, display behavioural and academic problems; thus leading them to be alienated from regular curriculum (Sloat et al, 2007). In traditional English Language classroom, reading is the most emphasized skill (Susser & Rob, 1990). This emphasis is necessary considering that reading is not a skill that can be automatically 310

European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 12, Number 2 (2009) 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. However, one important aspect of teaching reading has been overlooked, that is the need to teach students the appropriate reading strategies. Closer inspection of the Primary School Syllabus Specification reveals that the reading skills to be taught such as word attack skills and reading for main ideas were specified. No mention was made of the reading strategies that students should be made aware of in developing their reading competency. The need to teach reading strategies explicitly is not stated as...
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