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Reading Comprehension Strategies And Reading Skills English Language Essay

Hammadon (1991) says: “Reading comprehension is not just understanding words, sentences, or even texts, but involves a complex interartion of the reader’s prior knowledge, language profiency and their learning strategies” (p.30). So reading strategies are very important to achieve the comprehension. Many types of reading strategies are introduced to guide students of all different levels. However, there were few researchers who investigate the relationship of reading comprehension strategies and reading comprehension of students. At HETC, reading has a key place in any English courses when students study English not only as the interest but also the demand for improving their study and promoting in their careers to achieve the long-term goals, especially some of them were assigned to live and work abroad. In their learning process, almost the students meet great challenges when dealing with the reading texts. They usually do not understand texts and cannot complete the tasks so they feel tired in reading lessons. Therefore, what are the main causes of this current situation? In order to find out the answer, the researcher started a survey on the reading comprehension strategy use. For teachers at HETC, it is hoped that this study may offer them the ways on how to identify strategies used by the students and then they can decide what they should do to promote their students’ reading comprehension and in their learning as well.

Literature review

2.1. Reading comprehension strategies and reading skills

Oxford (1990) gives a detailed definition of language learning strategies: “ Learning strategies are specific actions taken by the learner to make learning easier, faster, more enjoyable, more self-directed, more effective, and more transferable to new situations” (p.8) and described concretely how learning strategies are applied to the four language skills: listening, speaking, writing and reading. According to her, four strategies: listening strategies, …, or reading strategies are those learning strategies themselves that applied to each of the four skills.

Of course, skills and strategies are two big words and common terms of the reading activities, as well. Nutall (1982) pointed out that reading was certainly a process of the readers, who used strategies to work with the meaning of the texts actively and then made sense from them. By the interesting interactions from the readers and texts, more and more researchers keep working to research the relationship between the use of reading strategies and reading comprehension.

However, strategy and skill, are they different? Yes, it was actually apparent that they were different. Strategy meant people used the planned methods and implements to achieve their goals, but skill was known as a routine. Moreover, strategy was the result of conciously work towards goals. It helped readers to understand the meaning of contents in order to find out the answer or obtain a certain performance level in reading that they want for themselves (Gagné, 1985). However, it is not always easy to make such a clear differnces between these two terms. Grabe and Stoller (2002) said that “many abilities that are commonly identified as strategies are relatively automatic in their use by fluent readers (e.g. skipping an unknown word while reading, rereading to reestabilsh text meaning” (p.15) Paris et al (1991) supposed “ an emerging skill can become more efficient and developmentally advanced when they become generated and applied automatically as skills” (p.61). Sometimes this difference is not clear at all because that is part of the nature of reading. In this study, reading strategies are used to show specific actions, steps and plans that students conciously apply in their reading process to improve their comprehension.

2.2. The relationship between reading strategies and reading comprehension

Reading comprehension must occur rapid in almost any purposeful context, and the more rapidly a text is read, the better reading processes are to effect. Those specific processes must be implemented effectively in combination to ensure the reading comprhension. Reading comprehension requires the reader be strategic. The reader needs to identify processing difficulties, address balances between text information and background knowledge, decide for monitoring comprhension, and shifing goals for reading. When a good reader use strategies, they can read fluently, flexible in line with changing purpose and then continue monitoring the comprehension. Similarly, reading is an process that evaluating the reader, who must decide if the reading information is coherent and finds out the purpose for reading.Alderson (2003) said reading as the interaction of four things. He claimed that the reader and the text together must be fluent reading or “ the ability to reach at an appropriate rate with adequate comprehension”, or “ the ability of the reader to use a wide variety of reading strategies to accomplish a purpose for reading” (p.149). So discovering the best methods and strategies are the way that a good learner apply during a reading process.

2.3. Previous research on reading comprhension strategies

Grellet, F. (1981) wrote a book “Developing Reading Skills”. This book showed the important role of reading and provided some techniques which help learners improve their reading skill.

Nutal, C. (1989) proved reading is “ to enable students to read without help unfamiliar authentic texts at appropriate speed, silently with adequate understanding”.

Ozek, O. (2006) researched “ A study on the Use of Cognitive Reading Strategies by ELT Students”. This study carried out to find out which reading strategies are commonly employed by ELT students while reading a text, and which reading strategies are needed to be developed to understand the text better, and to continue academic studies successfully.

San San Kung (2007) did an investigation into the relationship between reading comprehension and the use of reading strategies among EFL students in colleges in Taiwan. Through the study, the researcher knew what the reading strategies the EFL students use more or less and what the differences between different grade students.

Methodology

This chapter will describe research methods used to collect data to answer the research questions and then explain how and why the methods are used.

3.1. Research questions

This study aims to find out reading strategy use of HETC’s students. This also has objectives to discover if there are any differences in strategy use between lower and higher proficiency readers, as well. Then to suggest some recommendations to raise students’ awareness of using reading comprehension strategies in the classroom. It aims at answering the following questions:

What reading strategies are used by students at HETC?

What are the differences in the use of reading strategies between lower and higher proficiency readers?

3.2. Descriptions of variables

3.2.1. Independent variables

In this study, the independence variables were the students at HETC. 51 students were chosen as representatives of this particular group sudents to collect needed data. These 51 students were divided into four groups in which students are the members of higher and lower proficiency groups. These 2 groups were chosen to get information to answer the second research question ( More details about these groups and about higher and lower proficiency readers will be found in 3.3.1 and 3.4.2)

3.2.2. Dependent variable:

The dependent variable in this research were the strategies applied in reading comprehension, i.e. reading comprehension strategies.

3.3. The data collection instruments:

This study employs a combibation of 3 data collection instruments:

General English Proficiency Test (GEPT)

Questionaire

Think-aloud interviews

As one of the objectives of this study is to find out if there are any dfferences in the strategy use between higher proficiency (HP) and lower proficiency (LP) readers. The test was used to divide the subjects into difference groups in which groups of higher and lower proficiency were chosen to collect the data.

Think-aloud interviews aimed at getting qualitative data and quesionaire was used to get quantiative data. The author can collect a large information of all mentioned strategies and the information from students who share their thought of strategy use in the think-aloud interviews. Of course, the think a loud interviews in this study can be one of the best ways to reaffirm the result got from the questionaire. For example, in the questionaire, the subjects report that they use life experiences to understand the meaning of texts or read the first and last paragraphs and then go back to read the paragraphs; the author will know they use these strategies or not in the interview.

3.3.1. Test

A General English proficiency test is a procedure taken to collect data on students’ ability or the knowledge of disciplines as “ Information about people’s language ability is often very useful and necessary” (Nunan, 1992). The GEPT was taken form the book “IELTS for Academic Purpose: A short insentive course” (see the appendix 3). Based on the result of the test, the subjects were classified into 4 groups. Group 1 consists students who just got from mark 1 to 2.5; group 2 has those who got mark from 3 to 5. The students in these 2 groups are LP learners. Meanwhile, the students who are in group 3 got mark from 5.5 to 6.5 – they are at medium levels. And the last group – group 4 consists of HP ones who got mark from 7 and over. After having the result of the test, the author decided to chose group 2 and 4 to collect the data to answer the second research question. So there are 51 subjects in these 2 groups. The author did not choose group 1 because their proficiency were too low and they were only 1% of the subjects. Details of the test can be found in Appendix 1.

3.3.2. Questionaire:

Questionaire is the second data collection instrument in this study. This is also a pretty popular means of data collection. Many researchers suppose that using questionaire in language research has many advantages. First, questionaire can be given to a great amount of students at the same time and it is self-administered. Second, to protect the privacy and keep the fairness, the subjects’ names might not be appeared on the questionaire. So subjects tend to share the information more naturally, even some sensitive information. Third, the data collected are more accurate because questionaire is usually given to all the subjects at the same time.

This study used one survey questionaire to gather the information about reading strategies as well as the differences in strategy use between these two kinds of readers. According to the result of the questionaire (and interviews), the athor can make some recommendation to help students improve their reading abilities. The quesionaire was designed based on the questionaire of Shan Shan Kung (2007). This part consists 3 parts. Of couse, in this study, the author modified the first part - personal information part. The next part – concept of reading had 3 questions to explore the perceptions of English reading. The last part had thirty – eight questions of strategy use. In the beginning of third section, thirty – four questions utilized a Liker – Scale point systems. The subjects were asked to respond to each statement by choosing among four answers: 1) usually; 2) sometimes; 3) rarely; 4) never. Each section has four to six questions (except section 1 has 10 questions because of discovering the reading process). Through the survey, the author found out which strategies actually actracted HP readers more than LP readers.

3.3.3. Think aloud interviews

In addition to the quetionaire, interviews are used to obtain information by actually talking to the subject. The interviewer asks questions and the subject responds. Interviews are the good way for collecting data as Seliger, H.W. (1989) claimed “ Interviews are personalized and therefore permit a level of in-depth information – gathering, free response and flexibility that cannot be obtained by other procedures” (p.166). However, it can be costly and time consuming. In this study, think – aloud interviews were used to collect the data about the students’ reading strategy. The Interviewer Guide for Reading Strategies developed by Honsenfeld et al. (1981). In oder to make the Guide appropriate for objectives of thi study, the researcher has made some changes in the strategies they posed ( see Appendix 3).

3.4. Participants in the study:

At the time the study was carried out, the subjects had just finished an English course. Their textbook was ……… Therefore, their commonly assumed proficiency was intermidiate. They were members of three classes. One class included 25 students , 24 in the other class and 21 in the last one and they stuied the same textbook. Their ages ranged from 19 to 24. Almost all of students had at least 3 years of learning English before this class. They were delivered a reading proficiency test to be divided into higher and lower proficiency readers.

In this study, gender has minimal effect on the results because the number of male students is quite small in the total of the subjects.

3.5. Procedure

The data were collected by the researcher during a week in autum 2009. After contacting the English teachers of the subjects in person to get approval for asking their students to participate in the study, the researcher pre-arranged the time. The researcher went to English classes to administer the tests. The students were asked to complete the test in 60 minutes. The English teachers and the researcher supervised and marked the test papers later.

The 2 days after, subjects were distributed the questionanires. The researcher gave some directions to the subjects and of then encouraged students to ask for any clarifications they might need and any other extra time when they filled out the questionaire. And of couse, the researcher wanted to protect the privacy and the students’ fairness, so the students’ names would not fill in the questionaires. In order to advoid misunderstanding the questions, the questionaire were translated into Vietnamese which were enclosed with the English version. The questionaire administration took about 30 minutes in each class.

For days later, six chosen students were interviewed individually at the researcher’ s office in HETC. The reseacher pre-arranged the time and contacted to the students by the phone. Before the interview, the reseacher gave the instructions and explained the purpose of the study to students so they could understand what they had to do clearly. Each interview took from 10 to 15 minutes.

Data analysis and findings

4.1. The result of the questionaire

4.1.1. Demographic Data

Table 4.1

Demographic Information of Students (N=51)

Subject

Frequency

Percentage

Total

N

%

Gender

Male

9

17.6

51

100

Female

42

82.4

Level

Lower proficiency

32

63.7

Higher proficiency

19

36.3

Years of

English learning experience

2

3

5.9

51

100

4

9

17.6

5

15

29.4

6

11

21.6

7

6

11.8

8

2

3.9

9

4

7.8

10

1

2.0

Look at the table 4.1, of the 51 students participating in the study, 9 (17.6%) were males and 43 (82.4%) were females. Of the 19 HP students (36.3%) and 32 (63.7%) were LP students.

When asking about years of English learning experience, just 1 students (2.0%) has been studying English for ten years. 9 students (17.6%) have been studying English for four years, 15 students (29.4%) have been studying English for five years, 11 students (21.6%) have been studying English for six years, 6 students (11.8%) have been studying English for seven years, 2 students (3.9%) have been studying English for eight years, 4 students (7.8%) have been studying English for nine years.

Because foreign language in general and English in particular were given into school from sixth grade in secondary school, and from tenth grade in high school ( in some remote areas), the most students’ years of English learning experience were between four and seven years.

To answer the second section of the questionnaire about concepts of reading, the results were presented in Table 4.2.

Table 4.2

The Relationship between the Important of Reading for Language Learning and Reading Hours per Week by higher and lower proficiency students

Reading hours per week

2

3

4

Over 4

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

%

Higher proficiency students

(N =19)

Very important

2

10.5

5

26.3

6

31.6

3

15.8

important

1

5.3

2

10.5

Not important

Lower

proficiency students

(N =32)

Very important

6

18.8

7

21.9

5

15.6

important

4

12.5

5

15.6

4

12.5

Not important

1

3.1

According to the illustration of Table 4.2, HP students who thought reading was very important for language learning were 2 (10.5%) spent two hours per week on reading, 5(26.3%) for three hours per week, 6 (31.6%), for four hours per week and 3 (15.8%) for over four hours per week. HP students who thought reading was important for language learning were 1 (5.3%) spent two hours per week on reading, 2 (10.5%) for four hours per week. There were not any students who thought reading was not important for language learning.

In the LP group, 6 (18.8%) students thought reading was very important for language learning and spent two hours per week for it, 7 (21.9%) spent three hours for reading, 5 (15.6%) spent four hours for reading. These LP students supposed reading was important for language learning were 4 (12.5%) spent two hours per week on reading, 5 (15.6%) for three hours per week. There was 1 (3.1%) students said reading was not important for language learning but still spent two hours per week on it.

4.1.2. Findings for Research Question One

The research question one was “What reading comprehension strategies are used by students at HETC ?” After collecting data, it showed what the same or different strategies were used more or less by HP or LP students for helping them understand the contents of the reading materials in different reading situations and were ranked from low to high to represent which strategy would be used more or less by the students during their reading process in different situations. The results were listed in the following by all of students’ reading ability levels when they used reading strategies in different reading situations.

The total results came from the 51 students in Table 4.3, 4.4, 4.5 and 4.6.

Table 4.3

Means, Ranks, and Standard Deviations of the Uses of Reading Strategies in First Section by students at HETC

When I read English materials,

Mean

Mean

SD

Rank

1.

I read a table of contents, and then read the contents

1.82

1

.90

2.

I focus on the first sentence of each paragraph for helping me understand the main points of the whole paragraph

2.51

7

.12

3.

I underline the main points when I am reading

2.03

4

.97

4.

I write Vietnamese on the margin for vocabulary words I don’t understand during reading

1.86

2

.90

5

I skim over the full text, and then read details

1.88

3

.92

6

I use life experiences helping me understand the meaning of texts

1.86

2

.90

7

I use the background knowledge of the English culture to understand the contents

2.57

8

1.03

8

I use key words or sentences to guess the main idea of the articles

1.88

3

1.08

9

After reading each paragraph, I ask myself if I understand what I read before, and paraphrase the main idea, then keep reading the next paragraph

2.25

5

1.09

10

I discuss what I read with classmates

2.45

6

1.05

In Table 4.3, the result indicated which strategies the 51 students used more or less when they read English materials. The table showed the data with mean, mean rank, and standard deviation.

As illustration of Table 4.3, the mean was from 1.82 to 2.51 and the rank was S1 (1.82) < S4 = S6 (1,86) < S5= S8 (1.88) < S3 (2.03) < S9 (2.25) < S10 (2.45) < S2 (2.51) < S7 (2.57). The data express that strategy 1 had lowest mean scores. It meant that strategy 1 “I read the table of contents, and then read the contents” most students would like to use to help them understand the contents during reading process. On the contrary, they used the two least strategies: strategy 2 and strategy 7.

Table 4.4

Means, Ranks, and Standard Deviations of the Uses of Reading Strategies in First Section by students at HETC

When I do not understand a vocabulary,

Mean

Mean

SD

Rank

11

I check the dictionary immediately

2.37

3

1.1

12

I mark and pass it, keep reading and then go back

2.33

2

1.08

13

I use other words in the sentence to infer the meaning of vocabulary

2.09

1

.87

14

I analyze its suffix and prefix to get its meaning

3.00

4

1.21

Through Table 4.4, strategy 13 “I use other words in the sentence to infer the meaning of vocabulary” was most used by the students when they did not understand a vocabulary during the reading process. On contrary, strategy 14 “I analyze its suffix and prefix to get its meaning” was the strategy which most students used least in this reading situation.

Table 4.5

Means, Ranks, and Standard Deviations of the Uses of Reading Strategies in First Section by students at HETC

When I do not understand a sentence,

Mean

Mean

SD

Rank

15

I use the context (topic, subject) to derive the meaning of each sentence

1.86

1

.91

16

I translate word for word into Vietnamese to better understand the meaning of the sentences

2.35

4

1.12

17

I take grammar analysis (ex: finding subject and verb etc.) to understand the meaning of the sentences

2.33

3

1.02

18

I analyze the structure of sentences (ex: sample sentence, adjective clause, or adverb clause, etc.)to derive the meaning of sentence

2.37

5

.97

19

I will analyze the verb tense (ex: past tense or future tense) or verb mood (ex: subjunctive mood or imperative mood) for better understanding

2.27

2

.95

In Table 4.5, those strategies had close mean scores between each other, but it also pointed out the differences from 2.27 to 2.37, except the strategy 15 had the mean score less 1.86. It described that strategy 15 “I use the context (topic, subject) to derive the meaning of each sentence” were the most used by the students when they did not understand a sentence during reading process. Vice versa, the means of the strategy 16 and strategy 18 to derive the meaning of sentence” meant that they were used least than other strategies in this section.

Table 4.6

Means, Ranks, and Standard Deviations of the Uses of Reading Strategies in First Section by students

When I don’t understand (including vocabulary and sentences,) except above reading strategies,

Mean

Mean

SD

Rank

20

I check books (ex: grammar books or encyclopedia) for references

2.16

2

1.14

21

I go on the Internet to find related information

1.98

1

.92

22

I ask teachers or classmates for clarification

2.27

3

1.03

23

I read the difficult parts several times

2.63

5

1.12

24

I read the contents orally several times

2.47

4

.94

25

I will memorize the vocabulary pertaining to the contents before reading

2.16

2

.99

According to the data, it presented that strategy 21 “ I go on Internet to find related information” was used by almost students. The information technology nowaday becomes quite popular to students so they would like to search information on the Internet. The S20 = S25 (2.16) both stood the second position. The strategy that students used least was strategy 23 “ I read difficult parts several times”.

4.1.3. Findings for Research Question Two

Research question two was “What are the differences in the use of reading strategies of the higher and lower proficiency students at HETC?” Through mean, standard deviation, t-tests and p value, the data analysis depicted detailed information about the differences of reading strategy performance between these two groups of students. The comparative groups focused on higher and lower proficiency student.

Table 4.7

Means, Standard Deviations, t-Tests and p Value between higher and lower proficiency students at HETC

when I read English materials,

Lower proficiency students

Higher proficiency students

T

p

(N=19)

(N=32)

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

1.

I read a table of contents, and then read the contents

2.00

1.054

1.72

.813

.999

.322

2.

I focus on the first sentence of each paragraph for helping me understand the main points of the whole paragraph

2.16

1.118

1.78

.792

1.288

.20

3.

I underline the main points when I am reading

2.00

1.105

2.06

.914

-.208

.84

4.

I write Vietnamese on the margin for vocabulary words I don’t understand during reading

2.79

1.084

2.78

1.069

.026

.98

5.

I skim over the full text, and then read details

2.05

1.026

1.78

.870

.965

.34

6.

I use life experiences helping me understand the meaning of texts

1.89

.937

1.84

.917

.189

.85

7.

I use the background knowledge of the English culture to understand the contents

2.05

1.129

2.86

.871

-2.729

.00**

8.

I use key words or sentences to guess the main idea of the articles

2.37

1.261

1.59

.911

2.412

.02*

9.

After reading each paragraph, I ask myself if I understand what I read before, and paraphase the main idea, then keep reading the next paragraph

2.00

1.202

2.53

.983

-1.630

.11

10.

I discuss what I read with classmates

2.53

1.264

2.41

.946

.359

.72

p<.05*, p<.01**

As indicated in Table 4.7, strategy 7 and strategy 8 attended to the significant difference level (p<.05) which meant there were significant differences in usage between the two groups of students. Looking at the means of strategy 1, 2, 5, 10 the analyzing data showed that good students had lower frequency of use than lower ones. Meanwhile, look at strategy 9, HP students had higher frequency to use these strategies to help their read than LP students As for the rest strategies in this section, there were no significant differences between two groups.

Table 4.8

Means, Standard Deviations, t-Tests and p Value between higher and lower proficiency students at HETC

When I do not understand a vocabulary,

Higher proficiency students

Lower proficiency students

t

p

(N=19)

(N=32)

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

11.

I check the dictionary immediately

3.32

.749

1.81

.896

6.432

.00**

12.

I mark and pass it, keep reading and then go back

2.89

1.1

2.06

.878

2.809

.00**

13.

I use other words in the sentence to infer the meaning of vocabulary

2.05

.911

2.13

.871

-.279

.78

14.

I analyze its suffix and prefix to get its meaning

2.84

1.344

3.13

1.07

-.782

.44

p<.05*; p<.01**

In table 4.8, strategy 11 and strategy 12 attended to the significant different level (p<.05). That meant that the two strategies both had significant differences on frequencies of use between HP students’ and LP students’ mean scores. Good students had higher frequency to use the strategy to solve their vocabulary problems during the reading process. The mean score of strategy 11 showed that HP students would prefer to use it for solving their vocabulary problems, but LP students did not. Other strategies in this part, there were no significant differences.

Table 4.9

Means, Standard Deviations, t-Tests and p Value between higher and lower proficiency students

When I do not understand a sentence,

Higher proficiency students

Lower proficiency students

t

p

(N=19)

(N=32)

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

15.

I use the context (topic, subject) to derive the meaning of each sentence

1.89

1.1

1.84

.808

.176

.86

16.

I translate word for word into Vietnamese to better understand the meaning of the sentences

3.21

0.976

1.84

0.884

5.005

.00**

17.

I take grammar analysis (ex: finding subject and verb etc.) to understand the meaning of the sentences

2.16

1.167

2.44

.948

-.885

.38

18.

I analyze the structure of sentences (ex: sample sentence, adjective clause, or adverb clause, etc.)to derive the meaning of sentence

1.84

.898

2.69

.896

-3.253

.00*

19.

I will analyze the verb tense (ex: past tense or future tense) or verb mood (ex: subjunctive mood or imperative mood) for better understanding

1.84

.898

2.53

.915

-2.630

.01*

p<.05*, p<.01**

As indicated in Table 4.9, strategy 18 and strategy 19 attended to significant different level (p<.05). These strategies had significant differences between the two groups. Through the mean score, we know these significant differences were that HP students preferred to use this strategy more often to help them reading fluently, but LP ones did not. However, in strategy 16 “I translate word for word into Vietnamese to better understand the meaning of the sentences”, LP students preferred this strategy to HP students.

Table 4.10

Means, Standard Deviations, t-Tests and p Value between higher and lower proficiency students

When I don’t understand (including vocabulary and sentences,) except above reading strategies,

Higher proficiency students

Lower proficiency students

t

p

(N=19)

(N=32)

Mean

SD

Mean

SD

20.

I check books (ex: grammar books or encyclopedia) for references

2.32

1.157

2.06

1.162

.755

.45

21.

I go on the Internet to find related information

2.05

.970

1.94

.914

.419

.68

22.

I ask teachers or classmates for clarification

2.16

1.214

3.25

.984

-3.326

.00**

23.

I read the difficult parts several times

3.37

.761

2.19

1.091

4.54

.00**

24.

I read the contents orally several times

2.53

.905

2.44

.982

.328

.74

25.

I will memorize the vocabulary pertaining to the contents before reading

2.05

1.312

2.22

.792

-.501

.62

p<.05*, p<.01**

In table 4.10, strategy 22 and strategy 23 attended to the significant difference level (p<.05). It meant that the two strategies had significant differences on frequency of use between efficient student and less efficient student mean score. It seemed that HP students like to use the strategy 22 when they don not understand their reading. Vice versa, the LP students like to use strategy 23 “ I read the difficult part several times” even it would waste of their time. Other strategies did not have significant differences between these two groups.

In order to know the futher information about the strategy of the two groups. There were think-aloud interviews to conduct the results.

4.4. The results of the interviews

As mentioned in 3.3.3, in this study, six students with 1 girls and 3 boys were given think alound interviews to get further information about their reading strategy use and to reaffirm the results of the quetionaire. Among them, 2 are successful and 2 are unsuccessful.

The first trend the researcher took notes is the use of strategies of skimming and scanning by both goood and poor students. When students were asked “When you read a text like this, what do you usually do?” they all answered “First, I look through the text to get the main ideas of it. After that, I read the required tasks and come back to the text to find the answers”. It seemed that most of them did in this way automatically. And All of them don’t know that they were using reading strategies in their reading process.

The second trend is that the students used translating strategy at a lower rate than they answered in the questionaire. Both two poor readers claimed they were trying to translate the text into Vietnamese to understand it and do the task easily. While students read, they always had a pencil in their hands and underlined the new words: they then looked at dictionary or glossary. Their physical habits made the reseacher no surprise. They opened the dictionary when they met a new words. They said: “There are a lot of new words and I have to use it. If not, I can not understand the text”. Only one strongest students never used the glossary and finished reading in 15 minutes with comprehension as good as or better than others who took more than 20 minutes to read the article while using their dictionary. He said: “ I only use the dictionary as the last resort”.

During the intervies, nobody ask the teacher for help. This is not like what they actually did in thr classroom where they certainly make questions when they do not understand something. So the strategies “ I ask teacher or classmates for clarifications” were not directly observed in the interviews because the students were interviewed individually.

conclusion

In conclusion, The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of reading strategies by higher and lower proficiency students, to find out the common and uncommon strategies used by these students at HETC. The findings may use to predict the possible students’ viewpoints of learning to read in Vietnam. Although the study was limited by fifty-one students coming from HETC, The principal emered from the study:

Most students had English learning experiences from four to seven years, so they actually understood the important role of reading in Enlish language acquisition, but they still did not spend much time on it. The main reason might be most teachers in Vietnam would mainly focus on teaching grammar. Because they believed it was useful for the tests.

Most students (even fewer learning experiences ones) could choose appropriate strategies to help them read effectively when they could not understand the text or met some reading problems.

The HP students knew how to use more strategies to help them read better and apply more strategies than LP students because they thought that reading strategies were useful for helping reading comprehension.

Thereforce, from the findings of this study and from the teaching and learning context at HETC, the researcher recommends that teacher should raise their students awareness of using learning strategies in common, especially reading strategies, teach them how to use strategies appropriately and encourage them to use the strategies more often not only in the classroom but also in new contexts. Future research can investigate if teaching particular reading strategies results in better reading scores on standardized tests.

Appendix 1

Survey questionnaire

The questionnaire is aimed to investigate reading comprehension strategies. We are grateful for your goodwill and cooperation in truthfully completing the questionnaire. Please respond to each question as frankly and accurately as possible. Thank you very much!

Personal information (please fill in the blanks with numbers)

You are in group: _________ (1) GE2/08/2 _________ (2) GE2/22/4

Gender ___________(1) male ___________(2) female

How many years have you studied English? _________

Concepts of reading (please fill in the blanks with numbers)

Do you think that reading is important for language learning?

__________ (1) very important, __________ (2) important, __________ (3) not important, __________ (4) not very important.

Do you read English materials other than the teachers’ assignments?

_______(1) yes _______(2) no

How many hours do you spend reading English very week? (including textbooks)

______(1) two hours ______ (2) three hours ______ (3) four hours ______ (4) over four hours.

III. The use of reading strategies

Please fill in the blanks with ( ) according to how offen you use a certain reading strategy : 1 = usually

2 = sometimes

3 = less

4 = never

When I read English material,

1 2 3 4

1.

I read a table of contents, and then read the contents

□□□□

2.

I focus on the first sentence of each paragraph for helping me understand the main points of the whole paragraph

□□□□

3.

I underline the main points when I am reading

□□□□

4.

I write Vietnamese on the margin for vocabulary words I don’t understand during reading

□□□□

5.

I first skim the text then go back and read carefully

□□□□

6.

I use life experiences helping me understand the meaning of texts

□□□□

7.

I use the background knowledge of the English culture to understand the contents

□□□□

8.

I use key words or sentences to guess the main idea of the articles

□□□□

9.

After reading each paragraph, I ask myself if I understand what I read before, and paraphase the main idea, then keep reading the next paragraph

□□□□

10.

I discuss what I read with classmates

□□□□

When I do not understand a vocabulary,

11.

I check the dictionary immediately

□□□□

12.

I mark and pass it, keep reading and then go back

□□□□

13.

I use other words in the sentence to infer the meaning of vocabulary

□□□□

14.

I analyze its suffix and prefix to get its meaning

□□□□

When I do not understand a sentence,

15.

I use the context (topic, subject) to derive the meaning of each sentence

□□□□

16.

I translate word for word into Vietnamese to better understand the meaning of the sentences

□□□□

17.

I take grammar analysis (ex: finding subject and verb etc.) to understand the meaning of the sentences

□□□□

18.

I analyze the structure of sentences (ex: sample sentence, adjective clause, or adverb clause, etc.)to derive the meaning of sentence

□□□□

19.

I will analyze the verb tense (ex: past tense or future tense) or verb mood (ex: subjunctive mood or imperative mood) for better understanding

□□□□

When I don’t understand (including vocabulary and sentences,) except above reading strategies,

20.

I check books (ex: grammar books or encyclopedia) for references

□□□□

21.

I go on the Internet to find related information

□□□□

22.

I ask teachers or classmates for clarification

□□□□

23.

I read the difficult parts several times

□□□□

24.

I read the contents orally several times

□□□□

25.

I will memorize the vocabulary pertaining to the contents before reading

□□□□

Appendix 2

PHIẾU ĐIỀU TRA

Phiếu điều tra này điều tra về chiến lược đọc hiểu của sinh viên. Chúng tôi rất biết ơn sự thiện chí và hợp tác của bạn hoàn thành phiếu điều tra này. Xin vui lòng trả lời những câu hỏi dưới đây một cách trung thực và chính xác nhất. Chúng tôi xin cám ơn sự giúp đỡ của các bạn.

I. Thông tin cá nhân (xin vui lòng điền vào khoảng trống theo chữ số)

1. Bạn học lớp _________ (1) K19a1_________ (2) K19a3

2. Giới tính ___________(1) nam _________ (2) nữ

3. Bạn học tiếng Anh được bao nhiêu năm? ___________

II. Các quan niệm về kỹ năng đọc hiểu (xin vui lòng điền vào khoảng trống theo chữ số)

1. Bạn có nghĩ rằng kỹ năng đọc hiểu là quan trọng trong việc học ngoại ngữ không?

____________(1) rất quan trọng, ___________(2) quan trọng, ____________(3) không quan trọng, ___________(4) rất không quan trọng.

2 .Bạn có đọc các tài liệu tiếng Anh nhiều hơn so với các bài tập mà thầy cô giao cho bạn không?

_______(có) _______(không)

3. Mỗi tuần bạn dành bao nhiêu tiếng để đọc tiếng Anh? (bao gồm cả sách giáo khoa)

________(1) hai tiếng ________ (2) ba tiếng________ (3) bốn tiếng ________(4) hơn bốn tiếng

III. Về việc sử dụng chiến lược đọc hiểu:

Xin vui lòng điền dấu ( ) vào khoảng trống theo mức độ từ 1 đến 4 là :

1 = thường xuyên sử dụng

2 = thỉnh thoảng sử dụng

3 = ít khi sử dụng

4 = chưa từng sử dụng

Khi tôi đọc tài liệu tiếng Anh,

1 2 3 4

1.

Tôi thường đọc phần mục lục, sau đó đọc phần nội dung

□□□□

2.

Tôi thường tập trung vào câu đầu của mỗi đoạn để giúp tôi hiểu ý chính của toàn đoạn

□□□□

3.

Tôi thường gạch chân những ý chính trong khi tôi đọc

□□□□

4.

Tôi thường viết những từ mới trên lề khi mà tôi không hiểu trong khi đọc

□□□□

5.

Tôi đọc lướt qua toàn đoạn, sau đó đọc chi tiết

□□□□

6.

Tôi sử dụng những kinh nghiệm của cuộc sống để giúp tôi hiểu ý nghĩa của bài đọc

□□□□

7.

Tôi sử dụng hiểu biết về nền văn hoá Anh để hiểu nội dung

□□□□

8.

Tôi sử dụng những từ hoặc những câu chính để đoán ý chính

□□□□

9.

Sau khi đọc mỗi đoạn, tôi tự hỏi liệu tôi có hiểu những gì mà tôi đã đọc ở phần trước chưa, và diễn giải bằng cách khác những ý chính, sau đó tiếp tục đọc đoạn tiếp theo

□□□□

10.

Tôi thảo luận những gì tôi đọc với bạn cùng lớp

□□□□

Khi mà tôi không hiểu từ vựng,

11.

Tôi tra từ điển ngay lập tức

□□□□

12.

Tôi đánh dấu và tiếp tục đọc, sau đó quay lại những từ vựng đó

□□□□

13.

Tôi sử dụng những từ khác ở trong câu để suy ra nghĩa của từ

□□□□

14.

Tôi phân tích phần tiền tố và hậu tố để biết nghĩa của từ

□□□□

Khi tôi không hiểu đoạn văn,

15.

Tôi sử dụng bối cảnh (tiêu đề, chủ đề) để hiểu nghĩa của mỗi đoạn

□□□□

16.

Tôi dịch từng từ ra tiếng Việt để hiểu hơn nghĩa của đoạn văn

□□□□

17.

Tôi phân tích ngữ pháp (ví dụ như tìm chủ ngữ, động từ…) để hiểu nghĩa của câu

□□□□

18.

Tôi phân tích cấu trúc của câu (ví dụ như câu mẫu, mệnh đề tính ngữ, mệnh đề trạng ngữ…) để hiểu nghĩa của câu

□□□□

19.

Tôi phân tích thời của động từ (thời quá khứ, thời tương lai) hoặc là tình thái của động từ (giả định thức hoặc mệnh lệnh thức) để hiểu hơn

□□□□

Khi tôi không hiểu (bao gồm cả từ vựng và câu), trừ những chiến lược đọc ở trên,

20.

Tôi tra sách(sách ngữ pháp hoặc tư điển bách khoa toàn thư) để tham khảo

□□□□

21.

Tôi vào mạng để tìm thông tin liên quan

□□□□

22.

Tôi hỏi thầy cô hoặc bạn bè giải thích

□□□□

23.

Tôi đọc những phần khó hiểu nhiều lần

□□□□

24.

Tôi đọc to phần nội dung nhiều lần

□□□□

25.

Tôi nhớ từ vựng gắn với phần nội dung trước khi đọc

□□□□


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