This assignment is my guide to the final step of my dissertation. In this assignment, I will discuss in details about what I will do for my dissertation. First, I will discuss my topic and why I have chosen, it and I will indicate my research questions and sub-questions. Next, I will identify key areas I need to read about and I will summarize 11 books and articles that give useful theoretical background for my research. The topics I am interested include define reading, then the process, models, methods of teaching reading, strategies readers use and the miscue analysis in relation to reading strategies. This second section will help me build the literature review for my dissertation. Finally, I will describe my research procedure and research methods I am going to use.
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Section one: My topic and why I chose it
My topic is about problems my pupils have in reading aloud and find ways of improving my pupils’ reading aloud. I have chosen this topic because in my experience as a teacher I faced and taught different kinds of pupils from different levels, I have found that most of them have problems in reading, particularly reading aloud. Some of them are good in reading aloud but have many do substitute other words, have omission of words or letter-sounds while reading. This could be due to lack of sight vocabulary, lack of phonic skills, lack of strategies for reading. Some of them can’t produce a single word. I discovered that pupils were learning nothing if they could not read aloud. My pupils who cannot read aloud have general difficulty in decode any reading text successfully.
I believe my research is important because reading aloud is very important for my pupils in grade 9, which is closer to the final school leaving examinations in grade 12. I hope it may able me and my colleges to find the diagnoses to help the participants and in future to help all my pupils with their reading problems .
In my research I wil try to analyze and describe their miscues in reading aloud according to their levels good, average and week.
That time I couldn’t do any thing about it because I didn’t have the experience to help them. After I joined the B.A course and studied EDUC 2031 TEYL, EDUC2033 Initial Literacy, EDUC2028 Language learning from these modules I realized the nature of young learners how do they learn, how do they acquire new language and how to teach reading to young learners.
As I understood the older ways of teaching reading focused on letters and words and how to say them, all language books are concerning on that view only. The new researches showed a different view which rely on development of all language skills so, because reading in a second language is seen as a thinking exercise that’s not only concerned on reading words, sentences and pages only but it is on developing language as a whole. Reading is the main reason to build the personality of a person as I mentioned before and it is the main thing that teaching and learning stands on because it is a communication way between the learner and the academic culture in the schools . I would like my pupils to be able to use reading for study, for pleasure , to understand and to interact with what they learning.
My pupils are in grade 9 of general education school at the age of 14 years old with different ability levels. They have been studying English for five years only using ‘Our World Through English’. They started leaning English from grade 4. In addition, they are similar in many things such as pupils’ environment, strengths and weakness areas they have.
I decided to do research for my dissertation where I will focus on finding the difficulties my pupils face in reading aloud and helping me find ways to improve my pupils in reading aloud. Although my research will focus on reading aloud, from my experience a pupil cannot read aloud well, he can have little or no comprehension when he read silently. My research question is:
How can I develop the reading aloud abilities of my grade nine pupils?.
My sub-questions will be:
- What miscues my good pupils and weak pupils make when reading aloud?
- Based on my miscue analysis, what reading strategies do my good pupils and my weak pupils use when reading aloud?
- What reading strategies can I encourage my pupils to develop to improve their reading?
In my research the subjects will be six pupils from 2 of them are good , the other 2 are average and the last 2 are weak pupils)
Section 2 Summaries of relevant literature
The key areas I will need to read about for my research are:
- reading process
- models of reading
- Methods of teaching reading.
- reading strategies
- miscue analysis
How miscue analysis can be used to identify the reading strategies that pupils use and the errors they make.
In this section I discuss 11 books / articles that I want to use for my dissertation because they will help me to develop my understanding of issues related to my research. The aspects that are relevant to my study are summarized below.
Urquhart and Weir(1998)
Urquhart and Weir discuss three models of reading and I will state them here:
Bottom up approach. They say this analyses begin with the stimulus, i.e. the text, or bits of the text. They say that in Gough’s (1972) model, the reader begins with letters, which are recognized by a scanner. The information thus gained is passed to decoder, which converts the string of letters into a string of systematic phonemes, then word, then sentence then text. So ‘bottom-up models are sequential in that one stage is completed before another is begun’.
Top-down approaches. Since bottom-up models starts with the smallest text unit, either letters or letter features, we could expect, then, that top-down models begin with the largest unit, the whole text. According to Urquhart and Weir for top-down model of reading, readers first use their background knowledge to help them make a sense from the text. So for top-down approaches background knowledge is very important.
Interactive approach. In interactive models (Urquhart and Weir refer to Rumelhart, 1977), there is no regular sequence from top to bottom or from bottom up. They quote Stanovich ‘the best known proponent of interactive models’, that in interactive models a pattern is synthesized based on information provided simultaneously from several source’ (1980:35). So in interactive approaches reader uses both small text units and background knowledge to make sense out of a text at the same time.
Urquhart and Weir describes reading strategies to be a conscious response to difficulties in the text while reading action selected deliberately to achieve goals (Is this a Quotation?).
Aebersold and Field (1997)
Aebersold and Field also have sections on models of reading (bottom up , top down and interactive). They also focus on the reader’s experience in learning how to read and the ways reading fits into their lives. They give five common influential sources for information that affect reading development, particularly family, the community and the school influence. They mention that despite relatively small size, a family can foster a variety of experience that affects a child’s reading development. They say that the community influence provides readers with a set of varied life experiences that also shape their individual knowledge. Thirdly the school can bring children into contact with communities other than their own or they can be homogeneous institution that reflect shared values. This is interesting because in Oman children learn English without much support from the family or the community and school does not bring child in contact to many other communities.
This article has a section on models of reading (bottom up , top down and interactive). The author discusses how schema theory describes the process by which readers combine their own background knowledge with the information in a text to help them comprehend that text. All readers carry different schemata (background information) and these are also often culture-specific. This is an important concept in ESL teaching, and many books have pre-reading tasks that are designed to build or activate the learner’s schemata. The author also highlights some of the limitations of the use of the schema-theory approach and points out the importance both of developing the learner’s vocabulary and of encouraging extensive reading. (This sounds as if it is copied. Beware plagiarism, Saif.)
Wray and Medwell (1991)
This article focuses on reading process , models of reading and approaches to teaching reading.
In reading process, they mentioned that reading is a highly complicated process, and there are a number of insights and concepts that the successful reader must develop. In models of reading,
they discuss bottom-up models, top-down models, and interactive models and they strongly criticize the bottom up model. They also have a section on teaching reading approaches – look and say, phonic methods of teaching reading and language experience approach. I discuss these under Graton and Spratt (1998) below.
Graton and Pratt (1998)
This book have useful sections on methods of teaching reading (whole word , phonics , language experience ) the methods teachers can use to teach pupils how to read. Most teachers use these methods to help their student in reading , sometimes they chooses one of these methods but some teachers work on two or more because they think each method is completed by the other.
The phonic method as widely used from the language teachers to teach reading and writing in the English for second language learners. It is relies on children being taught the alphabet first. Then they learn to pronounce the sounds of the letters . However it is difficult to depend only to phonics because English is not a regular spelling language. The second method is ‘look and say’ or whole word method. Here pupils learn to recognize whole words or sentences rather than individual sounds. The pupils will look at a word which the teacher sound, often with a picture, and in turns will repeat the word. The problem is that it does not teach children to work out new words for themselves. The context support method can be used when the pupils are just learning to read and it is important to choose exercises or activities that really interest them. If the pupils like cars, choose an activity or exercises with pictures and simple words about cars. This will keep their interest and they will enjoy learning with the teach.
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O’Malley and Valdez Pierce (2001)
O’Malley and Valdez Pierce give a useful part about miscue analysis (p 124-5). They say it involves listening to a student reading aloud and recording the miscues. In types of miscues, they mention repetitions, substitutions, insertions, omissions and self-corrections. They also recommend the teacher must get the student to answer reading comprehension questions. They say miscue analysis can provide information about (1) the readers’ ability to use language and the reading process (2) it can be used for assessing reading, the reader’s approaches to reading and reading comprehension (3) information for revising approaches to teaching reading, how it can be used by teachers effectively to improve their learners reading.
This book has useful lists of reading strategies (p 121-123) and suggest how miscue analysis can be used to identify reading strategies readers are using. The authors talk about reading in the native language then reading in second language, which I am interested in. The writers said that learners who do have native language literacy skills might not know how to transfer their skills to the second language without specific strategy instruction.
Carter and Nunan (Eds.) (2001)
Carter and Nunan (Eds) (2001) define reading strategies as ‘Ways of accessing text meaning which are employed flexibly and selectively in the course of reading. In teaching, attention is paid to the manner in which the reader is able to draw effectively on existing linguistic and background knowledge’. They list the good reading strategies that learners use to help them read in a very efficient way, to get maximum benefit from their reading with minimum effort. These include drawing inferences, predicting and using information in the text such as pictures.
They also discuss miscue analysis in relation to reading strategies: As they say, miscue analysis refers to ‘the study of the text alterations conducted by the subject while the pupil reads the text and would be very impossible without reading aloud’. Carter and Nunan (Eds) (2001) assert that for early readers miscue analysis can be used by teachers to assess the quality and quantity of learner’s errors in their processing of text. First, this is especially useful for L2 learners ‘who because of their interlanguage system may show systemic syntactic and phonological departures from Standard English’. In addition, they argue that miscues will be based on learners’ current interlanguage rather than because of misunderstanding the text.
Wallace (2001) p26 in Carter and Nunan (2001)
Wallace discusses miscue analysis and she focuses on how miscue analysis can be used for early readers to assess the quality and the quantity of learners’ errors.
Beard has a section on miscue analysis and methods of teaching reading (whole word , phonics , language experience). The author focuses on miscue analysis and gives some models of how to use miscue analysis to develop pupils’ reading and how ‘miscue analysis can fulfill an important diagnostic function of a kind not readily offered by other more established means of reading assessment.’
The author has sections on reading strategies , models of reading (bottom up , top down and interactive) , methods of teaching reading(whole word , phonics , language experience ) and discusses how miscues can help the teacher identify the reading strategies a reader is using . The author gives an example from her experience of reading with a little Malaysian girl. The author mentioned that she had introduced her to the strategies such as:
- With the word ‘bar’, I pointed to the first letter , the sound of which she knew, and then she managed to sound out the word’.
- With the word ‘rather’ I just told her the word and did not spend any time on it , because it was not crucial to the meaning of the story and is not a particularly useful word to learn at her stage’.
- ith the word ‘meals’ I told her the word and then explained the meaning as the story progressed and the heroine moved from break fast to tea.’
- When she came to ‘watching TV’ she said ‘washing’ . From this miscue I could see that she was making a good attempt at the word and had noticed the initial consonant and the final rime.’
According to www.mindtools.com/pages/articals/ miscue analysis refers to the study of text alterations made by the subject while s/he reads the text aloud. They summarise the research of Clay, Goodman and Weber (Davies 1995, p13) and they give a useful list of types of miscues. They say that the alterations often made by a reader are:
- Substitution (another word is pronounced instead of the printed word)
- Self-correction (the reader realizes his/her mistake and corrects by him/herself.)
- Repetition (the printed word is repeated orally)
- Omission (a word is missed from the text)
- Insertion (a word not in the text is added by the reader)
- Reversal (the word order gets changed or inverted)
- Hesitation (the reader pauses or makes a sound indicating hesitation)
A long pause.
The article also relates the miscues to approaches. It says that if a reader shows more hesitations, long pauses and self-correction, this shows a bottom up approach with the reader giving most attention to pronouncing the printed words. If a reader shows more miscues such as omission, insertion, reversal and substitution, this shows a more top-down approach where the reader is paying attention to the meaning of the whole text, not reading word by word.
How I will investigate my research question
As discussed above, my research question will be ‘How can I develop the reading aloud abilities of my grade nine pupils ? ‘
For my approach and method, I read Blaxter, Hughes, & Tight, (2000), Cohen, Manion, & Morrison (2000), Nunan (1992).
For my research approach, I will use an action research approach enabling me to investigate my own pupils over a period. Action research grows from the idea that a good teacher is one who reflects on what happens in the classroom â€“ possibly with a view to changing it. (EDUC3079 session3).
For my research I will plan to use miscue analysis and interviews. The miscue analysis will provide quantitative data and the interviews will provide qualitative data. I will select a text from the course book which is not familiar to my pupils , I will let them each to read aloud this text , I will record them while reading , then I will use miscue analyses to help me analyse their mistakes. Finally I will interview each pupil, I will ask questions to to assess their comprehension of the text, to get them to tel me what strategies they used to work out the meanings of some words and to try to find out why they failed to read certain words correctly.
The research Procedure
My research will include an unknown reading text from the OWTE course book that the six pupils will read it in order to have effective and organized results for my research question. This text from the course book OWTE that I think will be not familiar for the pupils because I gave it to them for the first time (See the appendix). First I will use pre-reading questions to prepare each pupil for the reading. Pre-reading is a way of sampling where the students are familiar to the content that you are going to give them. It is a useful strategy for beginning with a class, especially when classes contain students with mixed abilities coming from a diversity of backgrounds. Then each pupil will read the text and I record it. Then I will note down all the miscues. Finally I will interview them to examine their understanding, to assess their comprehension of the text, to get them to tel me what strategies they used to work out the meanings of some words and to try to find out why they failed to read certain words correctly.
I expect some problems, and here I discuss how I will overcome them:
Miscue analysis, I cannot assume that any two pupils will have the same miscues. In addition, anxiety may cause artificial results. To overcome these problems, I will choose six pupils from different levels. I will try to get them relaxed, so I will tell them about the reason for my research, and I will do the recording in a quiet place, so we are undisturbed.
Pupils may feel boring from doing reading every time, so I must prepare a good situation for them to feel comfortable.
The main problem I think it is the time. These kinds of studies should not used in a short period because the researcher need to try many ways to investigate his pupils and his study in order to collect a valid, reliable data.
The EDUC 3079 helped me a lot on finding solutions for many problems that I will face in future in my life as a teacher to help my pupils to reach the successes in their life as students.
I learned how to read a lot and how to use the linguistics theories to help my pupils and to learn and discover the problems.
The use of miscue analysis is a very useful way to solve pupils weaknesses in reading because it is allows me to focus on the problem it self , and how to deal with each problem individually.
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