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The new version of "College English Curriculum and Teaching Requirements" enacted by Ministry of Education in 2007 puts forward the demand for strengthening students' autonomous learning skill. In recent years, more and more experts and professors domestic and overseas confirm the significance of quantity reading for English learning adequately.
From the rule of language learning, we can know that the abilities' development of English apply are on the basis of quantity language input, especially quantity reading. Krashen said¼ŒReading is a kind of most effective method to learn incidental vocabulary under the process of the unconscious. However quantity reading needs plenty of time. Owing to the limitation of in class time, autonomous reading out of class becomes particularly important.
1.2 significance of the research
Reading is important both as a skill and as language input for other skills development. It is significant to research learners' autonomous out-of-class reading, because it can provide objective information and vocabulary input. Through the questionnaire and feedback information, we can know attitudes and current situation more clearly. From this, researchers and teachers' awareness can be aroused and actions can be taken if there is insufficient and irregular reading problem. Existing Model of Teaching and learning strategy can be adjusted reasonable and gradually perfect.
The research significance also reflects in studying work out solutions to solve possible problems and implications for further research and teaching. Finally, the paper is an attempt to direct researchers' attention to reading in large amounts which seems to be a neglected component in reading research areas.
1.3goals of the research
Firstly, the goal of the research is to help non-English major college students reading English autonomously after class. Teacher's guidance and assistance is necessary.
Secondly, the research is committed to improve students' reading comprehension proficiency. In addition, we grasp a key difference between more successful and less successful acquirers relates in large part to their ability to use reading as a means of acquisition (Vandergrift, 1996; 1998), the goal of the research is to enhance students reading comprehension for better acquisition of English as a foreign language.
Thirdly, changes with education systems and the practice of language teaching are means more fundamental changes in the functions of knowledge in social and economic life and in the ways in which knowledge is constructed and exchanged. In the light of these changes, the successful learner is increasingly seen as a person who is able to construct knowledge directly from experience of the world, rather than one who responds well to instruction (Benson, 2005). Learning to learn has become the principal goal of school education. Engaged in autonomous reading out of class, students can not only improve their reading proficiency and level of English, but also develop their autonomy and capacity of learning.
1.4autonomous out of class leaning
Out-of-class learning refers to any kind of learning that takes place outside the classroom and involves self-instruction, naturalistic learning or self-directed naturalistic learning (Shi Likun 2008). Most language learning research to date has focused on the classroom and the study of out-of-class learning is a relatively new area of research with considerable implications for the theory of autonomy (Benson 2005).
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1.1 Reading and reading comprehension
What exactly is reading and what does reading comprehension involve theoretically anyway? Nuttall (1996) talks about three aspects in reading held by three groups of people. One view is that reading is to decode, decipher and identify printed words. The second view regards reading as articulation, speaking and pronunciation. The last aspect holds such a view that reading for meaning, understanding and responding.
Decode means to convert printed or written words into cognitive consciousness. Reading refers to convert printed or written words into a kind of minds, and then let learners to remember it. Articulation refers to read words out. However, speak out would slow down the reading speed and other reading skills such as skimming and scanning, top-down reading cannot be well developed. On the other hand, we all know that reading aloud will go against comprehending.
Meaning emphasizes that reading is a process to get the means information but all words. If so, readers will combine the written words to their own background acknowledge and experience. Readers move through the printed text with specific purposes in mind to accomplish specific goals (Anderson 2004). Also Grabe and Stoller (2005) present a single-sentence definition of reading as the following: "reading is the ability to draw meaning from the printed page and interpret this information appropriately." Wallace (1992) explains reading for meaning by saying that to read is to interpret, to work out the meaning of a written text. Such interpretation "means reacting to a written text as a piece of communication; in other words, we assume some communicative intent on the writer's part which the reader has some purpose in attempting to understand" (Wallace 1992: 4).
Comprehension means understanding. So reading comprehension relates to the third view of reading. According to Grabe and Stoller (2005), reading comprehension covers four areas: purposes for reading, definitional processes, processing components of reading and models of reading. The four areas concerns reading comprehension comprehensively with beginning and ending. Beginning deals with why readers read, then they go through reading processes to understand and finally reading improvement is actualized. (Shi Likun 2008)
2.1.2 Differences between first language and second language reading
There is not only a similarity but great difference between first language reading and second language reading. Reading under these two languages both need to understand the content, form and language cognitive system. As the third view says, readers get the meaning of tests combining background knowledge, forecast and confirmation, so they will say that reading between first language and second language is similar. However, the difference is also great. The second language reading refers to the diachronic of language learning, any language after native language (stern, 1983). Segelowitz (1986) and Grabe (1991) also point it out that the knowledge base is different. For example the first language readers have had several thousands of vocabulary and grammar before they begin reading, but the second language readers have not. Otherwise, the difference of social and culture also give rise to the difficulty level of second language reading.
2.1.3 researches of reading in home and abroad.
According to Gao Jili, there are rarely studies about autonomous reading out of class published in the English publications in china in recent years. Although researches (wangling& He Ning, Li Ruifang, Ding Yanwen, Zeng Wenhua, Yao Guomin, Pan Ni, Feng Yufang) about non-English autonomous reading come to reading time, aim and methods, questions as follows are still less related:
cognition of reading's significance
time, frequency and quantity of reading
Motivation and self-determination.
factors affecting out of class reading
The paper is designed to study students' cognition of significance, attention and motivation, limitation elements and to collect students' feedback, has a reference function for future English teaching.
3. An empirical study of autonomous reading out of class
60 subjects of the research are from school of nursing and Chinese and western medicine. 12 boys and 48 girls at average age 20 years old. All of them are sophomore, because they have learned English for 7 to 8 years in all and two years in university. All of them have the characteristic of non-English majors. All the subjects use same textbook, "New Horizon College English".
To reflect the non-English majors students' conditions of autonomous reading out of class truly and roundly, this research is conducted by questionnaire. Questionnaire is adopted due to the following reasons. Firstly, questionnaires can be given to large groups of subjects at the same time, so it is economical to conduct questionnaire than other methods like interviews. Secondly, because the subjects needn't write their names on the questionnaires, they will be more truthful to the questions asked in the questionnaire. Therefore, data collected from the questionnaire are more reliable. Thirdly, since the same questionnaire is given to all subjects, the data are more uniform and standard, which are convenient to be analyzed statistically. Finally, questionnaire allows the subjects to reflect on their own learning with a less stressful means of collecting data.