The of such method in teaching reading and

The
use of Graded Readers (GR) is particularly absent in secondary education in
Malaysia. Therefore it was the aim of this study to explore the influence of GR
on the students’ reading level of interest and motivation. GR was embedded into
an extensive reading established for secondary school level language learners
in a government school in Pahang, Malaysia. Research evidence for the use of
such programs in the learning of English in second language in Malaysian
context is presented, emphasizing the benefits of this type of input for increasing
the level of students’ interest and motivation and students’ perception towards
the use of it. Some issues were raised in the use of such method in teaching
reading and practical solutions were offered.  

Introduction

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Why
is it that a learner who has been studying English for almost ten years, still
cannot read well? Following is a conversation between an English teacher and a
secondary school student.

Teacher: How many English books
have you read this year?

Student: I don’t think I have read
any English book this year.

Teacher: Why is that so?

Student: Because I don’t like
reading in general. Let alone to read in a foreign language.

Teacher: What is the main reason
you don’t like to read in a foreign language?

Student: Most of the time I don’t
understand what I’m reading and I need to look for dictionaries to translate
word by word. This is very exhausting. I don’t enjoy it at all.

This
is a typical conversation between a teacher and a secondary school student who
do not find reading a pleasurable activity at all. More often than not, one of
the popular excuses given by the students is their inability to understand most
of the words in the book. This is the main reason leading to their eventually lack
of motivation to continue reading. The student’s problem is not a rare one in
Malaysia. Despite its benefits, reading remains largely unpopular among
Malaysians. According to Mohamad Jafre, (2011), the National Literacy Survey
(2005) reported that Malaysians, on average, read just two books per year. Books
are no longer a highly valued mean to find pleasure or gain knowledge as they
have modern gadgets and internet to serve this purpose. Eventually, this
absence of reading culture results in a substantial drop in how often teenagers
read. Having said this, for this particular case, it seems that the student’s
lack of interest might be due to not having enough training in reading
appropriate text within her level of language ability Hill (2013). Many other
students who once tried to develop reading habit lost interest to do so after
series of hardships in reading the assigned texts. Take the form 5 novel, Captain Nobody by E. Powell for example.
The language in the novel was definitely a mismatch for weak learners yet the
teacher still has to work around this particular literature despite knowing how
little it could assist the students’ language development. Forcing learners to
read the books which are far above their level could be a daunting task and
teacher should realize that reading does not have to be that way.

To
address this particular issue, using Graded Readers could be just the solution.
Hill (2008) described Graded Readers as books written within a limited
vocabulary. They are the simplified version of existing literature or original
works. Waring (2008) adds that Graded Readers are written at increasing level
of difficulties by simplifying the use of language, grammar, vocabulary and
plot. Since these books are modified to certain level, they provide learners
with a chance to read without encountering many difficult vocabulary thus
allowing learners to efficiently achieve a smooth reading. Research has
discussed many benefits of extensive reading for the development of word
recognition and many have positively recommended using GR in their methodology.
Therefore, in the following part of the study, we will look briefly at some of the
significant literature highlighting the key roles of GR in promoting reading
amongst children. We will then consider several theories which supported the
use of GR in extensive reading.  

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