IMPROVING READING SKILL THROUGH CONTEXT CLUES IN FINDING THE MEANING OF UNFAMILIAR WORDS
Submitted to the English Department of Muhammadiyah University of Purworejo
In Partial Fulfilment of Requirements for Sarjana Pendidikan Degree
Weli Surya Kencana
FACULTY OF TEACHER TRAINING AND EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
MUHAMMADIYAH UNIVERSITY OF PURWOREJO
A. Background of the Study
The importance of reading proficiency in academic setting at university level has gathered momentum for the last few decades. It has been widely recognized that scholastic success in many disciplines depends largely upon learners’ reading skills, making them one of the essential, determining factors in predicting learners’ achievement. Despite its critical role, sufficient reading ability to fulfill the rigorous demand of university study is often lacking among the freshmen (Simpson and Rush, 2003). In Indonesia, the challenges confronting the undergraduate students who learn English as a foreign language (EFL) seems to transcend those of their monolingual counterparts in English-speaking countries. For these students, sufficient reading skills in the foreign language become an indispensable matter for two reasons. For one thing, they begin to be introduced to some content bibliographic materials written in English, occasionally as early as the first semester of their study. Second, they are expected to not only comprehend concepts in these materials literally, as they used to in high school but also apply critical thinking while reading. Critical reading is definitely essential to ensure optimum intellectual development among this community of learners in the universities, but their effort to construct content knowledge by reading critically is frequently hindered by inadequate mastery of the foreign language, especially in mastering vocabulary
As Michael Lewis said (2000:8), The single most important task facing language learners is acquiring a sufficiently large vocabulary. One of the existing problems in the mastery of vocabulary is the number of existed unfamiliar word in textbooks or other supporting text for students. Unfamiliar words still becomes one of the significant obstacles in reading comprehension, probably due to the insufficient vocabulary knowledge. Nurweni (1999) estimated the Indonesian freshmen’s vocabulary size as merely 1226 words, which were much below the expected one of 4000 words. Such a lexical problem deserves considerable attention from educators because it has been a widely common understanding. Nowadays, that the difficulty levels of vocabulary substantially affect the readability of reading texts and—sequentially—comprehension (Nation, 2001; Alderson, 2000a; Coady, 1993; Stoller and Grabe, 1993; Williams and Dallas, 1984) and abundant research has also provided empirical support to this (Calvo, Estevez, Dowens, 2003; Martino and Hoffman, 2002; Lotto and de Groot, 1998; Kusumarasdyati, 1992).
For learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in Indonesia, encountering unfamiliar words can be a major roadblock in reading comprehension, especially if they happen to be keywords in a particular text. To overcome the vocabulary problem, learners generally resort to a dictionary, hardly realizing that other strategies exist. The strategy of inferring word meaning from context, for instance, seems to be ineffectively used by the learners, as revealed in a preliminary study conducted by the author. The present study reports the actual strategy use of good readers when they face hindrance in the form of unfamiliar words.
B. Reason for Choosing the Topic
Sometimes when reading a magazine, newspaper, or textbook, we often find unfamiliar word. Sometimes also, as if what we read becomes less able to understand when we do not know the meaning of the word, or from another perspective sometimes we have to know all the meanings of a word from a sentence so that we can determine the true intent of the sentence. Therefore, the writer here wants to describe that sometimes the book writers or the Authors often use a particular style of writing an article.
Book writers usually know when they must use a word that will be new to their student readers. Therefore, they often include other words or phrases to help with the understanding of the new word. These words or phrases are referred to as context clues. They are built into the sentences around the difficult word. If you become more aware of the words around the difficult words you encounter in your reading, you will save yourself many trips to the dictionary. You will be able to make logical guesses about the meanings of many words.
Here, the writer will describe characteristic features of context clues and how to use it. The writer also believes that when we could control how to use context clues, this will affect both on the ability of our reading or in other words will indirectly improve our reading skills and our vocabulary mastery.
C. Limitation of the Problem
Here the writer wants to explain how to improve reading skill by understanding the information from the context when we are reading. The writer wants to describe how the context clues surrounding the unfamiliar word give information to the meaning of it
D. Statement of the Problem
In the study, there are relevant question to be asked. The writer hopes to answer the following questions:
a. How to improve reading skill using context clues in finding the meaning of unfamiliar word?
b. What are the advantages of improving reading skill using “context clues in finding the meaning of unfamiliar word”?
c. What are the disadvantages of improving reading skill using “context clues in finding the meaning of unfamiliar word”?
E. Objective of the Study
Based on statement of the problem, the objectives of the study are:
a. To describe how to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar word by using context clues
b. To identify the advantages of improving reading skill using “ context clues in finding the meaning of unfamiliar word ”
c. To identify the disadvantages of improving reading skill using “context clues in finding the meaning of unfamiliar word”
F. Significance of the Study
This paper has significance of the study to teacher and student.
To teacher : They can teach how to guess the meaning of unfamiliar word using the context clues
To students : They will be interested in learning English, especially in reading.
G. Clarification of Term
In this paper, the writer and the readers should have the same interpretation. It is meant in order to the readers understand what the paper means. The title is one of example, because from the title the readers will be interested in reading the paper or not. The title of this paper is “Improving Student’s Reading Skill through Context Clues in Finding the Meaning of Unfamiliar Word. The writer needs to explain the term follows:
1. Reading skill : Reading skills is specific abilities which enable a reader to read the written form as meaningful language, to read anything written with independence, comprehension and fluency, and to mentally interact with the message. As defined by Chelsa (2005),
2. Unfamiliar word : is a word or words that are rarely found words formed from the merger some word then become new words and also has different meaning ( free online dictionary)
3. Context clues : A context clue is a fact or an idea that suggests the meaning of an unknown word. (teaching and learning vocabulary, 2005)
H. The Organization of the Paper
The writing of this paper is divided into 4 chapters. The writer organizes the paper are as follows:
Chapter I: Introduction
This chapter consist Background of the study, Reason for Choosing the Topic, Limitation of the Problem, Statement of the Problem, the Objective of the Study, Significance of the Study, Clarification of Term, Organization of the Paper.
Chapter II: Review of the Related LiteratureThis chapter explains about what teaching and learning, reading skill, reading strategies, context clues, and unfamiliar word
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