EFFECT OF EXTENSIVE READING ON SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT
EFFECT OF EXTENSIVE READING ON SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cover Page – – – – – – – – – i
Declaration Page- – – – – – – – – ii
Approval Page- – – – – – – – – iii
Dedication Page- – – – – – – – – iv
Acknowledgements – – – – – – – – v
Abstract – – – – – – – – – vi
Table of Contents – – – – – – – – vii
1.1 Background to the Study – – – – – – 1
1.2. Statement of the Problem – – – – – – 7
1.3 Purpose of the Study – – – – – – – 9
1.4 Research Questions – – – – – – – 9
1.5 Hypothesis – – – – – – – – 10
1.6 Significance of the Study – – – – – – 10
1.7 Scope of the Study – – – – – – – 11
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
3.1 Research Design – – – – – – – – 35
3.2 Population – – – – – – – – 36
3.3 Sample and Sampling Procedure – – – – – 36
3.4 Research Instrument – – – – – – – 37
3.5 Validity of the Instrument – – – – – – 37
3.6 Procedure for Data Collection – – – – – – 38
3.7 Method of Data Analysis – – – – – – 38
PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA
4.0. Introduction – – – – – – – – 40
4.1. Presentation of Students Results – – – – – 40
4.2 Testing of Hypothesis – – – – – – – 43
4.3 Discussion of Findings – – – – – – – 44
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Summary of the study – – – – – – – 46
5.2 Conclusion – – – – – – – – 47
5.4 Recommendations – – – – – – – 47
References – – – – – – – – 49
Appendixes – – – – – – – – 56
This research was carried out in order to determine the effects of extensive reading on students’ vocabulary development in the English language at the senior secondary school level in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State. The research adopted the quasi experimental design with pre-test and post-test. The population of this study consists all the SS 2 students of Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State. The sample of the study consisted of 60 from two selected secondary schools. The simple random sampling technique was used in order to select the sample. The cloze test was used as instrument for collecting data. The treatment for the group after pre-test comprise of some selected reading materials on sports of different length and difficulty levels. The exercise lasted for four (4) lesson periods. The report of the findings are as follows: The performance of students in the pretest indicated 4.50 as their total mean score, in pre-test the students had a total of 10.25 as their total mean score, in post-test the hypothesis showed that there was a significant difference between the mean performance of students after they were exposed to extensive reading. The study recommended that extensive reading should be a compulsory reading activity at all levels of secondary schools in order to improve their vocabulary knowledge, students reading progress should be monitored by keeping reading diaries indicating varieties of registers or vocabularies encountered and summaries of books read, schools should be equipped with supplementary readers, novels, journals, newspapers, and magazines so that students will have opportunity to choose the books and materials that they can read and improve on their level of vocabulary; extensive reading programme should be given special time in the secondary school time table in order to promote reading habit among students and vocabulary development; the teaching of literature should be adopted right from the junior secondary school to the senior secondary school level in order to inculcate love for reading among students for their vocabulary development.
1.1 Background of the Study
English has now acquired the title of the world’s leading “global language” (Crystal 2003) because it is used for business, science, and politics. English is a living subject which reflects the quality of education a student has received at any point in life. The quality of vocabulary items students possess ensures their proper use of the language. Since English language teaching and learning has great implication of use in the society. A good English teacher must appreciate the need to update his methodology for motivating the students to learn the language.
The rate of English language failure in external examination such as WAEC and NECO is very disheartening. According to Daniel (2013), the result released by WAEC shows that nearly 60 percent of the students who sat for the May/June examination in 2012 failed English. Therefore, this work attempts to find workable approaches to reducing this rate of failure by using extensive reading as experimental yardstick to test the effectiveness on vocabulary development of students from the SS2 level. It is hoped that a rich vocabulary base from the SS level of education would culminate into better performance of students in English at external examination like WAEC and NECO. English language candidates with rich vocabulary may most likely not find it difficult tackling questions in examination conditions. Daniel (2013), while trying to find possible solutions to English failure stated that many of the candidates (generally) over 40 percent of any typical sample demonstrates vocabulary related weakness. Many authors have written so much on vocabulary using varying methods and approaches. For instance, Edwards, Font, Baumann and Boland (2004:88), used Best’s Practice approach to study vocabulary in meaningful context in relation to students’ own experiences and discovered that it proved successful in vocabulary development of elementary and middle grades readers. Not only that, Concept Cards Strategy was also discovered to be useful for students to use for learning technical vocabulary by Nist and Simpson (2001:108).
Hornby (2000) postulated that “reading is a developmental skill which can never be fully acquired and one should therefore, make a conscious effort to continue to improve on reading throughout his life”. Reading also involves looking and understanding the meaning of a written or printed words or symbols. Reading is a unique human activity that is characterized by the translation of written symbols or letters, words and sentence to get information that mean something to the reader. The reader seeks to understanding the meaning of a written text: evaluates its significance and uses what he has read to enhance his knowledge effectively or pleasure.
Voluntary reading is important not academic purpose. Therefore, Ogbonna (2014) states that reading literary works refers to the ability to recognize and understand characters or spoken words that may be printed or written on paper and other formats or recording human knowledge. It is true that few years back a family that produced a school certificate graduate had course to rejoice. This was because the school certificate holders were not easy to come by in those days. The product of the missionary and government school were better compared to the secondary school leavers made them essential commodities in the various field of work under government and private establishment. Their fluency in English language and their reading and their reading and writing dexterity were evident to the stuff of education received then. Patronage of school libraries incorporated to secondary school system becomes highly affected because students of today have poor reading culture.
There has been great concern by the government, language teachers, parents, public examination bodies and the general public on the declining performance of students in English at the senior secondary school level. Annual results from WAEC/NECO revealed woeful performance of students who enrolled for English examination. The situation has been one of the disturbing aspects of the Nigerian education system. The Daily Champion newspaper of 13th April 2017 reported that only 20.1 percent of the 256,827 candidates who sat for the National Examination Council (NECO) in 2017, obtained credit passes in English language.
It has been observed that for learners to be fluent and proficient in the use of any language, a good knowledge of the vocabulary is required. The ideas and expressions students convey both in oral and written communication is enhanced by their knowledge of words, and meaning of such words. Without that, it will be difficult for students to express their ideas coherently in their external examinations.
Adeyanju (2009) observes that candidates in public examinations have low standard of expressions and scanty, illogical, incoherent and irrelevant ideas. The inability of students to involve in wide reading of different materials in English language has contributed to the poor performance in English language at senior secondary school certificate examinations. The reason is because most of the students lack adequate vocabulary to express their ideas in written compositions to satisfy the demands of the examiners. All these have been the motivating factor in carrying out this research.
Most Nigerian secondary school students do not read enough books, and therefore, lack adequate vocabulary items to express themselves both in spoken and written English (Azikiwe, 2004 and Ioreber 2013). This shows that development of vocabulary bank is essential in literacy skills in literacy skills because they influence what students write in their essay examinations. Omosowone and Akindolire (2003) point out that most questions in senior secondary schools examination require candidates to provide words with the most appropriate meaning or nearest in meaning. Such words could possibly be acquired through wide reading. But observations have shown that most students at the secondary school find it difficult to read books on their own. Uga and Ifedili (2009) conducted a research which shows that there are negative attitudes to reading by most Nigerian school children.
Since the introduction of mobile phones, video films and internet services in Nigeria, students have concentrated more on phone calls, watching films and browsing irrelevant information from the internet than reading their books. These habits have distracted most students from developing their reading culture. Oji (2007) as cited in Edom and Ofre (2010) highlighted that the growing incidents of students using the internet is not necessarily for academic purposes but for antisocial activities. Similarly, Ihejirika (2011, p.212-213) has this to say on the attitudes of students towards reading which he says:
A good number of contemporary Nigerian students give much time to frivolities at the expense of more rewarding activities such as extensive reading. For instance, many of them are in the habit of watching home video films most of the time to the extent that they have little or no time for other useful academic activities. For others, even their handsets are source of distraction as they prefer fondling them all day long at the expense of more rewarding activities.
Imhabekhai (2009) observed that poor performance in English language examination is attributed to candidates’ poor reading skills. This attitude has prevented so many students from acquiring new words to express themselves both in spoken and written English. Baumann and Kameenui (2001) opine that words are the tools students can use to improve their background knowledge, express ideas and learn new concepts. Students’ word knowledge is linked strongly to their academic success.
Most students in secondary schools find English difficult because they do not know how to express their ideas correctly in written sentences. To this end, vocabulary becomes an integral part of language development in students‟ life. Rinji (2007) opines that effective and efficient use of a language demands adequate knowledge of it. This correct use of language can only be seen and recognised by others when the user is rich in its vocabulary. However, it is expected that students who involve in extensive reading of books, magazines and newspapers would be able to apply the knowledge from reading such materials in writing their English examinations.
Extensive reading involves reading a large quantity of materials on a wide range of topics (Alo, 2002). Through that, learners are able to pick up new words and increase the depth of their vocabulary. Barnett (2009, p.167) describes the nature of extensive reading as:
(1) Reading of large quantities of materials or long text.
(2) Reading for global or general understanding.
(3) Reading with the intention of obtaining pleasure from the text.
(4) It is an individualized reading, with students choosing the books they want to read and
(5) The books are not necessarily discussed in class.
Extensive reading procedures, therefore, assume that students enjoy books that they have chosen on topics of interest more than they will enjoy when a test is assigned for reading by their teachers. Day and Bamford (2009) also note that in an extensive reading programme, students are exposed to a variety of materials on a wide range of topics available so as to encourage reading for different reasons such as acquiring word registers of different fields used in different ways. Extensive reading programme allows students to have enough time to choose what to read and thus increases their word power, motivation for learning and opportunity for learning vocabulary items in different fields. Obanya (2002) indicates that exposure to reading materials from other fields of endeavour and other cultural background provide opportunity not only for the students to develop their communicative competence in English, but it would also make them educational sound in other school subjects. However, as students increase the number of times they successfully read given words in such materials, their memory for that word becomes stronger. This assertion is supported by Maley (2009) that the only way to learn a language is through exposure to it in context. Thus, for students to acquire vocabularies in different contexts, they need to be exposed to varieties of reading materials through extensive reading programme.
It is in the light of the above that this study sets out to investigate the effects of extensive reading on Senior Secondary School students’ vocabulary development for effective performance in essay writing in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
Most students at the secondary school level are uninterested in wide reading; their reading culture is limited. Some of them only read for examination purposes. Thus, most students limit themselves to reading only notes given to them by their class teachers and only few of them have time to read books and other materials outside their class texts. For that reason, Akinbode (2006) discovers that most of them perform poorly in reading comprehension, summary and essay writing during their terminal examinations due to inadequate vocabulary usage.
WAEC Chief Examiner’s reports (2013, 2015 and 2016) show that candidates’ expressions were generally poor and their range of vocabulary so limited.
Nssein (2008) cited in Igwe (2011) identified poor reading skill as a problem of Nigerian students attributed to difficulty in distinguishing main ideas from irrelevant details and inadequate vocabulary or word power. These probably mean that lack of students’ participation in extensive reading has contributed a lot of problems in acquiring vocabulary or new words which they could use in expressing themselves in written essays. Frank (2004) reports that over the years experience has confirmed that students offering literature only memorized names of the authors and major characters for the purpose of passing examinations without necessarily reading the texts. Students at the senior secondary school level are expected to comprehend a variety of expository text types, to develop study and information gathering skills, as well as higher level of comprehension skills for better performance in their public examinations. These skills are largely not acquired because most students have poor reading habits which limit their vocabulary knowledge.
Studies by White, Graves, and Slatter (2000) have shown that poor readers often lack adequate vocabulary and this affects their understanding of what they read from a text. Consequently, reading is difficult and tedious for them. Hart and Risely (2003) observe that students who do not have large vocabularies or effective word-learning strategies often struggle to achieve comprehension as they read. Their poor experiences with reading set them in to a cycle of frustration and failure that continues throughout their schooling. Research has also shown that often students with reading disabilities have lower than average vocabularies. This can be a consequence of the effect of linguistic problems or limited exposure to print (Pressley, 2002 and Miller, 2003). However, the main problems of the study are to determine whether the low level of vocabulary acquisition by senior secondary students can be improved through extensive reading. It is also to determine whether the acquisition of vocabulary through extensive reading could equally enhance the poor performance of students in English language in senior secondary school.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this research is to determine the effect of extensive reading on students’ vocabulary development in English language at the senior secondary school level in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Other specific objectives are to:
1. Find out if there is any significant difference in the performances of the students in vocabulary before and after the post-test;
2. Find out if the extensive reading programme can change the general performances of the students in essay writing at the post test level;
3. Determine whether extensive reading should be strongly recommended as one of the useful instructional approaches for teaching vocabulary development in senior secondary school level or not, and
1.4 Research Questions
This study will answer the following research questions:
1. What is the effect of extensive reading on students’ performance essay writing?
2. What is the effect of extensive reading on students’ performance in a test of registers of education?
3. What is the effect of extensive reading on students’ performance in a test of registers of politics?
For the purpose of this study, this null-hypotheses is formulated
H0: There is no significant difference between the performances of students exposed to extensive reading before and after a post test on registers of politics.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study hopes to be significant to students since it is expected to expose them to the benefits of extensive reading programme for vocabulary acquisition from different materials written in the English language. Apart from that, it is also expected to create awareness to the general public on gains of reading extensively for knowledge acquisition. The study hopes to be significant to teachers of the English language and the ministry of education for effective plan of curriculum reading in English.
Exposing students to extensive reading would be of help in moving their reading ability from frustration to independent level, instead of turning to a dictionary for meaning of every difficult word they can gain the meaning of such word from the contextual clue. The research would definitely assist students to develop their vocabulary skills by reaching the level of automatic word recognition through extensive reading of different materials in English.
On the side of the English language teachers, it would help them in developing building the culture of reading on students and at the same time help in improving students’ vocabulary development. These are expected to make teaching and learning of the English language in the secondary schools easier.
Similarly, the Ministry of Education, Plateau State Government would find the research useful because it would give an insight on how to improve the language performance of students by making available relevant books and materials in school libraries so as to give students ample opportunity to read wide and improve on their vocabularies.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study covers the assessment of the senior secondary school students in word registers of sports, education and politics. The assessment will be done in the form of cloze test which will be administered before and after reading some selected articles from the newspapers and magazines in the areas of sports, education and politics by the students. The study will include only the senior secondary students of SS II in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau state because the assumption was that they were already in senior secondary level a year ahead of SS II and more matured in terms of reading of different materials in English. Not only that, the SS III students on the other hand may not have time due to their preparation for their final senior secondary school certificate examinations. As such, the performance of the SS II students in English was adequately assessed particularly at the level of word registers of sports, education and politics using cloze test. Hence, the need to acquire enough vocabulary to express themselves in different contexts was required from them. The study, therefore, covered all the SS II students in Pankshin Local Government Area. It was conducted to find out, through experimental research design whether extensive reading of such materials could improve the level of their vocabulary and their performance in senior secondary school examination. However, despite the fact that the study is restricted to the selected local government, its findings will be generalized to other parts of the state and the country at large.
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