Reading Comprehension Ability of Grade VI Pupils of Kinangay Sur Elementary School

Marylene N. Tizon
College of Arts and Science

Abstract

This descriptive study was confined only at determining the levels of the pupils‟ reading comprehension ability and in designing a lesson model to enhance pupils‟ reading comprehension skills. The respondents were the 21 Grade VI pupils enrolled in the school year 2010 – 2011 at Kinangay Sur Elementary School. A 42 – item test composed of 3 selections having 14 questions for each representing the four levels- literal, interpretative, evaluative, and creative was administered. The test took the students 45 minutes to answer. The questionnaires were checked and the scores were tallied using frequency and percentage and were interpreted accordingly by levels. It was found out that more than the majority of the Grade VI pupils were average in their over-all level of reading comprehension ability. Majority of the pupils had average literal ability; however, their higher level of thinking/ comprehension was very low as reflected in their lowest creative ability, and lower interpretative and evaluative skills. Thus, their higher level of thinking/ comprehension must be enhanced. It is then recommended that teachers should use methodologies, strategies and activities that will develop their pupils‟ reading ability most particularly their higher comprehension skill. Moreover, DepEd administrators should include in the curriculum in all grade levels the development of student‟s thinking abilities by incorporating some reading materials in the all lessons even in grammar. The designed lesson model should also be used to help improve students‟ higher order thinking skills.

1. Introduction

"Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting" (Aldous Huxley).

Reading is the mother of all study skills. It is one of the most valuable skills a person can acquire. Reading is a complex process. Thus, it can not be taught in isolation. Moreover, reading is not merely an ability to recognize written or printed words, but it also refers to putting meaning to what you read and drawing a unified thought of what is read.

Reading as a field of teaching is considered one of the important areas of teaching if not actually the most important ever. It is said to be one of the most necessary academic skills. Besides, it is a major pillar upon which the teaching/learning process is built. The reading ability plays a central role in the teaching/learning success at all educational stages. Having any difficulty in this skill will result in variety of consequences on all subjects of study, since reading includes a variety of sub-skills.

Ozdemir (2009) stressed that reading is fundamental in getting knowledge as all the lessons and learning activities are mostly based on the power of comprehensive reading; indeed, it is really necessary to read comprehensively. In addition, reading comprehensively really affects a learner‟s education and his life as a whole. Learning in any lesson depends on understanding of the learning instrument of that lesson; thus, a learner who cannot read comprehensively finds it difficult for him/her to be successful in his or her lessons.

Furthermore, Ono (2004) emphasized that reading has the potential to help English language learners become better readers and make improvements in other aspects of their English skills.

According to Al- Khateeb (2010:5)"reading comprehension is considered the real core for the reading process; and a big process around which all other processes are centered. Comprehension is the peak of the reading skills and the basis for all reading processes. It is viewed by some researchers as the ultimate objective of the reading process, since he who does not comprehend what he reads is considered as if he has not read".

The skills such as acquiring the correct meaning, analyzing the author‟s point of view and applying what one learns from reading to real- life situations are what constitute reading comprehension.

Reading comprehension must be the basic consideration of all readers. The ability of the readers to understand what they are reading; interpret ideas and inject meaning to printed words is comprehension.

Thus, reading alone is not enough; there must be comprehension so that learners may not only focus on the text but also on the interpretation of its deeper meanings.

The importance of reading comprehension is emphasized in the education community; however, everyone may not realize how important reading actually is. Although strong reading skills can help students do well in language arts and reading class, that is only the beginning. Students have to use reading skills in every single subject they ever study and in almost every aspect of life. It is so sad to note that students who struggle with reading comprehension may fall so far behind in school that they have limited opportunities as an adult.

Students are exposed nowadays to different ideas, people and products; and viewpoints increase as rapidly as the changes in the society. Just about everyone in the Philippines knows how to read. As a nation, almost everybody enjoys a high rate of literacy. Unfortunately however, not every Filipino is a good reader who can derive meaning from a written material and go on to analyze and apply that meaning. Thus, readers who can only read facts and nothing more can never be called good readers.

A student, who can read comprehensively, can also be successful in all his or her lessons. In mathematics lesson, when a learner encounters with a problem, understanding this problem can help him/her to solve the problem. It is known that in the Philippines, the university and high school entrance examinations have mostly questions based on testing learners' ability whether they can read comprehensively and can come up with new interpretations by making analysis and synthesis on the given data in the many research tasks.

Teachers therefore have a very important role to play in helping their students get most out of reading and become good readers. They need to introduce to them extensive reading and provide them essential guidance as they read comprehensively. While teaching reading comprehension, teachers must always keep in mind that the goal is to let the students understand what the author meant.

Moreover, teachers must help students do well in their subject and pass the required examination. At the same time, they can increase their students‟ competency in English and help them become fluent readers in English by engaging them in extensive reading. Thus, teachers in Kinangay Elementary School must be able to identify the level of their students‟ comprehension skills so that they could plan for effective strategies or programs that will eventually enhance their learners‟ critical thinking skills.

It is in the above premise that the researcher is encouraged to determine the reading comprehension ability of the Grade VI pupils of Kinangay Sur Elementary School during the school year 2010 – 2011.

One‟s fluency to speak and to listen with full comprehension is a global need of communication. However, the importance of reading skill nevertheless is minimized with this change in global perspective. Rather, it has increased the importance to develop reading skill manifold. Nobody denies the importance of a properly learnt reading skill for learning of other language skill.

Comprehension is a part of the communication process of getting the thoughts that were in the author‟s mind into the reader‟s mind. It is thought a difficult process because the transmission of an idea through several imperfect media is involved. For example, the author must have a clear idea in his mind, and then reduce this idea to written language; this will be printed; and finally the reader looks at the printed word and forms an idea.

Reading comprehension enables the reader to interact with the text in a meaningful way. For many, there are doors to lifetime of reading recreation and enjoyment. Moreover, the experiential and cultural background of the ESL reader has a strong effect onreading comprehension and ESL learners, early in their development of English, can write English and can do so for various purposes. ("Importance of Reading", 2009).

There are a lot of widespread studies on reading; the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) study in 1995 confirmed that there is a tight correlation between reading fluency and reading comprehension among fourth graders. In conclusion, it emphasized that reading fluency is a neglected reading skill in many American classrooms, affecting many students' reading comprehension.

Moreover, the low level of reading comprehension among American students reveals issues with underlying reading proficiency. A wide variety of studies suggest that as many as 85% of students testing low in core reading skills also have weak underlying cognitive skills such as auditory and visual processing. Thus, for many students, successful reading comprehension means a return to the basic mental tools that create a firm cognitive foundation.

As cited in the article ("Importance of Reading", 2009), Hafiz & Tudor (1989) investigated whether extensive reading for pleasure could affect an improvement in ESL students‟ linguistic skills, with particular reference to reading and writing. The results showed a marked improvement in the performance of the experimental subjects, especially in terms of their writing skills.

Du Boulay (1999) (cited in Khateeb, 2010) assures that weakness in the reading ability constitutes one of the biggest problems that encounter students at all educational levels. Thus,teaching reading is viewed as a teaching objective at the different educational stages; and the key to success in other subjects of study.

A number of studies were cited in the article "Importance of Reading Comprehension in Second Language Learning" (2009) and revealed significant findings. First, Pigada & Schmitt (2006) explored whether an extensive reading program can enhance lexical knowledge or not and assessed 133 words. They examined whether one month of extensive reading enhanced knowledge of these target words' spelling, meaning, and grammatical characteristics. The results showed that knowledge of 65% of the target words was enhanced in some way. Spelling was strongly enhanced, even from a small number of exposures. Meaning and grammatical knowledge were also enhanced, but not to the same extent. Overall, the study indicated that much vocabulary acquisition is possible from extensive reading than previous studies have suggested.

Second, Sewjee (2008) writes that may be reading has more important part to play than speaking and listening for a learner as without reading he cannot achieve his goals. While reading a book he can travel to all around the world while sitting in his place and can make contact with all kinds of people and comes across all sorts of dialects. He learns to distinguish between good and bad and acquires all kinds of information, which helps to be a better speaker and a better writer.

Moreover, students‟ reading fluency is improved when they read extensively. They could expand their vocabulary, knowledge and understanding of words they knew before. Thus, reading can help students write better, as well as improve their listening and speaking ability. They may develop positive attitudes toward reading in English and increased motivation to study.

Indeed, reading comprehension is very vital for the learning process as it provides students with the ability to understand, criticize and interact with the text; it expands students' trends and experience ; it enhances their commonsense level; it deepens their thinking and assists them to orientate and monitor themselves while reading; it helps students comprehend a text self dependently and the teachers develop clear and successive instructional procedures and it breaks the students' inaction by encouraging them to get involved in the educational process more actively and effectively. Hence utilizing strategies that improve reading comprehension level within the students is very necessary.

Teaching thinking skills at all levels of education is needed. Teachers then should provide students the atmosphere which gives them opportunities to have deep and divergent thinking with real life issues. They should therefore use some good reading texts in all even in grammar lessons; thus, a good lesson plan / model using some good reading texts from books, magazines , newspapers, etc. should be used .

The Conceptual Framework

In this study as shown in Figure 1, there are four levels of reading comprehension ability involved in this study. These are the literal, interpretative, evaluative and creative levels. The lesson model is the output variable.

Acquiring reading skills is dependent upon the mastery of a wide variety of reading skills such as the following levels or dimensions of comprehension – literal, interpretative, evaluative and creative.

Literal Level produces knowledge of what the author said. The students decode words, determine what each word means in a given context and recognize that there is some relationship among words which represent what the author has said. At this level, the learners are expected to identify the basic information and follow simple instructions; they form ideas or meanings directly stated in the selection. These ideas are elicited by questions beginning with what, when, where, who, etc.

Interpretative level or reading between the lines is applied to what the author said in order to derive, infer, and imply meaning from a statement. Students look into relationships among statements within the material they have read. The learners are tasked to discern the implications of the episodes by inference and to conform ideas or meanings indirectly or implicitly stated in the selection. How and Why questions are often elicited that call for some reasoning, implications, conclusions, assumptions and interpretation provided from reading the selection.

Critical or evaluative level refers to reading beyond the lines. The students give reaction, judgment and evaluation of what is written. This involves how they can distinguish the literal meaning of words from suggestions or intentions expressed in the selection. It further calls for the reader‟s judgment on the wisdom, validity or propriety of one‟s statement or literary output. It ultimately deals with the evaluation of what is read.

Moreover, critical Analysis or Critical Evaluation requires readers to evaluate or weigh the facts, events, character‟s viewpoints, then make judgments about the worth of these and the effectiveness of the way they are presented in the selection. It lets the reader comprehend by making him analyze, compare and contrast, etc.

Application or creative level is the highest level of comprehension, for it requires the exercise and application of creative talent and some practical or theoretical exercise. This level develops the readers‟ talent to profit from the vicarious experiences gained through reading. It also allows the reader to create new ideas or new ways of expression with the use of whatever understanding he got of the text. Thus, it challenges the learner to be like an inventor in using what he got from the text to create new material as a proof of his excellent comprehension of the text.

Figure 1 below done in schematic diagram depicts the conceptual framework of the study.

Figure 1 Conceptual Framework of the Study

Statement of the Problem

This study aimed to determine the levels of the reading comprehension ability of the 21 Grade VI pupils officially enrolled during the school year 2010 – 2011 at Kinangay Sur Elementary School, Clarin, Misamis Occidental.

Specifically this study sought to answer the following questions:

Significance of the Study

Reading comprehension is the crucial link to effective reading -- a strong factor in the students‟ educational and professional lives. This study is deemed beneficial to the following:

Scope and Limitation

This study was confined only at determining the levels of the students‟ reading comprehension ability and in designing a lesson model to improve students‟ higher thinking/ comprehension.

The respondents were the 21 Grade VI pupils enrolled in the school year 2010 – 2011 at Kinangay Sur Elementary School.

The analysis was limited to the four levels of the pupils‟ reading comprehension ability. The study output was a lesson model derived from the findings.

A 42 – item test composed of 3 selections having 14 questions for each representing the four levels- literal, interpretative, evaluative, and creative was administered.

2. Methodology

This chapter deals with the research methodology of the study which includes the research method used, the respondents of the study, sampling technique, the instruments used, scoring procedure, data collection technique and statistical treatment used in this study.

Research Design

This study made use of descriptive approach / design. It aimed to determine the levels of the 21 Grade VI pupils of Kinangay Sur Elementary School at Kinangay, Clarin, Misamis Occidental.

The Respondents

The respondents of the study were the 21 Grade VI pupils officially enrolled in the school year 2010-2011 at Kinangay Sur Elementary School, Kinangay, Clarin, Misamis Occidental. These pupils are composed of 9 boys and 12 girls.

The Research Locale

This study was conducted at Kinangay Sur Clarin, Misamis Occidental. It is located south of the second congressional district of the Province of Misamis Occidental and is 2.9 kilometers away from the town of Clarin.

With the collaborative effort of the DepEd and the barangay officials, Kinangay Sur Elementary School was founded in 1947. This elementary school is an adopted school of the Languages department for its community outreach program. It has a total population of 164 and is a child- friendly institution adopting the thrust of quality basic education and it envisions to develop children to be morally upright, disciplined, respectful, and value oriented. Moreover, it commits and dedicates to improve quality basic instruction by providing wholesome relevant learning experiences and enhancing quality output.

The Data Gathering Instrument

The research instrument used in the study was a 42 – item reading comprehension questionnaire. The test is composed of three literary selections. Each selection has four sets of questions of different levels namely: literal, interpretative, evaluative and creative.

Research Procedure

The 42 – item test was administered to the 21 pupils by the researcher herself. She explained to the students the purpose and importance of the test and she also made the instructions very clear to them.

The questionnaire is composed of three selections having 14 questions representing the four levels: literal, interpretative, evaluative and creative. The students were given individual set of questionnaire and were asked to answer the comprehension questions which measure their abilities.

The test took the students 45 minutes to answer. The questionnaires were checked and the scores were tallied using frequency and percentage and were interpreted accordingly by levels.

Scoring Procedure

The reading comprehension ability of the students was measured using the 42 – item reading test composed of 3 selections. This would determine the ability of the respondents to comprehend the selections given by answering the literal, interpretative, evaluative and creative questions provided. All questions in each selection were encircled by the respondents and their scores were interpreted as:

Literal Level Interpretative Level
Scores Equivalent Scores Equivalent
10- 14 High 9- 12 High
5 – 9 Average 5 – 8 Average
0 – 4 Low 1 – 4 Low
Evaluative Level Creative Level Over – all Reading Ability Level
Scores Equivalent Scores Equivalent Scores Equivalent
6 – 7 High 7 – 9 High 29– 42 High
4 – 5 Average 4 – 6 Average 15 – 28 Average
2 – 3 Low 1 – 3 Low 1 – 14 Low

The Statistical Treatment

Frequency and Percentage distribution were used to determine the four levels of the pupils‟ reading comprehension ability.

3. Results and Discussion

This chapter deals with the percentage, analysis and interpretation of the gathered data. The data found in this chapter are arranged according to problems treated in this study.

Problem No. 1: What is the level of the students‟ reading comprehension ability in terms of:

Literal level shows the students ability to identify ideas and answer questions based on knowledge category.

Table 1 reflects the literal level of comprehension of the students.

Table 1: Reading Comprehension Ability of the Students in Literal Level

Scores Level of Achievement Frequency Average
10 – 14 High 10 47.6
5 – 9 Average 11 52.4
0 – 4 Low 0 0
Total 21 100

As shown, 11 pupils or 52.4% achieved an average literal level of comprehension. This finding is similar to Redondo (2004) who find out that majority of the students got average scores in literal level. This result implies that the pupils really do well in their literal ability as questions asked in this level are eliciting basic information, ideas or meanings directly stated in the selection.

Interpretative level enables the students give judgment, inference and implications on some indirectly or implicitly stated ideas.

Table 2 depicts the students‟ ability in the interpretative level.

Table 2: Reading Comprehension Ability of the Students in Interpretative Level

Scores Level of Achievement Frequency Average
9 – 12 High 0 0
5 – 8 Average 7 33.3
1 – 4 Low 14 66.7
Total 21 100

As illustrated in Table 2, a big percentage (66.7) of the students performed low in their interpretative ability. This suggests that the students have the difficulty to comprehend ideas or meanings which are embedded between or among the lines. Thus, they lack the ability to interpret the meanings implied in the selection.

In evaluative level, the students give reaction, judgment and evaluation of what is written.

Table 3 discloses the students reading comprehension ability in the evaluative level.

Table 3: Reading Comprehension Ability of the Students in Evaluative Level

Scores Level of Achievement Frequency Average
6 – 7 High 0 0
4 – 5 Average 7 33.3
2 – 3 Low 14 66.7
Total 21 100

As depicted in Table 3, majority of the students achieved low in their ability to evaluate and think critically as reflected in a high percentage of 66.7. This result shows that students‟ ability to make sound judgment and to give correct evaluation is really poor. They really could not make judgments and realize the worth of ideas and meanings the way they are presented in the selection.

Creative level allows the reader to create new ideas or new ways of expression with the use of whatever understanding he got of the text.

The students‟ evaluative reading ability is shown in Table 4 below.

Table 4: Reading Comprehension Ability of the Students in Creative Level

Scores Level of Achievement Frequency Average
7 – 9 High 0 0
4 – 6 Average 4 19
1 – 33 Low 17 81.0
Total 21 100

As illustrated in Table 4, more than the majority of the students achieved very poorly in their creative ability as evidently supported with the very high percentage (81.0). This is similar to Redondo‟s study (2004) showing that the students‟ evaluative level was also poor. They lack the ability to create new ideas and to use what they have comprehended from the text. They could not read well beyond the printed lines and going further as to exceed the limits of knowledge and find new methods of demonstrating their thoughts and explaining them. This very great number of students who perform poorly simply implies that students‟ higher order thinking is not well enhanced.

Reading comprehension is a dynamic interactive process between the reader and the reading material. It is a complex process which aims to demonstrate and correlate thoughts to prior experiences.

The table below exhibits the Level of the reading comprehension ability of the 21 pupils.

Table 5: Over- all Level of Reading Comprehension Ability of the Students

Scores Level of Achievement Frequency Average
29 – 42 High 0 0
15 – 28 Average 19 90.5
1 – 14 Low 2 9.5
Total 21 100

As shown in Table 5, a very great percentage of 90.5 is achieved by the students in their over- all level. It means that they have an average reading comprehension capacity. Although students‟ over – all average level is high, it still should be noticed that only their scores in literal level is high but the rest of the levels are very low. This further implies that their knowledge ability is great but critical thinking skill is low. This impression is best supported in Table 6 showing the summary of the students‟ levels of reading comprehension.

Table 6: Summary of the Reading Comprehension Ability of the Students

Achievement Level Literal Level Interpretative Level Evaluative Level Creative Level
Frequency Percentage Frequency Percentage Frequency Percentage Frequency Percentage
High 10 47.6 0 0 0 0 0 0
Average 11 52.4 7 33.3 7 33.3 4 19.0
Low 0 0 14 66.7 14 66.7 17 81.0
Total 21 100. 0 21 100.0 21 100.0 21 100.0

As clearly manifested in Table 6, the low creative ability of the students ranked the first with the percentage of 81.0 and both low evaluative and creative abilities got the second gathering same percentage of 66.7. This implies that the students have not developed their higher order thinking. Their high comprehension ability needs to be reinforced. They do not perform well in answering the questions elicited by how and why. They do not have much skill in giving judgment and they could not generate ideas implicitly stated in the selections. Their critical thinking should be improved

It was found out that the Grade VI pupils perform poorly in their evaluative and creative abilities. Thus, there is a need of a lesson plan/ model that leads to student‟s higher comprehension skills.

News media such as newspapers, magazines, television, and radio in the class help promote critical reading and thinking and can encourage students to enhance critical listening and reading skills.

Certainly, the researcher deems that designing a lesson model using reading text from the newspaper will be beneficial to both the English teacher and the students to enhance their higher comprehension/ thinking skills.

4. Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

This chapter presents the summary, the conclusions drawn and the recommendations formulated.

Summary

The study aimed to determine the levels of reading comprehension ability of the 21 Grade VI pupils enrolled during the school year 2010 – 2011 at Kinangay Sur Elementary School, Kinangay, Clarin, Misamis Occidental.

The research instrument used in the study was the 42- item reading comprehension test composed of 3 selections that determine the ability of the respondents to comprehend the selections given by answering the literal, interpretative, evaluative and creative questions provided.

The data gathered were statistically treated using the Frequency and Percentage Distribution.

Findings

From the analysis of the data, the researcher found out:

Conclusion

After having analyzed the gathered data, the researcher concludes that the grade VI pupils could do well using their literal ability but they perform very low in both creative and evaluative abilities; thus, their higher level of thinking/ comprehension must be enhanced by employing the lesson model designed in this study as it geared toward the maximum use of students higher order thinking skills through its various activities.

Recommendations

Based on the findings and conclusion, the following recommendations are presented;

Lesson Model

Topic: Active and Passive Voices of the Verbs

I. Desired Learning Results:

Expected Lasallian Graduate Attributes (ELGA) Of the module/lesson, the students are enabled to:
1. Critical/logical thinker 1.Pick out and classify all the verbs in the editorial;
1. Articulate and effective communicator 2.Scrutinize the editorial by discussing why the Philippines is said to be lack of the innovative cutting-edge on technology;
2. Socially responsible individual 3.Design their own editorial cartoon illustrating their opinions;
4. Make a print advertisement endorsing an invention/product/medicine etc. from their own community or any from the Philippines.

II. Final Products/Performances:

III. Valid Assessment:

IV. Learning Activities

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