الثلاثاء، 1 نوفمبر 2016

Strategies implemented to motivate students to read


I. Introduction
1.1. Background
1.2. Purpose of the report
1.3. The rationale:
1.4. Statement of the problem
1.5. Report questions and hypothesis
students reading difficulties
III.Literature review
1.1. Definition of terms
1.2.literature review
IV.  Report methodology
1.1 Data collection (observation) :
1.2 participants
1.3. Research objectives
V. Strategies implemented to motivate students to read
VI. Conclusion

I. Introduction:
    1.1. Background 
Reading exceeds being a mere pleasurable and entertaining pastime, to actually be a healthy and beneficial exercise to the person’s productivity and intellectualization. Joseph Addison claims that “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” As cited in Brainyquotes.com. This implies that reading is a mental stimulation because it keeps the brain active and engaged; so that it prevents it from losing its powers. The Memory and focus capacities are improved and strengthened through continuous reading.
   Reading is an essential skill to learn a new language and expand students’ knowledge. With each reading comes new bits of information; the more knowledge students have, the better-equipped they are to tackle life’s challenges. Furthermore, not only reading helps students a great deal in effortlessly acquire new language, but also ameliorates their own writing fluency and style.
            Unfortunately, despite its massive benefits, students usually are indifferent to and dismissive of reading unless it is for obligatory educational objectives. The reasons behind this kind of resentful attitude toward reading are mainly condensed into two causes. First, most of the time there is a total absence of the reading culture within students’ environment which justifies their lack of interest and curiosity in reading.  Second, because of the difficulties and obstacles encountered when reading some students are discouraged, and tend to yield to lack of motivation at the end.
Last but not least, reading develops stronger analytical thinking skills.  So in taking up reading as a habit, students acquire skills that make them able to clearly state their opinion, discuss, argue, and not just swallow things as they are.

    1.2. Purpose of the report:
The purpose of this report is to investigate how motivation enhances reading skills in EFL classrooms. It also aims at making teachers aware of motivation strategies and how to apply them inside the classroom and draw in students in a long- term constructive reading habit.
    1.3. The rationale:
My choice of motivation as a key aspect to approach reading is not a random one. As a matter of fact, I strongly believe that the humanistic approach to teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) has shown its effectiveness and relevance. From my own experience as a learner of  English and from my exposure to reading classes during my four -weeks practicum at Belkorchi high school, I came to the conclusion that reading classes are regarded as the most boring ones.  Motivation is a catalyst that prompts learners to work hard and get involved in the reading process.
    1.4. Statement of the problem:
An analysis of many studies in SLA has proved that motivation strategies help students to be active readers in EFL classes. However, many teachers overlook or neglect the role of motivation in promoting reading skill among students. Reading is not only crucial in itself, but it is extremely related to the other three skills; namely listening, speaking and writing. Students look at reading as a difficult skill that cannot be mastered. Most importantly, they feel frustrated when they cannot decode the written text as they are not equipped with reading strategies. Thus, in the field of literacy, educational specialists, parents and classroom teachers should have knowledge and resources on what will motivate students to read, perhaps both for pleasure and for information. In order to have students who look for books and read them, they need to be first enthusiastic and intrigued. Thus, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation has a paramount importance in instilling reading habit on students.

   1.5. Report questions and hypothesis:
If a teacher is not motivated, it is pointless demanding it from students. Based on what have been stated before concerning the report problem and the rationale behind conducting an   examination of this topic, this report attempts to investigate the following questions:
       Do students have reading difficulties? If yes, what are they?
       Do motivation strategies enhance student’s reading habits?
The hypothesis on which this study will be built upon is derived from the report questions:
Motivation affects students reading habits in Moroccan EFL classrooms.
II .The students reading difficulties

     Reading is an incredible activity that requires an effort and a lot of preparation from the teacher in order to immerse in the reading material and not just scratch the surface and pass to something else as JREMEY HARMER puts it in his book HOW TO TEACH A LANGUAGE. However, during my practicum in Belkorchi high school I have noticed that some students lose interest in the text. They constantly forget the ideas of the text on the following lesson, and they are unable to do the tasks regardless of the amount of time and effort which have been invested by the teacher and so on.
   In THE PRACTICE OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING Jeremy Harmer mentioned some reading difficulties that have to do not with the students but the nature of the reading material, one cannot put it as accurately as Harmer did when he said: “sentence length and the percentage of unknown words both play their part in a text’s comprehensibility” page 218.In the statement above two difficulties have been highlighted; first sentence length and second unknown words.

    Deriving meaning from the text is another bump on the road to comprehension that my students often face. For example when students are asked to accomplish a task such as find words that mean the same as a given word in a given paragraph in the text students become stuck simply because they do not have the tools to do so and this is in turn another problem which is often referred to as poor acquisition of fundamental reading skills which is also another reading difficulty for the students.
    Inadequate instruction over time embodies another block road to reading. Some students are unable to keep up with the pace of the instruction over the years and become disabled if one can say so to do the required tasks as the instructions get more complicated over time thus students stay so far behind.
It is also worth mentioning that negative expectations are among other major obstacles for reading. To make the point clearer, I have noticed that  students think that the reading material will be too difficult and will not go hand in hand with their level and instead of having students motivated and excited to learn that problem becomes just a rolling stone towards something even worse which is luck of motivation .
    There is another reading difficulty that teachers have to take into account when designing a reading lesson and which has to do with reading itself as an action or more accurately the type of speech used in a reading material. For instance, sometimes it is hard for ESL students to read an informal dialogue for two main reasons: first, there are a lot of hesitators, echo questions, interjections and so on. Second; informal discourse is not abide by grammatical rules.
The list of students’ reading difficulties seems to be endless and as one goes over these difficulties other problems can be added to the list such as the learner’s inability to decipher the word meaning or what can be summed up in word decoding then, the students’ lack of knowledge about the topic of the text which is also another reading difficulty.

III. Literature Review

    1.1. Definition of terms:
            Definitions for some of the key terms in this research study will give the reader an insight of the topic under study.  The first significant term is “motivation”.  Motivation according to Merriam Webster dictionary is “a force or influence that causes someone to do something.” It is the determination and the willingness of an individual to achieve certain goals. Motivation theorists distinguish between two types of motivation; intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation, as its name suggests, is a self-desire that comes from inside of the individual, while extrinsic motivation is external and inner to individual.
1.2. Literature review:
 Motivation has been studied by many researchers and specialists, but few studies have been made about the role of motivation in promoting reading among students. Recently, there has been a tendency towards studying the factors that are related to reading motivation. The researchers who have made most of the research in this area stated:
Motivational processes are the foundation for coordinating cognitive goals and strategies in reading. For example, if a person is intrinsically motivated to read and believes she is a capable reader, the person will persist in reading difficult texts and exert effort to resolve conflicts and integrate text with prior knowledge. A learner with high motivation will seek books known to provide satisfaction. The cognitive abilities needed to find books, avoid distraction while reading, and assimilate new ideas are activated if the text is fulfilling internal goals . . . In sum, becoming an excellent, active reader involves attunement of motivational processes with cognitive and language processes in reading”.  (Guthrie &Wigfield, 2000, p. 408)
Researchers have found that there is a direct and strong connection between motivation and reading achievement. Let us first discover what motivation is, the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and their role in reading development.
 Reading motivation is the factors and behaviors that urge a learner to read. Motivation to read can be internal and can be seen in the desire of a learner to participate in reading activities. For instance, selecting appropriate books for free reading at school or at home, reading a book that student finds interesting and appealing to his needs and expectations. A student who is intrinsically motivated to read is characterized by his/her energy, enthusiasm and constant search for opportunities to participate in different reading programs. This kind of students is more independent and don’t need external pressure to accomplish the reading tasks assigned to them. As for extrinsic reading motivation, it is related to external factors that urge a learner to read and take part in reading activities. Giving candies to students to read a text or giving them extra marks to accomplish a reading task are examples of extrinsic reading motivation (Sweet & Guthrie, 1998).
The difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation urged some researchers in the field of motivation to deduce that encouraging intrinsic motivation has a positive impact on students’ reading. Studies have indicated that students who have intrinsic motivation for reading (for example: are reading out of curiosity and desire to learn more and develop their reading skills) are more likely to be engaged in what they read. Therefore, these students read more and have a better understanding of what they read. On the opposite, students who are intrinsically motivated (for example: are reading to get good marks or to have the contentment of their parents) are considered to have little enthusiasm towards what they read.
Research has proven that students who have an internal desire and motivation towards reading achieve better in reading lessons and get good marks than those who are motivated by external factors. Students who have intrinsic motivation for reading are more likely to engage in activities and tasks that are challenging, whereas extrinsically motivated students prefer activities that are not difficult (Lumsden, 1994). Students who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to be engaged readers during their whole lives, whereas external motivation have less impact on reading achievement and development.

IV. Report Methodology
1.1-Data collection (observation)
This report is chiefly based on the qualitative method. I primarily opt for observation as the apt tool to gather the prerequisite information for sketching out the classes. I spot light on two classes of science experimental stream of the first year baccalaureate. I discussed the applicability, the usefulness of many tools such as questionnaire and other tools with my colleagues. I finally chose observation as the most suitable method .It enables me to involve a large number of participants and it is time saving.
The report was conducted on Abd Rahmane Belkorchi high school with participants of the first year baccalaureate. The participants age ranged from 16 to 19 had been studying English for at least 2 years in public school or more concerning students coming from the private sector.
1.3-Research objectives
The objectives of this research are mainly:
       To implement motivation strategies to enhance “students to read.

       To develop students’ reading comprehension skill

V. Strategies implemented to motivate students to read
    Reading is an important language skill that enables learners to perceive written texts.  After students have mastered the HOW of reading—the basic skills they use to read words and make meaning—the WHY becomes central to their reading success. In this part we will discover some strategies that we will implement in this rapport to motivate students to read.
First strategy: a good choice of reading materials and competition and rewards.

I have utilized the competition and rewards strategy to prompt students to read.  Competition and rewards have proved to be effectual manner to induce people’s enthusiasm and interest pretty much about anything. For the strategy plays on the person’s ego, in such way that makes him/her seek to win the gratifying reward along with the fulfilling satisfaction of basking in the admiration and praise of the others.
   The activities of the reading lesson have been designed so as to arouse students’ sense of competition. As rewards, I opt for candies and sweets to encourage individual answers and work, and short stories to reckon group work and achievement.
   The first part of the comprehension questions has targeted students’ self-esteem and self-confidence through individual competition and tasks. On the other side, the second part has focused on collaboration and team coalition to triumph.
  Students have been really motivated and excited which has made my mission very promoting and fruitful. The lesson has been about Charlie Chaplin.  The fact that students are very fond of him has piqued their curiosity to learn more about his life behind stages.  Students have been diligently trying to give correct answers so as to secure the prize. Even the usual shy or blasé ones have participated vigorously in the activities and scored well.
  While monitoring students work I have noticed how students have been able to look for particular information just by relying on the strategy of deriving meaning from the context.  Also, they had willingly read the text more than once while doing the tasks.  The strategy has created a dynamic and energetic class where every student has contributed in a way or another.
   Obviously, through rewards students learn to listen attentively, complete the work, and behave rightly.  However, an overuse of rewards in one’s class can have backfiring effects on students as they produce only short-term changes, and may render students more dependable on external motivation to learn.  The rewards are not necessarily always tangible, for example leading a class game, or getting extra recess can do the trick as well for praising and acknowledging hard work.
  Second strategy: Using ICTs
It is a very important strategy to motivate student to go beyond reading texts in hard copies. As we all know teenagers nowadays have a close contact with technology which is a double edged weapon. So to benefit from the positive side of it, the teacher can motivate students to use the technological devices like smartphones, Ipads, kindles and laptops.
  Another brilliant idea would be to create a Facebook group in which the teacher posts weekly tasks about reading comprehension. Thus, students become more daring to ask questions and discuss the topics assigned by the teacher.
Third strategy: Reading aloud and the use of reading strategies to help students to read.
           While designing the lesson plan and the activities for this lesson, I focused on the skimming and scanning strategies for their importance in helping students understand a reading text.
I started by greeting the students and asked them about what they did the previous day and reviewed with them what they learned in the previous session. Then, I distributed a text about making pen pals and asked a student to read it loudly. Whenever the student mispronounced a word the teacher intervened to correct it. Whenever I saw that a word or expression is difficult I explained it. I then asked students to read the text, silently and quickly, and do the first comprehension task (matching exercise) in five minutes.
The students took eight minutes to accomplish the task. After that, the teacher corrected the exercise with students. While correcting the activity, I noticed that most of the students came up with correct answers. Then, I explained the skimming strategy to students and how they can make use of it when reading a text. After that, I distributed another text to students and asked them to answer the True/False questions from the text. I allocated five I corrected it with them. I then explained the reading strategy used in the activity (scanning) and how it can help them find specific information within a text.
        The overall impression that I got from this session was satisfying since I sensed that students interacted with me and participated actively during the whole session. Additionally, some of the students talked to me at the end of the lesson and gave me a positive feedback which showed that they had learned the taught strategies and they can use them whenever they approach a text.

VI. Conclusion
   This research is meant to investigate the students’ reluctance towards reading and the effectiveness of the suggested strategies in promoting reading among students. The majority of the participants involved in this study have shown their motivation and willingness to improve their reading which indicates that they need help and guidance from the part of the teachers in order to engage in reading. Thus, the teachers have a paramount role to play in motivating students to read and become engaged and autonomous readers.

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