3A-02-P88 (Malaysia) - My Laureate


3A-02-P88 (Malaysia) - My Laureate

Proceedings of the 2 nd International Conference of Teaching and Learning (ICTL 2009)INTI University College, MalaysiaSCIENCE TEXT READING STRATEGIES:LEARNERS’S MODULENurshamshida Md ShamsudinUniversiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia (nurshamshida@gmail.com)ABSTRACTThis module is based on a research which focused on Science text reading strategies, bilingual strategies andmanipulation of the Science reading model. The module provides specific strategies and approaches for avariety of Science learning in ESL (English as second language) context. In addition, the module is prepared toprovide the best approach in reading and learning Science following three major reading activities namely; pre,while and post reading stage and three major learning strategies; cognitive, metacognitive and affectivestrategies. The main objective of providing the strategies for Science learning in this module is to provide andexpose to the students at an early stage to be responsible for their own reading task and learning process. Thestudents on the other hand can become aware of the strategies and their thought process, which in turn enablesthem to monitor their reading strategies. It is expected that this module could be as one of the important tools inScience classroom in the future.KEYWORDSScience text, Reading, Text, Strategies, Reading strategies, LearningINTRODUCTIONThe aim of the Science education curriculum and the implementation of teaching Science inEnglish are to provide students with the basic language to understand and access materials onScience and Technology in English. The curriculum stresses that at the end of the lesson,students would be able to obtain information by reading and understanding different types oftext in Science and Technology, viewing texts on Science and Technology from varioussources, accessing and understanding information on the internet and other electronic media,presenting information on Science and Technology at an appropriate level, thinking criticallyand giving their points of views on issues pertaining to Science. Furthermore, the syllabusstates that reading skills are given the main priority since they represent a set of skills thatenable students to better understand the topic at hand.1

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMThe present study aims to identify the best strategies in reading and learning Science usingEnglish. Previous studies have shown that students’ performance can be improved byfollowing certain strategies and that the appropriate use of strategies enables learners to learneffectively (O’Malley and Chamot, 1990). On the other hand, the Science text, unlike thefamiliar content and predictable story grammar in children's literature, contains unfamiliarcontent and text structures, heavy conceptual demands, and unique vocabulary. The purposeof the scientific text is to assist uninformed and misinformed readers construct meaning aboutspecific science ideas using an expository approach, words (concept labels) with specificmeanings, complex and interconnected sentences, and specific text structures (description,collection, compare/contrast, problem/solution, causation). Hence reading Science texts is notsimply a unidimensional bottom-up or top-down process involving printed symbols. Rather,it is an interactive-constructive process that involves making meaning by negotiatingunderstanding between the text and the reader's concurrent experiences and memories of thetopic within a sociocultural context (Yore and Shymansky, 1991).PURPOSE OF THE STUDYThe target sample group of this study is the Form four students who were high and lowachievers in the Science subject in the PMR examination. The findings derived from thepresent study are expected to benefit stakeholders in the education system, namely the policymakers, teachers and students. As such, the main purpose of this study is to highlight thepotential of Science reading strategies of Form four students who are low and high achievers.Based on the findings derived from the present study, learner’s module is developed.RESEARCH OBJECTIVESThe objectives of this study are to examine the reading strategies applied when reading theScience text in ESL context by high and low achievers. Thus, the objective of the study is to:1. propose or suggest the reading strategies applied when reading the Science text inEnglishTHE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORKReading the Science text is a meaning-making process (Yore et al., 1991). Science textscontain unfamiliar content and text structures, heavy conceptual demands and uniquevocabulary (Andrew, 2004). Basically the Science text reading model that is used to explainin the present study is the interactive-constructive model of science reading. The interactiveconstructivemodel of Science reading is chosen because reading the Science text involvesmaking meaning by negotiating the understanding between the text and the reader'sconcurrent experiences and memories of the topic (ibid).2

INTERACTIVE CONSTRUCTIVE READING MODELThe interactive-constructive model of reading postulates that reading comprehension isinfluenced by a list of factors, namely, the reader’s knowledge, linguistic knowledge, textpattern knowledge and metacognitive knowledge (Spence, 1995). These factors, in turn,guide the reader to create expectations. During the process, the reader adjusts his or herschema and comprehension of what he or she reads (Yore et al., 1998). A reader withlinguistic knowledge uses the “cue system” to make sense and construct meaning and thiswill contribute to the successful comprehension of the text (ibid). According to Yore et al.(1998), the text structure contributes to the construction of meaning. Therefore, the readeruses this knowledge to adapt his or her reading strategies. When the reader successfullydevelops a sense of text organization, he or she will be able to understand the text well.Additionally, metacognitive knowledge, which is the reader’s awareness of how he or shemakes meaning, will enable the reader to monitor his or her own understanding as he or shereads. In the present study, the interactive-constructive model of reading is selected todescribe the reading process involving Science textsSCIENCE TEXT READING PROCESSMallow (cited in Yore, 1999) depicts the process of reading a science text as,The scientist sits down with pencil and paper slowly works through the article,making notes along the way. Unclear points are pondered over, references arelooked up and numerical calculations are checked.(p. 329 & 331)In other words, it is a complex communication between the reader and the text. Yore et al.(1999) acknowledge that to be a successful reader in science text reading, the reader needs tocombine effective text-based reading strategies and the process of making meanings.According to Yore (1999), to gain knowledge in science, learners need to learn and read. Hefurther posits that learning science is as an active process whereas reading science is apassive process. Learning science is an effort to construct meanings that involve both themind and hands-on activities. Meanwhile, science reading is the process of getting input fromthe text or taking meanings.According to Ruddle and Unrau (ibid),Knowledge use and control are at the heart of the knowledge-construction processthrough purpose setting, planning, organizing and constructing meaning in the formof text representation.(p.1022)In order to make reading more meaningful so that the new information is constructed in theshort term, there is a need to interact with the reader’s prior knowledge. Yore et al. (1999)suggest integrating new knowledge with the existing structures in order to accommodate newideas to the science reader. This suggestion seems to support the interactive-constructivereading model whereby the success in reading science text requires the reader to understand3

that it is the meaning-making process and not the meaning-taking process that is involved inscience text reading.SCIENCE TEXT READING STRATEGIESMeena (2001) concurs by stating that reading strategies are processes that learners apply inorder to improve their reading comprehension and problem-solving skills when theyencounter difficulties in reading. Reading strategies are therefore, ways of processinginformation that will enhance comprehension learning and gain new information (O’Malley,1990). In the light of second language reading strategies, there are distinctions betweenstrategies to enhance learning and improve comprehension. Reading strategies that areapplied to improve comprehension refer to how learners attempt to make meaning and whatthey do when they face difficulties (Meena, 2001; Faizah, 2004). For the purpose of thepresent study, the content area in reading strategies in the second language focuses on thestrategies to enhance learning. McWhorter and Kathleen (2003) posit that science textsalways deal with unfamiliar topics. He further explains that science text is detailed andtechnical, and involves new and extensive vocabulary (2003). Reading science text,according to McWhorter and Kathleen (2003) therefore, requires commitment and timeplanning. In addition, the reader needs to apply reading strategies to understand andstrengthen the approach to science reading. Michael (2003) suggests more specific readingstrategies that can be applied by the bilingual reader in reading science texts written inEnglish. Similar to Laurie’s (2007), the strategies suggested by Michael (2003) involve thethree steps that are pre, while, and post reading stage.LEARNING STRATEGIESFrom an extensive review in second language learning strategies, Weinstein and Mayer(1987) suggest the categorization of learning strategies into cognitive, metacognitive andaffective strategies. Based on Anderson’s (1991) cognitive theory, cognitive operates directlyon incoming information and it is used to improve learning task. Meanwhile, metacognitive isdefined as skills that are involved in planning and monitoring the success of a learning task(Weistein and Mayer, 1987). Lastly, affective is defined as interactions made by learners withtheir peers and the environment.RESEARCH METHODOLOGYThe study aims to investigate Science text reading strategies in English context amongst highand low achievers. Since the present study is process-oriented and requires an in-depthinvestigation, the researcher acknowledges the need to have a small number of participantsand to treat the research as a case study. For the purpose of the present study, the researcherhas decided to use the first type of triangulation, which is the data sources triangulation. Datafor the present study was obtained from three types of instruments, namely; participants’observations, student diaries and think-aloud protocol. The rationale for using multiplesources of data is the triangulation of evidence. Triangulation increases the reliability of thedata and the process of gathering it (Yin, 1994).4

DATA ANALYSISData derived from student diaries, participant observations and think aloud protocol need tobe analyzed using a systematic approach in order for data to be collated and presented in amore suitable form. The constant comparative method analyzes qualitative data in whichinformation gathered is coded into categories (Bogdan and Biklen, 1998). As such, data couldbe presented systematically in accordance to the research questions addressed in the presentstudy. Data collected from the field notes consisted of what was observed visually and theresearcher’s comments. After going through the field notes, the events that were repeatedwere picked up. Each of the events was grouped into three main categories of strategies. Thenext initial step was the coding process. The relevant and repeating events were identified. Asmentioned earlier, the coding process was done based on the categories that were constructedfrom the literature review. Once the coding was completed, two peer checkers conducted theCohen Kappa’s Test of Agreement. Later on, the events extracted from the field notes weretransferred into the collection of cards. The codes were then transferred into the threecategories. The categories initiated were the pre-reading, while reading and post-readingstrategies.THE MODULEBased on the findings from the study conducted, there are observable differences in thestrategies applied between the high and low achievers. However, students should not regardreading as a tedious process in gaining knowledge. Instead, reading should be viewed as aprocess of meaning-making for meaningful learning. Taking this into account, Gee (1999)highlights that to become a good reader and learner, students have to practice enhancing theirspecific training of skill and strategies in reading. In other words, they should put more effortsince their task in Science classroom is very important to ensure their academic success. Thisconception is also strongly agreed by Safiah and Goh (1987) as they posit that in order tobecome good learners, they have to frequently develop skills and strategies in reading.STREAM is a reading module that is specifically developed for ESL Science learners.Basically the design of this module is an extension from the interactive-constructive Sciencereading model. However, the study provides a deeper conceptual understanding andsummarize compactly for Science learners who are learning Science in second language. Thebasis of it’s development emerged from the theories of second language reading wherebyissues such as reading process in Science subjects were explored. Whereas findings fromother research on the content area reading strategies brought light to how a high achiever inScience subject approaches reading Science text in English. This module consists of a list ofreading strategies that are suggested from the research conducted. Learners are advised tofollow this module by following step by step starting from the fist stage of reading; prereadingstage, follow with while reading stage and finally with post-reading stage. Each ofthe stage, the module highlights the learning strategies that are categorized under three groupsnamely; cognitive strategy, metacognitive strategy and affective strategy involved in everyreading stage. This is to help learner to understand deeper on their reading process. On theother hand, the module is also to help teachers to plan instructional activities by teaching andtraining students in applying the strategies explicitly. This is to make sure that the teachers aswell as students know the rationale of applying each of the reading strategies.5

Table 1. Learner’s ModulePRE READINGCOGNITIVESTRATEGIES1. Activelyparticipateverbally and try torelate the topic andintegrate keywordsand concept.METACOGNITIVESTRATEGIES1. Find word meaning2. Access to priorknowledgeAFFECTIVESTRATEGIES1. Positive self talk2. Acknowledgeimportance of text2. Preview bypredicting text.3. Paying attention totextWHILE READING4. Skimming1. Rarely skip word2. Read aloud3. Refer to otherssource4. Rewrite specificfacts5. Highlight word1. Summarize toreview2. Summarize bylisting back3. Questioning4. Fix up5. Guess meaning1. Emotionallyinfluences byScience textpresentation2. Comfortable whenno difficulties3. Positive self talk6. Translate6. Find word meaning7. Create ownillustration8. Agree with textPOST READING9. Paraphrase1. Refer to othersources2. Paraphrase inMalay language3. Retell in Malaylanguage1. Summarize toreview2. Give opinion3. DiscussEmotionallyinfluenced byScience informationCONCLUSIONSThis study aims to investigate and identify the best reading strategies for Science learner inthe ESL context. Findings from the study are developed as learner’s module.6

REFERENCESAnderson, N.J. (1991) ‘Individual Differences in Strategy Use in Second Language Readingand Testing’, Modern Language Journal, 75, 460-472.Andrew, J.F. (2004) Reading Comprehension and Science Text. Project ACE. RetrievedFebruary, 2007 from: http://www.deafed.net/Publishedba/ReadinBogdan, R.C. and Biklen, S.K. (2003) Qualitative Research for Education: An Introductionto Theory and Methods. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Faizah, A.M. (2004) Characteristics of Adult Learner and Their Academic ReadingStrategies: A Case Study. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Universiti KebangsaanMalaysia: Bangi.Goh, H.S. and Fatimah, H. (2006) ‘Use of L1 in L2 Reading Comprehension Among TertiaryESL Learners’, Reading in a Foreign Language, 18:1.Laurie (2007) ‘Science Reading Strategies’. Retrieved: August 20 thhttp://homepage.mac.com/mrlaurie/roboscience.html2007 from:Mcwhorter, T.K. (2003) Academic Reading. Pearson Education.Meena Sighal (2001, April). ‘Reading Proficiency, Reading Strategies, MetacognitiveAwareness and L2 Readers’ Reading Matrix, 1:1. Retrieved Sepetember 16 th , 2007, from:www.readingmatrix.com/journal.htmlO’Malley, J.M. and Chamot, A.U. (1990) Learning Strategies in Second LanguageAcquisition. Cambridge University Press.Spence, D. (1995) Explicit Science Reading Instruction In Grade 7: MetacognitiveAwareness, Metacognitive Self Management And Science Reading Comprehension.Weinstein, C.E. and Mayer, R.F. (1985) ‘The Teaching of Learning Strategies’ In M.C.Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Teaching (3 rd ed., pp. 315-329). New York:Macmillan.Yin, R.K. (1994) Case Study Research. Design and Methods. 2 nd ed. Vol. 5, Sage.Yore, L.D. and Shymansky, J.A. (1991) ‘Reading in Science: Developing an OperationalConception to Guide Instruction’ Journal of Science Teacher Education, 2, 29-36.Yore, L.D., Craig, M.T. and Maguire, T.O. (1998) ‘Index of Science Reading Awareness: AnInteractive-Constructive Model, Test Verification and Grade 4-8 Results’ Journal ofResearch in Science Teaching, 35, 27-51.Yore, L.D., Holliday, W.G. and Alvermann, D.E. (Eds., 1994) ‘Special Issue: The Reading-Science Learning-Writing Connection’ Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 31, 873-1073, New York: McGraw-Hill.7

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