Academic journal article International Education Studies

A Study of Students' Reading Interests in a Second Language

Academic journal article International Education Studies

A Study of Students' Reading Interests in a Second Language

Article excerpt

Abstract

Reading interests is important in enhancing students' success in school and out of it. Hence, students need to have high reading interests. The purposes of this study were to identify students' reading interests in reading second language materials and to examine the differences in students' reading interests based on genders. This study was carried out among 86 Form Four students in Kuala Terengganu with simple random sampling using an6-item questionnaire adapted and adopted from Marrero (2009). Data were analysed as well as presented in the form of frequency, means, standard deviation and independent t - test. From this study, it is found that students have relatively low interests in reading English materials and that there is a significant difference between male and female students. From these findings, it can be suggested that stakeholders should take action with regards to developing and enhancing male students' reading interests. It is hoped that the finding of this study would enlighten the relevant literature of the area.

Keywords: students' reading interests, secondary school students, second language materials, Terengganu, gender

1. Introduction

It is said that reading is the path to success in school and life. One who is not able to read will not be able to succeed (U. S. Department of Education, 2005). This is supported by Safiah (1990) who mentioned that those who are good readers are able to expand their views, experiences and thoughts. Hence, reading is viewed as a highly valued skill in our technology-driven world today. The US Department of Education (2005) also stated that reading is one of the means to gain access to all the knowledge in this world. Living in a largely literate society, we are surrounded by written materials covering almost all aspects of our lives. Examples of written materials are newspapers, books, journals, magazines and other electronic sources which are utilized to acquire knowledge as today's technology-literate societies operate on the foundation that the members of the society are literate (Wallace, 1992). Wallace (1992) also mentioned that reading has become a big part of the public's daily life especially now that literacy is given emphasis. This is also maintained by Imran Ariff (2010) who stated that today's technology-oriented world puts emphasis on knowledge and hence the importance of reading. He also added that knowledge gained will attract people to read and to increase their knowledge. Accordingly, if people do not succumb to the demand for higher literacy, it may create grievous consequences to them. In addition to that, according to Abd Wahab (1995), if Malaysians were to adopt the reading habit, there is a possibility that the Vision 2020 could be achieved. However, Imran Ariff (2010) pointed out that although Malaysians are reported to read more nowadays, they have not adopted the habit of reading.

Although reading has a lot of benefits, Malaysians in general and students particularly still do not adopt reading habit (Imran Ariff, 2010; Safiah, 1990). This worries stakeholders such as parents, teachers and society. Accordingly, understanding students' reading interest in reading English materials and the factors that lead to having high or low reading interest will assist parents, teachers and the society to address students' reading needs more effectively and thus to raise their attainment towards reading. The awareness among these stakeholders on the importance of identifying students' reading interest towards reading in a second language can influence students' reading achievement in English classes (Marohaini, 1989; McKenna &Kear, 1990). Marohaini (1989) added that because of this situation, the stakeholders will establish programs, techniques, strategies or ways to inculcate, develop and enhance students' reading interests.

Therefore, this study was conducted to identify students' reading interests in reading English materials and to examine if there are any differences in students' reading interests based on their gender. …

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