1.    Background

It is stated in Curriculum 2004 (Depdiknas, 2003:15) that one of the aims of teaching English is to develop students’ language skills which involve listening, speaking, reading, and writing. According to Clark and Cutler (1990:100), “Reading is a complex undertaking, reading is an interactive process, involving the interplay of several thought processes at the same time and making use of our incredibly complex brain.” Meanwhile, Tompkins    (1998:90) states that reading is an interactive process in which reader negotiates meaning in order to comprehend or create an interpretation. Reading is considered as the most difficult language skill to study. As stated in Curriculum 2004 (Depdiknas, 2003:15) that one of the basic competences of the eleventh grade students in learning reading is the students are expected to be able to comprehend the meaning of written texts such as descriptive, narrative, expository, etc. There are some reasons why English is treated as a difficult subject. Twinning (in Wilhelm, 2008:3) states There are five reasons of lack of reading comprehension, namely: failure to understand a word, failure to understand a sentence, failure to understand how sentences are related to another, failure to understand how the information fits in a meaningful way (organization), and lack of interest or concentration. In short, reading comprehension is the ability to understand the information which presented in a written material. It is difficult because the complexity of language aspects of reading, which involve grammar, vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, and etc, must be mastered by the students. The students’ ability in mastering those language aspects, will affect their ability comprehend a reading material. To minimize the lack of reading comprehension, a teacher should apply some learning strategies. Tompkins (1998:6) states that the strategies we use in learning are problem solving mechanism that involves complex thinking process. According to Weinstein and Meyer cited (In Trianto, 2007:143),”A good teaching process involves teaching the students how to learn, remember, think, and motivate them selves. The teaching of study technique is based on the theory that the success of students in learning mostly depend on the ability to learn independently and monitor their own learning.” Unfortunately, most of English teachers rarely use various reading techniques in their reading class. They usually use a conventional technique. In this technique, the teacher is the centre of learning. The teachers of English usually do the same activity in their reading class. The teachers ask students to read the text, find the difficult words in the text and write them on whiteboard, discuss the words together and read them from top to bottom, translate paragraph by paragraph, and finally, the teachers ask students to answer the comprehension questions. There are some strategies that can be used in reading comprehension. Ellis (2007:5) states that there are some variations of strategies that students can use related to organization in order to comprehend a text. They are text skimming, PQ4R, SQ4R, RAP, REAP, etc. In this study, the technique chosen is PQ4R study technique. According to Slavin (1997:217),”PQ4R is a strategy that helps students to focus organizing the information in their minds and making it meaningful. The PQ4R stands for Preview (P), Question (Q), and the four R: Read, Reflect, Recite, and Review”. A research done by Hansclocky (in Sulhan, 2007:69), concludes that the systematic use of PQ4R could help students to know, understand, apply, analyze, and evaluate what they have read. Logsdon (2007:4) states that PQ4R will improve the student’s understanding of text and recalling of facts by as much as 70%. From the results of the two researchers above, the writer concludes that PQ4R study technique is a strategy that can be used by students to help them better comprehend written materials.

2. The Concept of Reading Comprehension

According to Clark and Cutler (1990:100),” Reading is a complex undertaking, reading is an interactive process, involving the interplay of several thought processes at the same time and making use of our incredibly complex brain.” In writer’s point of view, reading is a complex activity which forces readers to use their mind to comprehend what they read. And their ability to comprehend the written material is influenced by some factors, such as the readers’ background, the reading purposes and the type of material they are being read. Tompkins (1998:24) states that reading is a process and students use skills and strategies in order to decode words and comprehend what they read. Further, he also states that there three key concepts about reading, namely:

  1. Reading is a strategic process.
  2. The goal of reading instruction is comprehension, or meaning making.
  3. Students read differently for different purposes.

In other words, students read differently, sometimes they read for pleasure and academic, extensively or intensively. This condition makes the students need some strategies or technique in order to get meaning from what they have read. Wilhelm (2008:2) states, “Reading comprehension is the degree to which we understand what we read. It is the ultimate end- goal of reading that if we don’t read to understand, we’ll read for nothing. And comprehension requires the reader to be an active constructor of meaning.” It means that in reading comprehension, students are hopefully able to create their own interpretation actively as an effort to get meaning from the text he/she reads. From Tompkins and Wilhelm’s definition about reading comprehension, the writer draws a conclusion that reading is an active process and the end purpose of reading is comprehension, in which the readers are expected to understand and construct the meaning behind the text they read. If we test reading comprehension on the eleventh year students we would also discuss about the reading texts they are being learned and tested. As stated in Curriculum 2004 (Depdiknas 2003:36), “Kompetensi dasar siswa kelas 11 SMA/MA untuk  reading skill adalah Memahami makna dan langkah-langkah pengembangan retorika didalam text tertulis yang berbentuk deskriptif, naratif, anekdot, dan eksposisi.” In reading comprehension, it is also important to pay attention in specifying what skill that the teacher should test students. According to Hughes (1989:117) “There are two skills which are important as a part of a reading test. They are macro skill and micro skill.” The macro skills refer to the following objectives: a. Scanning to find specific information b. Skimming text to obtain the gist c. Identifying stages of an argument d. Identifying examples presented in support of an argument The micro skills refer to the following objectives: a. Identifying referent of pronoun, etc. b. Using context to guess meaning of unfamiliar words c. Understanding relation between parts of text

3. The Concept of PQ4R

PQ4R study technique is a technique that helps students to focus organizing information in their minds and making it meaningful (Slavin, 1997:298). Further, Slavin (1997: 297) also states that PQ4R is one of the best- known study techniques for helping students understand and remember what they read. In short, PQ4R study technique is a technique that can be applied in a reading class. It is aimed to help students in comprehending the idea of the text. The PQ4R study technique was firstly designed by Thomas and Robinson (1941). This technique stands for Preview (P), Question (Q), and the four R: Read, Reflect, Recite, and Review. Further guidelines about PQ4R study technique are as follows: 1) Preview          : Survey   or   scan   the   material  quickly  to  get  an  idea  of  the  general organization and major idea and supporting idea. 2) Question        : Ask  your  self  questions about the  material as you read it. Use headings to invent question using the wh-words: who, what, where, why. 3) Read              : Read  the  material. Do  not  take  extensive  written  notes. Try to answer question that you posted when you read. 4) Reflect           : Try  to  understand  and  make  meaningful  the presented information by relating  it  to  things  you already know, relating the subtopics to primary concept or principles in the text. 5) Recite             : Practice remembering the information by stating points aloud and  asking and answering questions. You may use headings, highlighted words,  and notes on major ideas to generate those questions. 6) Review           : in final step,  actively  review  the  material  and  reread the material only when you are not sure of the answer. According to Trianto (2007:146),”PQ4R adalah salah satu bagian dari strategi elaborasi. Strategi ini digunakan untuk membantu siswa mengingat apa yang mereka baca” (PQ4R is one part of elaboration strategies which is used to help students remember what they have read). In short, The PQ4R study technique is a technique that students can use to help them better remember and comprehend written materials.

4.Teaching Reading Comprehension through the PQ4R Study Technique

In Teaching and Learning Process, Trianto (2007: 150) states that PQ4R Study Technique can be applied in six steps. The six steps are displayed in the table 1 below



Procedure Teacher’s Activities Students’ Activities
Step 1: Preview Give a reading  material to the students and ask them to read it. Scan the material that is given by teacher to get an idea.
Step 2: Question a. Inform the students to pay attention to the idea of the reading material that’s given. b. Have students make questions from the idea that they have found in  reading material by using WH –words a. Pay attention to teacher’s explanation b. Make their own questions before reading the reading material
Step 3: Read Have students read the and ask them to try answering their questions when read Reading actively. Try to answer the questions while reading
Step 4: Reflect Inform the students to relate their prior knowledge with the reading material that they read. Think about the reading material they read and try to make it meaningful by relating it to their prior knowledge
Step 5 : Recite Have students conclude what they have just read Practice remembering the information by stating the points aloud and asking and answering the questions and notes the major idea they have got from the expository text as their conclusion.
Step 6 : Review Have students read the conclusion of the reading material and reread if they aren’t sure of their answer Read the conclusion of the and reread if they aren’t sure of their answer

5. The Concept of Conventional Technique

Conventional  method   (www.seslisozluk.com/search/conventional-20 viewed   on April 8th, 2009 at 2 p.m.)  is a method that is usually used or that has been in use for a long time. Fiedorowicz and Trites (2003:13) state that most of the conventional techniques focus on teaching all readers by ignoring the fact that each student has different strengths and weaknesses. In this study, the term ‘conventional technique’ refers to the technique that is commonly used by English teachers at SMA Negeri 1 Baturaja OKU In this study, conventional technique is a technique that is used by teachers of English in teaching reading comprehension in which the teacher is as the central of learning. Further, conventional technique is the activity of a reading class that is used sometimes as a context for grammatical structures such a text is likely “find the examples of “past tense” in the story and explain their uses.”

6. Teaching Reading Comprehension through Conventional Technique

The followings are steps that were used by the teachers of English in teaching reading in common:

Step 1:   The teachers read a written material

Step 2:  The teacher asks the students about the difficult words that they find in written material, write them on the whiteboard, and discuss them together.

Step 3: The teacher reads the words on the whiteboard from the top to the bottom and repeated by the students.

Step 4:  The teacher asks some students to read the material paragraph by paragraph. Step 5: The teacher asks the students to translate the text paragraph by paragraph into Indonesian.

Step 6:  The teacher asks students to make a conclusion of the text they have just read.  References Arikunto,


Suharsimi.   2002.   Prosedur   Penelitian:  Suatu  Pendekatan  Praktik. Jakarta: PT Melton Putra. Clarck, D. Cecil  and

BR.Cutler. 1990. Teaching: An Introduction. London: Harcout Brace Javanovich Publisher.

Depdiknas.2003. Kurikulum 2004: Standar Kompetensi Mata Pelajaran Bahasa Inggris Sekolah Menengah                       Atas                (SMA) dan Madrasah Aliyah (MA). Jakarta: Pusat Kurikulum, Balitbang Depdiknas.

Christina,   Fiedorowicz   and  Ronald Trites. 2003. Journal   of  Teaching  Reading;  New Concept of Teaching.

Fraenkel, Jack R and Norman.E. Wallen. 1990. How to Design  and Evaluate Research in Education. New york : Mc. Graw Hill Inc.

Hatch,  Evelyn  and  Hossein  Farhady.  1982.  Research  Design  and Statistics for Applied Linguistics. Cambridge: Newbury House Publisher.

Hild, Stefan,et.al .2008. The ET: Sensitivity Curve with “Conventional Techinque”. Pisa: The University of Birmingham.

Hughes, Arthur.1989.Testing for Language Teachers. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Logsdon, Ann. 2007. Journal of Reading Comprehension:Improving Reading Comprehension and Retention with research Based Strategy, viewed on January 29,2009 at 3 pm from Ann Logsdon.About.Com

James H .1992. Educational Research Fundamentals for the Consumer. New York: Harper Collins Publishers

Ellis, D.B. 2009. Journal of Reading Comprehension, retrieved on February19, 2009 at 3 pm from http://www.muskingum.edu/-cal/database/general/reading.html

Slavin, Robert E. 1997. Educational Psychology: Teory and Practice, Fifth Edition. Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon Publisher

Tompkin, Gail.E.1998. Language Arts 4th Edition: Content and Teaching Strategies. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.

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  1. September 13th, 2010

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