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The effect of reading comprehension on improving students‟ vocabulary
In terms of quantity and complexity

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  • 1. The effect of reading comprehension on improving students‟ vocabulary In terms of quantity and complexity SLA MPB1313 Prof. KhairiIzwan Abdullah EhsanAtaei MP101459 Elmira Daneshpour MP 111059 Shivan Mawlood Hussein MP111020 Turnitin plagiarism checked % Faculty of Education University Technology Malaysia May 2012
  • 2. CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION1.0 Introduction According to Grabe (1991), Vocabulary knowledge as an active feature of language has animportant role in improving language skills. Therefore, improving of vocabulary knowledgedraws attention of many researchers in second and foreign language acquisition. Recent findings suggest that reading comprehension is an appropriate method in teachingvocabulary in a case many language teacher and language learners complain about directteaching of vocabulary. (Anderson and Freebody, 1981) Vocabulary size and complexity are considered as a main issue among language learners. Asa result teachers try to find out effective methods for enhancing vocabulary in terms of quantityand complexity. (Nation & Waring, 1997)Traditional methods of teaching vocabulary were notsuccessful. List of words, using pictures and word translation were the main aspects of teachingvocabulary which are considered as a boring ways of teaching. 2
  • 3. 1.1 Statement of problem Learning vocabulary is considered as an important and influential factor in languagelearning or acquisition. Students face with so many difficulties in learning vocabulary. There areso many strategies in learning vocabulary and there is not any specific way to make learners surethat they will have improvement in their vocabulary learning. Some of the classes focus on directteaching of vocabulary while our study is focus on indirect teaching of vocabulary throughreading. Learning vocabulary can help students‟ language competence which contains four skillsinput and output.1.2 Purpose of study This study aims to find the relationship between reading comprehension and anyimprovement in learners‟ writing in their vocabulary size and complexity. Moreover, theresearchers look for the role of summarizing as a study skill more than reading comprehensionon the learners‟ improvement in vocabulary size and complexity. From theoretical perspective and based on Krashen (1982) input hypothesiscomprehensible input is enough for language acquisition. This study tests this idea in readingcomprehension, beside output hypothesis by swain (2007) which focuses on output andproductive skills like writing. It is expected to find a relationship between readingcomprehension and some strategies like summarizing with learners competence and performancein writing a text based on those readings. 3
  • 4. 1.3 Objectives of the Study i. To investigate the relationship between comprehension reading and learning vocabulary ii. To find out whether a text summarizing increase vocabulary in use in terms of complexity iii. To find out whether a text summarizing increase vocabulary in use in terms of quantity1.4 Research Questions The relation between comprehension reading and learning vocabulary 1. Is there any relationship between reading comprehension and learning vocabulary? 2. Does reading comprehension with and without text summarizing increase students vocabulary in use in terms of complexity? 3. Does reading comprehension with and without text summarizing increase students vocabulary in use in terms of quantity? 4
  • 5. CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW2.0 Introduction In this chapter comprehension reading, vocabulary in terms of size and complexity besidetext summarization and Styles of counting vocabulary were reviewed in order to find a basis fordata collection and analysis.2.1 Reading Comprehension Nation (1990) identified that after learning high frequency words, the teacher help thestudents to improve strategies of reading comprehension and then learn low frequency words.The reading comprehension strategies are included: 5
  • 6. 1. Guessing from context 2. Using word parts and mnemonic techniques to remember words 3. Using vocabulary cards to remember foreign language There is a strong connection between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehensioncrossways all age on entrance associates and proficiency levels of learners.(Verhoeven, 2000;Nassaji, 2003 ; Roessingh, 2008) Jitendra, Edwards, Sacks and Jacobson (2004) knowledge of vocabulary can increasereading comprehension and it provides a justification of sound for improved focus on vocabularyinstruction. Duke and Pearson (2002) said that reading a new text is a very good method for studentto imagine the text and think about new words and also encourage them to guess the meaning ofwords from text, they compare new words with their previous knowledge (words), so this wayhelp them in comprehension. Klinger and Vaughn (1996) stated explicit vocabulary improving reading comprehensionin first language and second language, reading comprehension strategies in both languagesshould be taught.2.2 Vocabulary Size Carrol, Davies and Richardman (1971) indicated that it does not needed to know all thewords but if knowing can be a very successful for language users, they believed that learners 6
  • 7. should increase their vocabulary size. To read some texts that contain unknown vocabulary,native speakers need to know around 15,000 to 20,000 word families. Nation (2001) mentioned that to understand better about depth of vocabulary, it isimportant to know so many things about a word to use, and knowing different degrees of words.According to Nation vocabulary knowledge divided to productive and receptive which refers toactive and passive vocabulary. Nation (1993: 125) “the more sensible estimates indicate thatadult native speakers of English with a tertiary education have a vocabulary size around 20,000word families. Most of this is made up of low frequency words. These words are learned throughdiverse and wide-ranging contact with the language”. A good explanation for vocabulary size is around 20,000 words as a normal size that eachperson should know. English speaker (native speaker) knows 1000 words more than the others.Students who are in elementary school will know vocabulary around 4000 to 5000 words,otherwise the vocabulary size for university student is around 20,000 words. ( Goulden, Nation& Read, 1990). On the other hand DAnna, Zechmeister and Hall (1991) believed thatvocabulary size is depend on items that are incorporated and in which way a word family isdefinite.2.2.1 Vocabulary size and text coverage in the Brown corpus:Vocabulary size Text coverage 1000 72.0% 2000 79.7% 3000 84.0% 4000 86.8% 5000 88.7% 6000 89.9% 15,851 97.8% Table 2.1 7
  • 8. Table 2.1 indicates the relationship between vocabulary size and written texts. The lastline is indicated 15,000 words can cover 95 % of the running words of their corpus. On the otherside the table shows that before knowing high frequency words we know lower frequency words.It means that knowing around 1000 words cover 70% written text and in each line we have twounknown words. ( Francis & Kucera, 1982) Heath (1985) stated that this vocabulary size is not sufficient to guess the meaning ofunknown words. As Nation (2001) believed that vocabulary size should cover around 95% ofwritten text to guess the meaning of unknown words. Biber(1990) explained how particular language characteristics cluster in particular texttypes refers to studies of corpus. So the spoken and written corpora that used should coat a seriesof representative kinds of text.2.3 Vocabulary Complexity Academic texts contain low frequency words which are not known by many readersbecause readers rarely encounter these words in their text readings. According to Waring andNation (2004), for acquiring public texts or academic texts readers need a massive amount ofvocabulary So as to comprehend the texts. 8
  • 9. Sutarsyah, Nation and Kennedy (1994) said academic texts which contain various topicsare not easily covered by readers because they contain a lot of academic words which arefamiliar by a few of readers; this makes the texts difficult to be understood.2.4 Text summarization Jones, Hovy, Lin, Mani and Maybury (1999) clarified three specific stages of textsummarization: 1. Identify topic: define what topic is and what main purpose of text is. 2. Interpretation: clarify concepts and meaning of abstract, some part that we cannot find in original text. 3. Generation of summary: paraphrase the text and break parts into a coherent (text planning).2.5 Styles of counting vocabulary 2.5.1 Tokens Token means counting all words in a text includes repeated words and it considered as amost simple style of counting words. Token does not focus on word patterns or derivations.(Nation, 2001) 9
  • 10. 2.5.2 Types Vocabulary type is the most common style of counting vocabulary. Many researchersfollow this style for counting words in texts. Type style means counting all words excluding theiterated words. Word patterns are dealt as a different kind of the words. (Schmitt ,2000) 2.5.3 Academic word families Coxhead (2000) mentioned Academic word families are a kind style of calculatingwords. All derivations, affixed, suffixes and heads are dealt as the same type of academic wordfamily. Academic word families are the most difficult method of counting words. The readersusually get confuse in counting academic word families because they should return all the wordsinto the original heads so as to know whether they are belong to the same word families or not.Coxhead and Nation (2001) stated that one of the most important elements for readingcomprehension is knowledge of passive vocabulary. Reading comprehension and academicsuccess have mutual relationship.2.6 Reading comprehension and vocabulary learning Schmitt (2000) said being able to understand a word is known as receptive knowledgeand is normally related with reading. Nation (2001) confirmed that language learners can recall the meaning of words and addthem to their vocabulary knowledge while reading them. This knowledge can be in the form ofactive or passive vocabulary. Chall (1987) found the similar idea and said proficient reader canuse reading to learn new vocabulary .teachers should use different approaches toward reading inorder to improve the size learners‟ vocabulary knowledge. 10
  • 11. CHAPTER III RESEARCH METHODOLOGY3.0 Introduction In order to find an appropriate answer for research questions about the effect of readingcomprehension on improving students‟ vocabulary in terms of quantity and complexity pre andpost writing with special treatment was designed by researchers.3.1 Research Design A quantitative design has been chosen in accordance with objectives of this study.Participants write an article and after treatment they need to write another article with the sametopic. A comparison between these two articles has shown the results of this study.3.2 Participants of the Study The participants in the study were 6 UTM Master Students who were joined in this studyvoluntarily and by random. Participants were in mixed gender and their age ranged between 25to 31 years old. Before the main study students were divided to low and high level in terms oftheir language proficiency based on their pre-writings. 11
  • 12. 3.1 Instrument Web VP V.3 or vocabulary profiler (Cobb, 2010a) has chosen as an instrument of thisstudy. It is online software; check the texts vocabulary frequencies and types and it was adaptedfrom vocabulary profiling concept. (Laufer and Nations, 1995)Figure 3.1. VP software environment It generates a report about types of words, total number of words in the text (tokens) andsome other lexical items. West (1953) mentioned about a list of lexical frequency called generalservice list (GSL), Web VP classic compare the taken words with GSL and also with another listby Coxhead (2000) called academic word list(AWL). Moreover, the software gave a report 12
  • 13. about K1 which is the first 1000 words covered by the texts and also K2 which is the second1000 words covered by the texts related to GSL.3.1.1 Data Collection Methods 3.4.1 Pre- and post-writingThe pre- and post-writing required the subjects to write short narrative essays of Approximatelyminimum 100 words within 60 minutes on one the following topics. 1. Friend in needs is a friend in deed. 2. The role of Mother or parents in your life. 3. Importance of technology in life This pre-writings have done to evaluate students‟ vocabulary knowledge in terms of quantityand complexity before the treatment. The post-writings have done to check the same items. Theconclusion has done based on the comparison between pre and post writing evaluation. Thisevaluation has done by Web VP v3.3.5 Data Collection ProcedureThe Data collection had been taken in 2 weeks as follows:Step 1 Pre-writing based on one topic among three selected topics ( All Participants )Step 2 Students are divided into two groups based on the number of the words higher than the mean of all the pre writing texts to find participants vocabulary level ( ULTG and LLTG) upper level than mean group and lower level than mean group)Step 3 Groups subdivide into control and experimental groups randomlyStep 4 Reading a Reading and summarizing a relevant text ( Experimental group)Treatment Text Just Reading a text (Control group)Step 5 Post-writing based on vocabulary and knowledge attained from treatmentStep 6 Data about frequency and complexity of the texts were collected by Web VP software v3 13
  • 14. 3.6 Data analysis Descriptive analysis have done by based on the comparison in means in both groups hasshown the answers to the research questions. K1, K2 AWL, off list words tokens and somespecific items related to vocabulary frequency and complexity were analyzed by Vocab profilerv.3. Quantitative data helped researchers to compare pre-writings and post-writings and answerto the research questions perfectly. 14
  • 15. CHAPTER IV FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION4.0 Data analysis The is chapter shows and compares the result of both experimental and control groups soas to answer research questions which include the possible relationship between readingcomprehension and learning vocabulary. In addition, to answer whether reading comprehensionwith summarizing improves learners‟ vocabulary knowledge in terms of size and complexity.Furthermore, in order to show whether reading comprehension without summarizing developslearners‟ vocabulary recognition in terms of size and complexity or not all data were collected.4.1 Findings and Discussion Regarding to the procedure in methodology, participants were asked to have pre-writingand post writing. The results present the differences between experimental and control groups foranswering the research questions. Two essays as pre-writing and post writing were written by participants. The words inboth pre-essay and post essay writings were counted based on types of the words. The results ofboth writings include number, mean and total of words base on Types, words belong to 1-1000types word families , words belong to 1001-2000 types word families, academic word families inaddition to off-list words are indicated in table 4.1. A and Table 4.1.B 15
  • 16. Number of words of 1-1000 types 1001-2000 types Academic words OFF. LIST Types word families word families J 96 84 6 2 4 E 87 78 6 2 1 A 106 86 8 7 5 H 91 68 13 3 7 M 92 85 4 2 1 M 130 95 10 14 11Total 602 496 47 30 29Mean 100.3 82.7 7.8 5 4.8Table 4.1 A- The result of pre-writing before Reading Number of words of 1-1000 types 1001-2000 types Academic words OFF. LIST Types word families word families J2 95 85 5 2 3 E2 96 81 4 6 5 A2 126 107 6 4 9 H2 101 57 17 11 16 M2 76 70 2 3 1 S2 152 109 16 17 10 Total 646 509 50 43 44 Mean 107.7 84.8 8.3 7.17 7.3Table 4.1- B. The result of post writing after writing 16
  • 17. mean Number of words 1-1000 types 1001-2000 types Academic words OFF. LIST of Types word families word families Pre- writing 100.3 82.7 7.8 5 4.8 Post writing 107.7 84.8 8.3 7.17 7.3 discrepancy +7.4 +2.1 +0.5 +2.17 +2.5 Table 4.1 C- The discrepancy of mean (In each part) As demonstrated in Table 4.1 A,B and C the Means of all parts are positively increased especially in the Number of words which the difference is +7.4 while the difference between Means in 1001-2000 types word families in Pre- writing and Post writing is is +0.5 which is not significantly increased. The results indicate that there is a positive relation between reading comprehension and vocabulary knowledge development. The result of this study is similar to findings of researchers such as Verhoeven (2000), Nassaji (2003), and Roessingh (2008), Jitendra, et al (2004) who found that there is a connection between reading comprehension and progressing learners‟ levels of vocabulary knowledge. The pre-writing and post writing of both experimental and control groups were purposely taken from participants are shown in the table 4.2.2 so as to identify whether comprehension reading with an without summarizing improve learners‟ vocabulary in terms of size. Groups Number of words of Type Number of words of Type Difference in pre-writing in post-writing J 96 95 -1experimenta H 91 101 +10 S 130 152 +22 l MEAN 105.7 116 +10.3 A 106 126 +20control E 87 96 +9 M 92 76 -9 MEAN 95 99.3 +4.3 Table 4.2 result of both experimental and control group in pre-writing and post writing 17
  • 18. In the light of the results in the table 4.2, the size of words in both experimental andcontrol groups developed. The Means in both experimental and control groups are increasedwhich means reading comprehension with and without summarizing improve learners‟vocabulary size. Furthermore, the size of words in experimental group more developedcomparing to control group. The difference between Means in pre-writing and post writing inexperimental group is +10.3 while the disciplinary in Means in control group in pre-writing andpost writing is +4.3 which indicates that reading comprehension with summarizing is moreeffective than reading comprehension without summarizing. Duke and Pearson (2002)maintained that there is an association between reading and learners‟ vocabulary size which isparallel to our findings. For answering whether text reading perception with or without summarizing helps indeveloping learners‟ vocabulary knowledge in terms of complexity, the results of pre-writingand post writing have been concluded in the following tables. 1-1000 types word families 1-1000 types word Difference in pre- writing families in post-writing J 84 85 +1 H 68 57 -11 S 95 109 +14 TOTA 247 251 L MEAN 82.3 83.7 +1.4 A 86 107 +21 E 78 81 +3 M 85 70 -15 TOTA 249 258 L MEAN 83 86 +3 Table 4.3 Improvement of vocabulary in the 1-1000 types word families 18
  • 19. 1001-2000 types word 1001-2000 types word Difference families in pre-writing families in post-writing J 6 5 -1 H 13 17 +5 S 10 16 +6 TOTAL 29 38 MEAN 9.7 12.7 +3 A 8 6 -2 E 6 4 +2 M 4 2 +2 TOTAL 18 12 MEAN 6 4 +2 Table 4.3 B improvement of vocabulary in the 1001-2000 types word families Academic words in Academic words in post Difference pre-writing writing J 2 2 0 H 3 11 +8 S 14 17 +3 TOTAL 19 30 MEAN 6.3 10 +3.7 A 7 4 +4 E 2 6 +4 M 2 3 +1 TOTAL 11 13 MEAN 3.7 4.3 +0.6 Table 4.3 C improvement of vocabulary in the Academic words Based on the results appear in table 4.3 A,B and c reading comprehension withsummarizing is more effective in enhancing vocabulary knowledge in terms of complexityespecially in Academic words and the 1001-2000 types word families in contrast to the 1001-2000 types word families. The Mean Academic words significantly increased which is +3.7, andlikewise the Mean in 1001-2000 types‟ word families obviously increased comparing to 1001-2000 types word families‟ Mean which raised +1.4. On the other hand, reading comprehensionwithout summarizing is more beneficial to develop vocabulary knowledge in the 1001-2000types word families. The tables shows that the Mean of reading comprehension without 19
  • 20. summarizing which means control group sharply raised in comparison to the Mean both ofacademic words which is +0.6 and the 1001-2000 types word families which is +2 areincreased in ineffective way. 20
  • 21. CHAPTER V CONCLUSIONS5.1 Pedagogical Implication Based on study results in chapter four, Researchers can provide some pedagogicalimplications to teachers and syllabus designer to include readingcomprehension in languageclasses in order to increase learners‟ vocabulary knowledge. And give extra readingcomprehension to learners who are weak in vocabulary. The second pedagogy is instructors are advices to ask summary of the text after readingcomprehension for improving learners vocabulary in terms of quantity because base on ourfindings reading comprehension has a positive effect of students vocabulary size in addition toother benefits. The other pedagogy is that learners who face difficulties in learning vocabularyknowledge in terms of complexity should provide with reading comprehension withoutsummarizing because reading comprehension without summarizing helps learners to be fluentand fast and encounter complex more time and learn them effectively.5.2 Limitation This study like other studies is not free of limitation. One of the limitations is number ofthe participants because more participants make the result more reliable and accurate to the real 21
  • 22. sample. The other limitation is related to the learners‟ differences in vocabulary and readingcompetence. Gender and age can be considered as a secondary limitation in this study which hassome effects on the study results. Time of reading is another limitation of this study. Studentswith more reading comprehension can be developed in their vocabulary knowledge. Thelimitation of facility of providing suitable texts has negative effect on the results.5.3 Suggestion for further study This study focused on the types of the word in terms of complexity and size. It isrecommended to other researchers to focus on frequency of the word in the text in improvingvocabulary knowledge. In addition, other researchers are recommended to focuses on the otherpart of words such as word families and token words. This research suggested that furtherresearchers should include more scales and larger number of participants.5.4 Conclusion In conclusion, it can be said vocabulary is one of the most aspects in language learningbecause it affects other language skills like writing. Based on this study results, readingcomprehension is an effective strategy for improving vocabulary in and outside of classrooms.Summarizing after reading comprehension has an influence on learning vocabulary especially forthe purpose of size of the words. Language classes should use reading comprehension as a supplementary strategy or taskfor improving other skills in language learning because language classes mostly depend onreading regardless whether is comprehensible or not 22
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