Reading practices are what people do with reading. Reading practices involve how participants construct reading events, how they talk about their reading, and what meaning they get from it. This process can be simultaneously social and individual, and is shaped by, and also helps shape, the diverse ways that people use reading (Barton & Hamilton, 2000).
Related Studies in Urban School
Previous research has demonstrated the importance of all students developing their own regular, reading practices (Flowerday & Schraw, 2004). The progress and volume of daily reading that students engage in is significantly linked to their reading achievement (Guthrie & Wigfield, 2001). But 2005 NAEP data and recent studies show that student interest and achievement in reading is waning (Perie & Moran, 2005). Additionally, a recent panel discussion at the 2006 NCTE Conference reported results of an investigation of sixth- and seventh-grade urban students’ reading practices, highlighting the paradoxical experience of student confidence about their reading ability, juxtaposed with their lack of interest in developing a reading practice.
Against this milieu of negative attitudes towards reading and declining reading achievement in middle school, the importance of appreciating students’ reading practices arises as a momentous piece for helping students develop a habit of reading regularly.
Ivey & Broaddus (2001) confirm that for students to become at least proficient in reading, they need to engage regularly in reading practice. But in order to read regularly, students need to be motivated to develop an interest in reading (Moje, 2006). In the study of Chang and Rendaya (2017) stressed out that teachers perceived wide reading (reading a variety of texts) to be more effective than narrow reading (i.e., reading genre-specific texts). Thus, giving more reading activities and practices to the students is advantageous for them.
Based on the study of Morton (2008), students in urban school demonstrated positive reading engagement in non-traditional texts outside of school. Most of these students had family members who modelled positive reading behaviors and who read books to them during childhood.
Foasberg (2014) found out that one of the reading practices of the students in urban school is with the used of print and electronic media. In her study, students inclined to use print for academic and long-form reading and to engage with it more deeply. Although electronic resources were sometimes used for academic purposes, students often used them for shorter and non-academic reading. Students found electronic media convenient, but most of them did not wish to switch to electronic media for their academic reading. Additionally, Morris (2016) stated that students change their reading practices depending on different situations where they read; the available technologies; and emotional and environmental factors like energy, mood, their physical location, and time of day. The participants revealed that they rely heavily on laptops and smartphones in their daily communications; that their practices change along with different contexts; and that reading instruction is performed in varying ways.
Thompson, Graham and Marsham (2017) expressed that undergraduate students in Newcastle University, UK spend an average of 14.1 hours per week reading a variety of sources, comprising textbooks and journal article for both guided and independent reading. They further explained in their study that students spent an average of 6.5 hours per day engaged in academic activities through diary exercise. Furthermore, students were generally self-assured with reading, although most of them were inclined to reading textbooks than journal articles.
Related Studies in Rural School
Many researchers advocate for student choice during in-class reading as a way to generate interest in reading. But generating enthusiasm for reading is often challenging because students’ interest in specifics titles and topics is transient and ephemeral (Mercurio, 2005). Another avenue to understanding students’ reading interests is to look at literate practices that students engage in outside of school (Hughes-Hassell & Rodge, 2007).
Literacy practices, which include reading practices, are the ways students use social and cultural beliefs, thinking, and intentions to make meaning from the reading and writing of texts. In this context, the word ‘cultural’ implies influences from the home, community, peer, and popular culture. By making a connection between words in a text and their own experiences, students make meaning and develop perceptions, values, and perspectives about how reading is used. Student participation in reading practices out of school has the potential to shape their future practices (Hughes-Hassell & Rodge, 2007).
Galvez (2004) assessed the home reading support of rural students in Alicia National High School and its three annexes, in the Municipality of Alicia, Zamboanga Sibugay. The study revealed that home reading support significantly correlated with students’ comprehension skills. Thus, the students in the mentioned school inclined to home reading support which is one of their reading practices. This conformed to the belief of Vygotsky students, who engage in practicing an activity that is valued in their community, gain competence or facility in that activity (Vygotsky, 1986). Similarly, researchers suggest that students who develop out-of-school reading practices can make connections between their personal reading practices and school reading, and develop expertise in academic literacies (Alvermann, 2004).
Khreisat and Kaur (2014) gauged the effects of recreational reading habits of Arab Jordanian EFL tertiary rural students. Grounded on the product of their study, that when students were on vacation, they reads more compared their readings while classes are in session. Their study come up of the outcomes that students’ average time spent on reading when classes are in session and during vacation is 2.15 hours and 2.82 hours per week, respectively. Majority or 57% of the students always read emails/chat rooms/Facebook, which are their most preferred type of recreational reading. Non-fiction books were the least favorite among students with 47 percent of students indicating that they never or rarely read this type of genre. Among all the reading interests, only novels had a significant correlation with the students’ cumulative grade point average (CGPA).
Malette (2005) clarified that social literacy studies redefine literacy as a perspective that expands the meaning of reading and learning in the classroom to include socially interactive groups who negotiate meaning from diverse information sources at home, in school, and in the community. It has evolved to embrace literacy based on social practices, such as talking about raps, TV programs, movies, and magazine articles.
Barton ; Hamilton (2000) explained social literacy as a way local communities engage in literacy related events for the purpose of entertainment and social connection to others. Students and teachers often signify a diversity of social and cultural backgrounds, knowing the social literacy practices that urban and rural students develop outside of school is significant. Understanding the social context of students’ lives and the varieties of knowledge they have subsequently developed, can help teachers to facilitate transformative experiences, which could enhance students’ academic reading experiences.
Students’ Reading Comprehension
Reading comprehension is the heart and goal of reading, since the purpose of all reading is to gather meaning from the printed page (Baier, 2015). If students say words in the passage without gathering their meaning, one would hesitate to call it reading. With its definition, reading comprehension is a holistic process of constructing meaning from written text through the interaction of the knowledge the reader brings to the text (Imam, 2016). Students need to interact with the text properly to construct meaning. They need to use their knowledge to comprehend the text better. Moreover, comprehension involves constructing meaning from traditional text in print form (books, magazine, papers), from listening to others read or from viewing in one of the many media available in the world today (Miller, 2016).
To measure the students’ level of comprehension, Philippine Informal Reading Inventory Manual 2018, stressed out the different level of students’ comprehension such as: Independent, Instructional and Frustration.
Independent level means that the child can read on his/her own without any assistance. To find the independent level, the test administrator continues to give a selection that is one level lower than a given selection until the child is able to register performance at 97 to 100% in word reading and 80 to 100% comprehension. It is important to find the independent level so that we know the kind of text that the child is already able to perform well in. Providing material at the independent level may serve as a source of motivation or as a starting point for instruction. (The Philippine Informal Reading Inventory Manual, 2018, p. 11)
Instructional level means that the child can read with the support of a teacher. This is the level where students make the most progress in reading. To find the instructional level, the test administrator continues to give a selection that is one level higher than the independent level passage until the learner is able to register performance at 90 to 96% in word reading and 59 to 79% in comprehension. (The Philippine Informal Reading Inventory Manual, 2018, p. 11)
Frustration level means that the child can no longer read and understand on his own. To find the frustration level, the test administrator continues to give a selection that is one level higher than the instructional level passage until the learner’s oral reading score performance is at 89% and below in Word Reading and 58% and below in Comprehension. It is important to identify the frustration level so that we are aware of the kind of material that the student is not yet ready for. (The Philippine Informal Reading Inventory Manual, 2018, p. 11)
Several local researchers studied about reading comprehension of students in urban and rural school. Accordingly, Ramirez (2014) found out that the level of pupils’ reading comprehension in both urban and rural school in Margosatubig District, Division of Zamboanga del Sur fell in instructional level. This was analysed by the mean percentage score of the pupils in their reading comprehension test. Furthermore, the study revealed that there is no significant difference for the two group of pupils in terms of their levels of reading comprehension skills. Ramis (2008) conformed that the students’ reading comprehension in both urban and rural school fell in fair level as a result in her study.
Cabardo (2014) engaged a study on reading proficiency level of students of Hagonoy National High School – Aplaya Extension High School, Aplaya, Hagonoy, Davao del Sur. Based on the result of his study, majority of the students belonged to frustration level of reading proficiency in silent reading while instructional level for the oral reading. Moreover, majority of the males are less proficient in reading compared to females in both silent and oral reading.
Banquicio (2014) expressed that result of her study in reading comprehension of students in two urban schools. It was found out that the students’ reading comprehension in Siay National High School, Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay appeared to be an instructional level which posted an average rating of 63.22 percent while the students’ reading comprehension in Laih-Batu National High School, in the same province, appeared to be in frustration level which posted an average rating of 21.1 percent.
Suarez, 2015, as cited by Revilla, 2017, elucidated that the main purpose of reading is comprehension. Students who reach in high school level are expected to have developed their reading comprehension. High school students are asked to comprehend, analyse, synthesize, and evaluate large amounts of information. Most of the teachers in English observe in their classes that whenever the lesson is on reading, some of the students could hardly answer simple questions such as noting details which concern on the question that can be found in the text and are directly stated. Most of them could not even make inferences about things not directly stated in the text. Others have difficulty recalling previous knowledge which they can make use to increase their reading comprehension.
Comprehension can be strengthened and improved through more reading practice. Pressley (2003) as cited by Murray (2010) and Lavilla (2017) stated that increasing vocabulary, extensive reading and critical reading are some of the practices that can be used to strengthen and refine the person’s ability to comprehend any text.
On the other hand, to develop reading comprehension, students should try their best to understand and comprehend what they have read to improve their level of comprehension in order for them to become good readers. They should often engage in more reading activities in class that will make them vary their reading effectively and with adequate comprehension (Richa, 2014). Paying attention to important details, as well as making notes of the details they have read, can help better understand the selection. In this vein, Murray (2010) strongly believed that a child who builds up a strong general knowledge base in many different subjects will have better reading ability than a child who doesn’t.
Aligned with this, Lavilla (2017) expounded that students need to continue to read a lot, and to be guided to read books of an appropriate level, so that they have opportunities to practice reading skills, to learn new vocabulary items, and to be exposed to variety of text.
Based from the review of related literature, it has been found that there is a dearth of materials related to the two variables. Hence, the study is proposed to focus on measuring the students’ reading comprehension and their reading practices. The foregoing suppositions, related findings, principles and theories are believed to have direct bearing and support to whatever result will be generated from the study.