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THE USE OF EXTENSIVE READING IN PROMOTING COMMUNICATION COMPETENCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOL

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ABSTRACT

The study examined the extent of the use of extensive reading in promoting communication competence in secondary school with reference to some secondary schools in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State. It also ascertained the teachers awareness of the benefits of extensive reading, the types of reading materials available for extensive reading for schools, the extent teacher engages student in extensive reading and the techniques/strategies teachers employ in developing extensive reading for communication competence. The study employed the use of descriptive and inferential methods. Under the descriptive method, data collected was analyzed descriptively by the use of tables which involved the use of simple percentages. While the inferential statistics of Pearson product moment correlation was adopted as the statistical tools to test and validate the stated hypothesis. The findings of the study revealed that the relationship between extensive reading and communication is positive, strong and significant. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended that there is the need to enact a policy that encourages construction of libraries in secondary schools, provision of relevant information resources and, qualified librarians to run such libraries and parents should encourage their children and wards to read at home, and watch children educational television programmes.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Language acquisition without reading is difficult. Reading is a good way of comprehension. A good reader is able to understand sentences and structures of a written text. One important way to develop communication competence is through extensive reading. Students by reading extensively will be exposed to different new scope of vocabulary which is necessary in reading comprehension (Pazhakh and Soltani, 2010).

People learn to read by reading, and the ability to read proficiently is best achieved through extensive reading. Likewise, there is widespread consensus that there is a correlation between communication competency and extensive reading, for which communication competency and reading comprehension can be regarded as a mutually beneficial process. This mutual benefit means that vocabulary facilitates learners’ ability to decode meaning from the context (Teng, 2015).

Light (1997) has described communicative competence as “being able to meet the changing demands and to fulfill one's communication goals across the lifespan” .Communicative Competence should accomplish four main purposes including: expressing wants and needs, developing social closeness, exchanging information, and fulfilling social etiquette routines (Light, 1997). Communicative competence is comprised of grammatical competence, discourse competence, sociolinguistic competence, and strategic competence (Canale & Swain, 1980; Canale, 1983 & Savignon, 1997). Communicative competence is manifested within the national standard through the interpretive mode, interpersonal mode, and presentational mode of communication (Mart, 2012). The interpretive mode of communication is characterized by the ability to interpret and understand spoken and written language whereas the interpersonal mode of communication describes the ability to maintain conversation between two or more individuals. The presentational mode of communication is highlighted by information presented through spoken or written language. When combined, these three modes of communication represent authentic real world communicative settings (Mart, 2012).

Reading is an indispensable tool in learning that forms an integral part of any learning situation, and the bedrock of education. Therefore, access to information is crucial to individual advancement as well as corporate educational development. Adetunji (2007) described reading as the act of translating symbols or letters into word or sentences that have meaning to an individual. It is also the understanding of what is seen in a text, which is the ability of the reader to take incoming visual information, process that information and obtain meaning from it. Information is indispensable. According to Yusuf (2007), bridges the gap between knowledge and ignorance. One of the major avenues for acquiring information is reading. Reading is the foundation upon which other academic skills are built. It offers a productive approach to improving vocabulary, word power, and language skills.

Communicative competence has always been the goal of every language classroom wherein instructions are geared toward the components on organizational, pragmatic, systematic and psychomotor (Brown, 1994). From the communication competence perspective, it is important to address academic reading as a meaning-based activity that is purpose and comprehension-driven. Reading is motivated by the reader’s particular purpose and propelled by increasing comprehension of the texts. Further, given that language is embedded in contexts and tasks, academic reading assessment should focus on contexts and purposes and address narrow language abilities as they emerge from the local context. Whether it involves primary school children or university students, it seems clear that most comprehension is linked to a purpose, and it is thus important to examine reading within the context of that purpose. It is on this note that the study investigated the perception and extent of the use of extensive reading in promoting communication competence in secondary school.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

By and large, the importance of reading cannot be overemphasized, because no learning activity or situation can take place without reading. But one of the major problems facing Nigerian students is their inability to communicate effectively (Ajayi, 2012).

This problem can be conceived to be linked with the absence of reading habit among students or non-challant attitude to reading to the use of the internet. Although there are many reasons why people read, but observations and researches have shown that there is a low reading habit among students in recent times, especially in developing countries, because reading is not considered as a relevant leisure activity as it does not form part of children’s social interaction and watching of television. Another major problem that leads to the absence of reading habits among students is on the advents of ICTs like the internet, cell phone, video games and other viewing gadgets.

Umar (2009:10) is of the view that students now have viewing culture instead of reading culture because of the advents of these ICTs gadgets. Also the lack of available information resources like texts books both in the school library and at homes also could lead to lack of students forming the habits of reading. One series problem in reading comprehension is that among students are used to comprehending a passage on sentence level rather than on discourse level. This frailer causes some students to be dependent on understanding every single sentence in a text, even when this is not necessary to fulfill their reading purpose, with the result they tend to rend all texts at the same speed. In addition, the student heavily relies on dictionaries to get the meanings of some new words. It is against this background that the study examines the role of extensive reading in promoting communication competence among secondary school students in Lagos State.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The aim of this research work is to investigate the extent of the use of extensive reading in promoting communication competence in secondary school with reference to some secondary schools in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State.The specific objectives are;

1.      To ascertain the teachers awareness of the benefits of extensive reading.

2.      To identify the types of reading materials available for extensive reading in schools.

3.      To determine the extent teacher engages student in extensive reading.

4.      To determine the techniques/strategies teachers employ in developing extensive reading for communication competence.

1.4 Research Questions

1. To what extent are teachers aware of the benefits of extensive reading?

2. What are the types of reading materials available in schools for extensive reading?

3. To what extent do teachers engage students in extensive reading activities?

4. What techniques and strategies do teachers employ to develop extensive reading skills for communication competence?

1.5 Hypothesis

H0: There is no significant relationship between extensive reading and student communication competence

1.6 Significance of the Study

Extensive reading is a useful strategy for students to improve their communication competence. The study provides other researchers with some reliable instruments, action procedures, and experimental findings for use in future research. To the researcher’s knowledge, there are no studies about the effect of extensive reading on communication competence in the context of Nigerian secondary schools. Most of the studies were conducted on the effect of extensive reading on reading proficiency or the effect of extensive reading on other skills separately. However, most of the related studies approve that using extensive reading is an effective tool for achieving communication competence

Finally, the research will also help school owners to come up with better reading strategy to improve the communication competence of their students through the active role of teacher. It will also help sensitize the government in improving the syllabus as well as raising the standard of learning so as to student communication competence by making available all the necessary materials within the school setting so as to encourage extensive reading among secondary school students.

1.7 Scope of the Study

 The scope of this study is to investigate the extent of the use of extensive reading in promoting communication competence in secondary school with reference to some secondary schools in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State

1.8 Definition of Terms

Reading: Reading is a process of constructing meaning through dynamic interaction among the reader’s existing knowledge, the information suggested by the text being read, and the context of the reading situation.

Extensive Reading: Extensive reading is the teaching of reading in terms of language skills by studying reading texts intensively in order to practise reading skills such as distinguishing the main idea of a text from the detail, finding pronoun referents, or guessing the meaning of unknown words.

Communication: Communication is the act of conveying intended meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs and semiotic rules.

Communication Competence: Communication competence is seen a as “being able to meet the changing demands and to fulfill one's communication goals across the lifespan.

Grammatical Competence: Grammatical competence is the knowledge of the structure and form of a language; some of which include its morphologic, syntactic, phonemic and graphemic features.

Discourse Competence: Is the knowledge of the interrelationship between and logic across sentences and phrases is characteristic of discourse competence. An individual with strong discourse competence can aptly judge the relationship between different ideas within a text.

Sociolinguistic Competence: Sociolinguistic competence focuses on the recognition and accordance of the rules of interaction; taking turns, appropriate greetings, proper use of formal/informal register, naturalness or overall native-like language

Strategic Competence: Strategic competence is characterized by the ability to make the most of the language, particularly when compensating for language deficiencies.

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