Reading Among Students Reading Among StudentsByAbdullah I. Al FaifiIntroductionReading in general is a big word that branches into so many topics. Nations advancement is based on education which includes reading as a main part of its elements. Therefore, whenever a nation wants to advance, reading must be one of its characteristics. Reading is not dedicated to certain people indeed. It is a gift for anyone can read and understand as well. But, there are places where reading must take place. In schools, it is expected that reading is a duty. Unfortunately, what is expected opposes the reality although there are few students do read.
Then, we have two parties of students through which this research would survey its general topic. It is very strange to find people who have to read as one of their jobs; nevertheless, they even do not think to do. In specific levels, it is quite common that the majority of students do not read. Of course, such status did not happen haphazardly. There must be different reasons related to the main question why do not students read? On the other hand, there is a few numbers of those who read. Meanwhile, there are different stimulants urge them to read.
Such students might read either outside reading which is in areas has nothing to do with their courses in the school or inside reading which means reading for studying. This particular point needs a practical answer given by the students themselves. As far as this research is concerned with students in the first rate, I will give priority to students themselves in some of my references. Simultaneously, I will not ignore books, articles, websites and other resources. As it is clear above, reading process is complicated area. Theorists always emphasize that whenever reading and studying become a kind of pleasure, everything will go smoothly.
Almini, E. (2006) asserts that “one of the objectives is that students should take pleasure in reading in their free-time” (P. 6). This issue would be covered supported with convincing solutions. So, reading among students based upon so many questions, issues and problems are going to discuss is the central idea. This study would include questioning, interviewing, examining, investigating, quoting and finally analyzing so that a reader would receive a perfect view from which he can deal with this issue from various perspectives. Literature ReviewI found many writings deal with such ssue in details from different points of view although August, G. (2006) cited that “…it is surprising that there is little concrete research devoted to the development of good reading comprehension for adult readers” (P. 246). Certainly, I disagree with August because I found many articles for different people from different countries in Arabic and in English discussing reading among students from which I came up with different questions will be mostly the main bases of this work. Below, I am going to investigate the challenges that reading process faces among students beginning with reasons and finally ending with solutions.
First of all, we must look for the reasons that cause ignoring reading process. In this area Mohandes, A. (2007) asks “are the expensive prices of books blocks the way of buying books? ” (Riyadh News Paper). Mostly this is the main reason that many people agreed upon. Anyhow, I would examine it in a next section and we will see if it is really valid. Since students and schools are my main concern, I have to pay more attention to the process of reading in schools as long as it is a mere duty for them. As one of the main reasons behind neglecting reading in schools, the American author Stotsky, S. 2006) claims that “they also tell us that across grade levels, graphic organizers are least useful for elementary students as opposed to university population, result in little gain in student comprehension when used as a pre-reading activity. And may not be effective at all without direct by the teacher” (P. 10). Despite that the author here is throwing everything on the teacher, it is unfair indeed. I think that the teacher is a part of a united circle includes students and curriculum. Each one of them takes place in completing the whole circle although the teacher is the most important factor within the frame.
The environment and the surroundings in general play a very significance role regarding. The factor of the environment can be looked at from the larger angle which includes everything around the reader even the weather as Dr. G, Sanstead. (2006) mentioned the importance of “understanding the effect of external factors on the health of individuals, families and communities” (P. 2). The other smaller circle is the family. In this regard Hashem, N. (2003) points out that “a child will not be drawn to reading if his/her family does not read” (Riyadh News Paper). So, it is clear that the surroundings are another respectful factor.
Students themselves are also responsible for this problem to a large extent. Taeb, M. (1419AH) provides three main reasons that cause abstention from reading. They are “reading a long book, difficult topics and the weakness of one’s language” (P. 26). Such reasons would create turning away from reading. It indicates that a student can familiarize himself with reading by avoiding these things. In other words, he must begin reading short books of simple topic. When he gets used to such kind of book, then he moves forward to a little bit longer books and so on.
So far we have not zoom into the process of reading itself, I think it deserves to be investigated alone regardless of the other outside elements. Dr. Habibullah, M. (1421AH) points out very considerable aspect when he said “reading process cannot be excluded from the other related skills such as writing, speaking and listening” (P. 165). Hence, we ask that does that mean a good reader is also a good writer and listener? And what skill of these one should start with? Although it is a complicated matter, experts give us very excellent solutions.
The previous quotation can be dealt with as a solution if we say that a student should improve all skills which are listening, writing and speaking altogether. Focusing on just reading is not enough. Furthermore, in the case of the teachers Alshalan, R. (1424AH) provides very good steps to help students to value books. He says “teachers have to give their students a free time for reading after which teachers should discuss with them what they have read. Through attractive indirect way, teachers should introduce some books for the sake of urging their students to buy them.
Finally, teachers should set students in situation in which they should go to read books” (P. 28). Methodology Reasons behind Neglecting ReadingResearchers question that why people in general turn away from reading books. It is known that this is a big global problem. Mohandes, A. (2007) asks “are the expensive prices of books blocks the way of buying books? ” He brings out convincing answer for his question by stating that “the expensive prices of books are not the reason because books are less expensive than video tapes”.
Then, he demonstrates that “the reason is that people become aware that there are easy-to-find and easy-to-use sources where you can find any knowledge or information you need such as TV, video and internet” (Riyadh News Paper). As some people thought, it is an old traditional way to bather yourself reading a book consists of hundreds of pages while you can learn what you want through fast, easy and interesting way. To certain extent, we agree with them as long as you will reach the same result wither from a book or from a website but with some reservations. Such concept faces certain obstacles in fact.
Is learning or through a website is as useful as learning through books. It is absolutely not true for many valid reasons. First, the great scientists in mostly all fields have learned basically from books but not from websites or video tapes. We really admit that the TV, websites and video tapes are factor to have knowledge. However, I think that they should take place as secondary factors. Second, books are available and easy-to-carry everywhere. The importance of this exact reason is that the process of reading and educating oneself becomes continual all the time.
Hence, we can say that you learn something every hour while websites and TV lack this advantaged characteristic due to the fact that they are not available all the and thus the process of learning is limited. Third, although you need a little bit an extended time to reach the information that you look for, you will lose nothing at all because you are going to see another and concepts you did not pay attention to. Sometimes you will be attracted to another direction where you find more and more information but in the case of TV, websites and video tapes, you will be taken directly to the point without any further information.
Now, we recognize the difference between the two ways and we see the advantages and the disadvantages of both of them. Consequently, books are extremely better than any other sources. The Process of Reading in SchoolsThe problem occurs in a case like schools where reading should take place as an obligatory task. In schools, there are three factors play the main role in this regard. The teacher, the students and the curriculums. The most effective factor is the teacher of course. He is the one who controls everything. Mostly, students dignify everything gets out of his mouth.
Consequently, teachers undertake the problem of neglecting reading among students to a large extent. As will be shown later, 30% of the students in the secondary school that I made my questionnaire in responded negatively when I asked them that do their teachers encourage them to study? Alshalan, R. (1424AH) puts forward some techniques, most of the teachers do not use them. However, we cane take them as good methods for teachers in how to deliver encouragements to students. “Teachers have to give their students a free time for reading after which teachers should discuss with them what they have read.
Through an attractive indirect way, teachers should introduce some books for the sake of urging their students to buy them. Finally, teachers should set students in situation in which they should go to read books” (P. 28). While I was discussing with him an issue concerning the method of teaching, Alfaifi, M. (2006) who works as a supervisor in The Saudi Ministry of Education told me that “supervisors always deliver lectures to teachers in various topics concerning the way of dealing with students. But the problem is that rare are those who respond and apply.
Moving to the second factor who is the student, we should start from his inner side in fact. If there is no seriousness within the student himself or what is called the personal interest, surely we are going to end up with nothing. Therefore, we should concentrate on how to familiarize what is not familiar? The third factor which is the weakest one is the curriculums. It is extremely a secondary one because it is controlled first by the teacher and second by the student. Anyhow, it is the responsibility of those who are charged with writing the curriculums.
They have to guide the learner step by step from nothing into the stage of creativity trying to involve a kind of pleasure so that a reader can find what attracts him. The Effect of The EnvironmentAs a human activity, reading cannot be excluded from its surroundings. Almost, the existent of reading is a result of many causes stimulates a reader to read. That means, if a student was grown up in a family where no reading activity is stimulated, reasonably, we expect to have no interest of reading from any figure of that family.
That what roughly all psychologists claim. Hashem, N. (2003) claims that “a child will not be drawn to reading if his/her family does not read” (Riyadh News Paper). Here, the writer observes the importance of the environment that either encourages or discourages. Out of this point, we figure out the importance of the model because if we agree that the environment may encourage or discourage, it means that we are moving around the idea of having a model that a reader would imitate. The effect might take place out of the family.
An encouragement to read may occur eventhough the narrow surrounding which is the family is not a good place for that. That is exactly what happened to me. I remember that one of my colleges called Alshrimi, K. (2006) advised me “you have to read as much books as you can so that you become an intellectual man”. I directly answered “I am fed up with my courses in the collage. How it comes that you want me to bather myself with outside books again”. Although my answer merely reveals no possibility to think about reading, I was within myself seriously thinking to dive into the world of books.
Statistics Analysis and ResultsIn the case of schools where reading from books is necessarily required task for students, there is no way to avoid this certain process. The problem is caused essentially by having students who are not accustomed with books from the beginning. As a result, they reject and even hate books. I made a questionnaire in Ibn Almother Secondary School. I set forth various questions concerning reading in the case of studying and reading outside books in general. I come up with almost the following results.