Tải bản đầy đủ

Hình thành thói quyen đọc nhằm thúc đẩy việc tự học tiếng anh của học sinh nghiên cứu trường hợp trường phổ thông đoàn thị điểm ecopark

VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES

VŨ THỊ TUYẾT NHUNG

BUILDING READING HABITS
FOR ENHANCING STUDENTS’ ENGLISH SELF-LEARNING:
A CASE STUDY AT ĐOÀN THỊ ĐIỂM ECOPARK ACADEMY
SCHOOL
(Hình thành thói quen đọc nhằm thúc đẩy việc tự học tiếng Anh của học
sinh: Nghiên cứu trường hợp trường Phổ thông Đoàn Thị Điểm Ecopark)

M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS

Field: English Teaching Methodology
Code: 60140111

Hanoi, 2015



VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES

VŨ THỊ TUYẾT NHUNG

BUILDING READING HABITS
FOR ENHANCING STUDENTS’ ENGLISH SELF-LEARNING:
A CASE STUDY AT ĐOÀN THỊ ĐIỂM ECOPARK ACADEMY
SCHOOL
(Hình thành thói quen đọc nhằm thúc đẩy việc tự học tiếng Anh của học
sinh: Nghiên cứu trường hợp trường Phổ thông Đoàn Thị Điểm Ecopark)

M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS

Field

: English Teaching Methodology

Code

: 60140111

Supervisor: Dr. Ngô Tự Lập

Hanoi, 2015


AUTHOR’S STATEMENT

I hereby certify that the thesis entitled:
“Building Reading Habits for Enhancing Students’ English Self-learning: A
case Study at Đoàn Thị Điểm Ecopark Academy.” is complete my own research
which was carried out at Đoàn Thị Điểm Ecopark Academy School during the
school year 2014-2015, and the thesis has not been submitted for any degree at any
other tertiary institution.
Hanoi, September 30th, 2015

Vũ Thị Tuyết Nhung


i


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This thesis would not have been completed without the support of many people,
to all of whom I am profoundly indebted.
First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Dr. Ngô Tự
Lập, my supervisor, for his great encouragement, constant guidance and
enthusiastic support during all the stages of this study. Without his advice and
tireless persistence, I would not have been able to finish this work.
My sincere thanks are also sent to my colleagues as well as students at Đoàn Thị
Điểm Ecopark Academy School who are willing to help me complete the survey
questionnaires and the interviews.
Last but not least, I am really grateful to my family and friends for their
continual encouragement during the time I conducted the research. Especially, I
would like to express my thanks to my husband and my son who are always beside
me, taking care of me and supporting me mentally and physically.
Hanoi, September 30th, 2015

Vũ Thị Tuyết Nhung

ii


ABSTRACT
Nowadays, learning a foreign language, especially English, is very important
for international integration. To master a language, students not only need the
guiding and encouraging from teachers, but also must have the ability to study by
themselves. Nevertheless, students at Đoàn Thị Điểm Ecopark Academy School
seem to lack methods and skills of self-learning. Therefore, there is an urgent need
to provide students with ways to enhance their autonomous learning.
Reading habits is best to be built up since students are young. The more they
read, the more knowledge and skills they gain. Reading habits help broaden
students’ knowledge, as well as, helps them be confident in learning and express
more logically and cohesively. When students feel confident about themselves and
their learning, they will likely be able to control their studying and be responsible
for their learning.
Owing to the above reasons, the researcher carries the study to investigate into
the effectiveness of building reading habits in developing students’ self-learning at
Đoàn Thị Điểm Ecopark Academy School. Moreover, she would like to suggest
some recommendations with the hope of helping students build effective reading
habits and learn autonomously.

iii


TABLE OF CONTENTS
AUTHOR’S
STATEMENT………………………………………………………..1
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ......................................................................................ii
ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................. iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS ......................................................................................... iv
LISTS OF TABLES ................................................................................................. vi
PART A: INTRODUCTION .................................................................................... 1
1. Rationale for the study .................................................................................... 1
2. Aims and objectives of the study .................................................................... 2
3. Research questions .......................................................................................... 3
4. Scope of the study ........................................................................................... 3
5. Design of the study ......................................................................................... 3
PART B: DEVELOPMENT..................................................................................... 4
CHAPTER 1: LITERATURE REVIEW ................................................................ 4
1.1. Self-learning: ............................................................................................... 4
1.2. Building reading habits ................................................................................ 9
1.3. Review of previous studies relevant to the study ...................................... 13
CHAPTER 2: METHODOLOGY ......................................................................... 16
2.1. Setting of the study .................................................................................... 16
2.2. Research types ........................................................................................... 19
2.3. Research approach ..................................................................................... 19
2.4. Procedure of the study ............................................................................... 20
CHAPTER 3: DATA ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION ...................................... 23
3.1. Results from the survey questionnaire ....................................................... 23
3.2. Results from the interview ......................................................................... 28
3.3. Discussion of major findings ..................................................................... 30
PART C: CONCLUSION....................................................................................... 32
1. Recapitulation ............................................................................................... 32
2. Implications for teachers............................................................................... 33
3. Limitations and suggestions for further research ......................................... 34
REFERENCES ........................................................................................................ 35
iv


APPENDIX 1 ............................................................................................................. I
APPENDIX 2 ............................................................................................................ II
APPENDIX 3 .......................................................................................................... III
APPENDIX 4 .......................................................................................................... IV
APPENDIX 5 ............................................................................................................ V
APPENDIX 6 ......................................................................................................... XII

v


LISTS OF TABLES
Table 1

: Time for reading per week

Table 2

: Reasons for liking reading

Table 3

: Reasons for disliking reading

Table 4

: Effectiveness of reading habits in students’ self-learning
LISTS OF FIGURES

Figure 1

: Students’ attitude toward reading

Figure 2

: Time for self-learning before building reading habits

Figure 3

: Time for reading per week

Figure 4

: Time for self-learning

Figure 5

: Students’ attitude toward effectiveness of reading habits

vi


PART A: INTRODUCTION
This part includes the rationale, the aims and objectives, the research questions,
the scope and the design of the study. Its task is to help readers have a general view
on the research.
1. Rationale for the study
Learning cannot happen if learners are not willing to contribute, as Scharle and
Szabo (2000, p.4) put it: “Success in learning very much depends on learners having
a responsible attitude.”
In Vietnam today, English is taught by a modern teaching and learning method
named Communicative Language Teaching, in which students are considered as the
center of the learning and teaching process. Hence, students need to be active and
responsible for their learning. Learning process is not only passive information
receiving but also is students’ frequent critical thinking. That means that students
themselves have to learn and practice their skills and knowledge day by day.
Moreover, each teachers have their own teaching styles, methods, and experience
which are sometimes difficult to follow. Especially, teachers do not always teach and
help students; therefore, it is necessary to raise students’ awareness of the
significance of autonomous learning. In addition, teachers should provide them with
essential knowledge and skills to build up and develop their self-learning during
school time and in their future lives.
Among the four major skills of learning a foreign language in school, reading
seems to be the most important because of its obvious benefits. Not only provides
knowledge of the target language, reading helps students experience about the target
culture and life. And simply, reading brings them fun. According to recent studies,
children who read regularly from a young age do examinations with more assurance,
so that their performance is better. As they grow into adults, this strong reading
foundation stands them in good stead (Usha, 2008, p.1-4). Learning starts when
students are at their very young ages through their sense. When they observe their

1


daily life, they are eager to know about and discover the strange and wonderful
world.
Furthermore, it is obvious that books are available, cheap, informative, accurate,
and systematic; meanwhile, teachers are changeable, not always available, and have
different levels of English proficiency. As a result, to have life-long learning,
students need to build up self-learning ability, and one way to enhance autonomous
learning is building reading habits. As can be concluded from Takase’s study,
students who gradually develop good reading habits can become autonomous
learners.
However, at Đoàn Thị Điểm Ecopark Academy School, students have low selflearning ability. They are often passive and depend much on teachers in learning.
The reason is that they do not have good reading habits. Moreover, they are not
guided to read effectively. Carrell and Eisterhold (1989) argue that there is a
significant relationship between autonomous learning and reading skills (cited in
Paweena, 2012, p.2). Poor reading proficiency can thus be a factor that may hinder
students from gaining full language learning progress (Paweena, 2012, p.15).
Because of these reasons, I do my research on “Building Reading Habits for
Enhancing Students’ English Self-learning: A case Study at Đoàn Thị Điểm Ecopark
Academy School”. Its purpose is to study the effectiveness of building reading habits
as a tool for developing students’ self-learning ability at Đoàn Thị Điểm Ecopark
Academy School.
2. Aims and objectives of the study
The aim of the study is to investigate into possibility and effectiveness of
developing students’ self-learning by building reading habits.
The objectives are:
-

To investigate the reading habits and self-learning of students

-

To study the influence of reading habits on students’ self-learning at Đoàn
Thị Điểm Ecopark Academy School

2


3. Research questions
The study was carried out in order to find out the answers to the following
research questions:
3.1. What are students’ reading habits and self-learning at Đoàn Thị Điểm
Ecopark Academy School?
3.2. How does building reading habits influent developing students’ English selflearning at Đoàn Thị Điểm Ecopark Academy School?
4. Scope of the study
Self-learning or learner autonomy is obviously a vast issue in the second language
learning. It covers many different aspects and areas. Therefore, this study focuses
mainly on developing learning autonomy by building reading habits. The subjects of
the study are 140 Secondary students who are not major in English and show the
lack of autonomy in learning.
5. Design of the study
The study includes three main parts:
 Part A is the Introduction, which is aimed at clarifying the rationale, aims,
objectives, research questions, scopes, and design of the research.
 Part B is the Development which contains 3 chapters:
Chapter 1 is Literature Review to find what is already known about some
previously related studies including definitions of key concepts and what the
researcher can develop in this study.
Chapter 2 is Methodology in which the researcher gives information about
setting of the study including the research place and participants; research
instruments and research procedure.
Chapter 3 is Data Analysis and Discussion to state what was found, and to
analyze and explain why the results came out as they did, and how they helped to
achieve the objectives of the study as well as to answer the two research questions.

3


 Part C is the Conclusion, which summarizes the main issues covered in the
paper, presents the limitations of the study and some suggestions for further
studies in the research area.
Following this chapter are the References and Appendixes for the whole
research.
PART B: DEVELOPMENT
CHAPTER 1: LITERATURE REVIEW
This chapter provides a brief review of the works and ideas on self-learning,
reading, reading habits, and influence of reading on autonomous learning.
1.1. Self-learning:
1.1.1. Definition of self-learning
Self-learning has become a key concern in the foreign language instruction
context in recent decades. There have been a huge number of studies related to the
concept. Holec (1981, p.3) defines self-learning as “the ability to take charge of
one’s own learning.” In addition, the author describes autonomous learners as those
who are aware of the purpose of their learning, learning goals, independently make
their learning plans, and activities, regularly review, and evaluate their learning.
Sharing the same idea, Dickinson (1987: 11) states that “learner is totally responsible
for all the decision concerned with his or her learning and implementation of those
decisions,” which mean that students should take responsibility for organizing and
planning their learning as well as the results of their work. In a similar view, Little
(1991: 4) defines self-learning as “a capacity for detachment, critical reflection,
decision making, and independent action.” According to Wang and Pevely (1986),
autonomous learners are those who are able to be active and independent in learning
process; can identify and formulate their own goals, and can change the goals to suit
their learning needs and interests (Cited in Dickinson, 1995, p. 167).
For Richards and Schmidt (2002, p.297), students’ self-learning refers to “the
principle that learners should be encouraged to assume a maximum amount of
responsibility and independence an autonomous learner should take responsibility
4


for they learn and how they learn it”. Therefore, the main roles of the teacher should
be information provider, assessor, administrator, and organizer. Nevertheless,
“learner autonomy does not mean avoiding any reliance on sources of help around
you but means being aware of these sources and what they have to offer in different
situations.” (Nunan 1997, p.193). For example, if students ask teacher for all new
words and structures when they are reading, they are dependent students. In contrast,
if they look up the dictionary and then ask teacher for the most suitable meanings of
the words in the context, they are autonomous students. One more example, students
can improve their autonomous learning by asking teachers for suitable reading
materials that meet their interests and English proficiency. In these cases, the
students draw the teacher into their own learning agenda, effectively using the
teacher as a source of help. To sum up, someone is qualified as an autonomous
learner when he or she independently chooses aims and purposes and sets goals;
chooses materials, methods and tasks; exercises choice and purpose in organizing
and carrying out the chosen tasks; and chooses criteria for evaluation (Based on
Holec, 1982, cited by Thansoulas, nd, p.1)
In the theories and studies above, autonomous learning is no doubt the best way to
reach educational goal. According to McDevitt (1997: 34), the end product of
education is an independent learner, and cultivating a learner’s independence or
autonomy should be regarded as the end goal that teachers and educators try to
pursue. Many educators and scholars believe that some degrees of autonomy need to
be developed if learners are to become effective language users (Littlewood, 1996;
Nunan, 1997; Breen, 1984).
1.1.2. Reasons for students’ self-learning
More and more research has been done on students’ self-learning and
independence (Holec, 1981; Benson, 2000) and its importance for successful
learning process. “You can bring a horse to water but you cannot make him water”.
The old saying highlights the importance of student’s autonomy in language learning

5


process. In fact, there are a number of reasons why students’ self-learning should be
developed.
First, self-learning is essential to make language learning successful. Ellis and
Sinclair (1989:1, cited in Benson and Voller, 1997:174) argue that “helping learners
take on more responsibility for their own learning can be beneficial” because: (1)
learning can be more effective when learners take control for their own learning
because they learn what they are ready to learn; (2) those learners who are
responsible for their own learning can carry on learning outside the classroom; (3)
learners who know about learning strategies can transfer learning strategies to other
subjects. No matter how much students learn in the class, there is always much more
they have to learn by practice on their own. In reality, programs and syllabi used in
current Vietnamese contexts cannot offer many opportunities for students to use a
foreign language outside their class. Therefore, students must take more
responsibility on their learning to master the target language. This self-learning helps
enrich the input and skills (Deci, 1995).
In addition, a great number of researches have proved the intertwined relationship
between autonomy and motivation. In Deci’s words, “autonomy is nourished by, but
in turn nourishes, our intrinsic motivation, our proactive interest in the world around
us” (1995, p.2). The student with self-motivation will be more confident and study
better.
Furthermore, once students acquire autonomy in learning in school, they slip
easily into autonomy for the activities outside class. In other words, autonomy helps
study to remain life-long learning and hereby they are capable of mastering the
language but also the world in which they live.
Finally, language learning is life-long learning: formal lesson alone will not
enable students to communicate effectively in complex life and work situation. As
being said by Trim (1988, p.3) “no school, or even university, can provide its pupil
with all knowledge and skills they need in their active adults live.” Hence, it is
important to help students become more autonomous not only for the sake of their

6


learning in school, but also for their actual lives. As Little (1991, p.8) discussed “if
there are no barriers between learning and living, learners should have difficulties in
transferring their capacity for autonomous behavior to all other areas of their lives
and this should make them useful members of society and more effective participants
in the democratic process.”
Because of all above reasons, it can be said that self-learning is “an unavoidable
methodological option” (Narcy, 1994).
1.1.3. Characteristics of self-learning
Holec (cited in Hsu, 2005) states that an autonomous learner is a manager of their
learning processes. This is further developed by Nunan (1997:193) who sees
learning autonomy as the ability “to hold the responsibility for all the decisions
concerning all aspects of this learning, i.e.: determining the objectives; defining the
contents and progressions; selecting methods and techniques to be used.” Sharing the
same ideas, Omaggio, 1978; Holec, 1981; Dickinson, 1987; Little, 1991; Broady &
Kenning, 1996; and Barnett, 1993, give the characteristics of an independent learner
as below:
-

Autonomous learners plan their learning and set goals

-

Autonomous learners are intrinsically motivated by making progress in
learning

-

Autonomous learners can make well-informed learning decisions

-

Autonomous learners are aware of their strengths and weaknesses

-

Autonomous learners have insights into their learning styles and strategies

-

Autonomous learners are self-reliant for their own learning

-

Autonomous learners use and practice skills

-

Autonomous learners plan their learning and set goals

-

Autonomous learners connect classroom learning with the real world

The difference between the dependent and autonomous learners is the dependence
on the teacher. Whereas the dependent students rely much on their teachers and

7


believe teachers are wholly responsible for their learning, the autonomous ones need
a help from teachers as facilitators and counselors.
1.1.4. Factors affecting self-learning
There are many factors influencing self-learning. In our opinion, apart from
learning strategies, the two most important factors affecting self-learning are the
change of teacher’s role and the students’ learning motivation.
1.1.4.1 Teacher’s role
In past, the teacher-centered instruction method long dominated language
classroom practice. Teachers were determiners, respected sages, and sometimes
facilitators who carried both ultimate responsibility and authority in classroom, while
students learnt passively and had no active interactions because of the fear of making
mistakes or suffering embarrassment in spite of the long-recognized significance of
in-class engagement to the development of their linguistic proficiency and successful
target language acquisition (Nuttall, 1996). Referring to the teacher’s role; recently,
Hsu (2005) in his research, still emphasizes the role of teachers on students’ selflearning. It can be concluded from the research, students’ self-learning or learner
independence means that the teacher becomes a learning guide. Teachers play a key
role in creating environment to facilitate and motivate learners to take responsibility
for their learning, develop good habits, the reading habits, and become independent
learners-readers.
In brief, because of the changing of learners from passive knowledge recipients to
the autonomous agents in their learning, teacher is no longer a knowledge transmitter
but a facilitator of the learning process in which, reading is essential.
1.1.4.2 Motivation
One of the most important factors that influence independent learning is
motivation. The research about the influence of learner motivation on developing
autonomous learning, by Conttia (2007: 3) indicates that learner motivation and selflearning are intertwined in a web of cognitive, psychological, and social practices
that are dynamic and socially constructed. Sharing the same idea, both Scharle &

8


Szabo (2000) and Dickinson (1995) agree that people, who are intrinsically
motivated in doing a learning activity, are more able to identify the goals of learning
and more willing to take responsibility for the outcome as they do it for its own sake.
Because most knowledge and skills the students learn are in books, learning
motivation depends greatly on reading motivation. This means that, it is crucial for a
self-learner to know how to read.
To sum up, apart from learning strategies, the two most important factors
affecting students’ self-learning are students’ learning motivation and the
change of the teacher’s role. But both factors depends greatly on the students’
reading habits and skills.
1.2. Building reading habits
1.2.1. Classification of reading
It is obvious that different kinds of reading skills meet different purposes.
According to purposes, it is possible to distinguish four main kinds of reading skills:
skimming, scanning, extensive, and intensive reading.
1.2.1.1. Skimming
According to Grellet (1981: 19), “When skimming, we go through the reading
material quickly in order to get the gist of it, to know how it is organized, or to get an
idea of the tone or the intention of the writer.” Sharing the same point of view,
Nuttall (1982: 36) stated, “By skimming, we mean glancing rapidly through a text to
determine whether a research paper is relevant to our own work or in order to keep
ourselves superficially informed about matters that are not of great importance to
us”.
Indeed, speed-reading is a good way to absorb printed information quickly, but
sometimes you just need to get the gist of what is being written about, without all the
details. That is when knowing how to skim text can be helpful. When you skim a
page, you take the main ideas from the reading material without reading all the
words. Readers skim when time is short or when they need to understand the general
ideas but not the particulars of an article or book. Moreover, main ideas are usually

9


found in the first sentences of each paragraph and in the first and last paragraphs. It
is also useful to pay attention to the organization of the text.
To conclude, skimming is known as a helpful technique for reading
comprehension, which allows students to get the main ideas of the text without
focusing on the details. Therefore, skimming is a useful reading skill for students,
and it is advisable to apply at the first stage of teaching reading because it can give
them a more accurate picture of text to be read later.
1.2.1.2. Scanning
Scanning occurs when a reader looks quickly through the text searching for a
specific piece of information or to see if the text is suitable for a specific reading
purpose. That means scanning is selective reading, it helps students choose the right
text and understand it well. Nuttall (1982:36) states that “By scanning we mean
glancing rapidly through a text either to search for a specific piece of information
(e.g. a name, a date) or to get an initial impression of whether the text suitable for a
given purpose (e.g. whether a book on gardening deals with the cultivation of a
particular vegetable).
Indeed, scanning is used when a specific piece of information is required, such as
a name, date, symbol, formula, or phrase, is required. The reader knows what the
item looks like and so, knows when he has located what he was searching. It is
assumed then, that very little information is processed into long-term memory or
even for immediate understanding because the objective is simply matching.
Additionally, according to Grellet (1981) scanning and skimming are both reading
techniques that are needed for quick and efficient reading, they should not be
selected separately. Besides, Davies, F. (1995:137) asserts that “it is difficult to draw
clear boundaries between the types of reading termed skimming and scanning; in real
life, scanning inevitably involves some skimming (and skipping) of large sections of
text, and skimming, reciprocally, must embrace some scanning.”
1.2.1.3. Extensive reading

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Brown (1989) explains that extensive reading is carried out "to achieve a general
understanding of a text." Sharing the same idea, Long and Richards (1971, p.216)
identify extensive reading as "occurring when students read large amounts of high
interest material, usually out of class, concentrating on meaning, "reading for gist"
and skipping unknown words." Besides, by “reading for fluency” it means students
have general understanding of the text without understanding every word (Lewis,
1992). Therefore, it is a very good way for students to widen their knowledge by
reading extensively (Nuttall, 1982).
Actually, in extensive reading, reading is in quantity and in order to again a
general understanding of what is read. It is intended to develop good reading habits.
To build up knowledge of vocabulary and structure also encourage a like for reading.
Dalman, M. (1978: 115) stated the extensive reading is a fluency activity mainly
including global understanding of longer reading text. Extensive reading activities
are usually done for one’s pleasure/ enjoyment for example, in daily life our reading
objective constantly varies, when planning exercises.
Extensive reading is considered to be useful for students’ self-learning. Their
reading habits and passion for reading are also formed through extensive reading.
Students can choose what they want to read based on their interests, what materials
they like and read for their own purpose for pleasure or entertainment. Getting the
extensive reading program off to a good start is also vital. The aim is for an initial
successful experience so that students discover they can read in English and that they
enjoy it. This positive experience should stimulate them to read more, increasing
motivation, enjoyment and a desire to read. However, it is more effective if students’
extensive reading is followed an instructional program with the help of the reading
teacher. Indeed, the teacher plays an important role in encouraging and assisting the
students with their reading, which the students undertake during and after class.
1.2.1.4. Intensive reading
In comparison with extensive reading, intensive reading which has another name,
“reading for accuracy” (Brumfit, 1977; Nuttall, 1982), seems more difficult. It

11


involves approaching the text under the guidance of a teacher or a task which forces
the students to focus on the text” (Nuttall, 2000:38). In the view of Nuttall (1982: 23)
“The aim of intensive reading is to arrive at a profound and detailed understanding of
the text: not only of what it means, but also of how the meaning is produced. The
“how” is as important as the “what”…”
Intensive Reading occurs when the learner focusses on the language rather than
the text. For example, the learner may be answering comprehension questions,
learning new vocabulary, studying the grammar and expressions in the text,
translating the passage, or other tasks that involve the student in looking intensively
the text. Most often all the students read the same short text that the teacher decided.
In other words, students read intensively to attain full comprehension context,
language patterns of the text, the purpose, and attitude of the writer.
The advantage of intensive reading is that it focuses the learner on certain aspects
of the language. However, intensive reading is usually done with difficult texts with
many unknown words that require the learner to use a dictionary. This means the
reading is slow. That there are few opportunities for the learner to learn to read
smoothly, because she has to stop every few seconds to work on something she
cannot understand. This slows or prevents the development of fluent eye movements
that are so necessary to improve one's reading skill. Intensive reading is the most
typically taught method of teaching reading. Unfortunately, some teachers only
know this method and believe that by teaching the vocabulary and grammar that is
all the learner needs. This is not so, she also needs to practice in reading and to be
trained in developing reading skills.
1.2.2. A brief introduction to reading habits
Reading is not only an essential tool for knowledge transfer but also the most
important academic activity in self- learning and in learning in general. Once the
child has been taught to read and has developed the love for books, he can explore
for himself the wealth of human experiences and knowledge through reading.
Children, who miss the opportunity of getting in touch with books in their early

12


stages of life, find it hard to acquire good reading habits in their later years (Deavers,
2000).
Reading is an intellectual action that is possible only if a man forms a habit of
reading and practices these from childhood. Reading habits, therefore, play a very
crucial role in enabling a person to achieve practical efficiency. Gallo (2007) argues
that “Books yield their best to you, if you read them at the age at which each
particular masterpiece can ideally be chewed and digested.” Everyday reading
consists of individuals’ reading activities for a variety of purposes, such as for
relaxation or information (Issa. et al, 2012). They believe that from middle childhood
through adulthood, reading becomes a major component of studying, and much
information learned through studying is initially acquired through reading. Thus,
everyday reading activities in which students engage may considerably influence
their studying skills and subsequent academic performance. There is a general sense
in which one appreciates the link between good habits of reading and the academic
performance of students generally, (Issa et al, 2012).
The term “reading habits” refers to the behavior which expresses the likeness of
reading of individual types of reading, and tastes of reading (Sangkaeo, 1999). It is a
pattern with which an individual organizes his or her reading. Reading is important
for everybody in order to cope with new knowledge in a changing world – that of the
technological age. The ability to read is at the heart of self-education and lifelong
learning. Darko-Ampem (2005) also states, “The great divide between home and
school, the facilities of education system to recognize the oral culture of
communities, especially folklore and story-telling traditions, and the lack of
culturally relevant materials in indigenous languages are all factors which contribute
toward the lack of a reading culture in many African communities.”
1.3. Review of previous studies relevant to the study
Some researchers have studied the problems of self-learning and how to develop
self-learning by reading. First, Atsuko Takase (2012) has a study on “Effectiveness
of Sustained Silent Reading in Becoming Autonomous Learners.” This study

13


investigated into the influence of Extensive reading (ER) on improving second or
foreign language students’ self-learning. He also suggested the key to success in
learning is to read a vast amount in the target language, and read many easy
materials of students’ own choice. In the study, Takase analyzed Sustained Silent
Reading (SSR) or Free Voluntary Reading (FVR). FVR can be referred to as any inschool program where students are provided a short time for reading. It requires no
book reports to be written, no questions to be answered at the end of reading and no
dictionary to be used to look up every unknown word while reading. SSR which is
one kind of FVR is a system whereby students engage in silent in-class designated
period of time “when students are allowed to read whatever they like.” The study
concluded that the more students read, the more their reading proficiency improves.
In addition, with monitoring and encouragement of the instructor, SSR enables
learners to start reading easy books well within their reading level. Thus, SSR
students become motivated to read even outside of class, gradually developing a
good reading habits and becoming autonomous learners.
Another interesting study is that by Paweena. C that is entitled on “Promoting
Learner Autonomy through an Extensive Reading Program among Second Year
Undergraduate Students of Naresuan University Reading Strategies” (2012). This
study argues that reading strategies are probably to be regarded as an important
factor for the success of self-learning. Reading strategies are the “actions, behaviors,
steps, or techniques” which students use to improve their progress in apprehending,
internalizing, and using the L2.” With suitable knowledge of those reading strategies,
students may probably become less dependent on the teacher and have more
knowledge and greater awareness of the significance of reading strategies to the
success of extensive reading program. The success of self-learning may also require
the understanding of how to use different reading strategies effectively and
efficiently. Hence, learning and practicing is necessary accordingly. Benson (2001:
75) argues, “Fostering autonomy does not imply that we simply leave learners to
their own devices, but that we actively encourage and assist them to take control of

14


their learning.” The teacher, for example, could train students on how to use various
reading strategies to deal with different type of reading texts. In this way, students
manage to read strategically and confidently by themselves and ultimately develop
their learner autonomy as the readers who possess certain reading proficiency levels.
Another study is “Reading Speed and Learner Autonomy” by Fujigaki, E. (2012).
This paper describes the significant role that reading speed has in reading fluency
and developing autonomy. She stated that students need a certain speed to get a real
understanding of a text. To achieve a reasonable speed, students need to develop a
daily reading habit. She indicated that if autonomy in reading means is able to read at
length without a dictionary or other outside help, being able to choose one’s reading
materials and general being self-sufficient. After the study, she concluded that
considerable speed is indispensable for achievement of satisfactory reading and
enjoyment; as a result, it enhanced students’ autonomy learning.
All the above studies prove the effectiveness of extensive reading, reading speed,
and reading strategies in enhancing learner autonomy. The participants were
university students who studied English as major. In Vietnam, although many
researchers and educators have studied about learner autonomy, there is still no study
in the field of developing self-learning by reading habits. In this present study, the
author would like to investigate into the influence of reading habits on enhancing
students’ self-learning at Đoàn Thị Điểm Ecopark Academy. The participants are
students in grade 7 and 8, and study English as foreign language. In the study, the
researcher will apply the Takase’s work about building Extensive Reading,
Sustained Silent Reading, or Free Voluntary Reading. Because of available reading
materials in the library and suitability for students’ interests and proficiency, it is
hopeful to build effective reading habits for students.

15


CHAPTER 2: METHODOLOGY
This chapter describes the setting, procedure, methods used and actual realization
of the study to answer the research questions. The participants, the data collection
instruments, and the data analysis methods are also justified.
2.1. Setting of the study
2.1.1. Research place
The study was conducted at Đoàn Thi ̣

Điể m Ecopark Academy School. At this

school, English is taught as a foreign language. The textbook in use is “Tiế ng Anh 8”
according to the English program designed by The Ministry of Education and
Training. There are seven periods of English per week, each of which lasts for 45
minutes. They are taught by both English and Vietnamese teachers.
At Đoàn Thị Điểm Ecopark Academy School, the English language sub-division
has 14 teachers. Some of them have more than 10 years of teaching experience, and
the youngest teachers have more than one year of teaching experience. All of them
are enthusiastic, active, hard working, and willing to apply better methods to upgrade
their teaching ability.
2.1.2. Participants of the study
2.1.2.1. Teachers of English
The study was carried out with the participation of five full –time Secondary
school teachers of English at Đoàn Thi ̣Điể m Ecopark Academy School. All the five
teachers have Bachelor’s Degree in English Teaching Methodology or English
Linguistics, two of them are studying in a M.A Degree Program in English studies,
and two had received M.A Degree in English Teaching Methodology. Most of them
have at least two years of working experience as teachers of English at Đoàn Thi ̣
Điể m Ecopark Academy School and other Vietnamese Public Schools; therefore, it
is not exaggerated to say that they are experienced and enthusiastic teachers. They
are always willing to help their students overcome difficulties and make progress in
learning English.
2.1.2.2. Students

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The 140 students under investigation were chosen from classes 7A1, 7A2, 7A3,
8A1, 8A2 at Đoàn Thi ̣Điể m Ecopark Academy School. Of them, 75 are male and 65
are female. Some of students have learned English since they were in Primary
grades. However, some of them do not know virtually anything about English
vocabulary and structures. Therefore, they were divided into high and low English
proficient groups. Students with high English proficiency are quite confident and
active in class; whereas, the low English proficiency ones are passive and depend
much on the teachers in learning. Unfortunately, students of both groups are not very
autonomous in setting their learning goals, making plans to get the goals; especially,
they do not find out their important roles in their autonomous learning.
2.1.3. Data collection instruments
The data collection is achieved by a combination of survey questionnaires and
interviews.
2.1.3.1. Survey questionnaires
Questionnaire data is particularly appropriate for quantitative, and statistic
analysis: since all the informants answer to the same questions, the data collected is
easy to be classified, summarized, analyzed and reported (Wilson & Maclen, 1994;
Brown & Rodgers, 2002; Cohen & Morrison, 2007). Besides, according to Nunan
(1993), using survey questionnaire is helpful because researchers can save
considerably the time of delivering and collecting the questionnaires. Furthermore, the
subjects are free to state out their ideas without having to worry about personal
information to be leaked. As a result, questionnaire is the main tool to collect data for
this study.
2.1.3.1.1 The questionnaire 1 for the students
The survey questionnaire 1 (see Appendix 1) was given to 140 students before
building reading habits of building reading habits. It aims to find out students’
reading habits and self-learning. The questionnaire is divided into two parts. The
first part has three questions about the students’ reading habits. The second part

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