The study was aimed at investigating the effects of using short stories techniques on student’s academic achievement in reading, a case study of Bassa L.G.A, Kogi state. The survey research was used in this study to sample the opinion of respondents. This method involved random selection of respondent who were administered with questionnaires. The target population of the study comprised students of selected secondary schools in Bassa L.G.A, Kogi state. The questionnaire administered was one hundred and ten (110) copies and one hundred copies retrieved which constitute the sample size. The descriptive and analytical approach was adopted using Chi-square to test and analyze the hypotheses earlier stated. The findings revealed that there is a significant effect of using short story techniques on students' academic achievement in reading in Bassa L.G.A, Kogi state and that there is a significant relationship between the use of short stories techniques and students academic achievement in reading in Bassa L.G.A, Kogi state. It was therefore concluded from the findings that It was found that short story can improve reading comprehension of the students'. Short story made students interested and encourage their willingness of the students to eager to read the text of English. It was recommended that teacher, educationist need to take into account teaching students through short stories to develop their skills in general and reading in particular.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Using short stories to teach language has several advantages such as contributing to a better linguistic understanding, a development of creative skills, and higher language proficiency, it also makes an important contribution to literary appreciation (Ramsaran, 1983). Integrating literature in English Language classes provides an authentic model of language use with its rich potential; by reading literary texts students face language written for native speakers and try to understand the texts. They also have to learn literary features such irony, exposition, climax, narration and so on (Collie & Slater, 1987). In this way, literature develops readers’ language and literary awareness. It is very motivating and it provides them with an understanding of another culture (Lazar, 1993). Together with learning about the culture, students also learn about the past and present and about people’s customs and traditions (Erkaya, 2015). As Collie and Slater state “a literary work can transcend both time and culture to speak directly to a reader in another country or a different period of history” (1987, p. 78). They also point out that literature “enables the learners to shift their attention beyond the more mechanical aspects of the foreign language system”. Literature may “serve as a medium to transmit the culture of the people who speak the language in which it is written”. The learner may find himself completely absorbed by the work and this will lead to a high motivation level making the activity memorable and enjoyable. Literature can also be used to reinforce the language skills and complement language teaching (Erkaya, 2015). Literature promotes students’ creativity by stimulating the imagination of students, develop their critical abilities and increase their emotional awareness (Lazar, 1993). Another aim of using literature in language teaching is to encourage students to read and experience it for their personal enrichment (Pieper, 2016). Since reading helps the second language learner acquire not only more vocabulary and more meanings and uses of the words already known (lexical competence), but it also contributes to develop syntactic knowledge whether it is taught or done for selfpleasure (Brumfit and Carter, 1986). It is through extensive reading, that learners acquire most of their vocabulary, and that instruction plays a rather insignificant role as the number of words learned is concerned (Krashen, 1989; Coady, 1997; Paribakht and Wesche, 1997). For Grabe and Stoller (1997), reading contributes greatly to vocabulary development and also to listening comprehension.
Reading is one of the skills in English and it has an important role. As a part of reading, there is a term called comprehension. Nunan (2003) argues that the goal of reading is comprehension. Comprehension is what entices the reader to continue reading (Caldwell, 2018). Dias, Montiel and Seabra (2015) add that comprehension is the ultimate goal of competent reading, and many of the components involved in reading comprehension are not unique for written language. Kruidenier (2002) states that reading comprehension involves all the elements of the reading process.Brassell and Rasinski (2018) explain that reading comprehension is the ability to take information from written text and do something with it in a way that demonstrates knowledge or understanding of that information. Based on some opinions of some researchers and experts above, it can be said that reading and comprehension are in one package, one supports the other, and they arecorrelated. Reading is not easy to be mastered. Knowing the meaning of words alone does not help the reader to comprehend and understand what the students read. Westwood (2018, pp. 33-37) argues that there are eight problems that exist in reading comprehension. They are limited vocabulary knowledge, lack of fluency, lack of familiarity with the subject matter, difficulty level of the text (readability), inadequate use of effective reading strategies, weak verbal reasoning, problem with processing information, and problems in recalling information afterreading.
Although the students have problems in comprehending the reading texts, reading can influence the student’s achievement. National Center for Education Statistics (2000) state that achievement is an individual student‘s characteristic, and the majority of variation in achievement is among students in the same classroom and between classroom in the same school. Being successful through higher education is one of ways out to enhance it to the highest level and get better jobs in the future. This makes many students have to improve themselves to be professional future educators and leaders equipped with good academicachievement.
In terms of academic achievement, academic achievement is dependent upon intelligence and study skill of the learners (Ayesha and Khurshid, 2013, p. 23). There are several factors associated with student’s academic achievement in higher education. National Center for Education Statistics (2000) state that there are several factors influence student’s academic achievement. They are students‘background, school organization features, teachers‘qualifications, school climate, reading comprehension and mathematiccomprehension.
Therefore, reading children short stories can be a good learning material since it is considered to be adequate for the learners from all levels (from the beginner to the advanced learners) (Collie & Slater, 2011). It is expected that the students will follow the storyline easier. Moreover, the story is expected to make the students interested in reading it. Related to reading and appreciating literature, Parlady (1997) stated that students “will have the opportunity to develop insights and understandings of the cultures and people of the world; to develop their imagery and visualization abilities; and to gain new perspectives by testing their ideas with those found in books.” Based on the explanation above, the research aims to investigate how the use of short stories can help students improve their reading comprehension and academic achievement.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This study aims at investigating the effect of using short stories techniques on students’ academic achievement in reading comprehension skills. So, in order to improve students’ reading comprehension skill which is considered as a very important factor in the learning of English, the teacher need to use a new method like short stories. In addition, using short stories in the classroom is a very useful way to improve students’ reading comprehension skills; they increase students' awareness and motivation, enriches their cultural understanding, enable them to know the sounds of the words and how to pronounce them correctly. The researcher noticed that learners make errors when reading English short stories. That may consist of pronunciation. Because of the difficulties that learners of English as a foreign language face in the reading comprehension skills, the low achievement of learners' reading ability, and the importance of using new methods like short stories; this study attempts to investigate the effect of using short stories techniques on students’ academic achievement in reading in Bassa L.G.A, Kogi state.
The major aim of the study is to examine the effects of using short stories techniques on student’s academic achievement in reading. Other specific objectives of the study include;
H0: There is no significant effect of using short story techniques on students' academic achievement in reading in Bassa L.G.A, Kogi state.
H1: There is a significant effect of using short story techniques on students' academic achievement in reading in Bassa L.G.A, Kogi state.
H0: There is no significant relationship between the use of short stories techniques and students academic achievement in reading in Bassa L.G.A, Kogi state.
H0: There is a significant relationship between the use of short stories techniques and students academic achievement in reading in Bassa L.G.A, Kogi state.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Curriculum planners may benefit from this study to increase their reading proficiency, and syllabus of English curriculum should emphasize the skills of reading in dealing with a large number of students in the Palestinian classrooms. Moreover, teachers of English may benefit from this to improve students' reading comprehension skills will make the reading easier, will motivate students to read more and more short stories, will give students an opportunity to use their creativity, will make students comfortable, will make the teaching of a foreign culture easier and will advance students’ creative thinking. However, teachers of English may benefit from this study; especially those who arehaving difficulties in teaching the reading comprehension skills. On the research field, the outcomes of the study may be beneficial to the present researchers or future researchers to be one of the bases that new theory learning will arise.
The study is restricted to the effects of using short stories techniques on student’s academic achievement in reading, a case study of Bassa L.G.A, Kogi state.
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Comprehension: Reconstructing the author’s message using ones experiential knowledge of language and thinking skills.
Story: The term (Story) means written narration. Story is a field of literature arts that has its own features and construction rules through which a child can learn the art of life, which ultimately helps in building his character.
Academic Achievement: It refers to how well or badly individual student scores in each specific examinable subject in school as indicated by scores and grades.
Reading: The process of constructing meaning through the dynamic interaction among the reader, the text and the context of the reading situation.
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