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1.1 Background of the Study

It is not debatable that English becomes the first international language
in the world. Therefore, someone who wants to deal with the universal community
has to learn this language. In Indonesia, English is considered as the first foreign
language which is taught in the formal school. Learning English is a need for most
Indonesian. This condition is reasonable enough since English plays an important
role. People think that by mastering English well, it will be easier for them to
understand some information, not only in printed media but also electronic media,
such as e-books, online newspapers, magazines, radio, television, internet,
instruction in mobile phone, and so on. Particularly, in education field, English is
potentially required. There are many books in different field of study written in
English. For those reasons, Indonesian government has allocated English from
elementary to university level. What Indonesian government does is in line with
one of the reasons for learning language which is proposed by Harmer (1991: 1),
who states that school curriculum is probably the greatest number of language
students in the world do it because it is on the school curriculum whether they like
it or not. For many students, English, in particular, is something that both they and
their parents need to be taught. For others, however, the study of languages is
something they feel neutral (or sometimes negative) about.

The good reference books are still written in the native language. It is
known that most of information about science and technology are usually written
in English. If the students have a good mastery in English, especially in reading
skill, it will be helpful for them to develop their field of study in which they are
learning. However, in fact, not all of the students can well enough comprehend the
contents of those books. It is supported by Carrel (1993: 1). She wrote that for
many students, reading is the most important of the four skills in a second
language, particularly in English as a second or foreign language. Certainly, if we
consider the study of English as a foreign language around the world-the situation
in which most English learners find themselves-reading is the main reason why
students learn the language. Quite simply, without solid reading proficiency,
second language readers cannot perform at levels they must in order to succeed,
and they cannot compete with their native English-speaking counterparts.
English in Senior High School focuses on four basic language skills,
namely: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Reading instruction dominates
the curriculum in Senior High School. The teaching of English in Indonesia
emphasizes on reading comprehension. The content of English questions in
National Examination (UAN) is the evidence. There are 50 questions that consists
of 15 questions for listening section (30%), 31 questions for reading section
(62%), and the rest is for writing sections: 4 questions (8%) (Detik-detik UAN
SMA/MA/SMK 2011/2012).
Those reading texts are based on genres. According to Wallace (1992:
30), genres are social event not only in terms of the social roles and purposes of
those who create them as speakers or writers but because the communicative

function of the resulting spoken or written text is recognizable to a particular

community of listeners or readers. Swales in Wallace (1992: 30) similarly
emphasizes the socially-determined nature of genres, describing them as
communicative events which are socio culturally recognizable.
In Senior High School, the students are taught 11 genres, namely: (1)
recount, (2) narrative, (3) procedure, (4) descriptive, (5) news item, (6) report, (7)
analytical exposition, (8) hortatory exposition, (9) explanation, (10) discussion,
and (11) review. However, in the eleventh grade, they are only taught 5 genres.
Report, narrative, and analytical exposition are in the first semester. Spoof and
hortatory exposition are in the second semester.
Reading is not an easy thing to do. As stated by Maggart and Zintz
(1990: 6), reading is a thinking process. It requires some responses on the part of
the reader. It means that reading not only needs our eyes to read but also needs our
brain to think and our high interest to know something new. Harmer (1991: 190)
supports that reading is an exercise dominated by the eyes and the brain. The eyes
receive messages and the brain then has to work out the significance of these
messages. Furthermore, Heilman (1961: 4) adds that reading always involves the
simultaneously application of a great number of mechanical skills and
comprehension skills, all of which are influenced by the reader attitude,
knowledge, and past experience. Reading is a complicated process.
Reading becomes a vital skill considering the need of understanding
international written information. Mc Neil (1984:6) says numerous reasons have
been given for failure to perform well on tests of reading comprehension-failure to
decode words, inability to follow directions, inability to explain or remember,

insufficient vocabulary, lack of interest in the material, complexity of syntax, and

complexity of ideas and their relations. This statement is supported by Ernest
Horn in Maggart and Zintz (1990: 6):
The author does not really convey ideas to the reader; he merely
stimulates him to construct them out of his own experience. If the
concept is already in the readers mind, the task is relatively easy, but
if, as is usually the case in school, it is new to the reader, its
constructive more nearly approaches problem solving than simple
Reading comprehension means understanding what has been read. If a
reader can comprehend the written message that is sent by the author, he will
understand the hidden information in the text. White (1997: 41) says that
comprehension involves more that simply decoding. It involves recognizing the
significance of the message, understanding the intentions of the author, and going
beyond what is written to guess at hidden, unstated or implied means.
Sometimes habit may also influence students ability. A student who
often interacts with the English native speaker will have a good listening and
speaking skill. A student who likes to write will have a good writing skill. A
student who has habit of watching English movie usually will have good listening
comprehension. A student who has habit in reading in the L1, it will help much in
the transferring to foreign language reading. Therefore, it can be assumed that a
student who likes reading a book, improve his reading skill. Redway (1988: 6)
There are two types of habits which we can relate to reading: good
habits and bad habits, habits which help and reinforce efficient
reading and habits which hinder efficient reading.
Repeated reading is an effective approach to improve reading
comprehension. It refers to the good habit. Students should have a lot of practice

in reading because reading is along term habit starting with the very early ages,
which is the prominent gateway to the knowledge room. By reading, students get
enough science and information from what they have read (function as a previous
knowledge). Students can improve their reading skill by reading a lot of easy
materials. It is relevant with what De Boer (1982: 8) says that you can improve
your reading only by reading abundantly. Get the habit of reading a great deal.
You may wish to begin with easy materials, with daily newspaper, a popular
magazine, or book of easy short stories, as you develop fluency and pleasure in
reading and accuracy. It can be assumed that students should have a good habit of
reading English, which helps them improve their knowledge of English.
Moreover, they will read English fluently and accurately. In addition, Redway
(1988: 16) also states that habit is not taught but is acquired. It can be concluded
that habit of reading is one of the factors which influence the degree of
comprehending text.
There are many factors influencing the depth and the ease of
comprehending the idea on a page. Besides reading habit, another aspect that
influences students reading comprehension is vocabulary mastery. A large number
of words should be known by the reader in order to comprehend the whole text. It
is supported by Fauziati (2002: 155), vocabulary is central to language and critical
importance to typical language learner. Without sufficient vocabulary, one cannot
communicate effectively or express his idea in both oral and written language.
Having a limited vocabulary is also a barrier that precludes learners from learning
a foreign language. When they do not know how to enrich their vocabulary, for

example, they often gradually lose interest in learning. In a study by Kiray (2002)
in Muhlise and Akyay, in the International Journal of Language Society and
Culture (2009), it is stated that foreign language learners do not like to read in the
foreign language for having pleasure because of language problem such as lack
fluency and vocabulary.
Word meaning appears as the consistently most powerful factor in
comprehension. Therefore, knowing vocabulary is important in getting meaning
from a text. Allen (1983: 4) states that students will make mistakes if they learn
meaning of words without learning how to put word together in sentences. It is
never enough to learn only the words and their meaning. Vocabulary must be
learned and learning vocabulary does not mean memorizing the context of a
dictionary like what some people think because the words may have more than
one meaning that is different.
The researcher chooses the students of the eleventh grade of MAN 1
Surakarta, particularly in the science classes as the subjects of research because
they can be categorized as the teenager learners and teenager learners usually have
high eagerness to know something new. They can be obtained by reading a lot to
widen and get new things and knowledge. Intelligently, they are able to make their
own imagination when reading a passage. Since the assumption from the teachers
of English in MAN 1 Surakarta that the students of science classes have higher
ability in grasping material generally in the class than other majors, the researcher
assumes that they also have a good habit, such as reading habit that can help them
comprehend the material easier. Furthermore, having a good reading habit can

increase the students vocabulary mastery and it is assumed that they are good in
reading comprehension. The researcher wants to investigate specifically their
English reading habit, vocabulary mastery toward their reading comprehension.
Therefore, the researcher selects the eleventh grade students of science classes of
MAN 1 Surakarta.
Based on the description above, the writer is interested in studying the
correlation between students reading habit, their vocabulary mastery, and their
reading comprehension.
1.2 The Problem Statements
Based on the background of the study explained before, the researcher
formulates the problems as follows:
1. Is there any positive significant correlation between reading habit and reading
2. Is there any positive significant correlation between vocabulary mastery and
reading comprehension?
3. Is there any positive significant correlation between reading habit, vocabulary
mastery, and reading comprehension?

1.3 The Objectives of the Study

1. To know whether there is a positive correlation between reading habit and
reading comprehension.
2. To know whether there is a positive correlation between vocabulary mastery
and reading comprehension.
3. To know whether there is a positive correlation between reading habit,
vocabulary mastery, and reading comprehension.

1.4 The Limitation of Problem

The study only focuses on the correlation among three variables,
namely: reading habit, vocabulary mastery, and reading comprehension. The
research subject is the eleventh grade students of MAN 1 Surakarta in the
academic year of 2011/2012, particularly in the science class. The correlation
method is used to examine the coefficient of correlation between the variables.
1.5 The Significances of the Study
The study is intended to know the correlation between reading habit,
vocabulary mastery, and reading comprehension. By knowing the correlation it
can give some benefits, as follows:
1. Theoretically
To prove whether there is correlation between reading habit, vocabulary
mastery, and reading comprehension of the eleventh grade science class students
of MAN 1 Surakarta in academic year of 2011/2012, so it can be used as the
reference in improving and developing reading comprehension in the school,
particularly in accustoming reading and adding vocabularies through reading
2. Practically
a. For the teacher, to be a reference in teaching the students especially in
realizing the importance of reading habit and mastering vocabulary in
teaching learning process particularly in teaching reading in order to
improve students reading comprehension.

b. For the students, by knowing contribution of reading habit and vocabulary

mastery toward reading comprehension, they are expected to have a good
reading habit and add vocabulary continuously.
1.6 Previous Study
Some researchers have conducted the researches concern on reading
comprehension. What are mentioned below will explain about the finding of the
research conducted concerning on the reading comprehension.
Mahardhika Andiansyah (2009) conducted a research entitled A
Correlational Study between the Students Interest in Game Activities, Vocabulary
Mastery, and Their Reading Comprehension of the Seventh Grade Students of
SMP N 8 Surakarta in Academic Year 2007/2008. The subject was one of the six
classes of seventh grade students of SMP N 8 Surakarta, consisting of 40 students.
The technique used to analyze the data was Single and Multiple Regression and
Correlation. The result of the analysis shows that (1) there is a positive correlation
between Students Interest in Game Activities and their Reading Comprehension,
(2) there is a positive correlation between Vocabulary Mastery and Reading
Comprehension, and (3) there is a positive correlation between Interest in Game
Activities and Vocabulary Mastery simultaneously and Reading Comprehension
of the Seventh Grade Students of SMP N 8 Surakarta in academic year 2007/2008.
W. Setyaning Budhi Candrawati (2009) conducted a research entitled A
Correlational Study on Students Translation Ability, Reading Habit, and Students
Reading Comprehension of the Tenth Grade Students of SMA N Kebakkramat
Academic Year 2008/2009. The subject was class X7 which consist of 50
students. The techniques of data analysis are simple and multiple regression, and


correlation. The finding of this research showed that (1) there is a correlation
between students translation ability and reading comprehension, (2) there is
correlation between students reading habit and reading comprehension, and (3)
there is correlation between students translation ability, reading habit, toward
reading comprehension.
This research relates to the correlation between reading habit, vocabulary
mastery, and reading comprehension of the eleventh grade science class students
of MAN 1 Surakarta in the academic year of 2011/2012.
1.7 The Definition of Key Term
1. Habit is an action practices continuously until it becomes a patterned behavior,
and it is usually performed without conformed unconsciously because practice
has become familiar and easy (Carter, 1973: 247).
2. Reading habit is an important tool for the development of personalities and
mental capacities of individuals (Clark and Rumbold, 2006). In addition,
reading habit is repetitive regular tendency in reading that finally becomes a
patterned behavior that automatically practiced.
3. Vocabulary mastery. Vocabulary is as set list or a set words for particular
language, or a list of words that individual speaker of a language might use
(Hatch and Brown, 1995: 1). Mastery is defined as a great knowledge about or
understanding o a particular thing (Oxford Advanced Dictionary, 2003: 788). In
this study, by vocabulary is meant the ability of students in mastering words
meaning which is shown by their scores in vocabulary test.
4. Reading comprehension is a process which involves actively constructing
meaning among the parts of the text and between the text and personal
experience (McNeil, 1984: 5). In this study, reading comprehension is meant


the ability of students in comprehending an English text as shown by their

scores in reading comprehension test.
5. Correlation research is a study which describes the degree to which two or
more quantitative variables are related, and it does so by use of a correlation
coefficient (Fraenkel and Wallen, 1993: 287).