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Effectiveness of picture clues in improving comprehension level of a story of low to intermediate proficiency pupils.

Introduction Many people including several professional teachers think that reading merely involves the ability to sound the words printed on a page. It is important to realize that reading is more complex that this as it also includes the understanding of meaning or message the words are intended to carry. However, many Malaysian children know English when they come to school that makes this process becomes harder to teacher to deal with. This is because in order to comprehend the text, they need to decode the text by orchestrating a range of cues in which requires them to have adequate vocabulary. In helping them to master this element of reading, they need to be taught a variety of reading comprehension strategies and be encouraged to reflect on their own understanding and learning. Hence, teacher plays a crucial role in providing explicit instruction in comprehension strategies and materials that support understanding of the text. Therefore, a research will be conducted in proving the effectiveness of pictures clues in improving the reading comprehension of teaching story for the pupils who are low to intermediate level of English proficiency. Reflection In the month of July till September, I had done the second phase of practicum in Sekolah Bandar Tun Razak 2. I was given the opportunity to teach Year 1 Pilihan pupils who are at the average level of English proficiency as they are just beginner leaners. Before the class started, I ran a quick test to know the English level of the students by

giving them a short text taken from the text book which consisted of 3 simple sentences and asked them to read aloud individually. After they finished reading, I posted some questions regarding the text. Based on that survey, I could conclude that most of them are able to read the text and the rest required guidance from me to read as they tend to pronounce every letter. However, most of them could not answer the questions that showed that they did not understand the meaning conveyed the text. This led me to try various teaching strategies and materials during the reading lesson such as shared reading; summarizing and storytelling to aid the pupils to comprehend the text and avoid me from using translation method. These strategies required me to spend more times as it was done orally. Thus, I need to provide a lot of audio-visual support along with strategies like facial expression, pictures and various tones and hand gesture in order to make easier for the students to understand the text. Whereas for the weak students, I had to give more attention to them by asking them simple questions right after my explanation to confirm they were on the right track like their other friends. The reason why I really emphasized on reading comprehension because without it, the reading became pointless as it did not provide the reader with any information. Hence, I would like to propose a research based on this topic in finding the most suitable strategy to improve students reading comprehension in primary school. Problem Analysis Although there were lots of other problems faced by my students during the lesson, I wanted to focus on how to improve reading comprehension in teaching story by using pictures cues. After the students practise the reading of the text, I will explain the meaning of story by showing the pictures and point out some questions to them. It will

help the pupils to comprehend the meaning as it explains the textual material that allows them to make a bridge between text and illustrations information. Some studies had conducted on this topic and it turned out that picture has a significant influence on learners performance as the learners who read texts with picture outperformed the students who read texts without picture. According to Jenkins & Pany (1981) Since pictures in text activate readers background knowledge, they have a positive effect on text comprehension. Elster (1998) gave support by adding that pictures are a scaffold which nurtured attention and motivate talks and comments. Haring and Fry (1979) had pupils read a short story paired with or without illustrations and then to write down everything they could remember about it. They found that the pupils who had read the story with the pictures performed better on recalling more details and concluded that pictures improved comprehension. In a recent study, Captu (2009) examined the influences of using picture and text on students reading comprehension. The findings indicated that Picture-to-Text Learning Method appeared to be an effective learning tool. However, most of the studies were conducted for EFL students in different levels which is differ from my target subjects that trigger me to find its effectiveness in our Malaysian context. Thus, this research will be proposed to investigate the effectiveness of pictures on comprehension of ESL students at the primary school level.