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THE LACK OF STUDENTS MOTIVATION TO READ ENGLISH BOOKS

AND ITS EFFECT TOWARDS THEIR ENGLISH PROFICIENCY


(A Case Study Research Conducted at Junior Level of English Education
Program Galuh University)

Mia Rachmawati
rachmawatimia46@yahoo.com

Lisda Maulani
maulanilisda@yahoo.co.id

English Education Program, Galuh University

Abstract
In the developing country, the students desire of reading is still low. Dealing with
this problem, this research aims to investigate the lack of students motivation to
read and its effect toward their English proficiency. The research was conducted
toward EFL junior level (the third grade in university) of English Education
Program, Galuh University who were selected purposively from a particular class
which consists of 14 students. The writers, therefore addressed two research
questions: (1) what are the effects of the students reading enthusiasms towards
their English proficiency? (2) How do students reading enthusiasms affect
students English proficiency? In answering the research questions, the writer
applies case study to collect the data by observing and administering
questionnaires to 14 respondents in Galuh University Ciamis. The results show
that 86% students in the class who have lack of enthusiasm in reading have lesser
English proficiency than those who like reading.
Keywords: reading, students motivation, English language proficiency

INTRODUCTION
Reading is viewed as a way to gain knowledge besides experiencing.
Through reading, someone can see another part of the world without even touch
it, someone can know the fact or theory without trying an experiment and
experiencing the failure first. However, although reading is considered as an
important activity, there are so many people who do not realize about how
important reading is, particularly in developing country, at which knowledge
awareness of people are still low. They are not accustomed to reading because
they think that knowledge is not a vital thing in their life. They believe that the
most important thing is to survive, and they can survive without reading. Reading

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is only for some people who learn at school. Unfortunately, this wrong perception
is inherited to their generations hereditarily. Their children who learn at school
view reading is only for answering questions in examination. There is lack of
awareness of implementing the knowledge on the book in their life. Therefore,
reading is supposed to something boring, something burdened and something
unnecessary for many students.

In line with the students awareness of reading, the writers try to associate
it with the students English proficiency, hence the writers intend to focus on the
junior students English proficiency which is something quite problematic in EFL
students, especially in Galuh university. Therefore, the present study focuses on
English books as materials, which are to be read by students. Furthermore, the
writers took three previous studies in order to support their present study. The first
previous study is from Al-Saleem (2012) who conducted a content analysis
research entitled encouraging reluctant readers to read. The second previous study
is from Starcher and Proffitt (2011) who conducted an empirical research entitled
encouraging students to read: what professors are (and arent) doing about it. the
last previous study is from Ghavamnia, Kassaian and Dabaghi (2011) who
conducted a research entitled the relationship between language learning
strategies, language learning beliefs, motivation and proficiency: a study of EFL
learners in Iran.
In accordance with the present study, those previous studies have some
similarities and differences, yet they still support the present research. The first
previous study tells about what people can do to encourage reluctant students to
read. He (2012) commonly focuses on the environment and habitual building as
the solution of his problem. Unfortunately, he (2012) aimed his study to the
general reading problem rather than specifying it to English area only. The second
previous study found that there are factors why students completed their
assignments late, one of the factors is the lack of reading motivation. Students
view interesting books differently, and it affects the students motivation to read
the books in order to complete their assignments. Therefore, according to this
case, the professor should consider about what does and does not have to do in

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order to encourage students to do their assignments punctually. Afterwards, the
third previous study reveals the language learning strategies used by students of
Isfahan University, Iran, which are associated with three variables that are owned
differently by each student, those are motivation, proficiency, and beliefs of the
learners.
Regarding to the overview of previous studies above, all have relation with
the present study in several aspects, and in other aspects, those previous studies
have no relation at all with the present study. However, the writers feel the strong
link between the first previous study and the present study because many aspects
in the first previous study assist the present study and provide appropriate
resource to be engaged with the present study. In harmony with that issue, the
writers then conduct a research entitled: The Lack of Students Motivation to
Read English Books and Its Effect towards Their English Proficiency.
After discussing about the background of the study and previous studies,
the writer is now going to discuss about the aim of the study. The writer conducts
this study to investigate the answers of the following research questions that the
writer has addressed:
1. What are the effects of the students reading enthusiasms towards their
English proficiency?
2. How do students reading enthusiasms affect students English proficiency?

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE


In this part, the writers are going to delineate the theories that are relevant
with the present study. Those relevant theories cover definition of reading,
motivation and English Language proficiency.
Definition of Reading
To begin with, the writer takes two experts in defining reading. The first
expert is Willis (2008, p. 11) who defines reading as a process of activity which
involves several essential and interrelated phases. Those phases are:
1. Information intakefocusing and attending to the pertinent environmental
stimuli.
2. Fluency and vocabularyassociating the words on the page with stored
knowledge to bring meaning to the text.

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3. Patterning and networkingrecognizing familiar patterns and encoding
new information by linking it with prior knowledge.
Then, the next expert is Cameron (2001, p. 125) who states, Reading
brings together visual information from written symbols, phonological
information from the sounds those symbols make when spoken, and semantic
information from the conventional meanings associated with the words and
symbols.
Regarding to the definitions aforementioned, the writers would like to
elaborate them, that reading is a process of obtaining information by associating
prior knowledge which includes the recognition of written symbols, phonological
information and semantic information with new information in the text in order to
bring meaning to the text.
Definition of Motivation
The next term which needs to be taken into account is motivation. Because
this study is dealing with the students eagerness to read, hence the motivation
refers to students motivation to read. The writers have taken some experts to
define what motivation is. The first expert is Barry Corbin, the author of
Unleashing the Potential of the Teenage Brain (2008) as cited in Kirby and
McDonald (2009, p. 5) who describe, Motivation as an emotional reaction in
which the learner sees a benefit, reward, or the potential for a positive reward in a
task. Furthermore, the second experts are Cambria and Guthrie (2010) who argue,
Motivation are the values, beliefs and behaviors surrounding reading for an
individual.
In harmony with the those definitions above, the writers elaborate them
that motivation is emotional reaction which includes values, beliefs and behaviors
in a learner in order to see benefit, reward, or the potential for positive reward in
reading activity.
Definition of English Language Proficiency
After defining the term motivation, the writers then are going to convey
the term English language proficiency. There are some experts who define the
English Language Proficiency, the first expert is Lachat (2004, p. 25-26) states
that English language proficiency is the ability to read, speak comprehend and
write a message in English in order to exchange ideas. The skills contribute in

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language proficiency are listening, reading, speaking and writing. The next
experts are Wilson and Komba (2012) who define, Language proficiency is
delimited to mean the overall ability of an individual in language and a test of
proficiency is organised basically into listening, reading, writing and speaking
skills.
Dealing with two definitions above, the writers then would like to
elaborate them that English language proficiency is the overall linguistic ability
which possessed by a learner which enables her/him to speak, listen, write and
read in English by considering about the context to derive appropriate meaning.

METHOD
In this section, there are some points to be highlighted. Those points are
research design, participant and research site, data collection procedure and data
analysis.

Research Design
In the present study, the writers apply case study, particularly intrinsic case
study as suggested by Fraenkel, et. al. (p. 435). Intrinsic case study is a kind of
research design which investigates a case or little unknown phenomenon in depth.
Thus, the writer decided to apply case study because she intent to figure out the
problem deeply and collect the data in detail.

Participants and Research Site


In the present study, the writers selected purposively 14 respondents of a
particular class from Galuh University who are junior level. The reason for which
they were selected was that the writer wants to figure out how much their
motivation is in improving their English proficiency through reading English
books and what factors that are affecting their motivation as they are junior level
of Galuh University who are preferred to master English language proficiency.
Moreover, the writers are part of the class, therefore they had a long time to
observe students whom are their fellows. In other words, the writers are
participant observers.

Data Collection Procedure

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The data were derived by observation in the class and administration of
questionnaires to 14 respondents who were selected purposively from a particular
class. Each questionnaire consists of 6 questions which are all open-ended
questionnaires. This is intended to obtain data in more detail because some
questions require reasons for each answer that the respondents gave. The time for
answering the questions were quite long, it was about two days because the
writers administered the questionnaires through electronic device while the
respondents were at home, so the respondents were able to fill the questionnaires
without a rush.

Data Analysis
The answers of each question would be analyzed qualitatively in order to
get conclusions of the effect of junior students motivation toward their English
proficiency. The answers also could lead to the assumption which can reveal why
junior students of Galuh University have lack of reading motivation. Besides,
quantification is used to present data in percentage form in order to simplify the
description of the data.

RESULTS
In interpreting the data, the writers analyzed all the answers given by the
respondents. The answers of the questions numbered 1 up to 6 are described as
follow:
Question number 1 is Do you like reading English books? Why?
According to the answers, 86% of the respondents say that they do not like
reading, and 14% do. The common reasons why they do not like reading books
are that English books are boring and those make them sleepy. Furthermore, the
language itself, which is regarded foreign for them, makes them reluctant to read
because the books are difficult to understand and those need so much effort for the
students to understand the meaning. Therefore, students prefer to close the English
books and do something which can satisfy them. In contrast, 14% respondents
think that reading can improve their knowledge and make them get new
information.
Question number 2 is What kind of book do you like to read in
English? in regard with the answers, 79% respondents argue that they like

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reading literary works, such as novels, short stories and poem. Meanwhile, 14% of
the respondents argue that they like reading educational books and 7% of the
respondents argue that there is no English book they like.
Question number 3 is What do you think of reading English books?
in harmony with the answers, 50% of the respondents think that reading English
books is interesting, despite of the words which take too much time to understand
and eventually make them confused and bored. However, some respondents like
books with pictures. Furthermore, there are 43% of the respondents who think that
reading English books is as a way to increase their English vocabularies and their
understanding, though they need patience in doing that. In contrast, 7% of the
respondents think that reading English books is boring.
Question number 4 is Do you think reading is useful for you? In
accordance with the answers, 100% of the respondents confess that reading is
useful for them.
Question number 5 is What makes you want to read English books?
dealing with the answers, 14% of the respondents say that they read English books
in order to increase their vocabularies, to get more knowledge about English and
its culture, also to understand the literacy used in the language. In contrast, 86%
of the respondents say that they want to read English books when their lecturers
give them assignments to read.
Question number 6 is How should the learning process be to motivate
you to read English books? In line with the answers, 50% of the respondents
think that the learning process should be interesting, joyful and the book itself
should be interesting and it is not difficult to understand. Whereas, 29% of the
respondents think that there must be an instruction from the lecturer to read books,
thus the respondents would read books no matter they like it or not because there
is a score threat. Meanwhile, 21% of the respondents think that the teacher should
give them motivation for which they have to read books and tell them what
benefits they can get from reading books.
According to the data presented above, it can be inferred that reading
English books is not easy to do. However, all of the respondents confess that
reading is very useful for them, yet it is not enough to motivate them to read
English books particularly academic books. English books, both academic and

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non academic require so much effort and patience to be comprehended by EFL
students, and that is the common reason for which English books seem not
interesting and boring. Therefore, to get students to read English books,
particularly academic books, the lecturers should figure out some appropriate
techniques to motivate students to read.

DISCUSSIONS
The results of this study indicates that the students still have lacks of
motivation to read English books particularly academic books which actually are
able to give them plenty of knowledge in increasing their English proficiency.
Nonetheless, they still want sort of joyful books like literary works to read which
should not be their primary books to read if they want to improve their English
language proficiency faster.
In this paper, the discussion centers on the research questions that have to
be answered based on the data collected. The answers are explained as follow:
Research question 1: what are the effects of the students reading enthusiasm
towards their English language proficiency?
The data aforementioned give the evidence that there are effects of the
students reading enthusiasm towards their English language proficiency. This is
also based on evidence gathered by classroom observation. The writers observed
the respondents English language proficiency which comprises listening, reading,
speaking and writing. Thus, the answer to this research question is as follows:
a. Students do not have curiosity and eagerness to improve their English
abilities;
b. Students have less vocabularies;
c. Students have lack of knowledge about English itself which includes
grammar, and literature aspects of English and knowledge about the
content of the English books;
d. Students do not get used to reading, particularly English books which
might make them lazy to do more efforts dealing with English;
e. Students become speechless when they are needed to speak in English;
f. Students have lack of confidence in listening, speaking, reading and
writing because they are not sure whether what they are thinking is right or
wrong which finally leads them to cheat.

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Research question 2: How does students reading enthusiasm affect
students English proficiency?
To answer the second research question, the writers took all numbers
aforementioned and the results of observation as the evidence to strengthen the
answer. Based on the answer above, most of the students do not like reading
English books because it is confusing and boring. The remaining students see
reading English books as interesting activity in extent of literary work, yet they
still encounter difficulties in recognizing new vocabularies that reduces their
motivation to read. In relation with those answers above, the writers link those to
their English language proficiency, which consists of listening, speaking, reading
and writing. The first is the motivation to read in relation with listening. In
listening activity, less reading is needed. In order to be good in listening, students
need to listen more and more either intensively or extensively. However, in this
case, reading still takes a role to increase students listening skill, because by
reading, students are able to know what kind of pattern the sounds that they heard
and it tests the vocabularies that the students have in their minds. In speaking, the
role of reading is very important in recognizing what kind of word patterns that
students must produce. As in listening, it also tests vocabularies as well as
knowledge about English to be produced while speaking. In reading itself, the
mixing of the prior knowledge, such as vocabulary mastery and grammar, is
necessary in order to obtain meaning based on context. In writing, the role of
reading is to obtain various knowledge and information which are mixed in
students brain and then they produce an idea in form of written text. According to
the observation, it can be concluded that the students who have high motivation to
read because of their hobbies, their eagerness to improve their knowledge and
their curiosities have better English proficiency than those who read just because
of threat of the lecturer and assignments. Unfortunately, there are only 14%
students who read to seek knowledge and to satisfy his curiosity. Meanwhile, the
remaining students who read in force may gain less knowledge because they only
read when their lecturers tell them to do so. It means that they are not accustomed
to reading in enjoyable and enthusiastic way. As the result, when they are

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encountering assignments, which includes listening, speaking, reading and writing
skills, they seem so burdened with the assignments. They do not even practice
knowledge which they have gotten by force, whereas, English proficiency cannot
be gained by being passive, yet, it must be gained by actively practicing it in daily
life.

CONCLUSION
Dealing with the results and discussions aforementioned, it can be inferred
that the students reading motivation affects their English language proficiency
comprises their listening skills, their speaking skills, their reading skills and their
writing skills. Thus, students motivation to read should be increased in order to
get plenty of knowledge which are admitted as important to students lives. The
lecturers in this case should be able to create or apply techniques which can
trigger students motivation to read books, particularly academic books and forget
about the difficulties of the English language. The lecturers task is to find out
how to make learners to read enjoyably and make it as a hobby that can satisfy
their curiosities instead of threatening them with bad scores. This issue is the task
for parents and teachers as the external factor in building good environment for
learners to make reading habit in their environment.

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