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THE INFLUENCE OF READING NEWS MAGAZINE ON THE SPELLING OF ENGLISH WORDS BY SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
This study aid at find out whether reading news magazine aid the spelling of English words by secondary school students. Many students struggle with spelling pronunciation but with aid of magazine reading they can spell word in English language. As students go through secondary school, those students need to develop reading skill that will help improve their vocabulary skills. Once students are able to develop these skills, those students will be able to recognize words quicker and spell them fluently. A questionnaire was used for the data collection. The data collected were analyzed quantitatively with the use of Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). Figures and tables were used to present the results of findings. From the total of 1052 copies of questionnaire distributed, 1000 copies, representing 95.0% were filled and returned. The findings showed that majority of the respondents acknowledge the importance of reading, 81.9% of the respondents neither read novel nor fiction within the last two semesters while 62.0% of the respondents only read for the purpose of passing examination. The study confirmed that reading magazines has influence on the spelling of English words. The study recommended that teachers should continue to focus on spelling in their curriculum due to the fact of how closely related spelling ability is with reading magazine fluently and reading magazine. Some teachers feel that spelling is not an essential component in the curriculum. Doing some research, spelling is a critical element not only in reading magazine fluently and comprehension, but also across the curriculum in all subject areas.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Reading is a well-planned and deliberate pattern of study which has attained a form of consistency on the part of students toward understanding spelling of an English words. Reading determine the academic achievements of students to a great extent. Students often come from different environments and localities with different levels of understanding. Therefore, they differ in the pattern of reading. While some students have good reading of magazines, others tend to exhibit poor reading.
A creative and pragmatic education involves the habit of personal investigation. The act of personal investigation requires self-study to be followed by self-thinking and analysis. Self-study, otherwise referred to as reading at one’s own accord, requires a habit, which is known as reading magazines. Reading makes way for a better understanding of one’s own experiences and it can be an exciting voyage to self-discovery. “Reading magazines is best formed at a young impressionable age in school, but once formed it can last one’s life time (Green, 2001).
Reading of magazine is essential to know whether child is gifted, average, normal or backward etc, should be educated in his or her own way but if he or she possesses good study reading habits, he or she can spell every word in English fluently. It is the reading which help the student in obtaining meaningful and desirable knowledge. Good reading act as a strong weapon for the students to excel in life (Bashir & Mattoo, 2012).
According to Palani (2012), reading magazines is an essential and important aspect for creating a literate society in this world. It shapes the personality of individuals and it helps them to develop proper knowledge of word formation, spelling, thinking methods, and creates new ideas. However, the developments in the Mass Media, had continued to influence interest in reading (hard copy of literatures such as…) books, magazines and journals, among others.
Palani (2012) is of the opinion that, effective reading magazines is important avenue of effective learning and reading is interrelated with the total educational process and hence, educational success requires successful reading magazines by child learners to improve spelling skills. He believes reading is the identification of the symbols and the association of appropriate meaning with them. It requires identification and comprehension.
News reading skills help the student to understand the meaning of words in isolation and in context. Before the advent of the magazines, both the young and the old found enough time to read. Apart from teachers, other professionals used to spend their leisure time in reading both English and vernacular literature. English medium schools almost always demanded extra reading from their students. But all these have become
a thing of the past.
Palani (2012) further added that, nowadays, learning of word spellings has lost its importance as both the young and the old are glued to magazines. As far as educational institutions are concerned, coaching students for the examinations seems to be the be-all and end-all of our educational system. A lot of researchers like Ogbodo (2002), Bhan & Gupta (2010), and Singh (2011) have done work on reading, especially how it effects the students studying habits, word formation of spellings of English words.
Much about spelling is puzzling. Our society expects that any educated person can spell, yet literate adults commonly characterize themselves as poor spellers and make spelling mistakes. Many children have trouble spelling, but we do not know how many, or in relation to what standard, because state accountability assessments seldom include a direct measure of spelling competence. Few state standards specify what, exactly, a student at each grade level should be able to spell, and most subsume spelling under broad topics such as written composition and language proficiency. State writing tests may not even score children on spelling accuracy, as they prefer to lump it in with other “mechanical” skills in the scoring rubrics.
Nevertheless, research has shown that learning to spell and learning to read rely on much of the same underlying knowledge— such as the relationships between letters and sounds— and, not surprisingly, that spelling instruction can be designed to help children better understand that key knowledge, resulting in better reading (Ehri, 2000). Catherine Snow et al. (2005, p. 86) summarize the real importance of spelling for reading as follows: “Spelling and reading build and rely on the same mental representation of a word. Knowing the spelling of a word makes the representation of it sturdy and accessible for
Ehri and Snowling (2004) found that the ability to read words “by sight” (i.e. automatically) rests on the ability to map letters and letter combinations to sounds. Because words are not very visually distinctive (for example, car, can, cane), it is impossible for children to memorize more than a few dozen words unless they have developed insights into how letters and sounds correspond. Learning to spell requires
instruction and gradual integration of information about print, speech sounds, and meaning—these, in turn, support memory for whole words, which is used in both spelling
and sight reading.
Teachers identify a group of words at the beginning of the week, possibly give a pretest, have students practice the words throughout the week, and test the students on the words at the end of the week. Therefore, trying to determine the best and most effective way to teach spelling is essential.
The development of this research is to present a theoretical model integrating identification between the ability to spell with reading magazine fluently and reading magazine. The stages of spelling development are incredibly similar to the stages of reading development. Invented spelling actually provides a snapshot of what children know about letters and sounds. The reason why spelling helps reading is that spelling instruction helps to cultivate students’ knowledge of the alphabetic system that benefits processes used in reading (Ehri, 1997).
Teaching students how to read and how to spell should be done simultaneously. This is a special ingredient to promote and develop the meaningful integration of word recognition, accuracy, fluency, and expressiveness is rhyming poetry (Rasinski, Rypley, & Nichols, 2008). Why? Common spelling patterns, such as word families, have consistent pronunciations. Knowing several word families can help readers partially decode thousands of words in which these word families regularly appear (Rasinski, Rypley, & Nichols, 2008). Constructivist Theories suggest a close association between spelling ability and reading magazine fluently and reading magazine, which proposes research questions to consider.
Research also bears out a strong relationship between spelling and writing: Writers who must think too hard about how to spell use up valuable cognitive resources needed for higher level aspects of composition (Singer and Bashir, 2004). Even more than reading, writing is a mental juggling act that depends on automatic deployment of basic skills such as handwriting, spelling, grammar, and punctuation so that the writer can keep track of such concerns as topic, organization, word choice, and audience needs. Poor spellers may restrict what they write to words they can spell, with inevitable loss of verbal
power, or they may lose track of their thoughts when they get stuck trying to spell a word.
But what about spell check? Since the advent of word processing and spell checkers, some educators have argued that spelling instruction is unnecessary.
It’s true that spell checkers work reasonably well for those of us who can spell reasonably well—but rudimentary spelling skills are insufficient to use a spell checker. Spell checkers do not catch all errors. Students who are very poor spellers do not produce the close approximations of target words necessary for the spell checker to suggest the right word. Montgomery, Karlan, and Coutinho (2001) reported that spell checkers usually catch just 30 to 80 percent of misspellings overall (partly because they miss errors like here vs. hear), and that spell checkers identified the target word from the misspellings of students with learning disabilities only 53 percent of the time.
Clearly, the research base for claiming that spelling is important for young children is solid: Learning to spell enhances children’s reading magazine and writing. But what about middle-school students? Does continued spelling instruction offer any added benefits? Here the research is sparse indeed. Yet, the nature of the English language’s spelling/writing system provides reason to believe that there would be significant benefits to older students from allocating a small amount of time to continued, appropriate spelling instruction. In addition to continuing to learn the rules of spelling, students can develop a deep understanding of English by studying the meanings of roots, prefixes, and suffixes; families of related words; the historical development of the English language; and words’ language of origin.
It’s very likely that this sort of word study (in addition to being intrinsically interesting to many students) would support vocabulary development and facilitate reading magazines by enabling students to view any new word from the angles of sound, meaning, language of origin, and syntax. As a result, students would be more likely to be able to figure out the new word’s meaning as well as how to spell it and how to use it with precision. Those of us who can spell reasonably well take for granted the role that spelling plays in daily life. Filing alphabetically; looking up words in a phone book, dictionary,
or thesaurus; recognizing the right choice from the possibilities presented by a spell checker; writing notes that others can read—and even playing parlor games—are all dependent on spelling.
In a literate society, conventional spelling is expected and anything beyond a few small errors is equated with ignorance and incompetence. In fact, the National policy on education (2005) reported that 80 percent of the time an employment application is doomed if it is poorly written or poorly spelled. Why does spelling appear on the one hand to be simple, something any reasonably intelligent person should be able to do, but on the other hand, cause so many students academic grief?
How can spelling be taught so that it will support reading instruction as well as help students understand how the spelling system works and see the ways in which spelling is predictable? This article attempts to answer both of these questions by first exploring the nature of the English language’s writing/spelling system and, second, by outlining the key content that students should master in kindergarten through seventh grade.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The problem most students have that contributes to their poor performance in tests and examinations is lack of proper reading which contributed to wrong spelling and sound pronunciations. For an excellent performance, there is the need for the student to form good reading magazine and study habits. At present, due to the influence of the magazines, students do not show much interest in reading books; magazines and journals, among others (Palani, 2012). Even the cankerworm of examination malpractices may be traceable to the prevalent poor reading interests and habits among the wide spectrum of students. In addition, the by-products of scientific and technological inventions and innovations have also contributed greatly to the dwindling fortunes of the good practice of reading among majority of the students.
Today, many students prefer to watch movies and other shows on the television, listening to audio-CDs, watching video-CDs, among others Issa (2012). Many parents and teachers complain about students of our generation who have not developed reading among themselves. Officials of the West African Examinations Council and teachers of English complain of the kind of English written by today’s generation of students (WAEC, 2008). The net result is the poor performance of many students in final examinations. One of the many issues confronting students nowadays is perhaps, not their inability to read but their lack of interest. From the assertion above, the work was conducted to examine the reading among students and the effects on their academic performance in tertiary institutions, specifically among students in secondary schools in Nigeria.
Students who struggle with beginning reading benefit from instruction that emphasizes and strengthens both phonological awareness and alphabetic understanding (Coyne, Santoro, & Simmons, 2006). Much has been learned about reading magazine and the underlying cognitive processes that are associated with success or struggle in acquiring literacy. For example, there is strong support for the link between phonological processing skills and the development of reading (Christo & Davis, 2008).
When students’ reading magazine fluently and comprehension levels are much lower than the average of the class, the ability to spell may play a leading role in the lack of reading magazine fluently and comprehension.
Additionally, the world has become so much more technology related and because of this, students tend to rely on computers with spell check. These students consider spelling less of a priority due to all of the technology in the world today. In most cases, spelling is taught the same way in most elementary classrooms.
Most secondary school students’ essays are rife with several spelling errors, many of which have become embarrassing to both the teachers and the students. The O’level English Language paper 1 (Essay writing) has constituted a major source of students’ failure in English language as a result of students’ inability to spell English words in flawless writings. A whole ten (10) marks allotted to Mechanical Accuracy (M.A) is lost as a result of spelling and other mechanical errors.
It seems there is no conscious and deliberate effort on the part of teachers and even researchers to address this problem. There is paucity of studies in this area. Students often encounter problems spelling English words and there seem to be little or no effort at helping them overcome this problem. This study therefore attempted to identify this problem with a view to analysing it and suggesting solutions to the problem.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: Reading news magazines does not aid the spelling of English words.
H1: Reading news magazines aid the spelling of English words.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The present study intends, among other few studies in the same field to investigate the influence of reading news magazine on the spelling of English words by secondary school students. The importance of this study stems out from the importance of English language itself, especially in Nigeria. English language is the language of research, and a means of instrumental of a living. Moreover, it is the tool of science and technology and also, means of communication with other nations.
Therefore, the significance of this study is due to the importance of correct pronunciation and spelling. Anyone who spells correctly, writes correctly and s/he reads
correctly. This study is attempted to find the factors causing spelling problem for those, who work in the field of teaching English as a foreign or second language to avoid spelling error and to find solution to this problem.
Also, it is useful to the teachers of English so as to be aware of the expected areas of difficulties and how they can address them, considering the method that help students
to deal with them. Also, useful for inspectors, who can use the results in field work to draw teacher’s attention to tackle English sounds as carefully and seriously for the benefit of students and for reinforcing spelling.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study is the influence of reading news magazine on the spelling of English words by secondary school students.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
As the case usually is, there are certain limitations the researcher will be faced with in the cause of this work. One is in the area of finance which might have a direct consequence on the quality of suitable materials. Apart from finance, also considering the fact that research work of this nature are often done within a time frame. The study therefore can not be exhaustive in it’s entirety. However, it is hoped that these constraints so named, will be checked mated by making the best use of the materials we have and spending more than the necessary time in the research work, therefore, we strongly believe that despite these constraint, it’s effect on this research report will be minimal.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Reading: Reading is the ability to understand words contained in a document and make use of the knowledge for personal growth and development (Dadzie, 2008). This implies making meaning out of recorded information either printed or non-printed in the life of an individual. People read for different reasons and purposes, some of which include for pleasure, leisure, relaxation, information and for knowledge.
Vocabulary: Vocabulary can be defined as ” words we must know to communicate effectively; words in speaking (expressive vocabulary) and words in listening (receptive vocabulary)” (Neuman&Dwyer, 2009, p. 385). Hornby (1995)defines vocabulary as ”the total number of words in a language; vocabulary is a list of words with their meanings”. While Ur (1998)states: “Vocabulary can be defined, roughly, as the words we teach in the foreign language.
Spelling. A crucial component of successfully expressing oneself in written communication (Davenport, Erion, Hardy, Rodax, & Scholl, 2009).
Fluency. Speed, prosody, and accuracy in reading connected magazine (Higgins & Raskind, 2004).
Phonemic awareness. A burgeoning awareness that a word is made up of segments of sound (Tangel & Blachman, 1992).
Automaticity. Rapid, automatic naming of single words (Higgins & Raskind, 2004).
Phonological awareness. Explicit knowledge of our language’s sound system (Coyne, Santoro, & Simmons, 2006).
Alphabetic understanding. Knowledge of the relationship between the letters of written language and the individual sounds of spoken language (Coyne, Santoro, & Simmons, 2006).
Orthographic learning. The process whereby words’ spelling patterns are committed to memory such that they can be retrieved automatically rather than decoded from grapheme-phoneme correspondences (Corley, DeFries, Hulslander, Olson, Wadsworth, & Willcutt, 2008).
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