A STUDY ON READING COMPREHENSION IN TAMIL AND STUDY HABITS OF UNDERACHIEVERS IN IX STANDARD

PL. Ponnalagappan

A. Selvaraj Gnanaguru

 

 

INTRODUCTION

The burning crisis that grips every youth is the poor reading comprehension ability. At the same time there is a remarkable increase in the browsing of information. Reading is the process of thinking, evaluating, judging and imaging.This refers to the process of identification of symbols and figures and giving appropriate association and meaning. Reading includes two basic processes of decoding and comprehension. The decoding process involves resilience on using words, phonological structure, understanding the phonemegraphime relationships and translating printed words into representations of similar to oral language. The decoding skill enables the reader to pronounce words correctly. Comprehension skills enable the learner to understand the meaning of words in isolation and in context. Reading is a process of recognizing and understanding words and ideals. It helps in understanding the general organization, reading content and related sub-skills.

 

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

1. To study level of IX standard students reading comprehension in Tamil and study habits;

2. To study whether there is any significant difference in reading comprehension in Tamil and study habits of underachievers in IX standard with respect to (a) gender, (b) locality and (c) medium of instruction.

 

METHOD

Normative survey method is adopted in the present study. It seeks to obtain precise information concerning the current status of phenomena and to draw valid general conclusions from the facts discovered. This study is restricted not only to fact findings but in formulation of important principles of knowledge and solutions of significant problems related to locale, state, national and international level. This method of research attempts to describe and interpret what exist at present in the form of conditions, practices, process, trends, effects and attitude. In brief it is an attempt to analysis, interpret and repeat the present status of a social institution or the group. Thus in the present study, the investigators adopted normative survey method.

 

Sample

The sample for the present study was 600 IX standard students belonging to Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts of Tamil Nadu State. The sample for the study has been selected by a simple random technique and applied multi stage sampling method to categorize the underachievers. Finally the investigators arrived at 267 underachievers of IX standard in schools of Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts of Tamil Nadu State

 

Tools

In the present investigation the investigators used reading comprehension test constructed and validated by Selvaraj Gnanaguru (1992). This test consisted of two parts i.e. part one had 30 items of fill in the blanks and part two had 40 items of fill in the blanks. Each right answer carries a score of one. Maximum score for this test was 70 and minimum score of this test was 0. The reliability of the test was0.72 by test retest method. In order to measure the study habits of IX standard students, the investigators applied study habit inventory constructed and standardized by Selvaraj Gnanaguru (1992). This scale had 24 items and responses to each item were to be made by entering the subjectís level of agreement with each of the statements on 3 point scale. This consisted of 12 positive and 12 negative items. Each item had three alternatives i.e. always, sometimes and rarely. Scoring for positive items was 3, 2 and 1 and for negative items the scoring was reversed. The data collected were fed to computer and analysis was done with the help of SPSS package.

 

RESULTS

The reading comprehension was conducted for a maximum score of 70. Hence, having a score 51 or above was considered to have high reading comprehension and a score of 26-51 was considered to have an average reading comprehension and a score below 26 was considered to have low reading comprehension. The mean (32.02) and standard deviation (9.49) of under achievers of IX standard students reading comprehension is average. Similarly study habit inventory is conducted for maximum score of 72. Hence having a score of 58 or above indicates good study habits, 39-58 indicates average study habits and below 39 indicates poor study habits. The mean (34.06) and standard deviation (9.27) scores of study habits of underachievers of IX standard students is average. It is found that the entire sample reveals average reading comprehension and average study habits of underachievers in IX standard. There was no significant difference in mean Tamil reading comprehension scores of under achievers of (a) boy and girl students, (b) rural and urban school students, and (c) Tamil medium and English medium students. Boys showed better reading comprehension than that of their counter parts. Rural school students showed better reading comprehension than that of their urban counter parts. Tamil medium students show better reading comprehension than that of English medium school students. There was no significant difference in study habit scores of under achievers of (a) boys and girls students, (b) rural and urban school students, and (c) Tamil medium and English medium students. Boys had better reading comprehension than that of their counter parts. Rural school students had better reading comprehension than that of their urban counter parts. Tamil medium students had better reading comprehension than that of English medium school students.

DISCUSSION

It is observed from various studies, the underachievers have poor reading comprehension but this study reveals that underachievers have average Tamil reading comprehension. There are various other causes that prevent them from their better reading comprehension. There are also few facilitating environments in every school for the improvement in reading comprehension in school levels. As everyone believe that boys have better reading comprehension in Tamil than girl students. But in the case of under achievers, the reading comprehensions of boy studentswere better than that of girl students. The general assumption is that the urban students with the varied exposures to media, newspapers and journals have better reading comprehension. But in the case of under achievers the reading comprehension of rural students are better than urban students. It is found from the present study that the Tamil medium students have better reading comprehension as against the peoples believes. It is often considered that the English medium students have better reading because of the highly educated group of students and parents and peer group. This clearly spells out that in English medium school,the reading of Tamil is not given sufficient attention. These schoolsare concentrated over teaching and speaking of English language and miss the importance of learning and reading Tamil. It is often believed that girl students have better study habit than boys. This study found that the girl students have lower study habit in comparison toboys.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Girl students should be given better attention in sparing more time for reading. In spite of medium of instruction, both medium students must be encouraged to read Tamil news papers and to conduct comprehension test occasionally in the respective class rooms and to conduct Tamil elocution competitions in class rooms. Case analysis needs to be carried out for improving study habits for every student in schools.

 

CONCLUSION

It has become the need of the hour to focus our attention on laying emphasis on reading, improving the comprehension and familiarities among the students. Study habit and Tamil reading comprehension seems to have positive relations which result in the academic performance of students. It can be concluded that the teachers who are agents of transformations of the young generation, have to concentrate on accelerating the comprehension capabilities of young minds. The parents and classmates should build developing strategies for better study habits of underachievers.

 

REFERENCES

Ahuja, G. C and Ahuja, P. (1987) How to Increase Reading Speed. Sterling Publishers, New Delhi.

Dacey, J. and Travers, J. (1999) Human Development. Mc Graw Hill, New York.

Pearson, P. D and Johnson, D. D (1978) Teaching Reading Comprehension, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York.