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EFFECTIVENESS OF LITERATURE CIRCLES ON STUDENTS’ READING COMPREHENSION

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Abstract

This study reports an experimental study to see the effect of literatures circles to improve reading comprehension of English department students of State Islamic Institute (IAIN) of Samarinda. A quasi experimental research using nonrandomized control group pretest-posttest design was conducted to see effectiveness of literature circles on students’ reading comprehension. A number of 24 students were taken as sample from the first semester students joining in an intensive English course program in academic year 2011/2012. Using independent t-test, the analysis of the posttest means the finding yielded a t-value of 3.11. The t-value (3.11) is higher than the critical table 1.678 at p=.05 and df=44 (one-tailed). The result evidently shows that literature circles contribute a significant effect to improve students’ reading comprehension.
IJOLTL, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2016
p-ISSN: 2502-2326; e-ISSN: 2502-8278, Http://ijoltl.pusatbahasa.or.id
Irawati, Dini. 2016. Effectiveness of Literature Circles
on Students’ Reading Comprehension.
IJOLTL
(2016),1(3): 179-192.
179
EFFECTIVENESS OF LITERATURE CIRCLES
ON STUDENTS’ READING COMPREHENSION
Dini Irawati
IAIN Samarinda
Jl. H.A.M. Riffaddin Samarinda Seberang, Samarinda, Kaltim
Email: dinisukirno@gmail.com
Received: 15 April 2016 ; Accepted: 15 June 2016
Abstract: This study reports an experimental study to see the effect of
literatures circles to improve reading comprehension of English department
students of State Islamic Institute (IAIN) of Samarinda. A quasi experimental
research using nonrandomized control group pretest-posttest design was
conducted to see effectiveness of literature circles on students’ reading
comprehension. A number of 24 students were taken as sample from the first
semester students joining in an intensive English course program in academic
year 2011/2012. Using independent t-test, the analysis of the posttest means the
finding yielded a t-value of 3.11. The t-value (3.11) is higher than the critical
table 1.678 at p=.05 and df=44 (one-tailed). The result evidently shows that
literature circles contribute a significant effect to improve students’ reading
comprehension.
Keywords: effectiveness, literature circles, reading comprehension
1. INTRODUCTION
Reading, one of the four skills, in most tertiary institutions is given a first priority
(Armahedi, 2003:1; Nur, 2003:167). Reading as the first priority, especially when students’
main purpose of studying English is to be able to access written sources, is understood due to
some reasons. First, for college students, their success in academic life largely depends on
reading (Adyawardhani, 2003:2; Hedgcock & Ferris, 2009:2). Second, in a country, where the
students in general never have the opportunity to converse with native speakers, but have
access to written language, reading becomes more important than other skills (River in
Sutarsyah, 2008:128). Third, there is a connection between reading and writing (Smith,
2004:178; Cox, 1996:354-355; Braunger & Lewis, 2001:64-65). Reading provides a model
for writing and background knowledge important in generating ideas for a wide range of
topics. Reading is the input, while writing is the output (Nation, 2009:1).
However, despite the importance of reading, throughout the country many English
teachers are wrestling with the issue of why students lack the skills necessary to comprehend
English texts. The majority still have low ability in comprehending English texts (Nur, 2003:
170). In addition, Day and Bamford (2000) claim that in general, EFL reading is a difficult
process. On top of this, many teachers struggle to have their students actually read the text.
The problem is faced by many schools and institutions in Indonesia.
IJOLTL, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2016
p-ISSN: 2502-2326; e-ISSN: 2502-8278, Http://ijoltl.pusatbahasa.or.id
Irawati, Dini. 2016. Effectiveness of Literature Circles
on Students’ Reading Comprehension.
IJOLTL
(2016),1(3): 179-192.
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The problem, according to the researcher’s point of view, emerges from the students’
lack of motivation. Motivation is an important prerequisite for learning (Slavin, 2000:327).
When students are motivated, their attention will be greater and the filter will be lowered.
This situation will lead to a better learning. This statement is based on Krashen’s affective
filter hypothesis (Selinker and Gass, 1994:147-148; Cook, 1994:54-55). Related to reading,
when the students are not motivated to read, they are not engaged. In this situation, learning
does not occur. Engagement in the reading task is a key in successfully learning to read and
developing as a reader (Braunger & Lewis, 2001:72-74). Therefore, to solve the problem, the
very basic thing for teachers is to make students engaged and motivated to read.
Besides considering students’ motivation, teachers should note that they are the
ultimate instructional designers. In teaching, teachers have an important role in designing the
best activities for their students. The activities should be research-based. Previous researches
in the field of reading instruction have contributed to the improvement of the teaching of
reading. The findings become the principles of teaching that are worthy of consideration.
Therefore, besides considering students’ motivation as a key in learning, other principles
generated from the research should also be taken into account in designing the lesson plan.
Mazzoni and Gambrell (2003:14), present ten research-based best practices that can
provide foundation for reading instruction and are worthy of consideration. First, teach
reading for authentic, meaning-making literacy experiences. It means that reading is for
pleasure, to be informed, and to perform a task. Second, use high-quality literature. Third,
integrate a comprehensive word research or phonics program into reading or writing
instruction. Fourth, use multiple texts that link and expand concepts. Fifth, balance teacher-
and student-led discussions. Sixth, build a whole-class community that emphasizes important
concepts and builds background knowledge. Seventh, work with students in small groups
while other students read and write about what they have read. Eighth, give students plenty of
time to read in class. Ninth, give students direct instruction in decoding and comprehension
strategies that promote independent reading. Balance direct instruction, guided instruction,
and independent reading. Tenth, use a variety of assessment techniques to inform instruction.
While Mazzoni and Gambrell do not exclusively aim the writing to EFL/ESL reading
instruction, O’Malley and Pierce (1996:95) writes that successful EFL/ESL reading program
have some components, namely extensive amount of time in class for reading, direct strategy
instruction on reading comprehension, opportunities for collaboration, and opportunities for
discussion on responses to reading. The four components of successful EFL/ESL reading
program correspond with some research-based best practices from Mazzoni and Gambrell;
that teachers should give students plenty of time to read in class, give direct instruction in
decoding and comprehension strategies that promote independent reading, give opportunities
to work in small group, and balance teacher- and student-led discussions.
Chamblee (2003:271-278), Brassell & Rasinski (2008:126), and Tovani (2000:63-78)
supports the fourth component from O’Malley and Pierce; that implementing reader-response
approach, in which students give opinion and criticism, make inferences and judgment, ask
personal question, make connection (text to self connection, text to text connection and text to
world connection), and create ongoing summaries and synthesis as they read, is worthy of
consideration based on benefits some researchers found. Meanwhile, Hedgcock and Ferris add
that teachers should emphasize vocabulary learning and create a vocabulary-rich environment
IJOLTL, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2016
p-ISSN: 2502-2326; e-ISSN: 2502-8278, Http://ijoltl.pusatbahasa.or.id
Irawati, Dini. 2016. Effectiveness of Literature Circles
on Students’ Reading Comprehension.
IJOLTL
(2016),1(3): 179-192.
181
(2009:283-322), and incorporate extensive or independent reading (2009:205-241). The
second principle from Hedgcock and Ferris corresponds with Mazzoni and Gambrell’s; that
teachers should balance direct instruction, guided instruction, and independent reading.
In light with the above principles, literature circles, developed by Daniels in 1994, is a
reading strategy that draws on some principles mentioned above: students read their self-
selected text from multiple texts that link and expand concepts, by which they can be more
engaged in reading and be more motivated as well as get a vocabulary-rich environment;
share their personal responses in small group discussion; and then share the responses with
the whole class. From this point of view, literature circles is a form of independent reading,
structured as collaborative small groups, and guided by reader response principles. These
three main components underlie literature circles.
Literature circles itself is small, peer-led discussion groups whose members have
chosen to read the same reading material. While reading (either in or outside of class),
members make notes to help them contribute to the upcoming discussion, and everyone
comes to the group with ideas to share. When they finish a reading material, the circle
members may share highlights of their reading with the wider community; then they trade
members with other finishing groups, select more reading, and move into a new cycle
(Daniels, 2002:2).
Literature circles manifest most of these key features (Daniels, 2002:18-27): First,
students choose their own reading materials. Second,small temporary groups are formed,
based on text choice. Third, different groups read different texts.Fourth, groups meet on a
regular, predictable schedule to discuss their reading. Fifth, students use written or drawn
notes to guide both their reading and discussion. Sixth, discussion topics come from the
students.Seventh, group meetings aim to be open, natural conversations about texts, so
personal connections, digressions, and open-ended questions are welcome. Eight, the teacher
serves as a facilitator, not a group member or instructor. Ninth, evaluation is by teacher
observation and student self-evaluation.Tenth, a spirit of playfulness and fun pervades the
room. Eleventh, when books are finished, readers share with their classmates, and then new
groups form around new reading choices.
Literature circles has its beginning in first language classrooms in North America.
Now, over a decade from what Daniels called “a pretty nifty little invention that we had
created all by ourselves, right here in the rarefied climate of Chicago”, literature circles has
become a boom in United State. Tens of thousands of teachers are doing literature circles
(Daniels, 2002:1).
Many reported and documented a positive effect of literature circles along with a
quickly-growing both qualitative and quantitative research on it, in English as a first and a
foreign language setting. Sachs (2003), Mark (2007), Sai & Hsu (2007), Stabile (2009), and
Muniroh (2010) are people who conducted the qualitative research on literature circles, while
Daniels and his colleagues (2002), Klinger and his colleagues (in Daniels, 2002), and Lin (in
Sai & Hsu, 2006) are people who conducted the quantitative research.
Sachs, Mark, Sai & Hsu, and Muniroh conducted their research in EFL setting, while
Stabile conducted the research in L1 setting. All of them did not analyze the effectiveness of
literature circles on students’ reading comprehension indicated by their scores. Sachs, Mark,
Sai & Hsu, and Muniroh investigated students’ attitude toward reading and literature circles
IJOLTL, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2016
p-ISSN: 2502-2326; e-ISSN: 2502-8278, Http://ijoltl.pusatbahasa.or.id
Irawati, Dini. 2016. Effectiveness of Literature Circles
on Students’ Reading Comprehension.
IJOLTL
(2016),1(3): 179-192.
182
itself. They gave them questionnaire and interview. Meanwhile, Stabile investigated the
effectiveness of literature circles through observation, document analysis, self-evaluation, and
survey. What it means by the effectiveness in Stabile’s research does not refer to the
improvement of reading scores.
Different from them, Daniels and colleagues, Klinger and colleagues, and Lin
investigated the effectiveness of literature circles on students’ reading comprehension
indicated by their scores. Daniels and colleagues and Klinger and colleagues conducted the
research in L1 setting, while Lin conducted the research in Chinese-English bilingual
program. Both quantitative and qualitative researches have common result, that literature
circles works. Except Klinger and his colleagues, all of the researchers mentioned used
literary texts instead of expository.
In the Indonesian context, there have not been many research on the implementation of
literature circles except Muniroh’s, in which she investigated the attitudes of senior high
school and English department students towards the strategy. In her research, she did not
investigate the effectiveness of the strategy on the improvement of students’ reading
comprehension indicated by their scores and the text used was literary text. Looking at the
focus of her research, the researcher is of the opinion that the effectiveness of literature circles
needs investigation. The researcher is interested to see the effectiveness of the strategy when
it is implemented to the second semester students of Intensive English course STAIN
Samarinda. In this program, English serves as a general subject with six credit loads. The
subject is offered in semester one and two. The general objective is reading. As regards the
second semester students’ English proficiency level, based on the proficiency test, they are in
intermediate level. Thus, different form Muniroh’s, the subject of this research are students of
non-English Department and the text used is expository text since it is prescribed by the
curriculum. Daniels says that literature circles woks both for fiction and nonfiction texts
(Daniels, 2002:200). The result of this research can more validate the findings obtained from
the previous research.
Although this research is an experiment, the same with those conducted by Daniels
and colleagues, Klinger and colleagues, and Lin, two points differentiate between this
research and theirs. First, the difference lies in the setting. This research is different from the
research by Daniels and colleagues and Klinger and colleagues because they conducted the
research in LI setting, while this research is conducted in EFL setting. Although Lin
conducted the research in EFL setting, it was conducted in Chinese-English Bilingual
program. The generalizability of the finding is restricted to the same characteristics of the
subjects. It is possible that a teaching strategy found to be highly effective in a certain place is
not equally effective in different settings and subjects (Mazzoni and Gambrell, 2003:12).
Second, the text used is different. Daniels and colleagues and Lin used literary text, while this
research uses expository text like the research by Klinger and colleagues. This research is also
different from Sachs’s, Mark’s, Sai & Hsu’s, and Stabile’s in which they conducted
qualitative research using literary text. Meanwhile, this research is quantitative using
expository text.
IJOLTL, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2016
p-ISSN: 2502-2326; e-ISSN: 2502-8278, Http://ijoltl.pusatbahasa.or.id
Irawati, Dini. 2016. Effectiveness of Literature Circles
on Students’ Reading Comprehension.
IJOLTL
(2016),1(3): 179-192.
183
2. METHOD
To see the effectiveness of literature circles on students’ reading comprehension, a
quasi experimental research was conducted using nonrandomized control group pretest-
posttest design involving two variables. Teaching strategies were the independent variable,
and the dependent variable was the students’ reading comprehension. The samples were taken
from the population of the second semester students of Intensive English Course STAIN
Samarinda. There were twelve classes, each class consists of 25-30 students. To choose the
experimental and control group, the researcher used simple sampling technique, by which
class H (24 students) was assigned to experimental group while class J (24 students) was
assigned to control group. The instrument of data collection was a multiple choice test
consisting of J30 items used in pretest and posttest.
The procedures of the experiment are as the following: The experimental group was
taught using literature circles. At the same time, reading instruction in the control group did
not use literature circles. Instead, the researcher used the teaching reading activities usually
used in Intensive English Course. The reading materials in both groups were different in
terms of the content. However, they were all expository texts. They were different because
the students of experimental group were allowed to choose the text; however the teacher
chose the reading material for the students of control group. Table 1 shows the teaching
procedures for the experimental and control group:
Table 1. Teaching Procedures for Experimental and Control Group
Teaching procedures for
experimental group
Teaching procedures for control
group
First meeting:
All meetings (eight meetings):
- The teacher introduced the idea of
literature circles: that literature
circles consists of choosing a text,
forming a group around a same
text, responding to a text, and
sharing and discussing the
responses with group members,
then sharing and discussing the
highlights with all students.
-The teacher brainstormed students’
background knowledge related to
the topic of a text.
-The teacher brainstormed students’
knowledge about different ways
readers respond to a text.
- The teacher distributed a same text
to all students to read individually.
- The teacher distributed a same text
to all students.
- The students read the text and
highlighted difficult vocabularies
they encountered while reading.
- The students read and jot down
their responses either while or after
reading.
- The teacher asked one or two
students to explain what had been
read.
- The teacher put the students in
- The teacher gave reading
IJOLTL, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2016
p-ISSN: 2502-2326; e-ISSN: 2502-8278, Http://ijoltl.pusatbahasa.or.id
Irawati, Dini. 2016. Effectiveness of Literature Circles
on Students’ Reading Comprehension.
IJOLTL
(2016),1(3): 179-192.
184
groups of three or four.
comprehension questions to the
students to answer in pairs.
- The students shared and discussed
their responses with their members
of the group.
- To check their answers, the teacher
and the students discussed them.
The students corrected their answers
themselves.
- A spoke person from each group
shared with the whole class one
thread of the text, one topic their
group got interested in, disagreed
about, questioned, etc.
- The teacher asked the students to
write the summary of the text.
- The teacher reviewed the process
of the meeting.
- The teacher handed out a list of
reading titles.
- The students chose a title of their
interest to read at home. Groups
formed around the same title.
- The teacher handed out Discussion
Sheet for each student and Sharing
Sheet for each group.
Second to eight meetings:
- The teacher offered a mini lesson
and simply talked about whether
she herself read at home (the
teacher participated in literature
circles).
- The students discussed their text in
group using Discussion Sheet as a
tool to provide each of them with
ideas to share and discuss.
- While the students were discussing
and sharing, the teacher visited
each group for a few minutes to
monitor and participate in the
discussion by asking some
questions.
- A spoke person of each group took
turn sharing the highlights of their
discussion to the whole class using
Sharing Sheet as a guideline.
Every meeting had different spoke
person to ensure that every student
had a chance to present in front of
IJOLTL, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2016
p-ISSN: 2502-2326; e-ISSN: 2502-8278, Http://ijoltl.pusatbahasa.or.id
Irawati, Dini. 2016. Effectiveness of Literature Circles
on Students’ Reading Comprehension.
IJOLTL
(2016),1(3): 179-192.
185
the class.
- The teacher debriefed the process
of the discussion, helped the
students to do self- and group
assessment, helped the students to
choose a title, and handed out
Discussion Sheet and Sharing
Sheet.
- New groups formed around new
reading choices.
Subsequent to the experiment, the posttest was administered to both experimental and
control groups.
Data in this research were students’ reading comprehension scores. In data analysis,
the researcher used independent t-test. The equation of independent t-test is described as
follow:
Where:
(Adapted fromBrown & Rodgers, 2003: 206)
This equation is used because the group size between the experimental and the control
group is the same (24 students for each group).This equation reads as tequals the mean for
experimental group minus the mean for control group divided by the square root of the
standard deviation squared for experimental group divided by the number of the experimental
group plus the standard deviation squared for control group divided by the number of the
control group.
The result of the analysis became the empirical evidence to accept or reject null
hypothesis. The criterion for the acceptance or rejection of the null hypothesis was a level of
significance .05. (95% confidence) one-tailed.
IJOLTL, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2016
p-ISSN: 2502-2326; e-ISSN: 2502-8278, Http://ijoltl.pusatbahasa.or.id
Irawati, Dini. 2016. Effectiveness of Literature Circles
on Students’ Reading Comprehension.
IJOLTL
(2016),1(3): 179-192.
186
3. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
3.1. Result of Pretest for Experimental and Control Group
The following table presents the result of the pretest:
Table 2. Pretest Scores Summary
Experimental Group
Control Group
Number of Students
24
24
Highest Score
73.33
76.67
Frequency of the Highest
Score
1
1
Lowest Score
33.33
30.00
Frequency of the Lowest
Score
2
2
Mean Score
53.91
52.75
Standard Deviation
10.34
13.36
Table 2 shows that the highest score for the experimental group reaches 73.33, while
the lowest score is 33.33. The frequencies for the highest score and the lowest score are 1 and
2 respectively. It means that in the experimental group there is one student got 73.33 and two
students got 33.33. The mean score is 53.91 with 10.34 for the standard deviation.
Meanwhile, the highest score in the control group is 76.67 and the lowest is 30.00. The
frequency for the highest score is 1, while the frequency for the lowest score is 2. The average
score is 52.75 with standard deviation 13.36. The mean difference between the experimental
and control group is 1.16 point.
Looking at the mean difference, the groups are not too different in their ability.
However, a deeper analysis using statistical computation should be done. Thus, to check the
experimental and control groups’ equivalence before the experiment, a t-analysis was
conducted using independent t-test. The result became the basis in choosing the appropriate
inferential statistics for the posttest scores.
Based on the analysis, the t-test analysis yielded a tof 0.33 with 44 degrees of
freedom (df). The critical value for df 44 at the level of significance of .05 one-tailed is 1.678.
T-value of 0.33 is lower than the critical value of 1.678. Therefore, it is concluded that the
experimental and control group are not significantly different in their reading comprehension
before the experiment. They have an equivalent starting point. The condition was the basis of
choosing independent t-test for the final data analysis. Table 3 shows the summary of the
result of pretest scores analysis.
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Irawati, Dini. 2016. Effectiveness of Literature Circles
on Students’ Reading Comprehension.
IJOLTL
(2016),1(3): 179-192.
187
Table 3. Summary of the Result of Pretest Scores Analysis
Degrees of
Freedom (df)
T-Value
Level of
Significance
Critical T-Value
44
.33*)
.05
1.678
*) not significant at p<.05
3.2 Result of Posttest for Experimental and Control Group
The following table presents the result of the posttest:
Table 4. Posttest Scores Summary
Experimental Group
Control Group
Number of Students
24
24
Highest Score
90.00
86.67
Frequency of the Highest
Score
1
1
Lowest Score
50.00
36.67
Frequency of the Lowest
Score
3
3
Average Score
68.70
56.81
Standard Deviation
12.27
13.64
Table 4 shows that the highest score in the posttest is 90.00 for experimental group,
and 86.67 for the control group. Only one student got 90.00. In the control group, the highest
score was achieved by only one student as well. Meanwhile, the lowest score falls to 50.00
and 36.67 for experimental and control group respectively. The frequencies for the lowest
score in the experimental and control groups are 3. The average score for experimental group
reaches 68.70, while the control group reaches only 56.81. The standard deviation for
experimental group is 12.27 and 13.64 for control group. If the posttest mean scores of both
experimental and control group are compared, we will get that the mean score of the
experimental group is 11.89 point higher than that of the control group.
The result of the posttest shows that the average scores for both groups increased.
Compared to the pretest, the mean score gain for experimental group is 14.79 point and 4.06
point for the control group. The difference is 10.73. Looking at a glance, literature circles is
more effective. For further analysis, a statistical analysis using independent t-test was
conducted.
Based on the analysis, the t-test analysis yielded a tof 3.11 with 44 degrees of
freedom (df). The t-critical value with df= 44 and p=.05 one-tailed is 1.678. The tvalue (3.11)
exceeds the critical value (1.678). It means that mean difference between the experimental
and control group is significant. Table 5 shows the summary of the result of posttest scores
analysis.
IJOLTL, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2016
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Irawati, Dini. 2016. Effectiveness of Literature Circles
on Students’ Reading Comprehension.
IJOLTL
(2016),1(3): 179-192.
188
Table 5. Summary of the Result of Posttest Scores Analysis
Degrees of
Freedom (df)
T-Value
Level of
Significance
Critical T-Value
44
3.11*)
.05
1.678
*) significant at p<.05
Based on the analysis, Ho stating that there is no difference in achievement between
students who are taught using literature circles and those who are taught using conventional
teaching reading activity is rejected. Thus, the research hypothesis stating that the students
who are taught using literature circles achieve significantly higher reading comprehension
than those who are taught using conventional teaching reading activity is accepted
The finding suggests that literature circle is effective. Some possible causes support
the effectiveness of literature circles. First, literature circle is effective due to the fact that
students can choose what they want to read. It is this ownership of their own learning and
reading that makes the students motivated and engaged to read. Utilizing literature circles
allows teachers to extend beyond the prescribed curriculum and allow students to connect to
text through their own personal choice.
Second, group discussion, in which students talk about text with others, allows
students to confirm what they understand and add their insights. There is also a negotiation
for meaning that can improve students’ reading comprehension.
Third, by working collaboratively, students gain access to each other’s thinking
processes and teach one another effective reading strategies. Thus, learning metacognitive
skills from each other occurs.
Fourth, literature circles allows students to give their personal responses to reading.
Reader response can improve reading comprehension in that students are allowed to bring
their personal experiences and background knowledge to their reading. When they relate new
information in the text to their prior experience and knowledge, they may have error
interpretation. However, through discussion, they can refer back to their first interpretation.
As they refer back, they are able to see errors they may have made and learn about how and
why the errors occurred. Then, they learn to reconsider that initial interpretation. From this
point of view, students are helped to view their errors as a natural part of the reading process.
Reader response also allows students to recognize that reading means not only having the
right answer or pronouncing every word correctly, but also making connections with text.
Thus, students become engaged and reflective readers.
4. CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTION
Based on the result of data analysis using independent t-test, it is concluded that
applying literature circles has positive effect on students’ literal and inferential reading
comprehension covering identifying directly stated main ideas, finding explicit information,
determining subject matter, identifying implied main ideas, understanding pronoun reference,
and drawing inferences. Students who experience literature circles tend to comprehend
IJOLTL, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2016
p-ISSN: 2502-2326; e-ISSN: 2502-8278, Http://ijoltl.pusatbahasa.or.id
Irawati, Dini. 2016. Effectiveness of Literature Circles
on Students’ Reading Comprehension.
IJOLTL
(2016),1(3): 179-192.
189
expository text better than those who do not experience it. Put another way, literature circles
is more effective than conventional teaching reading activity. The result of t-test proves this.
The t-value (3.11) is higher than the critical value (1.678). Hence, the research result gives
English teachers/instructors evidence that literature circles is worth considering in the
teaching of reading.
Recommendations are addressed to future researchers and English teacher/ instructors
as follow:
First, while the finding of this research suggest that literature circles played a
significant role in improving the experimented students’ reading comprehension of expository
text, it would be beneficial to conduct another follow-up research to further validate the
effectiveness of literature circles on EFL/ESL students’ reading comprehension of expository
text. Second, the collection of data through another type of reading test such as cloze
procedure, open question, short answer, and so on may yield different result. Therefore, the
use of these instruments would be appreciated.
Third, the collection of data through video and/or audio recordings of the students’
conversations during the discussions would allow for a measure of students progress. It
potentially provides a deeper analysis of students’ conversation and level of participation.
Also, using questionnaire or interview asking students’ opinion allow for an in-depth analysis
of possible cause. This would aid researchers to avoid bias and allow them support and
enhance the validity of the finding.
Fourth, since the present research is only limited to the second semester students of
Intensive English Course who learn English to enable them to access information, the
researcher recommends other future researchers to involve bigger population and use random
assignment in selecting the sample.
Fifth, literature circles allow students to become reflective and critical readers.
Therefore, the researcher also recommends other future researchers to conduct a research on
the effectiveness of literature circles on students’ critical reading since this research only
touched on the literal and inferential reading.
Sixth, the micro skills of reading comprehension in this research are identifying
directly stated main ideas, finding explicit information, determining subject matter,
identifying implied main ideas, understanding pronoun reference, and drawing inferences.
Thus, conducting a research investigating the effectiveness of literature circles on other micro
skills is also recommended.
For English teachers/instructors, it is suggested that they consider applying literature
circles in their classroom. One of biggest hopes of English teachers is to make their students
fall in love with reading and become consummate readers so that the vocabulary and the ideas
for writing or speaking increase. Also, in literature circles, students need a variety of reading
materials on a wide range of topics. Therefore it is recommended to provide this. The last,
since literature circles is easy to modify based on the situation and the students’ need, teachers
can adapt instead of adopt the procedure.
IJOLTL, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2016
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Irawati, Dini. 2016. Effectiveness of Literature Circles
on Students’ Reading Comprehension.
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(2016),1(3): 179-192.
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IJOLTL
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Article
This article describes a mixed-methods study that examines the effects of literature circles (peer-led small group discussion of an assigned reading) on the reading achievement of college students taking developmental reading courses. The researcher-developed intervention was comprised of three connected activities (collaborative oral re-tell, short written response, and open discussion). Quantitative methods were used to measure the effectiveness of the intervention, and qualitative methods were used to analyze reading attitude/motivation and textual engagement. Thirty-eight college students in required reading courses participated in the five-week study, randomly assigned to either the treatment (participation in literature circle) or control (independent reading) condition. Comprehension was assessed through an oral re-tell of the novel, a researcher-developed book-specific assessment, and a pre-existing assessment on an unfamiliar passage. Quantitative analysis, which is the focus of this article, revealed that the students assigned to literature circles outperformed the control group students (significant main effect). While the qualitative findings are not discussed herein, analysis revealed that literature circles not only improve reading comprehension and depth of textual engagement but also provide an opportunity for discourse, collaboration, and social interaction. These findings suggest that literature circles would be an effective addition to a postsecondary developmental reading curriculum.
Article
Foreword Index of Figures and Reproducibles Preface 1 Moving Toward Authentic Assessment * Assessment of English Language Learning Students * Definition of Authentic Assessment * Purposes of this Book and Target Audience * Overview of the Book 2 Designing Authentic Assessment * Approaches to Teaching and Learning * Types of Authentic Assessment * Awareness of Authentic Assessments * Designing Authentic Assessments * Technical Quality of Authentic Assessments * Issues in Designing Authentic Assessment * Conclusion * Application Activities 3 Portfolio Assessment * Instructional Context * What a Portfolio Is and Isn't * Self-Assessment: The Key to Portfolios * Managing Portfolios * Using Portfolio Assessment in Instruction * Conclusion * Application Activities 4 Oral Language Assessment * Nature of Oral Language * Authentic Assessment of Oral Language * Using Oral Language Assessment in Instruction * Conclusion * Application Activities 5 Reading Assessment * Nature of Reading in School * Authentic Assessment of Reading * Using Reading Assessment in Instruction * Conclusion * Application Activities 6 Writing Assessment * Nature of Writing in School * Authentic Assessment of Writing * Using Writing Assessment in Instruction * Conclusion * Application Activities 7 Content Area Assessment * Content Area Instruction in Schools * Authentic Assessment in Content Areas * Using Content Area Assessment in Instruction * Conclusion * Application Activities 8 Examples from the Classroom * Talk Show * Geoboard * Magnet Experiment * Interpreting Portfolio Entries * Reading Response Time * Anecdotal Records * Book Talks: Integrated Reading Appendix Sample Entries from Roxana's Portfolio Glossary References Index of Classroom-based Assessment Techniques
Article
Is it possible to grade students for their work in literature circles, over a whole book or a marking period? Yes, but do you really have to? It would be so much better not to grade literature circle work at all. Can't you base your grades on some other classroom activities, so that you don't undermine the genuineness of the book club conversation? So that you don't replace the collaborative culture you're trying to build with competition? I know, I know. You're working in a school district that requires grades for everything. Okay, I give up. This is the sea we are all swimming in. But let's minimize the constant intrusion of scoring, points, and tests into the daily interaction of the circles. After all, if our kids' groups are really "hooked on books" and working well with one another, we don't need any grades for management purposes. We only need to sample their performance enough to feed the system whatever grades it requires. And since we also want to nurture a high level of self-evaluation and involve students in keeping their own records, whatever system we devise should have a strong component of student self-evaluation. We've already warned about relying too much on book projects. So, if not a project, then what? How can we get a grade out of literature circles? A grade that is valid and meaningful, that doesn't distort the behavior of the groups, and that provides a credible report to the outside agencies watching over this classroom? "Performance assessment" may be the answer. And if you have ever read any restaurant reviews, you already know how it works. Most food critics have some kind of point system for rating the quality of a dining experience. One of our local restaurant mavens uses this scale: food = 10 points, service = 4 points, atmosphere = 3 points, value = 3 points.
Article
Yet students can discover the benefits and pleasures of being able to read in English. This can happen if extensive reading is incorporated into the EFL curriculum. This article introduces extensive reading as a way of improving students' attitudes and motivation toward EFL reading as well as improving their proficiency in reading and their English language ability. We explain why easy and interesting reading material is the key factor in extensive reading, and discuss how to gather a library of suitable reading materials and how to encourage students to read them. Finally, we propose several ways of including extensive reading in the EFL curriculum.
Article
Argues for restructuring college reading classes to incorporate more instruction that is based on the theory of reader response. Describes instruction based on reader response and its appropriateness for high-risk college students. (SR)
Article
The idea of literature circles is not new; however, it is hardly adapted in a second language classroom. In Taiwan, using literature circles to teach a second/foreign language is even less seen. The two college teachers-researchers reported their experiences of trying out literature circles in a JFL (Japanese as a Foreign Language) and an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) class. During the one-semester teaching, they intended to answer the following three research questions: (1) What is the perceived effectiveness of literature circles in a JFL and an EFL course? (2) What are the factors determining the success of literature circles in a JFL and an EFL course? (3) How can these studies relate to later JFL and EFL courses in colleges and universities of Taiwan? The findings of the study can be summarized as below: (1) the JFL group considered their literature circles class a slightly more effective than the EFL group; (2) the factors affecting the success of a literature circles class included students' self-selecting of reading materials, their preference toward discussion roles, allotted class time for real discussion, teachers' feedback on weekly journals, and grading policy; and (3) specifically for the needs of college JFL/EFL learners in Taiwan, the teachers-researchers call for multiple intelligence literature circles, believing that the MI-guided model will help literature circles to be better organized and more effectively implemented in a second/foreign language setting. Appended are: (1) Literature Circles Role Sheet; and (2) Literature Circles Follow-Up Interview Questions. (Contains 4 tables and 5 footnotes.) [Paper submitted to the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, 2007.]