Definition of Reading Comprehension
Based on Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary the word “comprehension” is defined as:
1) The ability to understand
2) An exercise that trains students to understands a language.
Comprehension is a part of the communication process getting the thoughts that were in the author’s mind into the reader’s mind. Comprehension is the essence of reading because the goal of written language is communication of massage. In addition, comprehension also involves the recovery and interpretation of the abstract deep structural relations underlying sentences.
Reading is the act of linking one idea to another. It is the activity to read, that has a purpose to get information from the reading material. If we want to learn language especially English, we have to study reading because reading is very important to get information when we learn English as a foreign language.
Reading is a process of extracting meanings from the written language. It is a process of interpreting a message. It is an important skill in language teaching. It is a process of communication involving the writer and the reader, the encoder and the decoder. It means that reading is an activity that aims primarily at understanding or constructing meaning from the written texts.
Furthermore, Brown states that reading comprehension is primarily a matter or important skill to developing. It’s very efficient used as strategy to understand a something that we read. It’s means that the purpose of reading comprehension is to efficiency of reading. Furthermore, in reading activities, students should have good reading comprehension to get information from the reading text.
Janette states that, reading comprehension is a process that involves a reader to response of the text. Its complex process because comprehending or understanding a text is very important to us when we read a text. Comprehending a text involves many interaction between reader and what any our mind previous a read the text as well as variables related to the text itself.
Based on the definition above, reading comprehension is looking for the information suggested from the text or written language, the readers understand the total meaning of the reading text is selections.
The word “skill” in Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary skill is the ability to do something well. It means that skill is the ability to comprehend the passage requires the power of understanding the total meaning of the passage. A skill is something to do automatically without thinking about it and to do it the same way every time. Moreover, skill is an ability and capacity acquired through deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptive carryout complex activities or job functions involving ideas, things, and people.
Based on the definition of above, the researcher concluded that reading comprehension skills can be defined as the reading process which the readers understand the passage of the text, understand total meaning of the text, both implicit and explicit meaning and to be able answer the question about the text well.
Kinds of Reading Comprehension Skills
Skilled readers, for instance:
1) Predicting what will happen next in a story.
2) Understanding the main idea and supporting detail of the text.
3) Understanding of the sequence, massage or structure of the text.
4) Understanding meaning of unknown words of the text.
5) Inferring the point of the reading material.
Reading comprehension is a skill, which the reader must be guess and answer question, and explain again what the purpose and massage author. After the reader reads the title of the text, the students predict what will happen next in a story to get the main ideas and supporting detail easily. So the students can understand the massage or the structure, understand the meaning of unknown words of the text of the text and inferring the point of the reading material. In this research the researcher focus on skills in understanding of massage or structure of the text and understanding main idea and the meaning of unknown words.
The Factors that Influences Reading Comprehension
Reading comprehension is a cognitive process that requires many skills and strategies. The readers are actively engaged with the text, they think about many things as they read to comprehend the text. There are several factors that affect the reading comprehension such as linguistic factors and non-linguistics factors. Linguistic factors include the knowledge about vocabularies and Meta cognitive knowledge of the second language structure, grammar and syntax. Meanwhile, non-linguistic factors include their prior knowledge and their experience.
Lucy Hart have compiled a list, she make briefly explanation of factors that influence reading comprehension as follow:
1) Prior Knowledge
Prior knowledge plays an essential role in reading comprehension. Prior knowledge or usually called background knowledge is important to create new knowledge, without prior knowledge written material would be meaningless. Prior knowledge is expressed with words. The more knowledge must be activated to be useful, the more likely it is that the material will be understood. Prior knowledge helps the students to comprehend what are written and making inferences or predictions about the text. It means that prior knowledge is very important in reading to get meaning in passage.
Whether or not students have mastered vocabulary skills affect their reading comprehension. Students must be able to comprehend a familiar words its relationship with other words within a text. Mastering vocabulary includes recognizing a word’s part of speech, definition, useful context clues, and how it functions in a sentence. These vocabulary strategies can help improve comprehension.
Reading with fluency allows students to retain information with accuracy, expression and increased speed. The ability to read fluently develops through reading practice. As students become fluent readers, they will spend less time trying to decipher the meaning of words or more time considering the overall meaning of the sentences. Over time, fluent readers will develop the ability to insightfully respond to a text.
4) Active reading
Beginning readers often rely on skilled readers to guide them through a text. However, as readers develop, they will be able to monitor their own reading comprehension. Students can actively guide their own reading by targeting comprehension problems as they occur. Students can troubleshoot comprehension problems by recalling what they read, asking themselves questions or evaluating the text.
5) Critical thinking
The students can actively respond to a text more efficiently when they possess critical thinking skills. As students read, they can determine the main idea and supporting detail, the sequence of events and the overall structure of the text. Students will also be able to identify literary devices and their effect on the text. Having critical thinking skills help to deepen a students’ comprehension of a text, resulting in a positive reading experience.