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THE EFFECTS OF RECIPROCAL TEACHING ON ENGLISH READING - page 15 / 233

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CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

In Thailand, English is taught as a foreign language, and the purpose of learning

English is for communication (Chandavimol, 1998). To communicate efficiently, learners

need the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing, but of all these four skills,

reading is regarded as the most vital and necessary for students in both a classroom

context and an extracurricular environment (Carrell, 1989; Grabe & Stoller, 2002). In

classrooms of higher education, Thai college and graduate students need efficient reading

skills to comprehend a mass of reading materials from various sources related to their

studies (Piyanukool, 2001). Reading is even more important for high-school students

since they have to be highly competitive in the English entrance examination

(Chandavimol, 1998) and the National English Test. Therefore, the ability to read and

comprehend texts efficiently is crucial for Thai students. In addition, because of the

demanding expectations for academic success in all areas of learning, high-school

students, as English foreign language (EFL) learners, need to develop their English

reading comprehension abilities to a stronger, more advanced level (Soonthornmanee,

2002).

However, these Thai high-school students do not have much opportunity to

develop these abilities, since most of the time English language teaching emphasizes on

linguistic knowledge such as grammar points and vocabulary (Chandavimol, 1998).

Results from previous studies have revealed that the Thai students’ English reading

ability does not reach a very high level of proficiency. This may come from many causes

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