Enhancing reading comprehension through text structure background knowledge in Bunia Secondary Schools, Ituri D R Congo

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Kampala International University. College of Education, Open, Distance and E-Learning
Product oriented approach to reading which assumes meaning exists in the text itself is unproductive in terms of delivering an efficient comprehension of the text because it fails to consider students’ schemata in reading comprehension process. This omission raises the problem of students’ poor performance in reading and undermines their reading skill development. This research has raised the problem of the omission of students’ background knowledge in the teaching of reading comprehension in Bunia secondary schools, Ituri Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The research poised itself to demonstrate that the background knowledge of text structure has positive effects on the students’ comprehension of a text because reading is an interactive process that goes between the reader’s prior knowledge and the text. The study was conducted via an experimental design. Intervention was conducted in Bunia secondary schools whereby experimental teaching took place. Students’ awareness of text structure and rate of understanding was gauged before and after intervention. Moreover, comprehension lessons were attended by the researcher. Lesson attendance revealed that Bunia secondary school teachers use a product-oriented approach to reading comprehension teaching. This approach considers understanding the product of the text and leads to students’ poor performance in reading because no linkage is made between the students’ prior knowledge and the textual material. The present research found that background knowledge of the text structures has positive effects on the reading comprehension of students. It enhances comprehension rate of students, optimizes comprehension speed, reduces response time, boosts response accuracy, helps students make prediction and concentrate on the unknown, develops the discernment skill, and increases students’ ability to assess narratives by using text structures indicators(signal words). The study made the following recommendations: pre-reading activities to awaken students’ background knowledge of text structures, textbook structure renovation, and incorporation of text structures in reading comprehension instructions. In conclusion, students’ awareness of text structures is crucial for efficient understanding of texts.
A thesis submitted to the College Of Higher Degrees And Research in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of a Degree Of Master Of Arts In English of Kampala International University
Reading comprehension, Text structure background knowledge, Bunia Secondary Schools, Secondary schools, Ituri, D R Congo