A study on the effect of immediate reading about a topic on students' writing proficiency
Stalker, James C.
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It is a generally observed fact that reading and writing are taught as isolated skills rather than in an integrated way and this is one of the reasons why students fail to improve their writing skill as their writing experiences are not based on their reading experiences. Hence, the teachers usually fall to see progress in their students' writing. Therefore, this study focused on the immediate effect of reading about a topic on a student's writing proficiency when reading activities are done as part of writing instruction. To test the hypothesis, the upper-intermediate level was selected, primarily because students at this level are assumed to be proficient in general language skills which should support the production of an acceptable composition. Two groups were formed, both of which consisted of 6 subjects who were all students at Dokuz Eylül University English Language School. They were placed in treatment groups based on the holistic scores of their compositions written before the actual treatment was started, so that the groups would be similar in terms of writing proficiency between the matched subjects. Each group received a reading treatment and a non-reading treatment. Different reading passages were used in each of reading treatments. In the reading treatment, the group read a topic- related passage after doing some exercises derived from the passage itself, whereas the non-reading treatment was only the exercises. Both groups were given an equal amount of time for doing the exercises and then writing the compositions. The compositions written on the two topics were evaluated holistically by two trained outside judges who had high inter-rater i-'eliability. The scores assigned to the compositions in both portions of the treatment wez^e computed using a t-test in ordez' to see the aggregate significance level of the treatment under the z'eading condition. The t-test results of the overall means yielded a level of p<.005 for a one-tailed test. To detez-'mine the significance level of each part of the tz'eatment for each group, two more t-tests were done. The fiz''st one yielded a significance at the level of p<.025, and the second one resulted in a significance level of p<.01, which is higher. These results support the acceptance of the directional hypothesis. To support the objectivity and reliability of the holistic scores, a T-unit analysis was also done. For this purpose, the percentage of erroz·'- free T-units was calculated foz^ each composition and then a t-test was run using the percentages for each treatment. Both t-tests indicated a significance level of p<.005 for a one-tailed test. The T-unit analysis also supports the results of the study.