By Dr. Djuwari
STIE Perbanas (College of Economics and Business)
The more we read any reference, the more knowledge we have. Reading is considered the third order of language skill— after Listening, Speaking, and then Reading. Thus, Reading is the third skill in language skill. Writing comes up the latest after reading.
In the order of acquisition, it can be judged that reading skill is more difficult than speaking and listening skills. This can be traced through our experience in our life. When we were born as a baby, we started to listen more and more to the surrounding sound or language voice spoken by the surrounding people. This voice was mostly spoken by the family members and close relatives visiting us when were a baby.
After months or one or two years old, we started to copy all soundsA or voices of the language by trying to speak imperfectly. Therefore, in this period, our spoken language was the imperfect language derived from our close family members or relatives. In other words, our vocabularies in that period were the so called-teddy-bear vocabularies: all the words that we recognized the most during that process.
Later on, when we began to go to school, such as in kindergarten and first year of elementary school, mostly we were taught reading by our teachers. When we had been introduced to reading all reading materials, then we were introduced to writing. Thus, writing in language skill is the last skill and the most difficult one after reading.
Reading as the process of language acquisition should be acquired after we have acquired listening and speaking skills. Naturally, if our reading is good, our vocabulary increases. Reading in this process of language acquisition is obviously very important. For children in elementary schools, reading should be emphasized more and more in the classroom activities.
Reading is also important for the next skill of writing. Without reading, writing skill will be hindered because reading increases our vocabularies and knowledge as well. Reading can also make us get more information. Reading materials are not only scientific books but also general knowledge as in newspapers, magazines, and all materials in the websites and internets.
When reading newspapers, magazines, and the like, we read for enjoyment. More enjoyable one is reading novels and some short stories. Parents at home are the first motivators in inducing the children’s habit of reading. For that reason, parents are required to provide their children with all different materials of reading. The easiest way is providing the children with newspapers or magazines.
When children get accustomed to reading, they can get reading skill faster. In the long run, children can make themselves manage to read other materials such as their books prescribed by their schools. In this habit, children can acquire more vocabularies. This is a good preparation for acquiring the next skill of writing.
The more vocabularies children have, the more they are easily accustomed to read any reading materials easily without any crucial problem. Parents can put any newspapers or magazines on the reading tables in the living rooms or family rooms. They can also put newspapers or magazines in the cars while going out together with the whole family. In such a condition, reading habit can be established. Reading skill for children is very important.
The miracle of reading as described above is obvious. It can make children get more knowledge, vocabularies, and life experience from learning the ways of life. Reading skill makes human beings get in touch with other parts of the world: as the content of reading materials. We are what we read. Therefore, the miracle of reading is in the content of reading materials.
Dr. Djuwari is the writer of the book “Reading Test Analysis: Theory and Practice”, published by Amazon.com, he is the director of language laboratory at STIE Perbanas Surabaya.