Zambo and Brem (2004, p. 95) believe that ” children who have difficulty in reading may form negative self-schemas and come to believe that they are flawed, lazy, and inferior. In comparison, children who meet success in reading are more likely to be happy and recall positive experiences”.
2.8 Theories behind Reading Comprehension
In order to increase reading comprehension, understanding of the theories behind reading comprehension, as well as a working knowledge of some important strategies can be useful. Therefore, here we are going to focus on three important theories on reading comprehension: the Schema Theory; Mental Models, and the Preoperational Theory, and four categories of strategies to improve reading comprehension based on these theories: Preoperational, Organizational, Elaboration, and Monitoring.
Gunning (1996) identifies three main theories of reading comprehension. These theories are Schema Theory, Mental Models, and Proposition Theory.
2.8.1 Schema Theory
Gunning (1996) defines a schema as the organized knowledge that one already has about people, places, things, and events. Kitao (1990) says the schema theory involves an interaction between the reader’s own knowledge and the text, which results in comprehension. This schema, as Gunning defined, can be very broad, such a schema for natural disasters, or more narrow, such as a schema for a hurricane. Each schema is “filed” in an individual compartment and stored there. In order to comprehend reading materials, it is helpful for the students to relate this new information to the existing information they have compartmentalized in their minds, adding it to these “files” for future use. Based on the Schema Theory, depending on how extensive their “files” become, their degree of reading comprehension may vary.
2.8.2 Mental Model Theory
Another major theory we would like to talk about is the Mental Model. This model is thought to be a kind of mind movie created in one’s head, based on the reading content. Gunning gives a detailed description of this process, stating that a mental model is constructed most often when a student is reading fiction. The reader focuses on the main character and creates a mental model of the circumstances in which the character finds him or herself. The mental model is reconstructed or updated to reflect the new circumstances as the situation changes, but the items important to the main character are kept in the foreground according to Gunning, (1996).
Perkins (1991) identifies that sometimes misconceptions about important concepts reflect misleading mental models of the topic itself or the subject matter within which it sits. There are, however, interventions the teacher can do to help the reader to stay on track and create a more accurate picture. One suggestion is for the teachers to ask the students to disclose their mental models of the topics in question, through analogy, discussion, picturing, and other ways. This information can be useful, because it gives the teacher insight on the student’s knowledge gaps and misconceptions, therefore allowing them to help students reconstruct a more accurate picture.
2.8.3 Proposition Theory
The final explanation of comprehension we would like to discuss is the Propositional Theory. This theory involves the reader constructing a main idea or macrostructure as they process the text. These main ideas are organized in a hierarchical fashion with the most important things given the highest priority to be memorized (Gunning, 1996).
2.9 Strategies of improving reading comprehension based on the mentioned theories:
Katims (1997) stated that learning strategies are techniques, or routines that enable students to learn to solve problems and complete tasks independently. A strategy is an individual’s approach to a task. A reading strategy is a plan or way of doing something; a specific procedure one uses to perform a skill (Hollas, 2002). So, many students need guidance and strategies to help focus on reading and to do more than just read the words on a piece of paper. The skills of a strategic reader in the content areas can be broken down into seven areas (Hollas, 2002):
1. Predict – declaring in advance or foretelling on the basis of observation and/or experience.
2. Visualize – forming mental pictures of scenes, characters and events. Gunning (1996) identifies four main types of comprehension strategies, which include Preoperational, Organizational, Elaboration and Monitoring.
4. Question – to inquire or examine.
5. Clarify – to make understandable or to become clear and free of confusion.
6. Summarize – to concisely obtain the essence or main point of the text.
7. Evaluate – to form an opinion about what you have read.
As it is implied, these seven areas can be linked to various strategies to improve the effectiveness of each reader. The “predicting, visualizing and connecting” areas are implemented as before reading strategies. The “question and clarification” areas are implemented as during reading strategies whereas, “summarizing and evaluating” are implemented as after reading strategies. It is implied that the goal of the teacher is to help students to apply reading strategies to become effective readers.
2.10 Purposes of Reading Comprehension Strategies
Reading is one of the most important academic tasks faced by students. As cited in (www.ciil-ebooks.net), strategies designed to improve reading comprehension may have any number of purposes:
• To enhance understanding of the content information presented in a text
• To improve understanding of the organization of information in a text
• To improve attention and concentration while reading
• To make reading a more active process
• To increase personal involvement in the reading material
• To promote critical thinking and evaluation of reading material
• To enhance registration and recall of text information in memory
2.11 What is comprehension?
One of the earliest recorded studies of reading as reasoning was that of Thorndike in (1917). As cited in (www.ciil-ebooks.net), the first factual study of comprehension in reading was made by Davis (1941). A factual study means that an attempt has been made to separate the component parts of reading in order to discover what the statistical values are of the various kinds of things one does that helps him to comprehend while reading. One of the factors in reading would be vocabulary. What are the other factors? These are the kinds of questions that a factoral analysis of reading attempts to answer. Davis’ study indicated that reading behavior was related to the psychological aspects of reasoning as well as to the ocular and mechanical. Davis (1941), hypothesized nine variables but found that only five were significant. They are given below:
1. Vocabulary – knowledge of word meanings
2. Verbal reasoning – being able to reason with words.
3. Sensitivity to implications – being able to understand implications, or what a writer implies.
4. Following the structure of passage – to know how it is structured and being able to follow the structure.
5. Recognizing the literary techniques of the writer.
Hall and Robinson in 1945 identified comprehension accuracy, rate of inductive reading, word meaning, rate for reading unrelated facts and chart reading skills. Another team identified only two factors- semantic difficulties, i.e., the difficulty of the sentences, and word difficulty. In 1964, another team attempted factor analysis and they found only two skills that were statistically defensible, i.e., word knowledge and paragraph comprehension.
A team, as late as 1969, reported a study of reading comprehension done in Iowa. This team investigated eight factors as possible ‘building blocks’ in comprehension, but found only four of these to be actually related
to comprehension of reading. They were (1) speed of reading; (2) ability to listen; (3) ability to classify the words, and (4) speed of noting details. A later study also found vocabulary to be very significant, as was ability to note rhyming sounds (www.ciil-ebooks.net).
2.12 Studies carried out on the relationship between emotional intelligence and reading comprehension:
Different studies have been done in this area up to now. It is worth mentioning that non of them investigated the relationship between EI and RC alone. In all of them the two variables are studied in relation to some other factors. Helen C. Bryant (March, 2007), investigated the relationship between EI and RC in 10th-, 11th-, and 12th-grade students with learning disabilities in a school in the Wayne County (South East Michigan) School District and found a significant correlation between the total EQ score and reading comprehension (r =0.90). Pishghadam (2009) did a quantitative study to analyze the relationship between EI and Foreign Language Learning; 508 second year students at four universities in Iran were asked to complete the Emotional Intelligence Inventory (EQ-i). Then, the EQ-i data were matched with the students’ academic records, scores in reading, listening, speaking, and writing. As he concluded total EQ was not found to be associated with reading (r=0.06). Motallebzadeh (Fall 2009), investigated The relationship between emotional intelligence of the Iranian EFL learners and their reading comprehension and structural ability. He did his study over 250 Iranian EFL learners studying at Islamic Azad University and found a strong correlation between EI and RC as (r=0.54). In Abdolrezapour and Tavakoli (March, 2011) ‘s research, “the relationship between emotional intelligence and EFL learners ‘achievement in reading comprehension”, a total of 63 students studying Interchange 2 were asked to participate in their study; The population under the study included the EFL learners who enrolled in a language center in Iran. Based on their data, they suggested that high EI is related to more reading achievement (r=0.66). They believed that subjects’ EI positively correlates with their achievement in reading comprehension. Talebinejad and Rezai Fard (September 2012), did a research on ” the relationship between emotional quotient, socioeconomic status and performance in reading comprehension: a case study of Iranian high school students”, concluded a high correlation between emotional intelligence and reading comprehension, as well (r=0.79). In their research 80 homogenous EFL female students were selected from different high schools in Eghlid with the age range of 14-17.
It was expected that the aimed junior students who passed several courses of reading comprehension in advance answer reading comprehension test better than what they actually did. Although, there was a significant correlation between EI and RC (r=0.29), it was not high enough. It is clear that the result is local not universal.
The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Reading Comprehension of the junior students of Bandar Abbas Islamic Azad University majoring in English. Although, gender and age had no roles in this research. This chapter presents the research design, participants, instruments, data collection procedures, and statistical analyses utilized for this study.
“A descriptive study describes and interprets what is. It is concerned with conditions or relationships that exist, opinion that are held, processes that are going on, effects that are evident, or trends that are developing.” (Best, 2006, p. 118). Therefore as Best believes, descriptive research seeks to find answer to questions through the analysis of the relationships between variables. Based on these considerations, this quantitative research was held at Islamic Azad University