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THE USE OF WORD SQUARE TO IMPROVE THE STUDENTS READING COMPREHENSION IN NARRATIVE MATERIALS



THE USE OF WORD SQUARE TO IMPROVE THE STUDENTS READING COMPREHENSION IN NARRATIVE MATERIALS
A.    BACKROUND OF THE STUDY
English is an important means of communication, which is used by many countries in this world. It plays  an important role in the process of  modernization as an International  language. This is why the Indonesian government chooses English as the first foreign language to be taught in schools (Ramelan, 1992:3). By putting it  as one of the subjects in the curriculum, hopefully, students will have an ability to use English, and when they have mastered it, the way for them to get in touch with the International community is wide open.
Recently from kindergarten to Senior High School (SMA), students learn English in formal and non-formal ways. They realize how important English is in this life, so they intend to master it such a way
that they can use that language to communicate with other people. Based on curriculum of 2004, the scope of teaching English at Junior High Schools includes four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. In this paper, the writer will perform reading  by looking at the consideration that success in reading will be  very important to students both for academic and vocational advancement.
Although English has been taught for a long time, the result is still considered unsatisfactory especially in reading comprehension. It is because the Indonesian students spend little time to read and discuss books. They think that they can get the knowledge more easily obtained from non-book sources than from books. However, reading helps students in their study. In other words, their study depends much on how well they read.
Practically, it is not easy for students to read materials in foreign language than in their native language. They have to face new vocabularies and structures that are different with  that they have in their own language. They sometimes also have to face long, difficult, boring, and uninteresting passages both in the textbooks and in the test papers. Those things can make the students frustrated and lose their motivation to learn English. The reason for reading will finally simply become learning to read instead of reading to learn.
From this situation, the teacher should not remain passive or give up all efforts to make improvements. According to Grabe (Simanjuntak, 1988:36), the role of the teacher is to facilitate reading, raise consciousness, build confidence, ensure continuity and system, show involvement, and demand performance. It means they should try to get students to read and to develop skills aimed at improving their ability to read. He should be able to be a good facilitator in creating and building an effective reading class. One beginning step for him to do is by providing understandable and interesting reading materials. An understandable text will prevent students from translating it word by word, and it will lead them to have a contextual understanding of a whole text, or at least on sentence by sentence.
According to Burns, Roe, and Ross (1984:148), the objective of all reader is comprehension of what they read. Therefore, it is clear that the goal of all reading is the comprehension of meaning. The “word by word” translation that is usually done by students in Indonesia will not bring them to comprehend the text’s content well.   
The role of a teacher is important to help students in determining how much and what subject they should read. The teacher is a person who should create the world of reading in  particular class. He must stimulate students’ interest in reading and support their enthusiasm for books or other reading objects.
To enable the students master the four language skills, English teachers should provide materials that  are appropriate with the curriculum and find suitable methods in teaching and learning process. One of methods suggested in the approaches introduced by the government is by using word square as technique in the classroom.



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