Many or any people can read a text but hardly can understand what the writing was all about. This is because the reading was not providing any information to the reader. Why is this happen? This happened when the reader merely read the text without understanding the content. So it defeats the purpose of reading as a means to gain information. According to Mariam (1991) she proposes that a major avenue of learning is through reading. Yet, if we do not understand what we are reading, we cannot learn or remember it. Comprehending is a major concerned, then, of all teachers who use printed material in the classroom.
Since reading is very important in learning second language, a great effort has been given to develop reading skill. Although many ways have been promoted in order to improve reading skill among students, reading is still something that is seems problematic. Students can't understand English text. These problems occurred because according to Noormah (2000) the students are lacking of vocabulary, hardly understand the words and less interest to English subject. Besides that, there are also several factors contributing to the diffident of this particular skill. Based on Sivaguru (2000) those factors are home, school and social environment. If the student is living in a family where English to them is a familiar language, frequently spoken by the members of the family then the student will have the advantage of being exposed to the language. Unlike student with no English familiarity in his family where English is seen as a bizarre language to be spoken, this kind of environment demodulates his motivation to learn the language.
Moreover, school is also one of the factors that contribute to the incompetence in reading. This is where the role of teacher in promoting the language to the students. Some teacher just might not fully use English during English class especially in the primary school. This is just because the teacher intended to suit her level with the students and as a result a lot of code switching is used. This early exposure to the lack of using English in class causes a serious impact when they further their study in a higher education level. To them English is not something important. Even if it does, they still can code switch as what their teacher did during their schooling period.
Another factor is the environment factor. We are from what we come from. If the environment around us allows us to speak English for example to have colleagues who are willing to speak English, this would be a good drive. But what actually happen in the Malaysian society is that people are hesitate to speak English in public among friends, neighbors and etc as mentioned by Sivaguru (2000).
Although the factors discussed are concerning around the speaking skill, but as mentioned earlier that all skills are related to each other. When the students are no longer interested to speak in English, their passions for the language will also deteriorating. These will also affecting their reading skills and their ability to understand English text.
Before we study about this purpose of reading above, we should understand about the definition of reading first. It hopes that all of you will not miss perception.