Reading is a necessary skill that any learner needs and it is not merely a receptive skill (Grabe in Priyono, 2010: 1). Rather, it is a selective process and characterized as an active process of comprehending. Moreover, reading is not an easy skill to master as it is thought. It is a complicated process that requires specialized skill of the reader (Dechant, 1977: 21).
Reading cannot be separated from comprehension because it is the chief purpose in reading instruction. Comprehension involves more than simply decoding. It involves recognizing the significance of the message, understanding the intentions of the writer, and going beyond what is written to guess at hidden, unstated or implied meanings (White, 1997: 22). Moreover, it is an active thinking process to understand the meaning of written text by electing information, ideas or facts from written text, discovering the meaning of unfamiliar words of the text and determining the meanings the author intended to transmit.
Based on Kurikulum Tingkat Satuan Pendidikan (KTSP) purpose, teaching reading to junior high school’ students is directed to help them understand the meaning of functional written text and simple essay in the form of descriptive, narrative, recount, procedure, and report text related to surrounding environment. However, in fact, unsuccessful teaching reading makes many English learners find it difficult to understand what is on the reading passage. There are some problems that appear in comprehending a text whereas thestudentsdo not know the technique which can help them to read more effectively and efficiently. This phenomenon happens in almost every language class.
Based on the preliminary research done in July in the second grade of SMP Negeri 4 Surakarta, the researcher found that there were some problems in students’ reading comprehension.Based on the interview with some students, the researcher found that they got difficulties in: (1) identifying main idea; (2) identifying the implicit andexplicit information of the text; (3) understanding the new vocabulary.
Moreover,there are some problems faced related to the classroom situation; (1) the students had low motivation in reading; (2) the students were bored with the monotonous text; (3) and the method that teacher used was traditional method; (4) the students lost concentration after half time of teaching and learning process.
The condition above might considerably occur because the teaching strategy used by the teacher is not motivating to the students. In teaching learning process, teacher also plays an important role as a facilitator. It is in line with Brown (1994: 7) who states that teaching is guiding and facilitating learning, enabling the learner to learn, setting the condition for learning. As facilitators, teachers have to be able to facilitate learner to learn. One of them is facilitating the learner with appropriate teaching learning strategy so that they can easily learn. Considering that condition, the researcher was interested in changing the condition by conducting action research concern on implementing K-W-L Strategy to solve the problems of students’ reading comprehension in SMP N 4 Surakarta.
KWL (Know –Want to Know –Learned) strategy is a teaching strategy that helps pupils develop tactical ways to learn new material with the use of questioning and accessing information from reliable sources. This strategy can be effective in promoting independence in learning (“K-W-L Learning”, 2010). KWL strategy theoretically can improve students’ reading comprehension. It serves as a model ofactive thinking during reading. The teacher will help the students to activate their prior knowledge in KWL strategy. It is intended to be an exercise for study group or class although it can be adapted to working alone.
KWL Strategy benefits in many waysaccording to Ogle (1986). She also statesthat this strategy can be used for brainstorming at the beginning of the lesson or unit to find out what students already know. KWL Strategy can help students to monitor their comprehension. Finally KWL is intended to be an exercise, for a study group or class, which can guide students in reading and understanding a text. It can be adapted by students to work alone, but discussions definitely help. KWL Strategy provides an opportunity for the students to expand their ideas beyond the text.