Reading is a complex process which involve cognitive as well as social and emotional activities (Roskos et.al., 2009). Thus, it is important to introduce the necessary foundation of the target language before starting to read in that language. For that reason, this website is created as a medium to facilitate young learners in acquiring English as a foreign language. The primary intention of the website is to teach pupils aged 5-6 how to read in English and for the students aged 6-7 to practice reading comprehension. The activities on the website also enable learners to experience the reading aloud which some claim is the most efficient way of acquiring the language.
II. Theoretical Review
The website involves learners and the parents. The underlying principles of choosing the materials and designing the activities are the decoding approach (for both 5-6 and 6-7 age group) and reading aloud method (5-6 age group).
2.1. Decoding Approach
The activities on the website adopt the decoding approach and reading aloud method. Decoding is the process of recognizing print words and interpreting them into speech. Decoding helps learner to perceive different sound, acquire vocabulary, understand the instruction and read fluently both in the first or foreign language.
There is a major criticism on this type of approach for it may cause distortion in meaning that is the fundamental goal of reading. However, many studies confirm that decoding is an essential skill for beginner readers as it helps reading comprehension proficiency (Juel, 1988, Philips et. al, 1991 and Beck and Juel, 1992). Their findings suggest that the learners who previously do not learn how to decode are likely to develop their ability to comprehend a text less quickly than those who do learn to decode. Muspratt et.al (1997), furthermore suggest four components for literacy success. One of them includes the roles of the reader as a code breaker, that is the ability to recognize sound-symbol relationships, alphabets, and left-to-right directionality. So, decoding is the first skill that language learners should learn to improve reading comprehension.
Reading aloud is usually done when reading stories to children although any texts are acceptable. Teachers and parents are strongly encouraged to use this strategy to let children grasp the idea of the story. It has been confirmed that allowing children to focus on the major idea of the story or text gives them a better reading experience. In addition, through reading aloud, children could increase their phonological awareness (Duursma et.al, 2008). Moreover, if learners do not have foundation of the foreign language, allowing them to listen to how words are pronounced becomes an inseparable part. Reading aloud can help learners to unconsciously learn the pattern of the language, the sound, and the vocabulary (Krashen and Bland, 2014).
A number of studies suggest that parental involvement impacts greatly on the children's learning process. For example, Kernan (2012) confirms that since parents are the key and the everlasting educators, their support is vital. Furthermore, children need someone who acknowledges their efforts. For instance, parents can give praise for the children's effort. Such acknowledgment might increase the children's motivation in learning.
The title of the website is CHILDRENS'S READING ZONE. Every activity begins with the introduction of letters from the English alphabet, phonemic patterns, vocabulary, and a reading text. In addition, since the learners are children, guidance from parents is strongly advised.
The website was designed using Adobe Dreamweaver and the activities were created using JQuiz, JMatch, and JCloze in the Hot Potatoes. Despite its limitations, Hot Potatoes software has been able to cover those four components through its exercise types. Additionally, the materials included in this website also contain sounds, pictures, and videos. Roskos et.al (2009) encourage the presence of sounds and pictures to assist young learners to make sense of the language.