The method used to solve the problem was a classroom action research employed in three cycles. There were four steps in every cycle, namely: planning, acting, observing, and reflecting. Inquiry-based strategies were used to improve the students’ reading competence. The strategies consisted of inquiry-based teaching strategy for teachers and inquiry-based learning strategy for students. The data collecting and analysis techniques were qualitative (observation, questionnaire, interview, and constant comparative method) and quantitative (descriptive statistics).
Before conducting the research, the students’ reading competence problems had to be identified based on the researcher’s observation during classroom activities. The problems were (1) having limited number of vocabulary, (2) possessing less willingness to read, (3) not getting used to reading, (4) being confused to understand the content of the texts, and (5) having difficulty to respond questions based on what stated in the text. An English pre-test on recount was enrolled at seven classes of tenth grade in the month of July 2010. The result was that the students of Class X-1 with 13 male and 22 female students performed only 12 of 35 students or 32.43% passed the passing grade or KKM 70 with the score average of 61.63. Compared with other classes, the result was the least. The reading competence dealt with the indicators to identify and to respond rhetoric steps of every text/genre. The research was conducted from July to November 2010 or during Semester One. At the end, the research showed that the students were willing to involve and to respond the reading materials. They became more active to explore and elaborate the content of the texts using inquiry-based strategies. As a consequence, the average of Test 1 on recount in Cycle One was 68.43; Test 2 on narrative in Cycle Two was 69.94; and Test 3 on procedure in Cycle Three was 79.54. The result proves that the students’ reading competence get improved after the researcher used inquiry-based strategies.
The research showed that the improvement is not only for the students’ reading competence but also their behaviour to involve and to respond the text during the class. Therefore, this research is recommended as reference for those who have involved in teaching learning activities, such as: teachers, students, and future researchers.