Reading is process of getting meaning from printed material and visual information. By reading, the readers are able to collect, take and get the information.
Reading is more than merely referring to the activity of pronounciation the printed material or following each line of written. It is involves various and mixed activities.
People have their own purposes why they read. It is also more than recognizing words within a sentence; it includes whole ability of thinking process to evaluate the information.
it can be concluded that reading is an active and communicative process. It is also an interactive process that goes on between the reader and the text, resulting in comprehension.
It is a means of communication between the reader and the writer. The process involves the reader, the text, the interaction between reader and text. The text presents letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs that encode meaning. The reader used knowledge, skills, and strategies to determine the meaning.
Hornby (1987) defines "ability as (1) capacity or power (to do) something physical or mental; (2) cleverness; intelligence; (3) special natural power to do something well; talent. Meanwhile, in Longman dictionary, ability is defined as the mental skill or physical power to do something" (1998: 1) He uses ability refers to a broader set of factors which - given similar motivation and opportunities -- make some people better at learning than others From the explanation above, it can be concluded that ability is someone's competence as a result of learning.
Therefore, reading ability means someone's ability to communicate or make sense of written or printed symbols and to extract information in the text by using his knowledge, skills, and strategies to achieve the purpose of reading activity itself. According to Williams (1996), there are three main phases needed to be followed in reading activity, namely:
Pre--reading: aimed to introduce and arouse learners' interest in the topic. Giving reason to read and some questions that related to learners' background knowledge ideas and opinion would motivate learners' eagerness to read the whole text.
Whilst reading: aimed to help students understanding the purpose and texts' structure and to clarify texts' content. Some activities like answering comprehension question, completing diagram or maps, making list and taking notes are wilst reading type work.
Post--reading: aimed to consolidate what has been read with learners' own knowledge, interest, or ideas.