Developing academic reading skills through

Developing academic reading skills
through strategy training
Sruti Akula (PhD ELE)
EFL University
 Introduction
 Description of the study
 Theoretical framework
 Tools used and the data (reflection grids, interview, pre
test, post test)
Interpretation of the data
The study argues that
 Explicit strategy instruction needs to be exploited as
a valuable teaching/learning tool
 Self reflection grids, enabling self
evaluation, (thereby raising meta-awareness)
enhances reading comprehension and helps
struggling readers to become efficient readers
The Study
 Location: Kakinada A.P.
 Target group: undergraduate science students
 Focus: Reading strategies
o Strategies are conscious techniques used
intentionally to solve problems encountered
while reading
o e.g. skimming, scanning, inferencing, predicting
Description of the study
 Why reading strategies?
o Readers at the undergraduate level
need to be self-dependent
o There is a need to read beyond the
o It was observed that learners don’t
use reading strategies effectively
o Inadequate reading skills seem to hinder academic
Description of the study
 Duration-18 hours spread across 12 days
 Target group
o 15 undergraduate science students
o Science students as these skills are needed for
reading scientific texts (e.g. summarizing, notetaking, note-making)
o To develop academic reading skills
Description of the study
o 6 units
o Each unit focuses on a reading strategy
o Unit consists of reading texts and tasks
o Scientific Texts- from popular science
 Approach- interactive, task-based discussions
 Here, the reading process, appropriate strategy used
is more important than arriving at the right answer
 Unit was divided into
o A pre-task discussion about the strategy in use,
the nature of the texts and tasks
o Completion of the tasks
o Post task discussion about the
reading processes and strategies used
o Filling the reflection grids
Theoretical framework
 The study operates on the premise that reading is
a process involving the use of strategies that can
be developed through sustained teaching and
 Explicit strategy instruction contributes
significantly to reading proficiency
 Focus and methodology of the intervention
carried out for the present study (diagrammatic
Reflection grids
 Purpose of the grids
o Capturing strategy use
o Reflection, self-evaluation
o Awareness raising
 Grids had statements that aimed at capturing the
reading process, strategy use
 6 grids were used for 6 units
Reflection grids
 Some statements were common in the grids used
while the rest were specific statements focusing on
strategy in use
 General statements dealt with aspects like:
o Schema/back ground knowledge
o Reading style, process (reading at a slow pace;
predicting the content from the title; using repetitive
ideas, linkers to understand text organization; drawing
Reflection grids
o Use of L1 while reading in L2
o Dealing with unfamiliar words
 Specific statements were about aspects like
o Reading style (skipping parts of the text, rereading,
reading in chunks)
o Note making techniques (underlining key points)
Structured interview
o Predicting saves time
o Using background knowledge made reading
o Awareness about text organization helped me
improve my reading comprehension
Structured interview
o Underlining key points was helpful in capturing
the gist of the text which in turn helped in
competing tasks
o Skipping and reading in chunks saved time
improving reading speed
o Note making tables helped while summarizing
o Rereading to understand the text better
Pre test
 A Pre-test aimed at assessing learners’ reading
proficiency was administered
 It had reading texts followed by MCQs, tasks on
information transfer, comparing two texts on the
same topic and answering short answer questions.
 The mean of the pre-test scores of 15 selected
students was 50.9%
Post test
 The post-test aiming at assessing the result of the
course and learners’ achievement.
 It had pre-reading, while reading
and after reading activities/tasks
 The mean of the post-test is 66%
 Though the tasks were of a higher order when
compared to the pre-test there was improvement in
the mean
 It is widely agreed that strategies play a crucial role
in developing reading skills and that strategy training
techniques produce effective readers suggesting that
strategies should be taught explicitly
 Given below is the list of strategies most preferred
by the target group in the order of priority
o Guessing the meaning of the unfamiliar words from
the context (100%)
o Predicting what the text is about by looking at the title
o Underlining the key points while reading (87.5%)
o Rereading the text several times going back and forth to
understand the text better (80%)
o Reading the text word by word at a slow pace to enable
understanding (64%)
o Drawing inferences from the text with the help of the
clues provided by the writer (61%)
o Trying to link new ideas presented in the text with
existing knowledge while reading a text on a familiar
topic (57%)
o Skipping some parts of the text that are not needed
o Looking for repetitive ideas and words to understand the
connection between different parts of the text (53%)
o Taking the help of linkers to understand the way text is
organized and to get a clear idea about arguments
developed in the text (50%)
o Reading the entire text quickly once to get the gist and
then reading paragraph by paragraph for deeper meaning
o Reading in chunks (47%)
o Strategies related to using L1 while reading in L2 were
least preferred
 Explicit strategy training can be done through reading
tasks, awareness raising discussions and reflection grids
 It enhances the academic reading skills of the students,
improves reading fluency, and builds their confidence to
read and comprehend academic texts
 Awareness raising using grids and discussions led
students to reflect on their reading processes (meta
 A specially designed course in strategy
training results in improved reading
 Self-reflection and self-evaluation enable
learners to become better readers
Implications of the study
Reflection- for the learners as well
Teacher- action research
Teacher education- course design

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