Persistent And Potential Problems Preventing Efl Reading Comprehension Of Saudi University Students

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Persistent and Potential Problems Preventing EFL Reading Comprehension of Saudi University Students


Table of Contents


1.1.Context and Background1

1.2.Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Saudi Arabia2

1.3.The system of teaching English in Saudi Arabia2

1.4.Factors influencing reading difficulties for EFL students5

1.5.Motivational Factors and Learning6

1.6.Motivational Factors and Reading9

1.7.Vocabulary Factor11




Context and Background

Reading is a complex process for native speakers, let alone for non-native speakers. With regards to non-native speakers, (Smith, 2006), reports that research suggests that reading in a language which is not the learner's first language (i.e. ESL or EFL) is a source of considerable difficulty. The researcher decided to study English as a Foreign Language (EFL) reading because he believes that learning to read in a new language is the basis for learning the remaining language skills such as writing and speaking. Indeed, many studies have indicated that reading is the most important skill for academic success in any language. This gives special importance to the development of reading skills for EFL students who need English for academic purposes. (Sheorey, 2009), for example, points out that we learn to write by reading, and he further notes that they saw that university students who participate in free reading programs write better.

Reading has been defined as a process of thinking, evaluating, judging, imagining, reasoning, and problem solving. (Paris, 2007) holds the opinion that reading, as the experienced reader uses the skill, may be thought of as a four-step process: perceiving words in print, understanding their meaning in context, reacting to the idea presented by the writer, and integrating new learning into one's accumulated experience (Nunan, 2008).

(Houtveen, 2007) observes that a good reader concerns himself less with speed itself and more with his purpose for reading. The student learns to read faster by learning to overcome all of the barriers that have kept him/her from reading at a faster rate. In order to clarify the factors influencing reading difficulties for Saudi students of EFL it is important.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Saudi Arabia

English as a foreign language was first introduced to Saudi public schools in 1937 (Bergman, 2005). Students in Saudi Arabia begin learning English in the 7th grade through the 12th grade. Throughout each grade level, students are taught English for four periods a week, and each period lasts for 45 minutes. Students will need English either when they continue their post-secondary education in the technical and vocational institutes or when they study medicine or engineering at the university level. It is expected that every Saudi who applies to work in an industrial field in Saudi Arabia will possess a certain level of English proficiency.

The system of teaching English in Saudi Arabia

Like the whole educational system is centralised and controlled by the Saudi Ministry of Education. As a result, English teachers at each grade level are given an identical syllabus, with guidelines and deadlines, and are required to apply and follow it (Baker, Brown, 2007). To insure similar teaching, the same EFL textbooks for every grade level are also assigned ...
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