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Developing academic reading skills through strategy training

Developing academic reading skills through strategy training

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Developing academic reading skills through strategy training

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  1. Developing academic reading skills through strategy training Sruti Akula (PhD ELE) EFL University

  2. Presentation • Introduction • Description of the study • Theoretical framework • Tools used and the data (reflection grids, interview, pre test, post test) • Interpretation of the data • Findings • Conclusion • Implications

  3. Introduction 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

  4. The Study • Location: Kakinada A.P. • Target group: undergraduate science students • Focus: Reading strategies • Strategies are conscious techniques used intentionally to solve problems encountered while reading • e.g. skimming, scanning, inferencing, predicting

  5. Description of the study • Why reading strategies? • Readers at the undergraduate level need to be self-dependent • There is a need to read beyond the textbooks • It was observed that learners don’t use reading strategies effectively • Inadequate reading skills seem to hinder academic progress

  6. Description of the study • Duration-18 hours spread across 12 days • Target group • 15 undergraduate science students • Science students as these skills are needed for reading scientific texts (e.g. summarizing, note-taking, note-making) • Intervention • To develop academic reading skills

  7. Description of the study • Materials • 6 units • Each unit focuses on a reading strategy • Unit consists of reading texts and tasks • 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

  8. Unit was divided into • A pre-task discussion about the strategy in use, the nature of the texts and tasks • Completion of the tasks • Post task discussion about the reading processes and strategies used • Filling the reflection grids

  9. 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 practice • Explicit strategy instruction contributes significantly to reading proficiency • Focus and methodology of the intervention carried out for the present study (diagrammatic representation)

  10. Reflection grids • Purpose of the grids • Capturing strategy use • Reflection, self-evaluation • Awareness raising • Grids had statements that aimed at capturing the reading process, strategy use • 6 grids were used for 6 units

  11. 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: • Schema/back ground knowledge • Reading style, process (reading at a slow pace; predicting the content from the title; using repetitive ideas, linkers to understand text organization; drawing inferences)

  12. Reflection grids • Use of L1 while reading in L2 • Dealing with unfamiliar words • Specific statements were about aspects like • Reading style (skipping parts of the text, rereading, reading in chunks) • Note making techniques (underlining key points)

  13. Structured interview Responses • Predicting saves time • Using background knowledge made reading effective • Awareness about text organization helped me improve my reading comprehension

  14. Structured interview • Underlining key points was helpful in capturing the gist of the text which in turn helped in competing tasks • Skipping and reading in chunks saved time improving reading speed • Note making tables helped while summarizing • Rereading to understand the text better

  15. 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%

  16. 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

  17. Interpretation • 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 • Guessing the meaning of the unfamiliar words from the context (100%)

  18. Interpretation • Predicting what the text is about by looking at the title (95.8%) • Underlining the key points while reading (87.5%) • Rereading the text several times going back and forth to understand the text better (80%) • Reading the text word by word at a slow pace to enable understanding (64%) • Drawing inferences from the text with the help of the clues provided by the writer (61%)

  19. Interpretation • Trying to link new ideas presented in the text with existing knowledge while reading a text on a familiar topic (57%) • Skipping some parts of the text that are not needed (53%) • Looking for repetitive ideas and words to understand the connection between different parts of the text (53%)

  20. Interpretation • 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%) • Reading the entire text quickly once to get the gist and then reading paragraph by paragraph for deeper meaning (50%) • Reading in chunks (47%) • Strategies related to using L1 while reading in L2 were least preferred

  21. Findings • 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 awareness)

  22. Conclusion • A specially designed course in strategy training results in improved reading performance • Self-reflection and self-evaluation enable learners to become better readers

  23. Implications of the study • Reflection- for the learners as well • Teacher- action research • Teacher education- course design