Volume 11, Issue 4 (2020)                   LRR 2020, 11(4): 267-295 | Back to browse issues page

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Fathi J, Shirazizadeh M. The Effects of a Second Language Reading Strategy Instruction on Iranian EFL Learners’ Reading Comprehension and Reading Anxiety. LRR 2020; 11 (4) :267-295
URL: http://lrr.modares.ac.ir/article-14-30800-en.html
1- Assistant Professor of English Language Teaching, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran , j.fathi@uok.ac.ir
2- Assistant Professor of English Language Teaching, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran
Abstract:   (3254 Views)
The objective of the current paper was set to examine the effect of second language reading strategy instruction on young Iranian English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners’ reading comprehension and reading anxiety. Although a growing body of empirical studies have employed CALLA as a framework for L2 reading strategy instruction, there is a scarcity of empirical studies exploring the effectiveness of this model for reading strategy instruction among young learners in EFL contexts (Manoli, Papadopoulou, & Metallidou, 2016). The importance of conducting strategy-instruction studies involving younger L2 learners has been called for by numerous researchers (e.g., Chamot, 2005; Macaro & Erler, 2008; Manoli, Papadopoulou, & Metallidou, 2016) since the vast majority of studies have recruited older students. Moreover, as discussed above the construct of FL reading anxiety has remained under-researched in L2 empirical studies. For these reasons, the current study was set to explore the impact of L2 reading strategy instruction, set within CALLA model, on young Iranian EFL learners’ reading comprehension and reading anxiety.
To accomplish this objective, a sample of 48 young Iranian EFL learners were selected and randomly assigned to an experimental group (N = 25) and a control group (N = 23). To guarantee the homogeneity of the experimental and the control groups in terms of general English proficiency level “Oxford Placement Test” (OPT) (Allan, 2004) was given to the students of both groups. The results obtained from OPT indicated that the learner were of lower intermediate level of language proficiency (B1). The two classes were taught by the same teacher who employed the same course book and materials. The experimental intervention (i.e., reading strategy instruction) lasted for a period of 12 weeks.
Employing a quasi-experimental design, the study employed an experimental group that received a second language reading strategy instruction for a period of one semester and a control group that were taught with regular method with no strategy instruction but they were measured in terms of reading comprehension and reading anxiety before and after the strategy instruction. The strategy instruction intervention for the present study was based on Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA) (Chamot & O`Malley, 1994) framework developed by Chamot et al. (1999) which constitutes five key stages including preparation, presentation, practice, evalua­tion, and expansion. In this framework, the instruction gradually moves from a highly explicit instruction to a more implicit teaching of using strategies to learning tasks so that the language learners can begin to accept more responsibility in selecting and implementing appropriate learning strategies. This cycle reiterates when new strategies are added to students’ strategic repertoires. In the meantime, the control group students were taught traditionally without receiving any explicit instruction of L2 reading strategies. More specifically, the procedure adopted for the control group was to make the students read a text aloud and translate it. During the sessions, the teacher taught the new vocabularies and provided the students with oral comprehension questions following passage reading.
The reading component of Cambridge Preliminary English Test (CPET) and Foreign Language Reading Anxiety Scale (FLRAS) were administered to assess the reading comprehension performance and reading anxiety of the participants as pre-test and post-test of the study.
The findings of the study revealed that the learners in the experimental group outperformed those of control group with regard to reading comprehension after receiving the strategy instruction intervention. The results of this research indicated that the students of the experimental group significantly outperformed those of control group with regard to reading comprehension ability, suggesting that the reading strategy instruction was influential in fostering L2 reading comprehension of the young Iranian EFL learners. The results of this research are in agreement with those of previous empirical studies (Aghaie & Zhang, 2012; Akkakoson, 2013; Dabarera, Renandya, & Zhang, 2014; Zhang, 2008, among others) and are at variance with the findings of Shang (2010). More particularly, concerning the young EFL learners as the participants of this study, it was revealed that the findings of the present study corroborated and extended the findings of Manoli, Papadopoulou, and Metallidou (2016) that supported the effectiveness of strategy use and instruction in improving reading comprehension among young, school-aged students.
Moreover, it was revealed that the reading strategy instruction reduced the reading anxiety of the participants. Pedagogical implications on reading strategy instruction were finally discussed. This finding is in line with the findings of a number of previous empirical studies which suggested that the use of comprehension strategies can decrease reading anxiety of the students (Gahungu, 2007; Lien, 2016; Naseri & Zaferanieh, 2012). This is also consistent with the claim that there are interactions between general foreign language anxiety and strategy use (MacIntyre & Gardner, 1994; Rahimi & Zhang, 2014). It might be argued that the improvement reading performance by strategy instruction has helped the participants to reduce their reading anxiety.
As far as practical implications of the study are concerned, it is suggested that EFL practitioners need to integrate reading strategy instruction into their regular L2 classrooms in order to improve reading performance of their students. Nevertheless, the teachers themselves should be trained on how to teach strategies effectively. If teachers are now equipped with the knowledge and awareness of reading strategies, they will not be able to implement strategy-based instruction (Zhang & Wu, 2009).
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Article Type: مقالات علمی پژوهشی | Subject: English language
Published: 2020/10/1

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