Students and Reading: Past, present and future engagement

Davis, Alex (2014) Students and Reading: Past, present and future engagement. CLESOL 2014: 14th National Conference for Community Languages and ESOL: Essentials for Learning and Teaching:Ko te Pū, ko te Ako, Wellington, New Zealand, 11-13 July, 2014. (Unpublished)

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The significance of reading in improving overall linguistic competence is now generally well established (Day & Bamford, 1998, p. 34; Elley, 2000). Nevertheless EAL students who have legitimate aspirations to undertake tertiary study and are seeking to successfully transition from English language courses into undergraduate programmes often have relatively under-developed reading skills. This is particularly true when their early reading experiences have been limited or if access to education has been restricted or disrupted (Bosher, 1993). Others have well-developed first language reading competence, and relatively high English oral and aural ability, yet are not ‘practised’ readers in English. For many reasons these learners read little outside classroom requirements. Such factors compound the challenges they face when trying to understand academic text. This presentation reports on a study of thirty advanced EAL students in a tertiary bridging programme. Participants were representative of the broad groupings of international fee-paying, migrant and refugee background students and hence came from very diverse social, cultural and educational situations. The study explores the impact of participants’ backgrounds on their first language reading attitudes and habits, and how this in turn may have affected their reading in English. The project also included an action research aspect, namely an evaluation of the effectiveness of the reading component of the programme. Findings come from five months of data collection using questionnaires, narrative frames, reflections and interviews. These methods allowed for participant experiences to be studied in some depth, and for exploration of connections between first and second language reading experiences and engagement. The presentation outlines the common themes which emerged as well as examples of unique features of participants’ ‘stories’. It concludes with discussion on integrating extensive reading into a language programme and its value in helping bring about changes to reading attitudes and behaviours.

Item Type:Paper presented at a conference, workshop, or other event which was not published in the proceedings
Keywords that describe the item:reading, linguistic competence, ESOL, reading skills,
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Divisions:Schools > Centre for Languages
ID Code:3582
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Deposited On:19 Apr 2015 21:25
Last Modified:19 Apr 2015 21:25

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