Reading Comprehension: What Else is Important Besides Skills and Strategies

Reading Comprehension: What Else is Important Besides Skills and Strategies


In the past three decades or so, L2 reading research has focused on the question of how reading strategy can be taught to help L2 learners read more eectively and with greater comprehension. One important conclusion that can be drawn from this huge body of research is that strategy instruction can indeed improve comprehension. However, closer inspection of these studies seems to indicate a more complex picture: (i) not all strategies are equally eective (i.e., some are more eective than others), (ii) not all students benet from strategy instruction. (iii) little is known about how strategies work, (iv) more importantly, the eect of strategy instruction may not be as large as many believe it is.

In the absence of a strong research evidence for teaching reading strategies, we would need to exercise caution when teaching strategies. Brief strategy instruction is ne , but organizing a whole reading problem around reading strategies may not be particularly productive. With lower prociency L2 learners, in particular, it seems sensible to focus more on developing their reading uency, increasing the breadth and depth of their vocabulary and developing a rich base of background knowledge, all of which can be eectively acquired through rich and wide exposure to the target language. In this paper, following Willingham (2006/7) I argue that while brief strategy instruction can be useful, the bulk of our reading programme should be devoted to increasing the quality and quantity of the target language input via extensive reading, which research has shown to be an excellent source for vocabulary and background knowledge development

This paper was previously published in: Renandya, W.A. (2015). Reading in a foreign language: What else matters besides skills and strategies. In Hamied, F. A., Yadnya, I.B.P., & Sosiowati, I.G.A.G. (Eds.), Developing indigenous models of English language teaching and assessment, pp 81-94). Bali, Indonesia: Udayana University Press.

View or Download ebook here.

One Reply to “Reading Comprehension: What Else is Important Besides Skills and Strategies”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *