Metacognitive Awareness and Strategy Usage Among Intermediate and Advanced L2 Readers of Arabic

By Katherine Whiting
Submitted to Session P4942 (New Perspectives on Literacy in TAFL, 2017 Annual Meeting
Arab States;
Language Acquisition;
LCD Projector without Audio;
This study examined the metacognitive awareness and reading comprehension strategies used by intermediate and advanced-level readers of Arabic as a second language enrolled in third and fourth year Arabic courses. The study compared the intermediate and advanced students’ perceived use of reading strategies to the actual strategy employed while reading a text in Arabic. The students’ perceived reading strategy profiles were quantitatively measured by administering a modified version of the Survey of Reading Strategies (Mokhtari & Sheorey, 2002; 44 participants total), which involved a self-reported measure. The actual reading strategies used were then measured using a think-aloud protocol with a portion of the original sample (18 participants total). Additionally, the study presents four qualitative case studies spanning profiles of both highly proficient and less proficient readers as determined by comprehension levels.

The results indicate that the third and fourth year students both reported and used Problem-solving Strategies most often in regards to the three strategy categories presented in the Survey of Reading Strategies (henceforth SORS). The third year students had higher perceived and actual use of Support Strategies, whereas the fourth year students had higher perceived and actual use of Global Strategies. Overall, the fourth year students reported higher strategy usage on the SORS than the third year students, which contrasts the think-aloud protocols where the third year students employed reading strategies more frequently. Of the strategies used in the think aloud protocols, however, the fourth year students garnered a correct or partially correct meaning from their strategy usage in a higher percentage of the strategy instances than the third year students, suggesting that while they used fewer strategies, they were ultimately more skillful in their strategy usage. The results of this study are pertinent to the field of Second Language Acquisition in that they add to the small body of research on the perceived and actual strategy usage of L2 learners of Arabic. As traditional understandings of teaching literacy have not focused sufficiently on the degree to which effective strategy usage contributes to comprehension, the strategies demonstrated in this study are integral to redefining reading literacy in an evolving foreign language curriculum.