The use of reading strategies in academic studies Cover Image

Lugemisstrateegiate kasutus akadeemilises õppes
The use of reading strategies in academic studies

Author(s): Tiina Kikerpill
Subject(s): Cognitive linguistics, Finno-Ugrian studies, Educational Psychology, Cognitive Psychology
Published by: Eesti Rakenduslingvistika Ühing (ERÜ)
Keywords: reading skills; reading comprehension; metacognition; reading strategies; academic reading; second language; Estonian;

Summary/Abstract: The aim of the study was to ascertain the difficulties students encounter when reading Estonian texts for academic purposes, in order to support them in their studies. 80 native and non-native students from the University of Tartu (Estonia) from 27 programs participated in the study. Data was gathered using a 5-point Likert-type scale questionnaire and analyzed by the following subgroups: L1, L2, BA (years 1–3) and MA (years 4–5). As regards the reading strategy students used, both L1 and L2 students strategically plan their reading by thinking carefully about the task and using support strategies. Compared to L1 readers, the L2 group more frequently uses different strategies, and they can be characterized as more careful readers on both a local and a global level. Finding out the meaning of unknown words was the most commonly used strategy for both L1 and L2 students, which indicates problems with word recognition processes. However, while L2 readers mostly do so using a dictionary, the L1 readers tend to rely on guessing the meaning using context or background knowledge. Compared to L2 students, L1s tend to be better at expeditious reading. The top perceived reading difficulties were related to background knowledge (e.g. complicated topic, insufficiency of required knowledge) and vocabulary (struggling with unknown words). In the former, about half of respondents in all subgroups (L1, L2 and years 1 to 5) reported having difficulties. In word recognition, the difficulties were experienced more often by L2 students and BA students. The results suggest that, in addition to Estonian language courses for academic purposes, more attention should be paid to developing students’ academic reading skills in various specialized courses by providing the background knowledge needed to understand texts and supporting them in interpreting complicated texts.

  • Issue Year: 2017
  • Issue No: 27
  • Page Range: 132-164
  • Page Count: 33
  • Language: Estonian