Date of Award
Master of Arts
With increasing opportunities to study abroad, learning to read in a foreign language has become increasingly important for countless second language learners. International students in pursuit of higher education degrees are required and expected to read in the target language at the same level of fluency and comprehension as their native-speaking counterparts. The number of international students studying in Arabic higher education institutions has followed the general ascending trend. For these second language speakers of Arabic, good reading skills in Arabic are essential for their academic success. Since the use of reading strategies is an important component of first and second language reading, this study aimed to investigate the use of reading strategies by native and non-native speakers of Arabic when reading academic materials in Arabic. In addition, it aimed to explore possible differences in the use of reading strategies between these two groups. For this purpose, a total of 305 students participated in the study. A survey composed of 30 items was administered to 222 non-native speakers of Arabic, and the same survey with 28 items was administered to 83 native speakers of Arabic. The survey included demographic questions adapted from Mokhtari and Sheorey (2008) and employed the questionnaire SORS used by Mokhtari and Sheorey (2002). These 30 items belonged to three strategy subscales: Global, Problem-solving, and Support strategies. To analyze the collected data, descriptive statistics and multiple independent t-tests were performed. In addition, an analysis was performed to find the most and least used reading strategies by both groups as well as possible differences between them in terms of reading strategy use. Problem-solving strategies were the most frequently used by both groups with a slightly higher use by the non-native speakers. Regarding the other two types, the native and non-native speakers showed different preferences. Specifically, Support strategies were the second most favored type among the non-native speakers, whereas for the native speakers, the second most frequently used type were Global strategies. However, even though Global strategies were the least used among non-native speakers, the non-native speakers' mean score on Global strategies use was higher than the native speaker score of use. Overall, the similarities and differences in the use of reading strategies by native and non-native speakers of Arabic deserve attention because they carry implications for both reading research and pedagogy. These empirical findings can be used by Education policy makers to create training courses and workshops that will help students improve their reading skills in general and reading strategies in particular. This study also suggests that there is a need for further research that will examine how the use of reading strategies is related to the academic performance of native and non-native speakers.
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