A Master of Arts Thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by Walid Mahmoud Jawabreh Entitled, "Investigating Reading Strategies in Government High Schools English Classes in Ras Al Khaimah," June 2009. Available are both Hard and Soft Copies of the Thesis.
Reading is a skill that involves more than decoding letters or recognizing words. It, in fact, integrates a variety of strategies, skills, and processes, and thus it is not as simple to describe as one might think. These strategies, skills, and processes operate together in a reading class to achieve the pre-planned objectives. Prior knowledge, for example, contributes a lot to text comprehension, and the application of the appropriate strategy in a reading class makes a difference. Students' attitudes towards L2, in general, and reading, in particular, affect students' reading progression, and so does the transfer of strategies from L1 to L2. It has been my experience that such variables have not been considered by many teachers and students in the government schools in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Educational Zone. This study investigates teachers', supervisors', and students' attitudes toward teaching reading in English classes as it tries to answer the following questions: 1- What are the challenges associated with teaching reading which teachers in RAK experience? 2- What techniques for teaching reading do students identify teachers in RAK using? 3- What are the challenges that students face in English reading classes? 4- How can teachers address these challenges? To answer these research questions, I used surveys and interviews to collect data. I interviewed our Common Educational Proficiency Assessment (CEPA) instructor and our five English supervisors in Ras Al Khaimah. They provided me with useful input on how they believed reading tasks should be approached and how reading challenges can be addressed in our context. The other subjects of my study included 30 male and 30 female English teachers from ten schools in RAK Educational Zone, and 40 high school students from Al Jawdah School for Secondary Education. I conducted structured interviews with10 male students and administered a survey for the other 30 students to explore their attitudes on this issue. After that, I administered a survey for the teachers on the reading strategies used in reading classes at high schools. The findings indicate that reading was a challenging task for these high school students. Moreover, the teachers realized the importance of applying various reading strategies in their classes. The study concludes with some implications that would address teachers' and students' concerns over reading challenges.