Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Cultural Nativization versus Cultural Preview) on the Reading Comprehension of Intermediate Efl Learners

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Cultural Nativization versus Cultural Preview) on the Reading Comprehension of Intermediate Efl Learners

Article excerpt

Introduction

Reading is a basic and complementary skill in language learning. ?Second language students need to learn to read for communication and to read greater and greater quantities of authentic materials. Students can use reading materials as a primary source of comprehensible input as they learn the language? (Chastain, 1988, p. 216). The current understanding of reading strategies has been shaped significantly by research on what expert readers do (Bazerman, 1985; Pressley & Afflerbach, 1995). These studies demonstrate that successful comprehension does not occur automatically. Skilled readers tend to use reading comprehension strategies such as re-reading, generating questions, predictions, and so on. According to the pilot study that has been done among 20 junior students of translation training program studying at the Islamic Azad University of Rasht, Iran, a TOFEL test that included two passages with 45 multiple choice tests were given to the students. Approximately, half of them had the scores under 10 out of 20. So it is determined that the subjects had problem in their reading comprehension ability.

It seems that the 'how' question of reading comprehension still poses a problem to these learners despite being at a high level and having learnt English for several years of their schooling experience. This means that the learners need to be trained in effective use of strategies to take control of their learning process in reading comprehension ability. Reading is the most important of all for most of students of English through- out the world, especially in the countries that foreign language learners have not the opportunity to interact with native speakers but have access to written form of that language (Birjandi, Mosallanejad, Bagheridoust, 2006). Ladan JavdanFaghat and Zaidaha Zainal (2010) stressed that the system of education in Iran had not produced the desired objectives of reading classes which had emphasis on the high- cognitive domains.

The common problem that students face with in reading classes is the comprehension of texts which are loaded with cultural terms. For most of them comprehending a text with new words and an unknown topic is difficult. The purpose of the present study was the elaborations on the benefits of awareness raising activ ities on the L2 learner's comprehension of cultural texts. Cultural differences among different nations can cause communication problems which are worsen while reading. Since the interaction takes place between the text and the reader and the writer is not present to diminish ambiguities, it is more difficult to make sense of a text. Based on what has been reviewed EFL and ESL reading classes what is being worked on now seems inefficient and accordingly this research tries to shed light on this issue through the following experiment. Brown (2007) identifies comprehension as ?the process of receiving language; listening or reading; input? (p. 379). Comprehension is the ability to take in information, analyze it in its respective segments, and come up with an understanding of the input in a cohesive and accurate manner. Well -developed comprehension abilities involve interactive strategy use to come up with a meaningful understanding of the input (Lin, 2010). Above all, comprehension can be identified as an interactive, strategic process which, when fully developed, results in reading fluency. According to Ziegler (2005), reading is a process of understanding speech written down. There are factors that affect reading comprehension and they include Lexical Processing, eye tracking, cultural familiarity, and first language effect. Many studies showed that there exists a positive correlation between cultural familiarity and reading comprehension (Brantmeier, 2003; Erten & Razi, 2009). It showed that if the reading is more familiar in terms of cultural content, it is easier to compr ehend. Also it is suggested that L2 comprehension development possibly varies from culture to culture because of a varying combination of information organization preferences between groups (Grabe, 1991). …

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