The impact of a programme for teaching reading comprehension skills on female Saudi students in King Abdulaziz University in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah
The present thesis is concerned with the teaching of reading comprehension in Saudi Arabia. Its purpose is to explore ways of improving reading comprehension skills and to investigate the effectiveness of an Experimental Reading Programme devised by the researcher. The experimental reading programme for EFL students was designed based on the basic principles of the use of the communicative approach and the use of authentic materials. This experimental research followed a pre-test, post-test, comparison group design to achieve the above aim. An important limitation to the study, however, was that students in the experimental programme received extra hours of tuition, since the regulations of the centralised system of education required all students to complete the standard curriculum already in place; the experimental programme could only be offered as a supplement. Two instruments, the Reading Achievement Test (multiple choice test) and the Affective Questionnaire (Likert scale) were given to 90 female Saudi students in King Abdulaziz University in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah in Saudi Arabia. Students' reading achievement scores before and after the programme were compared, and their attitudes assessed via the Affective Questionnaire. The pre-test of Reading Achievement revealed that the comparison and the experimental groups were similar in score distribution and approximately equal but in the post-test, the mean score of the experimental group was significantly higher than that of the comparison group. This finding shows that students who were taught by the experimental reading programme and trained in reading a variety of authentic reading materials performed better and were able to score higher than the comparison group in the post-test. The t-test result supports this claim; it showed significant differences at (<0.05) p<0.001 level between the two tests. The Affective Questionnaire revealed that students, before the experimental programme, had negative attitudes to the current teaching of reading in English as a foreign language. This impression was confirmed by the fact that they failed to distinguish between teaching methods and teaching materials. This is because the materials drove the teaching methods; in effect, there was no variation in the ways that the teachers taught, because the standard textbook compelled teachers to follow a particular approach. In contrast, the findings obtained from factor analysis showed that students appreciated the experimental programme.