Variability in Comprehension: A Look at the Proficiency Level and Working Memory Functions Among Nonnative Readers of Arabic
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoRelease after 01-Jun-2018
AbstractThis paper investigates the influence of readers' linguistic proficiency level and working memory functions on the reading behaviors and processes of readers of Arabic as a foreign language (henceforth RAFL). Two aspects of reading comprehension, speed and accuracy, are examined in light of readers' word decoding efficiency, recall performances, response times, scores, and readers' responses to two quantitative tests: a questionnaire and an interview. Twenty-four subjects participated in this study and were divided into two subgroups based on their proficiency level. The proficiency of these subjects was determined based on their academic level and their overall GPA in Arabic. All subjects completed a series of reading passages, in two separate sessions, followed by comprehension questions. Reading and answer time on the reading passages and questions were timed and scored. Data was also collected retrospectively using a questionnaire and an interview. The results suggest that reading comprehension and the ability to select and implement specific reading processes are impacted by the proficiency level of subjects as well as their word decoding skills. A strong correlation between comprehension outcomes and working memory functions was also found. That is, working memory capacity was found to be influential on the reading behaviors of readers especially at the sentence level with better performances reported for readers with larger and more elaborate vocabulary repertoire. Based on these results, some implications and conclusions are discussed for both Arabic reading research and foreign language classroom.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Middle Eastern & North African Studies