Exploring the use of Children's Picture Books to Explicitly Teach Reading Comprehension Strategies in Libyan EFL Classrooms
Al Khaiyali, Al Tiyb
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Reading comprehension is an essential part in developing any language and literacy program. Many literacy programs have taken care to focus on improving reading comprehension instruction at different grade and ability levels, including English as a Second Language and English as a Foreign Language (ESL/EFL). Despite these efforts, there are classrooms that ignore the need for instruction in reading comprehension, and there seems to be little consensus on the best type of reading comprehension instruction. In fact, many educators continue to struggle to find the appropriate ways to effectively and explicitly teach comprehension strategies. Consequently, this dissertation study is an attempt to elicit the general perceptions and experiences of English as a Foreign Language learners and their teachers toward one promising approach incorporating children's picture books to initiate explicit instructional practice with reading comprehension strategies. Two English language teachers and 40 students from the seventh and eighth grades at two different urban schools in Sabha City, Libya participated in this study. Participants' semi-structured interviews and classroom observations were implemented as primary data sources, while surveys and classroom documents were used as secondary sources during data collection. Based on holistic and in-depth firsthand analysis of the collected data, findings indicated that Libyan EFL students in the participating classrooms reacted positively toward the use of picture books to learn some reading comprehension strategies. Additionally, both Libyan EFL teachers affirmed that using children's picture books for explicit comprehension strategy instruction increased the students' abilities to understand what they were reading. Other specific findings demonstrated that Libyan EFL seventh and eighth graders were able to apply several types of comprehension strategies including cognitive and metacognitive strategies while reading picture books and the English language textbook sections. Students' preferences for reading some of the assigned picture books aligned with their preferences for using different types of reading comprehension strategies. Despite some concerns that were reported by the participants regarding time and vocabulary instruction, this study could contribute to enrich the body of research in the area of reading comprehension instruction, particularly in Libyan EFL classrooms.