Reading Comprehension Difficulties: A Case Study on Saudi High School EFL Learners

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Saeed Abdullah Alzahrani , Sabariah Md Rashid , Yong Mei Fung , Ilyana Jalaluddin


The ability to read and comprehend texts has long been considered critical for achieving success in academic pursuits. While a myriad of studies has investigated the components that affect 'learners' reading comprehension, there are a limited number of investigations into such elements in the Middle East and North Africa.  The following article will discuss the experiences of students from Albaha secondary school in Saudi Arabia and the group's difficulties with reading comprehension in the English as a Foreign Language ('EFL') studies. The specific focus is Saudi high school EFL 'learner's reading comprehension ability. To gather data, a sample of twenty (n= 20) Saudi high school EFL learners completed two research instruments: (i) an adapted reading comprehension test and (ii) focus group discussion ('FGD'). The results showed that for students in Saudi Arabia, the reading comprehension levels were quite low. However, the findings did indicate that motivated students were willing to learn and did understand the need for English language acquisition. However, there are several issues affecting their reading comprehension ability. For example, the road blocks include the school environment, textbooks, English teachers,English teachers, and learners. This paper provides useful insights for Saudi Arabian educational stakeholders to improve reading comprehension in L2 contexts.

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