Barriers to reading in higher education: Rethinking reading support

Reading & Writing

Field Value
Title Barriers to reading in higher education: Rethinking reading support
Creator Andrianatos, Kristien
Subject applied Linguistics; education Academic literacy; higher education; undergraduate students; reading; reading comprehension; reading development; reading barriers; tasks; textbooks; socio-cultural context; lecturers.
Description Background: Reading is a functional academic literacy ability needed by students in higher education. In the South African context, inadequate reading ability is one of the reasons for high undergraduate attrition rates. It seems that role players within this sector are of the opinion that students have reading ‘problems’ that need to be ‘fixed’, often by generic reading courses. This article differs from the perception of reading ‘problems’, as reading is viewed from a lifespan developmental perspective. According to this perspective undergraduate students do not have reading ‘problems’ but experience reading barriers hindering their reading development and in effect their academic literacy.Objectives: This study aimed to uncover some of these barriers by means of an empirical study conducted at the North-West University (NWU).Method: The setting of this study was the Potchefstroom campus of the NWU. A qualitative methodology was chosen whereby 14 individual interviews and 7 focus group interviews were used. The purpose of these interviews was to better understand lecturers’ and students’ perceptions about the variables of the reading process, namely the reading ability of the reader, the text to be read, the task, and the socio-cultural context.Results: Lecturers and students perceived a number of reading barriers within each variable, namely students’ non-compliance and lack of abilities, elements of the textbook and availability of lecturer notes, the format of the task, throughput pressures, and lecturers’ assumptions.Conclusion: Knowledge of these barriers and knowledge of the interconnectedness of the reading process could enable role players to collaboratively rethink undergraduate reading support, in which the lecturer has a crucial role to play.
Publisher AOSIS Publishing
Date 2019-09-30
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — empirical study
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/rw.v10i1.241
Source Reading & Writing; Vol 10, No 1 (2019); 9 pages 2308-1422 2079-8245
Language eng
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Rights Copyright (c) 2019 Kristien Andrianatos