Journal of Language Teaching and Research, Vol 3, No 1 (2012), 147-152, Jan 2012
doi:10.4304/jltr.3.1.147-152

The Causes of Reading Difficulty: The Perception of Iranian EFL Post-graduate and Under-graduate Students

Shiela Kheirzadeh, Elahe Tavakoli

Abstract


This study investigates the causes of the reading difficulty as perceived by under-graduate and post-graduate EFL learners. 34 post-graduate and 36 under-graduate students at the University of Isfahan took part in this study. In particular, this study tries to know whether there is any difference between the perceptions of these two groups of learners. A questionnaire synthesized Eskey (1986), and Bernhardt (1991), cited in Lin (2002), was used as the main instrument for analysis of knowledge categories affecting reading comprehension. The questionnaire considered three general categories of linguistic, conceptual and socio-cultural knowledge as the building blocks of reading. It consists of four multiple-choice questions, all accepting multiple responses. The results of the frequency analysis showed that post-graduate students, with higher level of language proficiency, attached less importance to linguistic knowledge as the factor helping reading comprehension success, but most importance to socio-cultural and conceptual knowledge. With the decrease of linguistic knowledge; however, under-graduates attached better reading comprehension to linguistic knowledge rather than socio-linguistic and conceptual knowledge.


Keywords


conceptual knowledge; linguistic knowledge; socio-cultural knowledge; post-graduate students; under-graduate students

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