Date of Award

Spring 2017


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Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA) in English: Teaching English as a Second Language




The present study is action research with a narrative inquiry approach, and seeks to determine the benefits and challenges of using a collaborative method to teach reading comprehension strategies in English 112: Composition for Multilingual Students. As Kenneth Bruffee (1984; 1991), Margaret Mount (2014), Chiu-Hsin Lin (2007) and others have determined, there are many challenges English language learners face when reading college-level texts. This study sought to determine whether the use of collaboration would facilitate the learning of reading strategies and self-monitoring of reading skills.

Ten students participated in this study, including nine undergraduate students and one graduate-level Saudi teaching assistant. Students in the English 112 class received direct instruction on a number of reading strategies and worked collaboratively to break down complex texts. The research for this course was completed over 11 weeks during the 2017 winter quarter at EWU. Throughout the course, journals and essays related to reading strategies were assigned. 54 responses were collected to determine: a) challenges multilingual students face when encountering intermediate to advanced-level texts used in the college writing classroom, b) what students have already been taught about reading strategies, and c) how well multilingual students apply what they have been taught about reading strategies—both prior to and during English 112, as well as d) information about the value and usefulness of collaboration in English classrooms across cultures.

Direct instruction of reading comprehension strategies provided several benefits for learners who were anxious about reading college-level texts. This approach encouraged self-awareness, self-assessment of reading skills, and plans for self-study. In addition, the use of collaboration fostered community, engagement, and cross-cultural exchanges.