Developing Reading and Literacy Skills in Saudi Arabia

The educational system in Saudi Arabia consists of 6 years of elementary school, 3 years of junior and 3 years of senior high school. In grades 1-3, the students learn to read and in grades 4-12, the students read for comprehension. At each grade level, the students use a reading textbook and students throughout the kingdom study the same reading textbooks and same reading curriculum. First the study will define the word identification, reading comprehension, product and process skills and reading stages. Then, it will describe the reading lesson design in each grade level and across the twelve textbooks (passages, exercises, lexical items, pictorial illustrations and so on). In addition, the word identification skills developed in grades 1-3, the reading comprehension skill levels developed in grades 4-12 (i.e., literal, inferential, appreciation and critical) and the reading process skills taught (identifying the organizational structure of the text, ability to derive the meaning of difficult words from context, anaphora comprehension and study skills) will be described. Results reported are based on an analysis of the reading comprehension questions and exercises and a list of word identification skills, reading comprehension skills, text structure, anaphora comprehension, contextual analysis and study skills. The study will also analyze the passage content and will report of the kinds of themes read. Strengths and weaknesses of the Saudi national curriculum for developing reading and literacy skills in Arabic (students' L1) will be reported.

Prof. Reima Al-jarf
King Saud University
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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