Reading Strategies : Multilingual students learning English in a Swedish context

University essay from Högskolan Dalarna/Engelska

Abstract: This thesis aims at exploring what linguistic challenges and opportunities multilingual students experience when reading in English. This paper has a qualitative approach and consists of focus group interviews as the method for collecting data. The participants were students in compulsory school, ninth grade, studying English as a foreign language. A total of nine multilingual were divided into three groups. Firstly they received a piece of informative text to read, containing a picture and a heading, and secondly they answered and discussed questions about their use of reading strategies. The results from the present study show that they tended to use top-down strategies when reading. The picture was not regarded as important as the heading; yet it was clear that they transferred already developed strategies from other languages. Previous research has shown that a reading ability developed in a student´s first language will be transferred to other languages, through an underlying proficency. Likewise it was expected in this study that the students would use their first language in order to understand English as a foreign language, but unpredictably findings show that Swedish was the preferred language when translating. In conclusion, one can therefore argue for Swedish as the strongest academic language and therefore important in scaffolding multilingual students.

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