Building Awareness of Discourse Structure Through Teaching Reading Strategies in English for Legal Purposes Class
Research has been carried out for several decades on what makes some students more successful in foreign language reading than others. It was established that good readers possess greater awareness of discourse structure, meaning they are able to recognize the signalling mechanisms which give clues to the ways the text is organized (Grabe, 2009). Discourse structure awareness is seen as a type of metalinguistic awareness which also includes knowledge of reading strategies and their appropriate use in order to resolve reading problems and properly interpret text information. Our research was based on the following hypothesis: explicit teaching of reading strategies in English for Legal Purposes class will enhance students' awareness of discourse structure as well as reading comprehension. The data was collected through the SORS (Survey of Reading Strategies) questionnaire (Mokhtari & Sheory, 2002), a reading comprehension test developed for this research and a semistructured interview to check how students perceive the reading process and discourse structure before and after strategies instruction. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistical procedures and the results fully confirmed our hypothesis: the subjects (N=20) achieved better results on the reading comprehension test and reported easier identification and interpretation of discourse markers.
Conference or Workshop Item