Reading and applied linguistics — a deafening silence?
AbstractIn light of the fact that 2001 has been declared the Year of the Reader, this article presents some findings concerning reading levels within the learning context, from primary to tertiary level, and then briefly examines the relationship between reading ability and academic performance. It is argued that the ability to construct meaning during reading, to access written information independently, to acquire, consolidate and utilise knowledge from print information is a strong determinant of academic success. Skill in reading becomes more demanding as students move up the education ladder, while the gap between skilled and unskilled readers widens. Unless the reading problems of our students are addressed, present failure rates will continue. In the light of these findings, the state of reading research within the South African context is surveyed. In conclusion, questions concerning a socially responsible applied linguistics are raised, and the implications for teaching and research are explored.
(S/ern Af Linguistics & Applied Language Stud: 2002 20(1&2): 91-103)
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