The implementation of an intensive second language reading intervention program for Arabic L1 learners of English as a foreign language


  • M. Joan Oakley College of the North Atlantic-Qatar, Doha
  • Judit Kormos Lancaster University
  • Gareth McCray Keele University



reading comprehension, reading instruction, arabic learners, eye-tracking, vowel blindness, textual enhancement, phonological awareness, spelling, word recognition, reading fluency


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of focused reading interventions on the eye movement patterns and reading scores of second language (L2) learners. We compared two groups of proficiency matched Arabic L2 learners before and after an intensive reading intervention program. Two classes received a barrage of reading interventions and two classes served as comparison groups. The intervention program consisted of textual enhancement, phonological awareness training, training in word recognition, spelling instruction and oral text reading fluency. Analysis of reading scores showed a significant improvement over time, but no significant impact of the intervention. Both the intervention and comparison groups showed improvement in their eye tracking measures, but no significant difference in gains between the intervention and the comparison groups was found. The study provides a building block for future studies using focused pedagogical interventions with this particular group of learners.

Author Biographies

  • M. Joan Oakley, College of the North Atlantic-Qatar, Doha

    Dr Joan Oakley taught ESL and was involved in teacher education in Canada at Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Concordia University and Memorial University. After a move to the Middle East in 2000, she taught EFL at UAE University. In 2006, she moved to Qatar where she has been teaching EFL at the College of the North Atlantic-Qatar, researching how best to help Arabic L1 speakers learn to successfully read in English.

  • Judit Kormos, Lancaster University

    Professor Judit Kormos is a Professor in Second Language Acquisition at Lancaster University. She is the co-author of the book Teaching Languages to Students with Specific Learning Differences with Anne Margaret Smith. She has published widely on the effect of dyslexia on learning additional languages including a book entitled ‘The Second Language Learning Processes of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties’. She is the author of multiple research papers that investigate the role of cognitive factors in second language acquisition.

  • Gareth McCray, Keele University

    Dr Gareth McCray is currently working as a lecturer in biostatistics in the School of Medicine at Keele University. His current research includes modelling child development trajectories in developing countries, test linking, IRT, and the diagnosis of Neurodevelopmental delay in 0–3-year-olds. He has expertise in psychometrics, simulation methods and expert judgement collection and analysis. He worked extensively on the construction of the IYCD (Infant and Young Child Development Indicators) for the WHO. He has also worked as a consultant for Oxford University Press, and The British Council language testing divisions.


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How to Cite

Oakley, M. J., Kormos, J., & McCray, G. . (2022). The implementation of an intensive second language reading intervention program for Arabic L1 learners of English as a foreign language. Instructed Second Language Acquisition, 6(1), 3–28.