The study aims at investigating the problems that learners of English as a foreign language in three secondary schools in Tripoli, Libya, have in developing English reading skills. The study is conducted within a conceptual framework for the study of reading and the development of reading skills, developed on the basis of a literature study. Information was obtained by requesting 60 Grade 11 learners in the three selected schools to complete an English comprehension test (to determine their ability to interpret a written text), by observing teachers teaching English reading in these schools, by conducting interviews with the learners and by interviewing selected lecturers at a Teachers' Training College in Tripoli. The information obtained in this way was analysed and interpreted in order to answer the following questions: <ul><li> What problems do learners in Libyan secondary schools experience with reading in EFL? </li> <li> What are the main causes of these problems? </li> <li> Do the curricula for EFL reading and the didactic approaches of educators contribute to the problem? </li> <li> What are the possible ways to resolve these problems? </ul> </li><ul>Findings include: <li>EFL learners in Tripoli cannot recognise sentences and paragraphs. </li> <li>They have restricted vocabulary knowledge. </li> <li>They are not able to extract correct information from texts. They cannot understand both implied and explicitly stated information. </li> <li>They do not understand figurative language. </li> <li>They cannot express the technical relations between parts of texts through the use of cohesive devices. </li> <li>They cannot determine or identify the main idea of texts. </li></ul> The reasons for these problems are that the learners do not have a structured knowledge of the English language, their English reading skills are underdeveloped and non-appropriate didactic approaches are used by educators in EFL classrooms. Possible ways to resolve these problems are that EFL learners must acquire better proficiency in English, their English reading skills must be developed properly, and educators in EFL learners' classrooms must use more appropriate didactic approaches to enable EFL learners to acquire proficiency in English and to develop their reading skills, by following the steps prescribed in the EFL reading curriculum. The curriculum that is used in the Teachers' Training College must be implemented more effectively in teacher training programmes, and lecturers must ensure that teacher trainees have a proper understanding of the curriculum of EFL reading skills when they graduate.
Dissertation (MA(Applied Language Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2007.