The effect of short vowels on Arabic reading accuracy

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Khalid G. Al-shdifat (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Alan Kamhi

Abstract: Short vowels are believed to impact the reading accuracy of all types of readers in Arabic. Inconsistent findings were reported in previous research on the effect of short vowels on reading accuracy. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of short vowels on reading accuracy in low- and high-skilled Jordanian Arabic readers. Participants were 48 typically developing 9th grade, native Jordanian Arabic speaking students (14-15 years old). They were classified into low- versus high-skilled readers based on teachers' rating and reading a 100 vowelized word list. All participants read in four conditions. Results demonstrated that both types of readers did not benefit equally from the presence of short vowels on words in text and on isolated words. While high-skilled readers benefitted from the presence of short vowels on isolated words and in text, low-skilled readers most interestingly had exceptionally poor performance reading vowelized lists and benefitted from the presence of short vowels on context the most. Moreover, vowelizing word endings significantly influenced the reading accuracy of both types of readers. This finding has important implications for assessment of reading proficiency in Arabic students. Reading assessment should not include unvowelized word lists because the multiple number of correct answers artificially inflates reading proficiency. Assessment of unvowelized words should only occur in texts where discourse and sentential context can determine the correct word reading. Future studies should attempt to determine the most effective way to transition Arabic students from reading vowelized texts to unvowelized texts which are predominant in books, newspapers, and other sources of print.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Arabic, Reading accuracy, Short vowels
Arabic language $x Ability testing $z Jordan
Arabic language $x Study and teaching $z Jordan
Arabic language $x Vocalization

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