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Article by Jansen Joy Essay (Critical Writing)



Reading is one of the most important skills that English teachers should posses for effective teaching. However, English language teachers face a formidable challenge in reading. Reading is a complex skill that is vital for achievements of learners of the English language. The author Jansen Joy is interested in knowing the specific topics to be addressed to ease reading.

This paper is well structured because it begins by an introduction, followed by reviewing literature related to challenges of reading in learning English and then compares the reviewed literature to the empirical findings from a survey that was conducted (Toohey 96).

The paper concludes by a conclusion. The paper was chosen because it addresses important issues facing reading in English Learners. What is interesting in the paper is how the author brings out the difficulties experienced by English readers because I thought reading in English is simple.

The author introduces his study by explaining the main theme of the study that is reading difficulties for English learners.

The introduced professional problem is publicly identified and discussed. The study thesis is pointed out in form of research questions that captured issues to be addressed by teacher educators in order to improve English reading. The inquiry is phrased in terms of a problem with possible solution techniques listed (Janzen 707).

Theoretical Framework

Theoretical framework involves review of past literature on the study topic. The researcher reviews both theoretical and empirical literature. Various theoretical readings are covered in the paper both recent and old. A survey by Birch indicates that there is need to bring ELLs to a grade level (139).

Au argues that some variables such as the first language of the learner, proficiency in reading and the strategy used in learning are affect the development of L2 reading proficiency (303).

Garcia adds that other issues are textual variables (syntactic features, cultural content and structure) and contextual variables (instructional approaches). Researchers such as Bernhardt and Fitzgerald emphasized the importance of textual, linguistic and processing concerns for L2 students (300).

Through these theoretical studies, the author clearly brought out the difficulties that English learners experience in reading English. The study also pointed out possible solutions such as instructional practices, working with a range of learner proficiencies and use of learning materials.

Other solutions include coping with mainstream teachers and school demands and working with learners with limited proficiency. Additionally, the author used many empirical surveys in the field of English learning. A study of Cummings pointed out that the attainment of academic literacy for ELLs could take several years ranging from 4-7 years (79).

By reviewing the literature, the author did not define the key concepts of the study. Some of the key concepts that were not defined include English language learners (ELLs), materials, thematic teaching, decoding and writing skills (Janzen 708).


Methodology is an important part of a survey. This paper utilized a qualitative survey and not quantitative. A qualitative survey includes the collection of primary data using interviews from respondents in the field. Qualitative data does not involve much of numerical and statistical calculations as indicated in this survey.

The survey is appropriate for the given research questions because this survey is a social survey and not a survey in natural sciences that requires use of statistical tool such as regression. The use of this research paradigm is similar to most empirical surveys as indicated in the empirical study. For instance, Garcia focused on K-12 ELLs using such a paradigm (819).

Various aspects of qualitative survey are mentioned in the survey. The researcher used clustered sampling to select the study sample while the study population in the district was chosen basing on the availability of ELLs. Data was collected using interviews questions that investigated various areas such as the background of teachers, students, and beliefs and practices about the reading practices for ELLS.

Despite the choice of the methods, the researcher only justified the use of open-ended questions in the interview as to provide respondent with room for expansion of their answers. He does not justify other methods used. In addition, he does not include measures to maximize reliability and validity of the study. Lastly, the researcher does not mention any use of ethical issues in the survey (Janzen 713).

This survey employed qualitative research methods and therefore the analysis of data involved qualitative data analysis. There is no use of statistical methods such as regression. However, the researcher used transcription of interview tapes. However, there is no justification of the chosen method.

The researcher should have included structured interview question hence the use of SPSS analysis because this is a social science survey (Celce-Murcia 72).

Presentation of Findings

The findings in the survey are well linked to the theoretical literature and other empirical surveys through comparison. Given that the survey utilized qualitative research methods, the researcher did not include any graphs or charts to illustrate the findings. Only theoretical models were used.

Despite the findings being relevant to the field of study, there are no reliability and validity measures provided by the researcher casting doubts on whether the findings are reliable and valid. However, the study measures what it claims to measure (Valdés 210).

Data Interpretations and Conclusion

The findings of the survey are consistent with other findings as discussed in the literature review of the paper. The author has successfully generalized the findings of the study regarding possible ways to solve issues of ELLs.

The limitations of the study are given that the initial author’s concerns of individual perspective as insufficient because they do not support group learning experiences such as teachers, learners’ wider techniques.

The author concludes by supporting the study findings by offering alternative explanations. The conclusions are relevant because they provide possible solution for improving reading among English learners. The author suggests a further study in classroom learning methods (Ovando & Collier 152).


This paper has critically examined the findings of Janzen Joy as she discussed the ways of preparing teachers of second language reading. The paper was well organized with the author putting forward her arguments and possible measures to prepare teachers of second language reading. The main theme of the paper is to equip L2 reading teachers with best skills to help learners read English.

Despite all the provided information, the author should have illustrated her findings with graphs or charts. Due to the importance of the message relayed by the paper, the study has prompted my personal interest in English reading skills and methods.

Works Cited

Au, Kathryn. Social constructivism and the school literacy learning of students of diverse backgrounds. Journal of Literacy Research, 1998. Vol.30. 297–319.

Bernhardt, Elizabeth. Second-language reading as a case study of reading scholarship in the 20th century. In M. L. Kamil, P. B. Mosenthal, P. D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading research: Vol.3. 791–811. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 2000.

Birch, Barbara. English L2 reading: Getting to the bottom. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002.

Celce-Murcia, Marianne. Teaching English as a second or foreign language, Boston: Heinle & Heinle. 2001.

Cummins, Jim. Language, power, and pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters. 2000.

Fitzgerald, Jill. English-as-a-second-language learners’ cognitive reading processes: A review of research in the United States. Review of Educational Research, 1995a. 65(2), 145–190.

Garcia, Gomez. Bilingual children’s reading. In M. L. Kamil, P. B. Mosenthal, P. D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading research: Vol. 3. 813–834). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2000.

Janzen, Joy. Preparing Teachers of second Language Reading, Tesol Quarterly. 2007. Vol.41. 4.

Ovando, Carlos. & Collier, Virginia. Bilingual and ESL classrooms. Boston: McGraw-Hill. 1998.

Toohey, Kellen. Learning English at school. Identity, social relations and classroom practice. Cleveland, England: Multilingual Matters. 2000.

Valdés, Guadalupe. Learning and not learning English. New York: Teachers College Press. 2001.

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