Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 14. Number 3  September 2023                       Pp.368-379

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 A Survey of Undergraduate Chinese Students’ Self-perceived Reading Ability in English

Xizhe Zhang
Graduate School of the Human Sciences
Assumption University, Bangkok, Thailand
Corresponding Email:

Joseph Foley
Graduate School of the Human Sciences
Assumption University, Bangkok, Thailand


Received 05/30/2023                 Accepted: 08/03/2023                Published: 09/24/2023


Reading is one of the indicators of how much a reader understands a language. Though reading is taught early in students’ education, some still struggle to comprehend texts, especially if a language is a stranger. Reading is a skill that enhances intellectual and affective processes, including reasoning, inferences, empathy, and critical thinking. Thus, a lack of language familiarity to interact with the text can hinder reading comprehension. This article focuses on Chinese students’ self-perceived reading ability that hinders reading comprehension. The aim is to answer the question; To what extent do Undergraduate Chinese students’ of University X perceive their reading ability in English? This survey is significant because letting the students understand their reading ability helps the teacher understand what to focus on in the English course and provides the correct reading strategies to achieve the reading goal. One hundred ninety-nine students from one of the private universities participated in this study. Using a questionnaire survey to assess students’ self-perceived reading ability supported by the semi-structured interview, this study found that although Chinese students employed good reading strategies, they still found their reading comprehension problematic because of the influence of their reading speed. Thus, this affects the reading goal and students’ interest in reading.
Keywords: Barriers to reading, Chinese students reading ability, Reading comprehension, Self-reading ability

Cite as: Zhang, X., &  Foley, J. (2023). A Survey of Undergraduate Chinese Students’ Self-perceived Reading Ability
in English. Arab Arab World English Journal, 14 (3) 368-379.


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Received: 05/30/2023 
Accepted: 08/03/2023
Published: 09/24/2023 

Xizhe Zhang is one of the Ph.D. ELT candidates of the Graduate School of Human Sciences, English Language Teaching (ELT) Department at Assumption University. His area of interest is reading and critical reading. ORCID:

 Prof. Joseph Foley is one of the Senior Lecturers in the Graduate School of Human Sciences, English Language Teaching (ELT) Department at Assumption University, Thailand. Previously, he was the Head of English Language in the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore. He was, for many years, the editor of the RELC Journal. His Publications are mainly in the area of Systemic Linguistics, Language Development, World Englishes, and the Common European Framework of Reference in Asian Context. ORCID: