AWEJ Volume.4 Number.2, 2013                                                                            Pp.185-199
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Assessing the Arabic-English Bilingual Reading Competences 

Jessica Midraj
Zayed University
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Sadiq Midraj
Zayed University
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Abstract
This study investigated the relationships between students’ reading ability in their native and second languages.  The researchers assessed the Arabic-English bilingual reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension of 186 male and female grade four Emirati students from four primary schools.  To assess students’ reading fluency and accuracy, students read aloud grade appropriate reading passages in Arabic (L1) and English (L2).  The read aloud tests were used to measure reading accuracy which was determined by the number of syllables read correctly in one minute and reading fluency which was measured by the Multidimensional Fluency Scale.  Silent reading comprehension tests were used to measure the students’ competence in reading comprehension.  The reading comprehension tests involved students reading grade appropriate passages in Arabic and English as determined by analyses of the curriculum and textbooks, and answering comprehension questions.  Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were computed to ascertain the relationships between the variables.  The research results showed significant positive correlations between the students’ L1 (Arabic) reading competencies (accuracy, fluency and comprehension), between their L2 reading competencies, and between their L1 & L2 reading competencies.
Keywords:  Bilingual reading, reading assessment, Arabic-English bilinguals, UAE

 

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Dr. Jessica Midraj holds a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction-English Education from Indiana
State University, USA. Currently, she is the Assessment Supervisor of the Academic Bridge
Program at Zayed University, Abu Dhabi. She has extensive experience in the field of English
language education as a teacher, mentor, researcher, and manager. Her professional interests
include curriculum design, testing and alternative forms of assessment, bilingualism, and
learning strategy instruction.
Dr. Sadiq Midraj holds a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction-English Education from Indiana
State University, USA. He is currently the ELL Program Lead Faculty and he teaches in the
undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Education at Zayed University, United
Arab Emirates. He has published in the areas of the affective factors, Arabic and English reading
competences, and he gave numerous presentations at international conferences.