Effects of Reading and Listening to Online Short Stories on Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and Attitudes in Saudi EFL learners

Abstract

The integration of traditional short stories in the foreign language classroom has been an important reading strategy with benefits across all language skills. Yet, benefits of using short stories via YouTube mashups in the medium of Blackboard®Learn has not been fully researched. This study investigated the effects of listening to short stories via  YouTube mashups integrated in Blackboard combined with reading short stories. The study considered the effects on Saudi Arabian college EFL freshmen's reading  comprehension,  vocabulary growth and attitudes toward reading. Utilizing an experimental pretest-posttest, control group design, the researcher assigned 46 freshmen to an experimental group that studied a twelve- week online short story-based reading course and 43 freshmen to a control group that studied the same course but without (online) short stories. The control group was not engaged in any short story reading inside or outside the classroom. All participants were pretested using a TOEFL reading comprehension test, the Schmitt et al. (2001) Vocabulary Growth Test and Stokmans’s Reading Attitude Scale. Analysis of pretest-posttest data showed that the experimental group significantly outperformed the control group on reading comprehension, vocabulary and reading attitude. Discussion of the findings in relation to relevant literature was presented, and conclusions and recommendations were drawn based on these findings.