Effects of Exposure to Literary Arabic on Reading Comprehension in a Diglossic Situation

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Reading difficulties in Arabic in elementary schoolare usually attributed to the diglossia of the Arabiclanguage, whereby the spoken language is totallydifferent from literary Arabic, the language of booksand school instruction. Educators, teachers, andparents still believe that exposure of young Arabicspeakers to literary Arabic in the preschool period isa burden for them, and is not useful. The presentpost hoc study examined the influence of exposure toliterary Arabic of preschool children on their readingcomprehension of literary Arabic stories in grades 1and 2. Participants in the study were 282children, 135 from grade 1 and 147 from grade 2. Ofthe participants, 144 constituted the experimentalgroup, and were exposed to literary Arabic throughouttheir preschool period. The 138 participants of thecontrol group were exposed not to literary but tospoken Arabic during that period. These children weretested for reading comprehension at the end of grade1 and grade 2 and compared with the control group. The results generally indicate better readingcomprehension results for the children who wereexposed to literary Arabic than for the children whowere exposed only to spoken Arabic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-157
Number of pages11
JournalReading and Writing
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2000


  • language
  • psycholinguistics
  • reading
  • diglossia
  • reading comprehension
  • Arabic language (Modern)


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