Reading preferences and expectations of multilingual Israeli university students

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    Israeli students need to be multilingually literate to read academic texts, mainly in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and English. In fact, little is known about students' reading habits despite a variety of university reading comprehension courses in different languages. The present study examines students' reading preferences and textual expectations, comparing reading in L1 with L2/L3/Ln. Two questionnaires on reading habits and expectations were administered to 226 students during the academic year 2005-2006. Reading preferences were found to be multilingual, linked to the reader's interests, as well as to text genre and availability. Students reported reading the Internet, textbooks, literature and poetry mostly in L1 (Hebrew, Arabic or Russian), newspapers mostly in L1/L2 (Hebrew, Arabic), academic articles mostly in L2/L3 (Hebrew, English) and sacred texts mostly in L1 (Arabic, Hebrew). In addition, English texts were read regardless of native language, indicating a situation of multilingualism with English. Most reading was reported for social purposes, followed by academic purposes, with personal reading least frequent. English was read more for social and academic purposes than for personal reading, which occurred mostly in L1. Most of the students expected to read for information (indicating social and academic) rather than imagination or fantasy (personal).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)465-480
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - 2009


    • Education
    • Foreign languages
    • Linguistic diversity
    • Literacy
    • Multilinguals
    • Plurilingualism

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • Education
    • Linguistics and Language


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