Reading literacy in Arabic: What challenges 1st grade teachers face

Yael Poyas, Basilius Bawardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The reading level of Arab students in Israel is a source of concern for educators and scholars. Arabic is a diglossic language: there are significant linguistic differences between colloquial and standard Arabic. Research reports that diglossia affects students' reading literacy in Arabic. The aim of the present study was to examine how teachers conceptualize the difficulties they encounter while teaching reading, and their perceptions of the factors causing reading difficulties in Arabic. Interviews were carried out with 20 1st grade teachers engaged in the teaching of reading. Content analysis of the data showed that teachers described differently difficulties which are related to the characteristics of Arabic and those related to personal or contextual factors. They ascribed a great importance to letter-sound recognition in the preparation of the young students in kindergartens and stressed the significance of an ongoing practice at home as a channel to master reading literacy in Arabic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalL1 Educational Studies in Language and Literature
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 International Association for Research in L1-Education.


  • 1st grade
  • Arabic
  • Diglossia
  • Family literacy
  • Reading literacy
  • Teaching reading


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