English recreational reading
habits of Arab Jordanian EFL
Mohammad N. Khreisat and Sarjit Kaur
English Language Studies, University Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
Purpose – This study aims to investigate English recreational reading habits of Arab Jordanian EFL
university students when classes are in session and during vacation, and the types of recreational
reading they engage in. In addition, the study explores other relationships such as the relationship
between reading habits and students’ cumulative grade point average (CGPA); and the effect of
parents’ educational level and their time spent on reading.
Design/methodology/approach – The respondents, comprising 225 third- and fourth-year English
majors, completed an English recreational reading habits questionnaire. The study utilised a
non-probability sampling method, namely, purposive sampling. Data were analysed using IBM SPSS
software v. 20.
Findings – The ﬁndings indicated that students read more when they were on vacation compared to
their readings while classes are in session. The students’ average time spent on reading when classes
are in session and during vacation is 2.15 hours and 2.82 hours per week, respectively. Slightly more
than half (57 percent) the students always read emails/chat rooms/Facebook, which are their most
preferred type of recreational reading. Non-ﬁction books were the least favourite among students with
47 percent of students indicating that they never or rarely read this type of genre. Among all the
reading interests, only novels had a signiﬁcant correlation with the students’ CGPA. The ﬁndings
showed that the respondents with higher levels of fathers’ education were signiﬁcantly reading more.
Originality/value – The reading habits of EFL students have received little attention and there is
limited research that surveyed Arab EFL students’ recreational reading habits at the tertiary level.
The purpose of this study is to address this gap in the literature and set out to be a point of reference
and comparison for future investigations about English recreational reading habits of Arab EFL
Keywords Literacy, Arab EFL tertiary students, Jordanian students, Reading interests,
Recreational reading habits, Voluntary reading
Paper type Research paper
Beyond looking at reading as a mere decoding process, that is, learning to read, the
ultimate purpose of being literate is the application of the ability to read, which is reading
to learn (OECD, 2010b). Many organisations and countries invest a great amount of
effort in eliminating illiteracy. Many countries, however, are now concerned with an
increasingly dire phenomenon called aliteracy rather than illiteracy (Edwards, 2008), that
is choosing not to read. Thus, the issue of aliteracy has received considerable low critical
attention when compared to illiteracy. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD, 2010b) attests that “the ultimate goal of education is to cultivate
not only proﬁciency, but also engagement in reading and continuing to read”.
Purcell-Gates et al. (2002) assert that educational organisations will not achieve literacy
goals if they produce individuals who can read but choose not to do so.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Received 26 August 2013
Revised 20 December 2013
11 February 2014
Accepted 19 March 2014
Education, Business and Society:
Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues
Vol. 7 No. 1, 2014
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Some scholars (van Schooten and de Glopper, 2002; Miesen, 2003) have expressed
their concerns that new generations are reading markedly less than those that came
before, since their decision to read is competing with other leisure activities
(e.g. watching TV or doing sports). These ﬁndings have heightened the need for a
serious investigation into the status quo of the recreational reading habits of EFL
students, speciﬁcally Arab EFL students at tertiary level. Worth noting is the fact that
reading habits of EFL students have received little attention and there is a scant
research that surveys Arab EFL students’ recreational reading habits at the tertiary
level (Al-Shorman and Bataineh, 2004; Al-Naﬁsah and Al-Shorman, 2011).
Although the percentage of literacy in the Arab world in some countries is over
90 percent, for example, Jordan and Kuwait (UNESCO, 2008), a recent UN report states
that an average Arab person reads only four pages a year (The Russian News and
Information Agency, 2008). This is compared to eleven and eight books a year for the
Americans and the British, respectively.
It is assumed that educational institutions will equip students with not only English
competency to read, but a lifelong desire to keep reading and learning. It has been
found that it is not the goal of curricula nor the intent of many EFL students to be avid
readers; their only concern is to build up functional language skills, vocabulary and
grammar (Grabe, 2008). Thus, in the Arab world (speciﬁcally in Jordan), most of the
empirical studies that have been identiﬁed (Al-Khresheh, 2010; AL-Khotaba, 2009;
Al-Ali, 2006; Mukallaluh, 2003) focus predominantly on EFL students’ writing deﬁcits,
reading process errors and functional problems such as syntactic errors and cohesion
Mourtaga (2006) demonstrates that one of the reasons behind Arab EFL students’
weakness in reading is due to a lack of reading practise. Al-Shorman and Bataineh
(2004) have indicated that most Jordanian EFL students consider improving other
language skills as more important than improving reading. A large proportion of the
literature has focused on the reading habits of school students compared to university
students (Gallik, 1999; Mokhtari et al., 2009).
Most of the time allocated for reading in classrooms concentrates on developing
reading skills and neglects the development of reading for pleasure, putting high
emphasis on the cognitive aspects and marginalizing other aspects. Reading is pivotal
to knowledge acquisition and being a proﬁcient reader is the key to success in all
aspects of life (OECD, 2010b; Howard, 2011). Therefore, reading is not only important
for developing language aptitude, but is also important in gaining a better
understanding of the world. Recreational reading, as a type of reading, can be extended
to encompass a variety of topics in both printed and digital text format. This type of
reading is contingent on the reader’s preference of what, when and where to read, and
does not bear any assessment other than the reader to him/herself (Richardson and
The beneﬁts of recreational reading are beyond dispute. These beneﬁts can be
categorised into linguistic and non-linguistic aspects. At the linguistic level,
recreational reading is important as it enhances one’s vocabulary, grammar and
writing. Although reading instruction seemingly tackles those issues, however,
according to Krashen this constitutes one approach to language learning. Krashen
(1981), in his acquisition-learning hypothesis, postulates that there are two ways of
developing linguistic aptitude: learning and acquisition. In the ﬁrst, people learn the
language through drills and exercises, which represent the learning process
of language rather than the acquisition. Krashen (1989) demonstrates that there are
some limits for the acquisition of language obtained through conscious and deliberate
learning, that is through repeated exercises. On the acquisition level, according to
Krashen’s (1985) theory of second language acquisition, a person acquires the language
on a subconscious level without even realizing it. Krashen (2004) adds that this kind of
acquisition is contingent on a comprehensible input and recreational reading, being
comprehensible, will yield more acquisition. Iftanti (2012) conﬁrms this notion and
states that “where there is little reading there will be little language learning”.
Many studies (Lewis and Samuels, 2002; Samuels and Wu, 2004; Topping et al.,
2007, 2008) show that an increase in academic achievement is the effect of recreational
reading as opposed to reading done at schools or academic reading; supporting
Krashen’s claim. Nagy (1988) says that producing more vocabulary is not the product
of more instruction, but more reading. Babbitt-Bray et al. (2004) argue that when
college students read more for pleasure, they are likely to increase their vocabulary and
develop a sense of cultural literacy.
The relationship of inﬂuence between recreational reading habits and academic
achievement in general and reading achievement in particular is empirically proved
through a plethora of literature, to name a few (Hughes-Hassell and Rodge, 2007;
Pfost et al., 2010; Anderson et al., 1988; Kim, 2006; Lewis and Samuels, 2002;
Topping et al., 2007, 2008; Hawkins, 2012). Furthermore, other researchers (Constantino,
1995; Gradman and Hanania, 1991; Constantino et al., 1997; Mason, 2006, 2007) have
indicated that the volume of free reading is a strong predictor of TOEFL performance.
Thus, many researchers support the argument of increased reading and exposure to
print can contribute towards enhancement of learners’ abilities (Krashen, 1988;
Stanovich, 1986; Cunningham and Stanovich, 2001). Pigada and Schmitt (2006), for
example, conducted a study to see the effect of extensive reading on the acquisition of
vocabulary, grammar and spelling. They found that improvement in spelling was the
strongest. There were improvements in vocabulary and syntactic knowledge but these
were not as strong as spelling. The study indicated that vocabulary attainment is
possible from extensive reading.
The beneﬁts of recreational reading have been proven to extend far beyond the
language development domain to accommodate personal and career development
domains. Recreational reading enables the realization of people’s ambitions including
educational and career aspirations and allows for a better reﬂection on one’s self and life
(OECD, 2010b). Richardson and Eccles (2007) suggest that the advantages of voluntary
reading transcend beyond educational attainment to impact the way adolescents
understand themselves and the world. Howard (2011) asserts that pleasure reading plays
a vital role in the development of academic performance, social engagement and personal
values and identity. Recreational reading can also impact the attitudes of students
towards reading. If a student reads his own choice of material, this will help develop a
positive attitude towards reading and will motivate him/her to read academic materials
(Booth, 2007). Furthermore, motivation is an important element in reading. According to
Stanovich (1986), unmotivated people are unlikely to read. Reading has been attested to
surpass its effect on individuals to nations’ economies. The OECD (2010a) have cited a
study (Coulombe et al., 2004) which found that a nation’s reading literacy levels are a
good predictor of economic prosperity and growth.
Since there is scarcity in previous studies that tackled the reading habits of Arab
EFL University students, the ﬁndings of this paper will be compared to other research
that addressed EFL tertiary students. Mokhtari et al. (2009) and Gallik (1999) conﬁrm
the limited research on reading habits of college students, compared with those on
younger students. In the identiﬁed studies, a common theme emerged where most of
them have investigated time spent on reading, type of materials students read and
whether there is a signiﬁcant difference between males and females. In addition, some
studies have elicited the relationship of inﬂuence between reading and other academic
and linguistic beneﬁts. Table I presents a summary of related research on the
aforementioned studies and their contributions.
2. Purpose of the study
Despite the attention levelled at the functionality of the reading skills in the Arab EFL
research, relatively little research has empirically examined how much time Arab EFL
university students spend on recreational reading in the English language. Thus, the
purpose of this study is address this gap in the literature and set out to be a point of
reference and comparison for future investigations about Arab EFL students’ English
reading habits at the tertiary level. In support of this claim, Al-Naﬁsah and
Al-Shorman (2011) attest that there is lack of research in this domain in the Middle
East. Only a few studies have investigated Arab EFL students’ English reading habits:
in Jordan (Al-Shorman and Bataineh, 2004) and in Saudi Arabia (Al-Naﬁsah and
Al-Shorman, 2011). In both studies, the authors elicited the reading interests of Arab
Study Sample Most popular
popular Time spent per week
Blackwood et al. (1991) 333 Magazines
Gallik (1999) 139 Magazines
540 Short stories women
Sheorey and Mokhtari
85 N/A N/A 4.75 hours
Chen (2007) 62,198 Newspapers
First year ss: 10.71 hours
Third year ss: 12.74 hours
Jolliffe and Harl (2008) 21 Emails, instant messages,
N/A Electronic: 6.3 hours
Non-electronic: 2.8 hours
Mokhtari et al. (2009) 539 N/A N/A 7.98 hours
460 Stories, adventure books,
religious books, and
Hawkins (2012) 119 Letters/email/Facebook Comic
During school: 4.95
During vacation: 9.42
Note: ss – students
Related studies on
EFL university students and analysed factors hindering such readings; nevertheless,
they did not investigate the amount of time spent on reading.
The study sought to answer the following research questions:
RQ1. How much time do Arab EFL students spend on recreational reading?
RQ2. Are there any differences between third and fourth year students on time
spent on recreational reading and their frequency of reading interests?
RQ3. What are the reading interests of Arab EFL students?
RQ4. Is there a relationship between parents’ educational level and students’
recreational reading habits?
RQ5. Is there a relationship between academic achievement (cumulative grade
point average, CGPA) and recreational reading habits?
Data were gathered from 225 students from a public university in Amman, Jordan
(i.e. the University of Jordan) using a questionnaire adapted from literature (Gallik,
1999). The ﬁrst section of the questionnaire collected demographic information; the
second section measured time spent on reading while classes were in session and during
vacation and the last section elicited types of recreational reading done by the students.
The population of this study is English major students enrolled in the University of
Jordan (N ¼ 720). According to Sekaran (2003), the ratio of choosing a sample from the
size of the population, where, if a population consists of (N ¼ 750) respondents, a sample
of (S ¼ 254) respondents is needed. Therefore, the researchers have distributed
265 questionnaires personally and via instructors. A total number of 245 questionnaires
were retained in which only 225 questionnaires were valid for analysis.
The study utilized a non-probability sampling method, namely, purposive sampling.
Only third and fourth year English major students were selected as the sample for this
study. The rational for selecting this sample is that these students had already
completed two to three years of English courses; hence, they are expected to have more
exposure to reading English material and would have developed their reading habits
more than ﬁrst and second year students. Moreover, Al-Khasawneh (2010) and Rabab’ah
(2005) assert that many Arab universities admit high school graduates into English
studies programmes despite their low levels of proﬁciency in that language. Milroy and
Gordon (2003) state that the strength of the conclusions derived from the sample results
depend on how much the selected sample represents the larger population. Thus, the
University of Jordan was selected due to its strategic position at the centre of the capital,
and it encompasses students from all regions of the Kingdom, which provides good
diversity and representation of the larger population.
3.1 Sample proﬁle
The sample of the study consists of 225 undergraduate students majoring in English
language and literature at the University of Jordan. The demographic information of
the respondents is presented in Table II. Females outnumbered males, which
essentially reﬂects the gender ratio of English majors in Jordanian universities. The
average age of the students is 21.03 years (SD ¼ 1.03).
The sections below present the ﬁndings of the study. The ﬁrst section presents
students’ time spent on recreational reading when classes are in session and during
vacation. The second illustrates the difference between third and fourth year students.
The third shows the effect of parents’ level of education on the students’ time spent on
reading. The fourth shows the relationship between academic achievement and
recreational reading habits. The ﬁnal section presents students’ recreational reading
4.1 Time spent on reading
Results on the time spent on recreational reading when classes are in session per week
are presented in Table III. A majority of the students (67.1 percent) reported reading
two hours or less per week while classes are in session. This is expected due to classes
work and assignments students have to do. A small percentage of students (24 percent)
reported a reading time of 3-5 hours while only 9 percent of the students reported
reading 6 hours or more.
The average time spent on recreational reading when classes are in session is
2.15 hours (SD ¼ 0.99). On the other hand, the average time spent on
recreational reading during vacation, is 2.82 hours (SD ¼ 1.18). A paired-samples
t-test was conducted to compare the number of hours spent on recreational
reading when classes are in sessions and during vacation. There was a signiﬁcant
difference in the time spent on recreational reading when classes are in session
(M ¼ 2.15, SD ¼ 0.99) and during vacation (M ¼ 2.82, SD ¼ 1.18); t(224) ¼ 28.978,
p ¼ 0.000.
The results in Table IV show that less than half the students (41.8 percent) spend
two hours or less each week on recreational reading during vacation. There is a slight
increase in the category of 3-5 hours, with an increase of 4 percent in time spent on
Third year 85 37.8
Fourth year 140 62.2
Female 210 93.3
Male 15 6.7
Hours per week Frequency %
Less than 1 hour 66 29.3
1-2 hours 85 37.8
3-5 hours 54 24.0
6-10 hours 15 6.7
Over 10 hours 5 2.2
Time spent on
when classes in session
recreational reading during vacation. Moreover, only less than a third of the total
number of students (28.9 percent) reported reading more than six hours per week
4.2 Differences between groups
Since this study has no equal ratio between females and males (93 and 7 percent,
respectively), the study investigated if there was any difference between third and
fourth year students in the amount of time spent on recreational reading during classes
and vacation. Due to the unequal proportion in the size and variance between fourth
and third year students (N ¼ 140 and N ¼ 85, respectively), a random sample of cases
has been employed using IBM SPSS software to select 85 random samples from
fourth year students. Statistical analysis (i.e. independent sample t-test) was then used
to compare the difference in time spent on recreational reading when classes are in
session and during vacation between third and fourth year students. The results
indicate a non-signiﬁcant difference between the two groups in their time spent on
recreational reading whether classes are in session or during vacation.
The study also examined the difference in the frequency of reading of different
types of reading interest between third and fourth years students. The results indicated
that only novels had a signiﬁcant difference in the frequency of reading between
third year students (M ¼ 2.00, SD ¼ 0.655) and fourth year students (M ¼ 2.20,
SD ¼ 0.691); (t(184) ¼ 22.175; p ¼ 0.031).
4.3 Students’ reading interests
The students were asked to indicate their frequency of reading for the different types of
recreational reading. As shown in Table V, emails/chats/Facebook is the most
preferred type of recreational reading for Arab EFL tertiary students. More than half
the students (57.3 percent) indicated that they always read emails, chat rooms and
Facebook. Novels were the second preferred type of recreational reading (30.2 percent),
indicating that students enjoy reading such leisure reading material. Newspapers and
Never/rarely Sometimes Always
Type N % N % N %
Newspapers 55 24.4 111 49.3 59 26.3
Magazines 53 23.6 122 54.2 50 22.2
Emails/chat rooms/Facebook 30 13.3 66 29.3 129 57.3
Novels 40 17.8 117 52 68 30.2
Nonﬁction books 105 46.7 81 36 39 17.3
Hours per week Frequency %
Less than 1 hour 33 14.7
1-2 hours 61 27.1
3-5 hours 66 29.3
6-10 hours 43 19.1
Over 10 hours 22 9.8
Time spent on
magazines were less preferred, with 26 and 22 percent of the students reporting
reading these types of recreational readings, respectively. Non-ﬁction books were the
least favourite among students with 47 percent of students indicating that they never
or rarely read this type of recreational reading.
4.4 The effects of parents’ education on students’ recreational reading habits
The study also examined the inﬂuence of other possible factors on students’
recreational reading habits such as parents’ education. The students were asked to
report their parents’ education level with options ranging from “High school or less” to
“Master and above”. The results indicate a weak but signiﬁcant relationship between
educational degree of the father and the students’ reading habits when classes are in
session and during vacation (Table VI). This relationship is stronger when students are
A paired-samples t-test was utilized to compare the level of education of the
fathers and the mothers. The analysis showed a signiﬁcant difference between the
students’ fathers (M ¼ 2.52, SD ¼ 0.99) and mothers (M ¼ 2.04, SD ¼ 0.78) in
the level of education; t(218) ¼ 2.471, p ¼ 0.014. The signiﬁcant correlation of the
fathers’ education with students’ reading habits is resultant of higher degrees of
4.5 Relationship between academic achievement (CGPA) and recreational reading habits
Correlation analyses were utilized to investigate the relationship between CGPA and
(1) time spent on recreational reading and (2) reading interests. First, the study
examined the relationship between CGPA and time spent on reading when (a) classes
are in session and (b) during vacation. On the one hand, the results indicate a
non-signiﬁcant relationship between CGPA and time spent on recreational reading
when classes are in session. On the other hand, there is a positive signiﬁcant
relationship between CGPA and time spend on recreational reading during vacation
(Table VII). However, this relationship is weak.
The second analysis was test between CGPA and different reading interests.
A Pearson product-moment correlation coefﬁcient was used to assess the relationship
between different types of recreational reading interests and CGPA. The analysis
indicated that only novels had a small but signiﬁcant positive correlation with CGPA;
During classes During vacation
CGPA 0.082 0.253 * *
Note: Signiﬁcant at: * *p , 0.01 (two-tailed)
CGPA and time spent on
Time in school Time during vacation
Fathers’ education level 0.153 * 0.222 * *
Note: Signiﬁcant at: *p , 0.05 and * *p , 0.01 (two-tailed)
fathers’ education and
students’ reading habits
r ¼ 0.159, n ¼ 225, p ¼ 0.017. The increase in frequency of reading novels correlated
with the increase of CGPA of students. Other reading interests did not yield any
signiﬁcant correlation with CGPA.
5. Discussion and conclusions
In this study, the primary goal was to investigate the amount of time and interests of
the students’ reported recreational reading habits. The ﬁndings of this study reported
the amount of time Arab EFL tertiary students (i.e. Jordanian English majors)
spend on recreational reading when classes are in session and during vacation;
their recreational reading interests; and
the relationship between recreational reading habits and academic achievement.
In addition, the study also investigated if other factors, (i.e. parents’ educational level)
have an effect on the students’ reading habits. Furthermore, due to limited research on
the recreational English reading habits of Arab EFL students, the results of this study
is compared to other studies of recreational English reading habits of students from
There were no studies that investigated time spent on the recreational English
reading of Arab EFL tertiary students; thus, studies from other contexts are used for
reference and comparison. The ﬁndings of this study indicate that students spend an
average time of 2.4 hours on recreational reading each week when classes are in session
and during vacation. This is surprisingly similar to other previous research studies
conducted with native speakers of English (Gallik, 1999; Blackwood et al., 1991). On the
other hand, there were other studies that were inconsistent with the ﬁndings from this
study. Chen (2007) found that the mean for the English recreational reading habits of
Taiwanese ﬁrst year students was 10.71 hours per week and third year students spent
more time; an average of 12.74 hours per week. Jolliffe and Harl (2008) reported that
students spend an average of 54 minutes a day (i.e. 6.3 hours a week) on electronic
recreational reading (i.e. Facebook proﬁles, emails, internet sites, etc.) and 24 minutes a
day (i.e. 2.8 hours per week) on non-electronic recreational reading (namely, magazines,
books, newspapers, etc.). In contrast, Mokhtari et al. (2009) reported that the students in
their study spent an average of 7.98 hours per week.
The discrepancies could be due to using different time measures, that is, using
time-diaries surveys (Hawkins, 2012) vs time blocks surveys and even using different
time blocks Gallik (1999) vs Mokhtari et al. (2009). In addition, other studies have used
hours per day (Chen, 2007) vs hours per week (Blackwood et al., 1991); meanwhile,
others have used minutes per day (Jolliffe and Harl, 2008).
In the current study, the difference between time spent on reading when classes are
in session and during vacation is an indication that students spend more time on
recreational reading when they do not have classes work. This change includes an
increase of 20 percent in the over six hours time-frame category. This is
consistent with previous research (Gallik, 1999) and provides evidence that students
read more if they had free time; however this question was not asked in the
questionnaire. The difference between amounts of reading time in the time frame of
3-6 hours was slightly changed with a 4 percent increase in favour of reading done
The results indicated a small correlation between the fathers’ education and
the amount of time their children spend on recreational reading, whether classes are in
session or during vacation. The mothers’ educational level, on the other hand, does not
seem to have an effect on the recreational reading habits of students. According
to the mean analysis, fathers’ educational level (M ¼ 2.52, SD ¼ 0.99) of the sample is
much higher than that of the mothers (M ¼ 2.0444, SD ¼ 0.78). Higher educational
level could have been presented as a form of an encouragement for students.
Kamhieh et al. (2011) found a similar result where students’ parent encouragement –
especially of their fathers’ – has helped them become avid readers. Nevertheless, in a
study conducted by Blackwood et al. (1991), parents’ education and parents’
encouragement did not yield any signiﬁcant effect on students’
recreational reading habits. Thus, more scrutiny should be invested with personal
interviews on parents’ encouragement and support concerning recreational reading
The students’ top preference for recreational reading in this study is email/chat
rooms/Facebook, followed by novels and newspapers. On the global level, there were
similar ﬁndings in part with those of Gallik’s (1999) study in which letters/email/chat
rooms were the second most preferred type of recreational reading. Other studies
(Blackwoodetal., 1991), magazineswerethe ﬁrstchoice andnewspaperscamesecond. Itis
apparent that with the increase in time, the popularity of technology-related sources is
increasing. According to Gambrell (2005), computers and the internet have changed the
culture of reading and the quest for information has become at the ﬁngertips of students.
For instance, a recent study (Hawkins, 2012) has found that letters/email/Facebook are the
most preferred reading type among college students. Thus, in Gallik’s (1999) and
Blackwood et al.’s (1991) studies, technology and the internet did not have the current
impact on people’s lives, with the abundance of information and ease of access,
particularly of the social media. In this regard, Kabilan et al. (2010) investigated the
perceptions of university students about Facebook as a supplementary environment to
enhance learning English. The study found that students perceived Facebook as useful
environment to facilitate learning English.
The signiﬁcant correlation between novels and CGPA of students seems logical
since novels are the only reading interest related to their major, i.e. English language
and literature. However, it is interesting that only related quality reading has the only
effect on CGPA of students, although reading texts on email/chat/Facebook has been
reported by student to be the most frequent.
On the local Arab EFL context, the current study shares results with research
conducted by Al-Shorman and Bataineh (2004) who explored the reading interests of
Jordanian university EFL students. A wide range of reading interests are common such
as magazines, novels and newspapers. However, categorization of reading materials is
more detailed in Al-Shorman and Bataineh’s (2004) study compared to this study,
where this study has only ﬁve major categories compared to the 35 detailed categories
(e.g. science magazines, sports magazines, etc.). This has made the comparison
6. Limitations of the study
This study utilized a self-reported questionnaire with ﬁxed answer options about
time spent on recreational reading using blocks of time which is relatively convenient
but limits the amount of data. However, using methods like time diaries or reading
journals would provide more complete and accurate data. Furthermore, although the
study sample involved Arab English majors at the University of Jordan, the ﬁndings
might not be applicable for other Arab EFL college students. This study has no
conclusions or results on the differences between genders, as the ratio of females and
males in the population limits any equal representation.
7. Implications of ﬁndings
Since there is a plethora of literature that attest to the beneﬁts of recreational reading,
educators and policy makers should invest great amount of efforts to encourage such
activity in schools and universities. For example, as this study found that the preferred
type of reading is emails/chatrooms/Facebook; educators may try to promote
recreational reading via pages and groups on Facebook. The study also highlighted the
role of parents educational level, particularly of the fathers’, in promoting reading and
playing an integral part inﬂuencing their children. Therefore, efforts should also be
directed towards educating parents about their roles as a major inﬂuence on their
children’s lives and reading habits.
The study revealed that time spent on recreational reading is relatively low in
both situations; vacation and when classes are in session. There should be more effort
to incorporate more materials for recreational reading at the university and create
voluntary programmes or book clubs during vacations. It is recommended that policy
makers and educators use email/chatrooms/Facebook to promote recreational
reading since they are the preferred medium for reading among Arab EFL tertiary
Moreover, the study suggests further recommendations for future research related
to Arab EFL reading habits. First, future research comparing the reading habits of
students in both English and Arabic can provide signiﬁcant contribution to the
literature. This study has only studied the inﬂuence of parents’ educational level on the
students’ time spent on English recreational reading. Therefore, further investigation
of parents’ inﬂuence and encouragement is of great importance; such as being read to
at younger ages, family visits to the library and bookshops, or family book discussions
which may yield more information on parents’ inﬂuence. Future research should also
try to compare the recreational reading of Arab EFL college students to other
recreational activities they engage in and investigate whether these activities had an
impact or effect on their recreational reading. In addition, an investigation of other
possible factors affecting time spent on recreational readings such as attitudes, social
inﬂuence and linguistic control over the language may yield more understanding and
pave the way for practical interventions to enhance the reading habits of Arab EFL
tertiary students. Since this study utilizes only the quantitative approach, it is
recommended that future research use a mixed method design, namely; sequential
explanatory design. This design, which uses both quantitative and qualitative
methods, will yield more and elaborative data and results.
The notion that Arab students do not read for pleasure is clearly misunderstood.
However, based on the similarities of this study to other previous studies, there must
be more investigations on the reasons why Arab EFL tertiary students do not invest
more time on recreational reading.
Al-Ali, M.N. (2006), “Genre-pragmatic strategies in English letter-of-application writing of
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About the authors
Mohammad N. Khreisat is a doctoral student at the English Language Studies Section, School of
Humanities in Universiti Sains Malaysia. His research interest includes literacy, critical literacy,
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and ICT in language learning and
Sarjit Kaur (PhD) is an Associate Professor at the English Language Studies Section, School
of Humanities in Universiti Sains Malaysia. Widely published, her research interests include
English for Speciﬁc Purposes (ESP), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), oral
communication, learner autonomy, multiliteracies and policy research in higher education.
(The Appendix follows overleaf.)
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A. Demographic Information
• Your Gender : 1. Male 2. Female
• Your Age : _____________ Years
• Year Level : 1. Third 2. Fourth
• University ID # : ________________________
• GPA : 1. (less than 2.0) 2. (2.1 to 2.5) 3. ( 2.6 to 3.0) 4. (3.1 to 3.5) 5. (Above 3.6 )
• Parent Education:
Father: 1. Others (High school or less) 2. Diploma
3. First Degree (Bachelors) 4. Masters and above
Mother: 1. Others (High school or less) 2. Diploma
3. First Degree (Bachelors) 4. Masters and above
B. Recreational Reading Habits:
1) Please indicate the amount of time you spend each week on recreational reading
(not required for classes)
WHEN CLASSES ARE IN SESSION.
1. (Less than 1 hour) 2. (1-2 hours) 3. (3-5 hours) 4. (6-10 hours) 5. (Over10 hours)
1. (Less than 1 hour) 2. (1-2 hours) 3. (3-5 hours) 4. (6-10 hours) 5. (Over10 hours)
2) Please indicate the amount of time you spend each week on recreational reading
(not required for classes)
3. Please indicate how often you read each of the following:
Never/Rarely Sometimes Always
Nonfiction books ( Biography,