Educational and economic developments in the Persian Gulf have increased the need for academic English reading fluency in the rising generation of college-bound students. A discussion of the literature on the linguistic properties of Arabic diglossia and orthography affirms the challenge that Arabs confront in L1 literacy. Because of the difficulties encountered in Arabic literacy, the transfer of L1 skills to L2 emerges as a salient issue for English instruction in the Arab world. The following study of Arab ELLs' academic reading fluency in Arabic and English investigates a hypothesized positive correlation between L1 and L2 reading abilities. Quantitative and qualitative data were obtained through the administration of academic reading fluency instruments in both Arabic and English and a survey of reading habits to a sample of 112 post-secondary Gulf Arab students in an English language program in Doha, Qatar. The analysis of the data reveals a correlation between Arabic and English reading fluency confirming previous research on transfer of reading skills between L1 and L2. The data further suggest the advisability of promoting reading fluency training in L1 as a facilitator of L2 fluency, especially in localities such as the Persian Gulf, where the professional environment requires young graduates to have fluency skills in both languages.



College and Department

Humanities; Linguistics and English Language



Date Submitted


Document Type





reading fluency, Arabic language, English language, ELL, transfer, TESOL

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Linguistics Commons