The Predictive Power of Vocabulary Knowledge, Syntactic Awareness and Metacognitive Awareness Reading Strategies in Reading Comprehension of EFL Learners (Jiga 11th Grade Students in Focus)

Endalemaw Abatyihun


This paper explores whether vocabulary knowledge, syntactic awareness and metacognitive awareness reading strategies are strong predictors of reading comprehension. It also addresses the relationship among vocabulary knowledge, syntactic awareness, metacognitive awareness reading strategies and reading comprehension achievement. To attain this objective, descriptive research using a correlational research design was employed. 100 participants were selected from a population of 250 11th grade Jiga preparatory school students using simple random sampling. The participants were asked to respond to a MARSQ developed by Taraban, Kerr and Ryneason (2004) and researcher-made tests of vocabulary knowledge, syntactic awareness and reading comprehension. Pearson product moment correlation and stepwise multiple regression analysis were used in data analysis. The results of the correlation analysis showed that among the three predictor variables namely, EFL learners' vocabulary knowledge, syntactic awareness and metacognitive awareness reading strategies, vocabulary knowledge is highly correlated with reading comprehension; there is strong positive correlation between vocabulary knowledge and syntactic awareness; the same high correlation holds for the relationship between syntactic awareness and reading comprehension, but there were no significant correlation with metacognitive awareness reading strategies. The stepwise multiple regression analysis results also revealed that EFL students' vocabulary knowledge plays a significant role in predicting their reading comprehension achievement compared to syntactic awareness and metacognitive awareness reading strategies. Finally, some useful implications and recommendations which are of significance to educators, teachers and researchers are proposed based on the research findings. Accordingly, the result contends that instructions on developing reading comprehension should put vocabulary knowledge competencies in priority and then focus on activation of background knowledge and use of reading strategies together with the development of syntactic awareness for the success of reading comprehension. As EFL vocabulary knowledge was found to be the strongest significant predictors of reading comprehension, teachers and parents should also pay special attention to students’ vocabulary knowledge.

Keywords: Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary Knowledge, Syntactic Awareness, Metacognitive Awareness Reading Strategies.

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