Algerian EFL Students’ Reading Comprehension Skills across Paper and Screen: A Sociocultural Approach

Kamila AMMOUR, Med Sadek FODIL


Reading comprehension is a complex activity that requires a variety of skills in handling documents. This paper investigates the effects that the reading environment may have on reading comprehension. It aims at comparing reading comprehension skills of urban and rural Algerian EFL students in paper-based and screen-based environments. Accordingly, the leading approach to the raised issue is sociocultural. To accomplish the aim, an experimental reading comprehension test has been conducted at Mouloud Mammeri University. Ninety six Participants living in urban and rural areas participated in the study. Two tests were used to investigate whether their reading comprehension skills are the same or different in paper-based and screen-based environments. The collected data have been analysed by means of inferential statistical analysis. More to the point, a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and paired-samples t-tests have been employed to measure the impact of the environment on the participants’ scores. Findings indicate that the reading environment has a significant impact on Algerian EFL students’ reading comprehension. Their reading abilities on paper and on screen are not the same. However, no discrepancy is noticed between participants living in urban or rural areas. This suggests that the urban-rural dichotomy is shallow in the Algerian context in terms of EFL students’ reading skills.

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