Developing Critical Reading Skills of the Undergraduate Students through Working in Groups

Dr. Chiranjeevi Jakkani

Assistant Professor, Department of English, Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, Hyderabad

Prof. K. Venkat Reddy

Professor, Department of Training and Development, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad.

Keywords: Critical Reading skills, Undergraduates, ZPD, Working in groups


Most of the reading comprehension tasks which are found in our school textbooks deal with facts. The majority of these are in the form of true or false items, multiple choice statements and vocabulary type tasks, leaving little room for inferential and evaluative type of comprehension. Surprisingly, even after being exposed to (10+2 years) of learning English, course-books prescribed for the undergraduate students of Osmania University still deal with the factual level of comprehension. Consequently, even after graduation, students still find it difficult to write exams such as CAT, GRE and GMAT, because these exams have comprehension tasks based on critical and evaluative reading skills.  A pilot study proved that the learners had little practice with critical reading skills.The present paper aims to address this issue by teaching critical reading skills using Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) approach. This theory highlights the benefits of working in small groups where at least one student can communicate effectively in the language and assist in learning development. Therefore, this paper primarily explores the feasibility of Working in groups i.e. classroom discussions, peer discussions and student-teacher discussions and their impact on the development of critical reading skills of the undergraduate students.


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