Academic Reading in Higher Education: A Need for Reading Strategies for Students at Universities

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Molotja TW, Motlhaka HA, Phokwane PP


The importance of academic reading strategies in first year university students cannot be over-emphasized. First year university students often struggle with their studies because of lack of academic reading skills. This lack of academic reading skills creates a barrier for them in accessing information in academic texts, and therefore leads to a higher failure rate.  The purpose of this paper was to investigate the academic reading strategies employed by first year students registered at two rural South African universities. The investigation will assist in informing the design of material in an English module for first year students, particularly students in the Science stream. The study adopted the explorative qualitative approach were participants were purposefully sampled as they were students registered for the first year English modules in both universities.  The study aimed at profiling students’ strategies used when reading through academic texts. The results of the test were analysed using the descriptive method focusing on the metacognitive strategies of reading. Findings of the study showed that metacognitive reading strategies are very important for students to access information in academic texts. The study recommends that students’ metacognitive reading skills should be developed from the high school level for them to be able to succeed with their academic reading activities.

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