Reading Habits and Attitudes of UMSKAL Undergraduates

Shameem Ahmed


Effective reading is essential for success in acquiring a foreign language (Mikulecky 2008). Students have to read a wide range of textbooks and related materials at the tertiary level. Lack of adequate reading habit is, therefore, bound to impede students’ progress towards mastery of a foreign language. This study investigated reading habits and attitudes on reading of the undergraduate students attending ESL courses at a public university in Malaysia. For data collection, a 35 item questionnaire based on the Adult Survey of Reading Attitude (ASRA) from the work of Smith (1991) were designed and administered on around 314 students. The questionnaire investigated the students’ general habit, preferences, and attitude towards reading. This study was based on the following research questions: What are the reading habits of these undergraduate students? What are the attitudes of these students to reading as a useful language learning skill? What are the reading preferences of these undergraduate students? The research findings through qualitative analysis revealed that the undergraduate students had an overall positive attitude towards reading in spite of their minimal enjoyment of it and the resulting anxieties and difficulties they face. Based on the findings, few recommendations were made to improve reading among those undergraduates.



Reading habits, attitude towards reading, reading preferences, ESL

Full Text:



Ahmed, S. (2015). Attitudes towards English Language Learning among EFL Learners at UMSKAL. Journal of Education and Practice, Vol. 6 No. 18, 6-16.

Akanda, A.K.M. E.A., Hoq, K.M.G. & Hasan, N. (2013). Reading Habit of Students in Social Sciences and Arts: A Case Study of Rajshahi University. Chinese Librarianship: an International Electronic Journal, 35. Retrieved from

Akarsu, O. & Dariyemez, T. (2014). The reading habits of university students studying English language and literature in the digital age. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 10(2), 85-99.

Anderson, N. J. (2012). Reading instruction. In J. Richards and A. Burns (Eds.). Cambridge Guide to Pedagogy and Practice in Language Teaching (pp. 218-225). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

APA Dictionary of Psychology. (2015). G.R. VandenBos (2nd Ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Bendriss, R. & Golkowska, K. (2011). Early Reading Habits and their Impact on the Reading Literacy of Qatari Undergraduate Students. Arab World English Journal, Vol.2 No. 4, 37-57.

Crystal, D. (2008). A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics (6th Ed.). USA: Blackwell Publishing.

Don, F. H. & Osman, S. (1987). Reading and National Development: What the Universities Can Do. The English Teacher, Vol. XVI, 73-74. Retrieved from

Dörnyei, Z. & Taguchi, T. (2010). Questionnaires in Second Language Research: Construction, Administration, and Processing (2nd Ed.). UK: Routledge.

English, S. (2011). Strategy intervention and reading proficiency in the modern tertiary EFL classroom. Retrieved from

Grabe, W. (2009). Reading in a Second Language: Moving from Theory to Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Grabe, W. & Stoller, F.L. (2013). Teaching and Researching Reading (2nd Edition). UK: Routledge.

Guthrie, J.T. & Wigfield, A. (2000). Engagement and motivation in reading. In M.L. Kamil, P.B. Mosenthal, P.D. Pearson and R. Barr (Eds.). Handbook on reading research (pp. 403-422). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Harmer, J. (1998). How to teach English. NY: Longman ELT.

Iftanti, E. (2015). What makes EFL students establish Good Reading Habits in English? International Journal of Education and Research, Vol. 3, No. 5, 365-374.

Inderjit, S. (2014). Reading Trends and Improving Reading Skills among Students in Malaysia. International Journal of Research in Social Sciences, Vol.3, No.5, 70-81.

Ismail, N. & Elias, S. (2009). An Analysis of the Reading Attitudes and Habits among ESL Part One Diploma Students in MARA, University of Technology Malaysia, Johor Branch. The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Vol. 4, No. 8, 181-190.

Jadal, M.M. (2013). Study of the Reading Habits of the B.Ed. Students. Indian Streams Research Journal, Volume 3, Issue.1, 1-11.

Karim, A., Hasan A., & Shahriza, N. (2007). Reading habits and attitude in the digital age: Analysis of gender and academic program differences in Malaysia. The Electronic Library, Vol. 25 Issue: 3, 285-298.

Koda, K. (2008). Insights into Second Language Reading: A Cross-Linguistic Approach. UK: Cambridge University Press.

Kumar, C.R. (2008). Research Methodology. New Delhi: APH Publishing Corporation.

Kwong, C.E., Othman, H. & Rajeswari, P.D. (2005). A survey of the reading habits among UiTM Perlis undergraduate students. Universiti Teknologi MARA. Retrieved from

Mackey, A. & Gass, S.M. (2005). Second Language Research: Methodology and Design. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

McDonough, J. & McDonough, S. (1997). Research Methods for English Language Teachers. London: Hodder Education.

McKay, S.L. (2006). Researching Second Language Classrooms. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Mikulecky, B. S. (2008). Teaching Reading in a Second Language. Pearson Education.

Mokhtari, K. & Sheorey, R. (1994). Reading habits of university ESL students at different levels of English proficiency and education. Journal of Research in Reading, 17(1), 46-61.

Mokhtari, K., Reichard, C.A., & Gardner, A. (2009). The Impact of Internet and Television Use on the Reading Habits and Practices of College Students. Journal of Adolescent and Literacy, 52(7), 609-619.

Mullai, R. (2001). Literacy: State of the Art at the Tertiary Level. Journal of Modern Languages, Vol. 13, Issue 1, 93-105.

Murray, D.E. & Christison, M.A. (2010). What English Language Teachers Need to Know. Volume I, Understanding Learning. UK: Taylor & Francis e-Library.

Noor, N. M. (2011). Reading habits and preference of EFL post graduates: A case study. Conaplin Journal: Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(1), 1-8.

Nunan, D. (1992). Research Methods in Language Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pandian, A. (1997a). Post-Colonial Literacy in Malaysia. International Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.

Pandian, A. (1997b). Reading in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Bangi: UKM.

Pandian, A. (1999). Whither Reading in Malaysia: Confronting Reading Reluctancy among Pre-university Students. Global Literacy – Vision, Revision and Vistas in Education, ed. Ambigapathy Pandian, Universiti Putra Malaysia Press, Serdang.

Richards, J. C., & Schmidt, R. (2010). Longman dictionary of language teaching and applied linguistics (4th Ed.). London: Longman (Pearson Education).

Sidek, H.M. (2011). Methods of EFL Secondary Reading Instruction: Preparation for Higher Education. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 1(3), 181-191.

Smith, M.C. (1991). An investigation of the construct validity of the adult survey of reading attitude. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the College Reading Association, Alexandria, VA. Available at:,smith/papers/asra.htm

Stoller, F. L., Anderson, N. J., Grabe, W., & Komiyama, R. (2013). Instructional Enhancements to Improve Students’ Reading Abilities. English Teaching Forum, 51(1), 2-11.

Subashini, A. & Balakrishnan, M. (2013). Reading Habit and Attitude among Malaysian Polytechnic Students. International Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 5(1), pp. 32-41.

Susana, L. & Mathai, E. J. (2003). Reading Attitudes of UiTM Penang Students: An Exploratory Study. ESTEEM, Vol. 1, 109-120.

Tavakoli, H. (2012). A Dictionary of Research Methodology and Statistics in Applied Linguistics. Tehran, Iran: Rahnama Press.

Tindale, J. (2003). Teaching Reading. National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research. Sydney: Macquarie University.

Wallace, C. (2003). Reading. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.