Previous research on young people's reading focuses much on problems such as dyslexia. Professor Lydia Kokkola sees a great need for more research on reading strategies for EFL-readers.
– There is a perception around that it is enough that we teach language and that we need to teach students how to read, she says.
Reading texts on the Internet requires different set of reading skills than when you read a traditional text. Lydia Kokkola notices that the students who come to university are struggling with the relatively simple texts – this despite the fact that those who come to the university is the best of the best.
– For example, they are not very good at skimming texts and rarely use the keyboard shortcuts like "find".
From Google to fantasy
The research project is called Matching Reading Strategies with Purposes and Text Types and will study three types of texts:
- Search Results from Google
- Text with hyperlinks
- Fantasy Text in books
First, the project will identify what the different texts require. Then the researchers will examine what skills young people already have. The PhD student Eva Fjellström has already begun working on literary texts and a thesis has examined how hyperlink test may work. In the final phase, researchers will develop a teaching program for reading strategies and their effectiveness.
The research will also focus on how to read political texts critically so that the reader does not get manipulated.
Support in the application process
Applying for research funding can be a demanding process. Lydia Kokkola has received much help from the project economist Angelica Hedlund.
– The university can really be proud of the support they can offer us researchers. There is a big difference compared to other universities, she says.