Integrating reading strategy and phonics instruction to enhance foreign language reading comprehension: A complex approach to a complex phenomenon


  • Natalie da Costa The University of Oxford



reading comprehension, reading strategy instruction, phonics, decoding, language proficiency


This article argues that the skillful integration of reading strategy instruction with phonics instruction is highly useful for the enhancement of foreign language reading comprehension. There is a vast amount of evidence which clearly suggests that reading strategy instruction improves learners’ ability to understand foreign language texts. However, some researchers have argued that foreign language learners need a critical amount of lexical and grammatical knowledge to make use of reading strategy instruction; in other words, lower proficiency readers are unable to profit from reading strategy instruction. Yet, a detailed analysis of relevant published and unpublished research indicates that while more proficient readers are able to take full advantage of reading strategy instruction on its own, less skilled readers require an integrated phonics component in order to fully benefit from reading strategy instruction. This conclusion is in line with our current understanding of the complex process of reading which suggests that reading proficiency is the product of linguistic knowledge and strategic behaviour.


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Author Biography

Natalie da Costa, The University of Oxford

Natalie da Costa is an English language teacher based in Valpaços, Portugal who runs a language school for young and adult learners of English. She is currently working towards the MSc in Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching at The University of Oxford and is researching the impact of Global Englishes classroom-based innovation on school-aged language learners’ perceptions of English. Her areas of interest include global Englishes, language learner motivation, and special education.


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How to Cite

da Costa, N. (2022). Integrating reading strategy and phonics instruction to enhance foreign language reading comprehension: A complex approach to a complex phenomenon. Journal of Language Teaching, 2(10), 1–5.



Original Research