Critical thinking and reading comprehension in a course of English as a foreign language


  • Nelly Yiveline Fernández de Morgado Universidad Simón Bolívar
  • Carlos Alberto Mayora Pernía Universidad del Valle
  • Rubena St. Louis Universidad Simón Bolívar



critical thinking, reading comprehension, teaching-learning of English as a foreign language, Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test


There is great interest in designing English-as-a-foreign-language learning environments to foster critical thinking. In order to do so, understanding the nature of the relationships between the elements involved is necessary. In this sense, the present study aims at determining the relationship between critical thinking abilities (CTA) and reading comprehension (RC) of scientific technical texts in students of English as a foreign language at Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela. This is a transverse exploratory after-the-fact field research framed in a quantitative approach using correlations. The Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test was used to measure critical thinking abilities and the De-partmental Reading Comprehension Achievement Test was used to measure linguistic competence. Results show that the relationship between CTA andRC is low, positive and significant. Also, both CTA as well as RC scores were very low. Findings suggest that reading is a useful tool to foster CTA; nonetheless, the course must be tailored in order to improve its effectiveness. Pedagogical implications are discussed. Also, future research suggestions are offered.

= 751 veces | PDF
= 713 veces| | HTML
= 67 veces| | DATA SER ÍKALA 22725
= 0 veces|


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Nelly Yiveline Fernández de Morgado, Universidad Simón Bolívar

Associate Professor in the Language Department


Carlos Alberto Mayora Pernía, Universidad del Valle

Applied Linguistics and English Professor in the Sciences Language School.

Rubena St. Louis, Universidad Simón Bolívar

Associate Professor in the Language Department


Alderson, J. C. (1984). Reading in a foreign language: A reading problem or a language problem? En Al– derson y Urquhart (Eds.), Reading in a Foreign Language (pp. 1-27). London: Longman.

Archibong, F. y Briggs, F. (2011). The impact of innovation and change on contemporary teaching and learning as an advancement from myth to reality. Journal of Humanistic and Social Studies, 2(2), 141-149.

Asención, Y. (2006). Summarizing by Spanish beginner learners. Hispania, 89(4), 937-949.

Barnett, M. A. (1988). Reading through context: How real and perceived strategy use affects L2 comprehension. The Modern Language Journal, 72(2), 150-162.

Bernhardt, E. y Kamil, M. (1995). Interpreting relationships between L1 and L2 reading: Consolidating the linguistic threshold and the linguistic interdependence hypotheses. Applied Linguistics, 16(1), 15-34.

Block, E. (1986). The comprehension strategies of second language readers. TESOL Quarterly, 20(3), 163-194.

Braga, L. (2008). Designing reading tasks to foster critical thinking. Ilha do Desterro Journal, 38, 83-90.

Cahyono, B. Y. y Widiati, U. (2006). The teaching of EFL reading in the Indonesian context, the state of the art. TEFLIN, 17(1), 36-58.

Cardozo, R. (2000). Estrategias de lectura utilizadas por futuros docentes de inglés como lengua extranjera para la comprensión de textos expositivos en este idioma (Trabajo de grado de maestría no publicado). Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador, Caracas.

Cartaya, N. (2011). La hipótesis del umbral léxico en la comprensión de lectura en L2. Lingua Americana, 15(28), 103-118.

Champeau de López, C., Marchi, G. y Arreaza-Coyle, M. (1997). A taxonomy. Evaluating reading comprehension in EFL. Forum, 35(2), 30-45.

Chong, L., Lai, M., Ong, H. y Tan, S. (2008). Innovative educational program: A new edge of education. Journal of Applied Sciences, 8(10), 1832-1840.

Choy, S. C. y Oo, P. S. (2012). Reflective thinking and teaching practices: A precursor for incorporating critical thinking into the classroom. International Journal of Instruction January, 5(1), 167-182.

Clarke, M. A. (1997). La hipótesis del ''cortocircuito'' en la lectura en inglés como segunda lengua —o, cuando la competencia lingüística interfiere con la lectura. En E. Rodríguez y E. Lager (Eds.), La lectura (pp. 115-130). Santiago de Cali: Editorial Universidad del Valle.

Cobb, T. (2007). Computing the vocabulary demands of L2 reading. Language Learning & Technology,11(3), 38-63.

Cummins, J. (1979). Linguistic interdependence and the educational development of bilingual children. Review of Educational Research, 49(2), 222-251.

Cummins, J. (1981). The role of primary language development in promoting educational success for language minority students. In California State Department of Education Office of Bilingual Education, Schooling and Language Minority Students: A Theoretical Framework (pp. 16-49). Sacramento, CA: Author.

Cziko, G. A. (1980). Language competence and reading strategies: A comparison of first and second language oral reading errors. Language Learning, 30, 101-116.

Davidson, B. y Dunham, R. (1997). Assessing EFL student progress in critical thinking with the Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test. JALT Journal, 19(1), 43-57.

Dudley-Evans, T. y St John, M. (1998). Developments in English for Specific Purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ennis, R. H. (2011). The nature of critical thinking: An outline of critical thinking dispositions and abilities. Revised version of a presentation at the Sixth International Conference on Thinking at MIT, Cambridge, MA, july, 1994. Last revised May, 2011. Recuperado de: edu/rhennis/documents/TheNatureofCritical Thinking_51711_000.pdf

Ennis, R. y Weir, E. (1985). The Ennis-Weir Critical ThinkingEssay Test. CA, USA: Midwest Publications.Recuperado de edu/rhennis/tewctet/Ennis-Weir_Merged.pdf

Enright, M. K., Grabe, W., Koda, K., Mosenthal, P., Mulcahy-Ernt, P. y Schedl, M. (2000). TOEFL 2000 Reading Framework: A Working Paper. Princeton: Educational Testing Service.

Fahim, M., Bagherkazemi, M. y Alemi, M. (2011). The relationship between test takers critical thinking ability and their performance on the reading section of TOEFL. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 1(6), 830-837.

Fahim, M., Bariesteh, H. y Vaseghi, R. (2012). Effects of critical thinking strategy training on male/female EFL learners' reading comprehension. English Language Teaching, 5(1), 140-145.

Fahim, M. y Sa'eepour, M. (2011). The impact of teaching critical thinking skills on reading comprehension of Iranian EFL learners. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2(4), 867-874.

Fernández de Morgado, N. (2009). Extensive reading: Student'sperformance and perception. The Reading Matrix, 9(1), 31-42.

Fontanini, I. y Tomitch, L.M. (2009). Working memory capacity and L2 university students comprehension of linear texts and hypertexts. International Journal of English Studies, 9(2), 1-18.

Grabe, W. (1997). Revaloración del término ''interactivo''. En E. Rodríguez y E. Lager (Eds.), La lectura (pp. 81-97). Santiago de Cali: Editorial Universidad del Valle.

Grabe, W. (2009). Reading in a Second Language. Movingfrom theory to practice. Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress.

Grabe, W. y Stoller, L. F. (2002). Teaching and Researching Reading. New York: Longman Pearson Education.

Hashemi, M. y Zabihi, R. (2012). Does critical thinking enhance EFL learners' receptive skills? Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 3(1), 172-179.

Horst, M. (2009). Developing definitional vocabulary knowledge and lexical access speed through extensive reading. En Z. Han y N. J. Anderson (Eds.), Second Language Reading Research and Instruction. Crossing the Boundaries (pp. 40-63). Michigan: University of Michigan Press.

Hu, M., y Nation, I. S. P. (2000). Vocabulary density and reading comprehension. Reading in a Foreign Language, 23(2), 403-430.

Karbalaei, A. (2012). Critical thinking and academic achievement. Íkala, 17(2), 121-128.

Keller, J. (2008). Questions first: Introducing critical thinking using the text analysis matrix (TAM). The Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 8(2), 11-24.

Kerlinger, F. y Lee, H. (2002). Investigación del comportamiento. México: McGraw-Hill.

Khandaghi, M. y Pakmehr, H. (2012). Critical thinking disposition: A neglected loop of humanities curriculum in higher education. Cypriot Journal of Educational Sciences, 7(1), 1-13.

Kobayashi, M. (2002). Method effects on reading comprehension test performance: Text organization and response format. Language Testing, 19(2), 193-220.

Laufer, B. (1981). ''Intensive'' versus ''extensive'' reading for improving university students comprehension in English as a foreign language. Journal of Reading, 25(l), 40-43.

Leiva, B. (2007). Reconsiderando a Alderson: la lectura del inglés como idioma extranjero. ¿Un asunto de lectura o una cuestión de lenguaje? Lenguas Modernas, 32, 35-62.

Mehta, S. R. y Al–Mahrougi, R. (2015). Can thinking be taught? Linking critical thinking and writing in an EFL context. RELC Journal, 46(1), 23-36.

Moghaddam, M. y Malekzadeh, S. (2011). Improving L2 writing ability in the light of critical thinking. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 1(7), 789-797.

Mohammadi, E., Heidari, F. y Niri, N. (2012). The relationship between critical thinking ability and reading strategies used by Iranian EFL learners. English Language Teaching, 5(10), 192-201.

Morgan, M. y Shermis, M. (1989). Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing. Bloomington, IN: ERIC Clearing House on Reading and Communication Skills.

Nelson, L. R. (2000). Item Analysis for Tests and Surveys. Using Lertap 5. Australia: Curtin University of Technology.

Osborne, R. E., Kriese, P., Tobey, H. y Johnson, E. (2009). Putting it all together: Incorporating ''SoTL Practices'' for teaching interpersonal and critical thinking skills in an online course. InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, 4, 45-55.

Paul, R. y Elder, L. (2008). The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press. Recuperado de: https://www.

Pereira, S. (2009). Estrategias metacognitivas y comprensión de la lectura en inglés como lengua extranjera (LE): un estudio comparativo (Trabajo de ascenso no publicado). Universidad Simón Bolívar, Sartenejas.

Pereira, S. y Ramírez, J. (2008). Uso de estrategias metacognitivas de estudiantes de inglés en curso pre-universitario. Revista de Pedagogía, 29(85), 291-331.

Pino Silva, J. (1990). Sobre la relación vocabulario-lectura en un segundo idioma. Argos, 12, 50-65.

Quintero, M. (2003). Comparación de las estrategias de lectura utilizadas en textos en inglés presentados en pantalla y presentados en papel (Trabajo de grado de maestría no publicado). Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador, Caracas.

Rezaei, S., Derakhshan, A. y Bagherkazemi, M. (2011). Critical thinking in language education. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2(4), 769-777.

Rodrigo, V., Krashen, S. y Gribbons, B. (2004). The effectiveness of two comprehensible-input approaches to foreign language instruction at the intermediate level. System, 32(1), 53-60.

Rumelhart, D.E. (1997). Hacia una comprensión de la comprensión. En E. Rodríguez y E. Lager (Eds.), La lectura (pp. 25-51). Santiago de Cali: Editorial Universidad del Valle.

Saiz, C., y Rivas. S.F. (2008). Intervenir para transferir en pensamiento crítico. Praxis, 10(13), 129-149.

Sanacore, J. (1994). Treat atrisk learners as we treat all learners. Journal of Reading, 38(3), 238-242.

Schmitt, N., Jiang, X. y Grabe, W. (2011). The percentage of words known in a text and reading comprehension. Modern Language Journal, 95(1), 26-43.

Scriven, M. y Paul, R. (1987). Critical thinking as defined by the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking. The Critical Thinking Community. Recuperado de: defining-critical-thinking/766

St. Louis, R. y Pereira, S. (2012). Reading Selections for ID1113: Focus on Argumentation. 6.a ed. (Manuscrito). Caracas: Universidad Simón Bolívar. Sede Sartenejas. Departamento de Idiomas.

Taglieber, L. (2000). Critical reading and critical thinking. The state of the art. Ilha do Desterro Journal, 38, 15-37.

Taglieber, L. (2008). Critical reading and critical thinking. Ilha do Desterro Journal, 44, 141-163.

Taylor, A., Stevens, J.R. y Asher, W. (2006). The effects of explicit reading strategy training on L2 reading comprehension: A meta-analysis. En J. M. Norris y L. Ortega (Eds.), Synthesizing Research on Language Learning and Teaching (pp. 213-244). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Company.

Tseng, M. (2010). Factors that influence online reading: An investigation into EFL students perceptions. The Reading Matrix, 10(1), 96-105.

Tuning (2011-2013). Alfa Tuning América Latina: Innovación Educativa y Social. Recuperado de

Universidad Simón Bolívar (2011). Reglamento estudiantil. 17.a ed. Recuperado de: default/files/pdf/reglamento_estudiantil_2011.pdf

usb-id1nfernandez (2015). Muestra de lectura y ejercicios de la guía Reading Selections for ID1113. Recuperado de:

Uso, E. y Ruiz, M.N. (2009). Reading printed versus online texts. A study of EFL learners strategic reading behavior. International Journal of English Studies, 9(2), 59-79.

Wallace, C. (1995). ''Reading with a suspicious eye''. Critical reading in the foreign language classroom. En G. Cook y B. Seidlhofer (Eds.), Principle and Practice in Applied Linguistics (pp. 335-347). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wallace, C. (2001). Reading. En R. Carter y D, Nunan (Eds.), The Cambridge Guide to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (pp. 21-27). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Williams, E. (1998). Teaching reading. En Johnson y Johnson (Eds.), Encyclopedic Dictionary of Applied Linguistics (pp. 330-335). Oxford: Blackwell. Xu, J. (2011). The application of critical thinking in teaching English reading. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 1(2), 136-141.

Yamashita, J. (2008). Extensive reading and development of different aspects of L2 proficiency. System, 36(4),661-672.

Yang, Y. C., y Gamble, J. (2013). Effective and practical critical thinking-enhanced EFL instruction. ELT Journal, 6(4), 398-412.

Yang, Y. C., Chuang, Y., Li, L., y Tseng, S. (2013). A blended learning environment for individualized English listening and speaking integrating critical thinking. Computers & Education, 63, 285-305.




How to Cite

Fernández de Morgado, N. Y., Mayora Pernía, C. A., & St. Louis, R. (2015). Critical thinking and reading comprehension in a course of English as a foreign language. Íkala, Revista De Lenguaje Y Cultura, 21(1), 15–29.



Empirical Studies