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English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

INTRODUCTION Think-aloud is described as a stream-of-consciousness disclosure of thought processes (Cohen, 1996, p.7). Generally in the field of research in general, Matsumoto (1993) explained that think-aloud is a data collection method whereby informants are asked to say what they are thinking and doing (i.e. everything that comes to mind) while performing a task (p.34). In the past three decades, the think-aloud procedure has increased in popularity among researchers as a data collection instrument in areas of research that espouse a cognitive perspective such as problem solving and second language learning (Ericsson and Simon, 1987; Ericsson and Simon, 1993; Faerch and Kasper, 1987). Extensive use of the said procedure in collecting verbal protocols (Afflerbach, 2000; Cohen, 1996; Cohen and Hosenfeld, 1981; Newell and Simon, 1972; Pressley and Afflerbach, 1995) is due to its ability to provide researchers with a window into hidden thought processes (Block, 1986; CrainThoreson, Lipmann and McClendon-Magnuson, 1997). Such potential to reveal the thought processes, which is the power of think-aloud as a research method, is also an aspect of its potential as an instructional method (Kamhi-Stein, 1998; Kucan and Beck, 1997). The use of think-aloud as an instructional technique in reading comprehension evolved from research in observational learning and problem solving (Womack, 1991). As reading comprehension is also conceptualised as a problem solving activity (Elekes, 1997; Hosenfeld, 1984; Olshavsky, 1977) that involves covert thinking processes, the use of think-aloud in making the hidden processes observable is particularly appealing as a teaching technique as well as a learning technique. A study aimed at enhancing reading comprehension through the use of the think-aloud procedure was thus carried out to examine further its efficacy in reading instruction particularly in the context of the second language (L2). A related aim of the study was to investigate students feelings and perceptions towards the use of the think-aloud procedure. It is important to do so because the knowledge gained based on the perception of the students towards the instructional procedure will provide valuable information on pedagogical dos and donts with regards to the use of the procedure in the classroom. This paper reports only on that part of the larger study whereby feedback from the students involved were elicited so as to find out how they felt when using the think-aloud technique and what they thought about the technique itself. Besides that, researchers

English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

will also have clearer insights with regards to the advantages and disadvantages of the said procedure both as a research tool as well as a pedagogical tool. The students feedback provided data in answering the research question, What are the perceptions of the students on the use of think-aloud during the reading sessions? METHOD Subjects The subjects of this study were second semester (first year) Bachelor in Education (B.Ed.) undergraduates of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI). The subjects were enrolled in an English course required of every student in UPSI. Sixty-six (66) were initially selected for the main study which employed a quasi-experimental design (Campbell and Stanley, 1966, Cook and Campbell, 1979) using intact classes. These students were assigned to an experimental group and a comparison group. Due to various reasons, however, the final number of students involved was 20 in the experimental group and 23 in the comparison group. This report pertains to the feedback elicited from the twenty students who were in the experimental group which utilized think-aloud in small groups. Instruments The data of the study was collected through three data collecting tools as described below. Questionnaires A questionnaire was administered at the end of the treatment period (for the experimental group) with the aim of eliciting students perceptions and opinions towards the usefulness and effectiveness of the think-aloud procedure based on their classroom experience. The students were allowed to use the national language if they had difficulty in expressing themselves accurately in the English language. The questionnaire contained statements eliciting responses based on the likert scale and also openended questions. Interview Interviews were conducted at the end of the experimental treatment. The interviews enabled the researcher to access subjects perceptions

English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

regarding the effects and effectiveness of the think-aloud procedure in greater detail in ways that were not possible through the use of the questionnaire. Hence, the interviews also helped verify the answers given in the questionnaire. Student Journal Each student was asked to keep a journal and entries were made pertaining to various class lessons where journal writing was assigned. Although there were entries on lessons other than the reading lessons, only the entries based on the reading lessons were used as data. The main purpose of the journals was to capture the students feelings and perceptions regarding the use of the think-aloud procedures and also regarding what happened in the group. For example, students were asked to recount what they did, whether there was anything they liked or disliked, what were the easiest or most difficult things they had done, and why. Furthermore, the journals were useful in recording the reading strategies they learned during the lesson. RESULTS Data collected through the questionnaires, interviews, and journal entries of students from the experimental group were analysed to see how the students felt and what they thought of using think aloud while reading. Students responses to the statements found in Section A of the questionnaire are given in Figure 1 (next page) in terms of frequencies and percentages. Responses to open-ended questions in the questionnaire and the comments elicited through the interviews were analysed for general patterns and are used to substantiate the students responses to the statements. So, what did the students think of using think-aloud in the classroom? On the whole, the students viewed think-aloud positively. All of them agreed that in general think-aloud had helped them in their reading comprehension. While many advantages and benefits were noted, it was clear too that the procedure was not without its problems and disadvantages from the students point of view. The details of the students feelings and opinions toward the use and effectiveness of thinking aloud individually or in a group are discussed below.

Statements 1 (5.00) 5 (25.00) 14 (70.00) 12 (60.00) 10 (50.00) 12 (60.00) 15 (75.00) 0 4 (20.00) 0 0 9 (45.00) 2 (10.00) 0 5 (25.00) 1 (5.00) 1 (5.00) 0 0 0 1 (5.00) 0 0 0 11 (55.00) 1 (5.00) 0 0 0 0 0 1 (5.00) 0 0 0 2 (10.00) 0 0 0 1 (5.00) 13 (65.00) 0 6 (30.00) 7 (35.00) 9 (45.00)

SA (%) A (%) U (%) D (%) SD (%) Total (%)

It has been easy to think aloud while reading from the very beginning.

20 (100.00) 20 (100.00) 20 (100.00) 20 (100.00) 20 (100.00) 20 (100.00)

Thinking aloud is difficult at the beginning but gets easier with practice

Thinking aloud has helped me understand better the way I read

Listening to others think aloud has helped me be aware of different ways of handling difficulties

Thinking aloud has helped me understand better what I read.

Listening to other group members think aloud enables me to be aware of their reading behaviour.

Listening to other group members think aloud has affected the way I read.

7 (35.00) 5 (25.00) 0 14 (70.00) 10 (50.00) 13

I will continue to use think-aloud procedure while I read.

In general, I think the think-aloud has helped me in my reading comprehension.

Thinking aloud in a group has been more effective than thinking aloud on my own.

I prefer thinking aloud on my own than to think aloud in a group.

10 (50.00) 7 (35.00) 11 (55.00) 0

20 (100.00) 20 (100.00) 20 (100.00) 20 (100.00) 20 (100.00)

(Note: SA = Strongly Agree; A = Agree; U = Undecided; D= Disagree; SD= Strongly Disagree)

English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

Figure 1: Responses to Statements in the Questionnaire (Section A).


English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

EXPERIENCE WITH THINK-ALOUD (TA) Based on the responses given by the students, a majority did not find think-aloud to be something that was easy at the beginning. Thirteen (65.00%) of them disagreed with the statement a that it was easy at the beginning while six (30.00%) indicated it was easy and one student was undecided. This finding is not surprising as the procedure was new to them and the students would surely require practice before they were familiar with it. This initial unfamiliarity was anticipated early in the main study and steps were taken to familiarise the students to the procedure so that they were all able to carry out thinkaloud when placed in groups. Their increasing familiarity with the procedure was shown through their overwhelming (100%) positive responses to statement b that indicated think-aloud getting easier with practice. Interviews with the students regarding this matter yielded similar responses in that it was not easy at the beginning but, with practice it became easier. The following comments (the asterisk * indicates the existence of grammatical errors as the comments by students are given verbatim without any changes or corrections) exemplify the general feelings about their experience with carrying out think-aloud. S2: Ahh, in the beginning yes(it was difficult) because must think then explain ahh after a few class its OK.* S9: At first it was difficult for me because I never use thinking aloud in my reading. But after a few exercise of thinking aloud it become more easier for me* S13: Ahh, at first I find it very difficult because I never done before. Then when, when Mr Goh teach how to erm how to done, did think-aloud then OK. Then I feel it is easier...* Responses were also elicited through the interviews with regards to how the students felt when thinking aloud in a small group environment. 14 (70%) students gave positive comments with descriptions of feelings such as happy, enjoyed, comfortable, great, and more confident. Some reasons that were given with those feelings were that they could concentrate better, mengurangkan rasa mengantuk (lessen sleepiness), masalah dapat diselesaikan (problems can be solved), and mendapat galakan dari ahli kumpulan lain (received encouragement from other group members).

English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

On the other hand, one student was non-committal as reflected in his answer of biasa (normal) while another 5 (25%) had mixed feelings in that think-aloud in a group invoked both positive and negative feelings. These students sometimes felt it was interesting, enjoyable, happy but at other times they felt nervous, frightened or bored. As an example, one students comment was:
Sometimes I feel it is very bored when you have to go to one by one and hear other people thought. And sometimes it is very interesting when what we are reading or talking about is interesting such as the alien thing.*

The fact that the treatment involved the student thinking aloud in a group meant that they had to listen to each other thinking aloud and also have others listen to them. How they felt about this experience of verbalising their thoughts in public, whether they were at ease or not, were inquired of the students in the interviews. 14 (65.00%) students commented that they were at ease or comfortable in the situation where their group members were listening to them while they think aloud. They reasoned that the sharing of each others thought will enable them, as a group, to understand each other and provide opportunities to offer or receive help, exchange ideas and opinions, all of which result in better understanding of the text. Furthermore, some of these students had a positive outlook on the possibilities of being wrong or being in difficulties while attempting to understand the text read. They saw being wrong or being corrected as one way of learning and improving themselves. Besides that, the more confident students were nonchalant about what others might think about them or their thoughts. For instance, one student commented that whether I say it wrong or I say it right. I just want to tell them what I understand from the passage. A few others mentioned that having others listening to them was not an issue since they were all required to do the same task and so it should not be a problem. The rest of the students (6 or 30% ), however, revealed that they sometimes felt uncomfortable, nervous, awkward. One student attributed her awkward feelings to her personality, nobody can listen whatever I think. Another student explained that reading in a group was an unfamiliar experience and that made her feel uncomfortable. One student shared that she felt nervous due to her poor command of the target language.

English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

Many of the feelings expressed above with regards to their experience of the think-aloud procedure inevitably influenced their opinions pertaining to the benefits and problems in using thinkaloud. Advantages and Disadvantages of Think-aloud As mentioned earlier, the students went through a few practice sessions of think-aloud in order to help them be familiar with the procedure. These practice sessions also involved the students thinking aloud individually. Although the focus of the present study is the use of think-aloud in a group environment, the students were also asked their opinions about the advantages and disadvantages of think-aloud when doing it on an individual basis. Advantages of TA Individually Based on the students feedback given to statements c and e in the questionnaire (see Figure 1), it was clear that the students were agreeable that think-aloud was beneficial to them in understanding what they read and the way they read. Besides that, through the interviews, the students highlighted several advantages of think-aloud or what they found to be beneficial to them. Firstly, think- aloud helps them to be more aware of various alternative reading strategies that they can use when encountering difficulties while reading a text. One student noted that before this must use dictionary to find the hard words. Now use previous knowledge, or guess the word*. Secondly, it caused the reader to think through the text he or she had read in order to verbalise the thoughts. Hence, the students became aware of what they had understood and what they had not. This observation is similar to that made by Block (1986) who noted that her subjects, who by saying aloud what they understood, they became aware of what they did not understand (p.487). Besides that, a student pointed out that think-aloud enabled them to detect or to realise their weaknesses perhaps in pronunciation, lack of vocabulary and so on. Knowing ones weakness will allow one to take steps to overcoming those weaknesses, in this case, in the area of reading comprehension. Other advantages mentioned by the students were actually cited in comparison to carrying out think-aloud in a group. For instance, to those who did not feel comfortable having others listening to them, thinking aloud individually would be an advantage and

English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

would enable them to think and verbalise more freely. Besides that, without others around, one can take her time to think through without feeling rushed or being interrupted. At this juncture, it should be noted then that what was viewed as an advantage, particularly those seen as an advantage in comparison to doing think-aloud in a group, could conversely be seen as a disadvantage of doing think-aloud in a group. For example, to those who felt that thinking aloud individually would enable them to think through and verbalise without feeling rushed, the situation whereby others would be listening to them would be considered a problem or a disadvantage when thinking aloud in a group. In this respect, it should also be noted, however, that some of the advantages apply to both thinking aloud individually and thinking aloud in a group such as the benefits to reading comprehension brought about by the act of thinking aloud itself. Advantages of TA in a Group Pertaining to think-aloud in a group then, the advantages frequently pointed out by the students were related to the fact that they were learning together in a group environment. The students claimed that they were able to comprehend the text better when reading in their groups (see next page for some students comments). This was because, through think-aloud, they could share ideas, opinions, and strategies while trying to understand the text. In this way too, they could learn from each other with regards to aspects like pronunciation, possible meanings, and use of alternative strategies. These aspects were considered important by the students and also allowed for easier comprehension of the texts. In times when the students faced problems in comprehending the text, thinking aloud in the group was also seen as especially beneficial. If a student was stuck or faced difficulties in understanding a particular segment of text the predicament was usually made obvious to the others. During such a time, help may be requested or rather help was frequently offered without being asked in resolving the difficulties faced. Further, when the whole group had problems in understanding difficult segments of the text, the students stressed that those problems were more effectively dealt with as a group. This is due to them pooling their knowledge, experience and strategic resources together in overcoming the obstacles to comprehension. The following are typical responses of the students that exemplify the advantages mentioned so far:

English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

S.8: ahli kumpulan dapat bertukar-tukar pendapat mengenai kefahaman masing-masing. Di samping itu, ia lebih cepat dilakukan. Ahli kumpulan juga boleh membantu rakan yang menghadapi masalah. ( group members are able to exchange opinions regarding their understanding. Besides that, it can be carried out faster. Group members can also help friends who are facing difficulties.) S.9: Ahli-ahli kumpulan dapat bertukar-tukar pendapat, berbincang mengenai apa yang telah dibaca, membantu antara satu sama lain ketika menghadapi kesukaran ketika membaca, individu boleh berlatih bercakap di hadapan orang lain. (Group members are able to exchange opinions, discuss what was read, help each other when facing difficulties while reading, the individual can practice speaking in front of others) S.11: I have the chance to listen to what my friends are saying. From here I learn the correct pronunciation and compare it with my pronunciation. When I faced a problem in understanding the passage, my friends will help me to understand it better* S.18: I will know more strategies. How my friend explain and I can use their strategies.* Besides the advantages discussed above which were frequently highlighted by the students, there were other advantages too. One of them was that less time was needed in reading through a text, probably because of the help given to each other in understanding the text and also in overcoming problems. Another advantage seen is that thinking aloud in a group provided them the opportunity to practice speaking the target language and thus helping them to improve in their speaking skill and to be more confident in using the language. Student S9s comment that individu boleh berlatih bercakap di hadapan orang lain (the individual can practice speaking in front of others) exemplifies this point. In addition, another student commented that thinking aloud in a group gives me more confident to use English and no more scared*.

English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

Notwithstanding the advantages of think-aloud in a group as viewed by the students and presented above, the procedure of thinkaloud is not without its problems and disadvantages. Disadvantages of TA Individually One disadvantage of thinking aloud individually raised by most students was the unavailability or absence of help when they face comprehension difficulties such as unknown vocabulary and difficult sentences. Without feedback and help, they were often unsure if their use of strategies such as guessing and translation in attempting to resolve those difficulties were appropriate and accurate. Hence, they were also uncertain if their understanding of the text meaning were correct. The students responses given below are representative of the various responses that conveyed this disadvantage. S.8: I dont know if erm words that I translate erm right or not, OK. And sometimes I just skip, skip the words that I dont understand kan so erm the whole paragraph I dont understand-lah* S.12: when I stuck I do not know ahh I just alone, I do not know how, what the sentence mean, meaning so I just look the sentence and I do not know.* S.15: sometimes erm I dont I dont understand the word and nobody can help, I have to do by my own.* Consequently, there were students who sometimes felt that they were not able to understand the text even if they had utilised strategies thought appropriate but were still at a loss with regards to the meaning conveyed in the text read. Being in such a situation can understandably be a frustrating experience to the students. Besides that, some students felt that doing think-aloud alone can be quite boring at times. This may be related to their experience discussed above. As one student put it, From my experience, when I do alone when I dont know the answer I will feel bored and then I dont want to do again-lah*. Other reasons given for feeling bored are (a) when the procedure is used too often and (b) no new strategies were discovered or attempted. Finally, four students noted that thinking aloud individually was slow-going and time consuming. Therefore, it could be tiring

English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

and impractical to be carried out by the individual each time reading is required. This view was also noted by Liaw (1995) in her study where similar comments about think-aloud being time-consuming were made by her students who had instructions in think-aloud. Disadvantages of TA in a Group Moving on to the disadvantages of think-aloud in a group, responses by the students indicated the existence of a few problems. In a way, most of the complaints were similar in nature as they revolved around the issue of participation (or rather lack of participation) and co-operation in the group. Responses by six students showed that the lack of participation or co-operation by certain individuals in the group could effect the whole group in carrying out the task required of them. They usually referred to situations when a certain individual in the group just keep quiet and did not contribute in giving ideas or suggesting strategies. While it remains unclear who these certain individuals were and why they were uncooperative, it is possible that they were those who felt uncomfortable thinking aloud in the group. During the interviews, a few higher proficiency students mentioned that some of their friends might have felt shy or inadequate due to their lower proficiency and inability to express oneself fluently in the target language. Such problems are personal in nature for students who lacked confidence and are self-conscious about what others might think with regards to what they have to say or how they express themselves verbally in the target language. It remains unclear too through the responses in the questionnaire whether the problem of passive or uncooperative group members was encountered in every group session or only in certain sessions. Nonetheless, responses through the interviews strongly indicated that this problem was neither encountered on a consistent basis nor did it persist in all the sessions. When asked if they thought their groups worked together well during the reading sessions, two students commented that their groups did not work well initially (e.g. for the first and second maybe not very well) and another two students said that their groups worked well but not all the time. The other students, however, said that their groups worked well together. Another disadvantage is the interruptions by group members whilst someone in the group was thinking aloud. This issue was raised by a student through her response in the questionnaire and also in her journal entry as follow:

English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

S.19: Apabila kita cuba memberikan penerangan dan belum selesai memberikan pendapat tetapi pendapat kita tidak diendahkan dan diganggu. (When we tried to provide explanations and have not completed in doing so, our views were not taken seriously and we were interrupted) (comment in questionnaire) S.19: (However), when explaining and reading the article, several times my concentration is disturbed by the member of my group discussion that improving my mistakes but I notice that its easier to understand the article *. (extract from journal entry) Checking the transcripts showed that there were several occasions when the student (S 19) was concentrating and verbalising her thoughts after reading a segment when someone else in the group interrupted by providing alternative understanding of the text or by expressing disagreement with her before the reader could complete her think-aloud. Although the interruptions were well intended, they were disruptive to ones train of thoughts and hence the interruptions were mostly viewed as something annoying. General Perception on Usefulness and Effectiveness of TA The preceding discussion clearly shows that, from the students point of view, thinking aloud individually or in a group both have advantages and disadvantages. This is not surprising as the procedure was carried out by a group of twenty students who each has a different level of proficiency, reading ability, level of confidence, attitude, and personality. Liaw (1995) too received both positive and negative responses from her subjects when asked in a questionnaire concerning the use of think-aloud individually during reading. On the whole, however, the students thought that the procedure had effectively helped them improve their reading comprehension abilities. This was evidenced through their responses in both the questionnaires and the interviews. 95% of the students agreed that thinking aloud had helped them understand better what they had read and also helped them understand better the way they read. Furthermore, every student (100%) indicated agreement to the statement (i), In general, I think the think-aloud has helped me in my reading comprehension (see Figure 1).

English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

Thus, notwithstanding some disadvantages, the students were unanimous that think-aloud, individually or in a group, had helped them to be more aware of the way they read and had on the whole benefited them in their reading comprehension. Comments elicited through the interviews on this matter revealed similar results and confirmed their agreement on the usefulness of the procedure and also with the advantages discussed earlier being reiterated. PREFERENCES When asked to compare between thinking aloud individually and thinking aloud in a group (see statement j), they were unanimous again that thinking aloud in a group had been more effective. While acknowledging the effectiveness of thinking aloud in a group, two (10%) students maintained preference for individual think-aloud while five (25%) others were undecided and the rest (thirteen or 65%) preferred to think aloud in a group (see statement k). Comments elicited in the interview provided a clearer indication of their preferences where four (20%) students confirmed their preference for individual think-aloud and the others (80%) preferred thinking aloud in a group. The overall preference for thinking aloud in a group may be influenced by the many advantages highlighted by the students and discussed earlier. Besides those advantages, the students preference for group thinking aloud could also be partly explained from the benefits of listening to others think aloud in the group. It can be seen in Figure 1 (statement f) that all the students agreed that listening to others think aloud was beneficial in that it helped them be aware of different ways of handling difficulties and also be aware of their group members reading behaviours. While fourteen (70%) students also agreed that listening to other group members had affected the way they read (statement g), only two (10%) did not agree and four (20%) were undecided. Briefly, it is clear that on the whole the students viewed very positively the procedure of think-aloud during reading. Despite some problems faced by a number of students, think-aloud was generally thought to be effective in helping the students improve their reading comprehension, particularly so when carried out in a group. Finally, the students positive outlook on the procedure was reflected in all of them agreeing (statement h) that they will continue to use the


English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

procedure when they read. As for the students perceptions towards the use of think-aloud while reading in a group, the feedback given was generally positive. Based on their responses in the questionnaire and interviews, there was consensus that the instructional procedure has been beneficial to them. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION Responses to the questionnaires and interviews have revealed much about their perception of the instructional procedure that they experienced. Although most of them felt that think-aloud and doing it in a small group was not easy at the beginning, they were able to do it after some practice. Researchers who have advocated the use of think-aloud and those who have used the technique either as an instructional tool or data collection tool have noted the need for practice sessions to familiarise the subjects with the technique (e.g. Block, 1986; Cohen, 1995; Ericsson and Simon, 1993; Steinberg, Bohning, and Chowning, 1991, Womack, 1991). The majority of the students viewed think-aloud positively and that the procedure had helped them comprehend L2 text better. Such a view was consistent with the reading comprehension test results obtained in the main study. This positive finding corroborates the evidence provided in studies that combined think-aloud and reading collaboratively in a group (Anderson and Roit, 1993; Palincsar and Brown, 1984; Klingner et al., 1998). Being in a group when thinking aloud was seen as advantageous by most but was also seen as disadvantageous by some others. It was perceived as advantageous in that reading difficulties can be resolved more effectively and collaboratively with help by more proficient peers being near at hand. Furthermore, it was also perceived that one could learn more from each other by listening to how difficulties were tackled while constructing meaning from the text. On the other hand, being in a group while thinking aloud made some students felt awkward or uncomfortable as it involved being listened to by others as one read aloud and thought aloud. There are possibly several factors pertaining to learner differences that could affect the students comfort level when carrying out the technique. Examples of these factors are attitudes, learning styles, motivation, and level of confidence in their reading and speaking


English Language Journal Vol 3, (2009) 125-142 ISSN 1823 6820

abilities (Cohen, 1998; Oxford, 1989). Additionally, as these factors affect a students comfort level, they would inevitably affect also the individual students level of participation in the small group. Pedagogical Implications Since most students may not find think-aloud something easy to do at the beginning, it is important that practice sessions be given to the students. These practice sessions also should start with something relatively easy, for example verbalising while doing mathematical additions, and progressing slowly to thinking aloud while reading which could be quite demanding. Advocates of think-aloud such as Cohen (1995), and Ericsson and Simon (1993) have designed practice sessions and guidelines for the use of the technique. Besides that, these practices need also be carried out on an individual basis to ensure familiarity before moving on to pair and group levels. While providing students with sufficient time and practice to familiarise themselves with the procedure, teachers should also be aware that there are possibly some students who will not find the procedure comfortable to use and especially so in a group due to learner differences mentioned earlier. Furthermore, when the practice period is over, the teacher could perhaps allow the students to determine their own group members so that they will at least not feel uncomfortable in the group. However, if such is the case, the teacher should ensure that at least one member of the group is of higher proficiency and reading ability who can play the role of a knowledgeable peer so that the instructional procedure can be beneficial. Conclusion It should be noted that the students, when asked to comment about their experience of the procedure, were generally positive about the effectiveness and usefulness of the procedure in improving their reading comprehension abilities although various disadvantages were also noted. Hence, it is expedient that both researchers and classroom reading instructors should take the findings in this study into consideration as they plan their research or their lessons.