Enhancing Reading Skill via ReadTheory.org: Students’ Attitudes, Motivation, Autonomy and Perceptions
Keywords: attitudes, autonomy, EFL, English language teaching, gamification, learners, motivation, reading skill, Readtheory.com, Saudi context, second language
Studies into the use of gamification, “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts” (Deterding et al, 2011, p9) for language learning, has found positive results on language development and enhancing learner engagement toward the learning process, but they have mostly focused on the effectiveness of gamification rather on learner’s attitudes, motivation, and autonomy toward the gamified language learning experience. This research presents the results for a study into the use of a gamified reading website, Readtheory.org, that incorporates the use of gamification elements of badges, knowledge points (KPs), levels, and feedback to enhance reading comprehension. Thus, this study examines 50 undergraduate university students’ attitudes, motivation, autonomy and perceptions toward enhancing their reading skills. The data were collected from students’ interviews and questionnaires at YELI in KSA. The findings showed that students’ attitudes are high toward the gamified platform and that the utilization of Readtheory motivates students to read independently using the website inside and outside the classroom. The main advantage of Read theory is it can be easily used anywhere-anytime, a better alternative to traditional reading methods and it can be adopted to enhance student’s reading comprehension.