Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (MEd)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Freddie A. Bowles

Committee Member

Endacott, Jason

Second Committee Member

Blair, Alissa


adults, Benefit EFL Reading Comprehension, EFL undergraduates, English as a Foreign Language (EFL), Scaffolding strategies, Support Reading Comprehension


The poor reading proficiency and the lack of reading comprehension strategies have been a major flaw for adult university learners in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) contexts, particularly in the case of English majors at the School of Foreign Languages in the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Research has shown this reading gap can be improved through suitable instructional strategies and assistance referred to as scaffolding. The purpose of this literature review was to investigate how beneficial scaffolding is for EFL adults´ reading comprehension, which scaffolding strategies prove effective in supporting EFL reading comprehension, and how those effective strategies are implemented. Twenty-two empirical studies from the last ten years, exclusively related to scaffolding strategies that promote EFL adult learners´ reading comprehension in college settings were carefully chosen and critically analyzed. Findings indicate the significant benefits of scaffolding for the enhancement of both low and high proficiency adult EFL´s reading comprehension, in terms of inference and critical level, and higher-order thinking skills. Similarly, results show that EFL students gained more autonomy, self-regulation and self-confidence, problem solving and critical thinking skills, metacognition, more motivation, and a positive attitude to read through implementing scaffolding in the reading classes; especially when fostered via a collaborative learning environment. Moreover, several scaffolding strategies were found as effective to support EFL reading comprehension, namely graphic organizers, questioning techniques, modeling, bridging, schema building, visualizing, think alouds, cognitive and metacognitive strategies, and a reading framework—The Scaffolding Reading Experience (SRE). Concerning how the effective scaffolding strategies were implemented in reading comprehension, findings in this literature review suggest four specific teaching applications; namely, intervention through the three reading phases: pre, during, and post reading; through the Scaffolding Reading Experience (SRE) as opposed to the traditional reading instruction; through the lens of Sociocultural Theory: teacher-peers and peer-to-peer collaboration, and the students´ ZPD, and finally, through well-constructed scaffolds to support better EFL reading comprehension. Limitations, suggestions for future research, and the potential teaching and curriculum implications out of this literature review are put forward.