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versão impressa ISSN 0120-3479

Leng. vol.47 no.2 Cali jul./dez. 2019 


The effect of Content and Language Integrated Learning on the development of English reading comprehension skills

Efecto del Aprendizaje Integrado de Contenido y Lengua Extranjera en el desarrollo de habilidades de comprensión lectora en inglés

L’Enseignement d’une Matière Intégré à une Langue Étrangère sur le développement des compétences de compréhension des écrits en anglais

0000-0001-6641-3180Jaumer Andrés Quintana Aguilera1  1, 0000-0002-0216-2674Daniela Restrepo Castro2  2, 0000-0002-6097-5104Gonzalo Romero Martínez3  3, 0000-0002-7571-9023Gustavo Adolfo Cárdenas Messa4  4

1 Unidad Central del Valle del Cauca, Tuluá, Colombia. Correo electrónico:

2 Unidad Central del Valle del Cauca, Tuluá, Colombia. Correo electrónico:

3 Unidad Central del Valle del Cauca, Tuluá, Colombia. Correo electrónico:

4 Unidad Central del Valle del Cauca, Tuluá, Colombia. Correo electrónico:


This action-research study analyzed the effect of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) on the development of reading comprehension skills in English of 21 students of eleventh-grade in Colombia. A diagnostic test and the Survey of Reading Strategies were administered in class in order to establish the students’ level of reading comprehension in English and the reading strategies they used. A series of interventions to develop reading skills were carried out through instructional material based on the CLIL approach. The data was collected using qualitative instruments, such as the researcher’s field journal, an observation protocol and a focus group. Initially, students used very few or no reading comprehension strategies effectively. Moreover, they had poor performance in reading comprehension tests. After the implementation, the students demonstrated a more controlled and monitored use of their comprehension strategies that significantly influenced the development of their reading ability.

Key words: reading comprehension; Content and Language Integrated Learning; reading comprehension strategies


Esta investigación-acción analizó el efecto del Aprendizaje Integrado de Contenido y Lengua Extranjera (soft-CLIL) en el desarrollo de las habilidades de comprensión de lectura en inglés en 21 estudiantes de undécimo grado en Colombia. Se administró una prueba de diagnóstico y el Survey of Reading Strategies para establecer el nivel de comprensión de lectura de los estudiantes en inglés y las estrategias utilizadas en ella. Una serie de intervenciones se llevaron a cabo a través de material didáctico basado en el enfoque CLIL. Los datos se recopilaron utilizando instrumentos cualitativos, como el diario de campo, la rúbrica de observación y grupo focal. Inicialmente, los estudiantes no usaban estrategias de comprensión lectora efectivamente. Además, presentaron bajos niveles de competencia lectora. Después de la implementación; los estudiantes demostraron un uso más controlado y monitoreado de sus estrategias de comprensión de lectura que influyeron significativamente en el desarrollo de su capacidad de lectura.

Palabras-clave: comprensión de lectura; Aprendizaje Integrado de Contenido y Lengua Extranjera; estrategias para la comprensión de lectura


Cette recherche-action s´occupe de l'effet de l’apprentissage intégré de contenu et de langue étrangère (soft-CLIL) sur le développement des compétences en compréhension des écrits en anglais, de 21 étudiants de terminale. Un test ainsi que le Survey of Reading Strategies ont été administrés en classe afin d’établir le niveau de compréhension des écrits en anglais et les stratégies dont les étudiants se servaient. Une série d’interventions ont été réalisées à travers matériel didactique basé sur l’approche CLIL. Les données ont été collectées à l'aide d'instruments qualitatifs, tels que le journal, les grilles d'observation et un groupe de discussion. Au début, les élèves n’utilisaient pas efficacement les stratégies de compréhension des écrits. De plus, ils présentaient de faibles compétences en lecture. Après la mise en œuvre des unités didactiques, les élèves ont démontré une utilisation plus contrôlée et surveillée de leurs stratégies de compréhension. Celles-ci ont considérablement influencé le développement de leurs capacités de lecture.

Key words: compréhension des écrits; L’Enseignement d’une Matière Intégré à une Langue Étrangère; stratégies pour la compréhension des écrits


A macro-project is currently being carried out in Colombia with the purpose of making the country the most educated territory in Latin America by the year 2025. The government has had the fundamental commitment of creating communicative skills in Colombia through the National Plan of Bilingualism, which aims at developing high levels of English in a meaningful way according to international standards in all scholar year students by 2019 (Ministerio de Educación Nacional, 2006). Indeed, to carry it out, in 2016 the Basic Learning Rights and the Suggested Curriculum and the pedagogical guidelines were established (Ministerio de Educación Nacional, 2016), which reformed the process of teaching foreign languages for official and private educational institutions with the goal of promoting the foreign language effectively.

Reading comprehension was one of the most necessary skills in the academic context both in the mother tongue and the foreign language. Thus, Colombian eleventh grade students must apply for the national standardized test Saber 11, which is assessed just by reading, as a requirement for a professional career. Yet, the situation of the test has been analyzed by many authors (Cárdenas, 2006; Sánchez Jabba, 2013), showing the lowest results in the English test. In this case, reading in a foreign language presupposes that English teachers in all educational levels explore a series of strategies to efficiently develop reading comprehension skills in order to face the importance of the no fulfilled requirement (Romero, 2017).

The present work was carried out within an action research study in the Rafael Pombo Institute, a private institution in Tuluá-Colombia, that aims to guide high school graduates to technical accounting training, in which a exposure to English as a foreign language is required, that is why the institute provides the student with four hours of English training a week, following a non-articulated curriculum, which is always based on methods such as grammar-translation for text comprehension in a foreign language.

Yet, according to the results, students of the Rafael Pombo Institute obtained a low level in the English test in the period 2017-2. That is why the study was carried out through a qualitative approach, with an Action-Research design, where the main objective was to analyze the incidence of a didactic sequence based on the soft-CLIL approach for the development of reading comprehension in foreign language. Therefore, the following actions were taken: (1st) to identify the level of reading comprehension in English of the participating population, (2nd) to implement a didactic sequence of activities based on the CLIL soft approach and (3rd), to evaluate the level of reading comprehension in the participating population.

That study sought to analyze the incidence of a didactic sequence based on the contributions of recognized authors about Content and Language Integrated Learning approach (CLIL) (Coyle, 2007; Coyle, Hood, & Marsh, 2010; Mehisto, Marsh, & Frigols, 2008; Šulistová, 2013) for the development of reading comprehension skills (RCS) as some author point out like strategies for making students skillful readers (Gordillo & Flórez, 2009; Hellekjær, 2008; Mokhtari & Sheorey, 2002; Solé, 1987), all this in an English as a foreign language (EFL) context.

Everything explained in the previous sections aimed to answer the following question: What is the impact of the implementation of a didactic sequence based on the soft-CLIL approach in the development of reading comprehension in English as a foreign language in eleventh grade students? Rafael Pombo Institute?

Further information about the research could be found at:


It can be asserted that the reading of texts, documents, articles of sections, among others, is a common activity among students of basic and university education. Due to it is an usual activity, the process of reading comprehension in the mother tongue and especially in the foreign language has been analyzed by many researchers, among them: Barnett (1989), Echeverri and McNulty (2010), A. Hernández and Quintero (2001), Oxford (1990), Solé (1987) and Weaver (1994), among others; all of them, directly or indirectly, agree the reading strategies applied by the people who read are a key piece in the reading process, since it constitutes a usual requirement on the part of a great generality of teachers who should encourage the use of reading strategies in a reading comprehension texts through innovative practices.

This is why the conceptual categories that underline the study are divided into two categories: the first one, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL); the second one, reading comprehension.

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

Firstly, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is a general term for bilingual education based on the teaching and learning of specific content which could be treated in any educational approach, in which a foreign / second language is used as a tool to teach curricular contents and that is not related to the particular language (Dalton-Puffer & Smit, 2007).

Then, CLIL was first defined by Marsh (1994) and it is later explained as: "(…) situations where the subjects, or parts of the subjects, are taught through a foreign language with doubly focused objectives; that is, learning of content and simultaneous learning of a foreign language" (Marsh, 2002, p. 2). This means that, during the teaching and learning process, two fundamental objectives are carried out, without giving high priority to linguistic elements as grammar, it becomes the means to learn content (see Figure 1). Indeed, achieving the dual objective requires the development of an exclusive teaching orientation in the sense the subject is not a foreign language subject, but taught in a foreign language and through it.

Figure 1 The CLIL Related Goals 

CLIL is an umbrella term that allows the usage of different models, methods and techniques with outstanding positive aspects and drawbacks. Šulistová (2013) names the advantages and drawbacks of CLIL presented in Table 1:

Table 1 Advantages and Drawbacks of CLIL 

Advantages of CLIL Drawbacks
●Learning improves students' critical thinking. ● A high level of consumption of time for the preparation of the material.
● The learning process is based on real-life situations. ● Students / professors do not have the relevant level of knowledge of a foreign language.
● To acquire skills and communicative patterns increase intercultural awareness of both students and teachers.

Source: Own design edited from Šulistová (2013).

There are also other drawbacks some authors have presented about the CLIL focus on linguistic aspects, by showing its lack of attention to grammar issues (Bruton, 2011; Harrop, 2012).

Likewise, it can be said that a good class with CLIL had to adopt four elements, which are: first, Content (specific topics or progression in knowledge). Second, communication (to the use of language to learn while learning to use the language). Third, cognition (to the development of abstract and concrete reasoning) and fourth, culture (to the consciousness of oneself and the other in a specific culture) (Coyle, 2007). It is considered for CLIL to be effective, all 4C's must be kept in mind in the planning and implementation phase of teaching, as well as in the monitoring and training of learning (see Figure 2).

Figure 2 The 4C's Conceptual Framework for CLIL 

Moreover, this approach could be composed by two parts or could be located in a continuum, whose limits depend on the primary objectives of teaching: On the one hand, we have hard-CLIL approach, focused on the fact that a part of the entire curriculum is taught in a foreign language (Mehisto et al., 2008); on the other hand, the approach expressed by the theorists as soft CLIL, in which subject topics are taught as part of the curriculum within a normal course of a foreign language (Bentley, 2010; Mehisto et al., 2008).

Significant studies in Europe have shown that hard-CLIL experiences have been efficient for improving not only communicative skills in foreign and second language, but also for developing cultural, scientific, reading, logical and cognitive competences (Eurydice, 2006).

Nonetheless, for young Colombian students between the ages of 7 and 16 who are learning English as a foreign language the most significant environment for content instruction seems soft-CLIL, since as Stoller (2004) observes, there are "limitations in the elaboration of a curriculum around a single content area" (p. 267). Likewise, this approach offers Davison and Williams' arguments (as cited in Stoller, 2004) who have indicated that restricting a curriculum to a single subject limits the coverage of the language, thus impair the students who must be served by that curriculum (p. 183). Therefore, it can be concluded that, for the application of a series of strategies for the development of reading comprehension, it can be done through the application of authentic texts of non-linguistic subjects in an English class.

Consequently, CLIL as a teaching-learning approach has been gaining a lot of attention in many contexts. An approach that manages to renew and strengthen the acquisition of a language and the improvement of reading, for example. That is, CLIL not only achieves positive effects on language and integrated content, but it can also improve reading comprehension skills (Dalton-Puffer, 2008; Svenhard, 2010). Therefore, reading is, in effect, qualified as the primary skill in CLIL, which forces students to train their reading comprehension skills (Hellekjær, 1996, 2005, 2008; Svenhard, 2010).

Reading comprehension

After many studies, reading comprehension has been conceived as an activity of a higher order in which two essential factors are related; the first one the reader, and the second the reading; these correspond to the medium of a constant interaction (Solé, 1987). Added to that, a transcendence was given to brain work at the time of reading and at the same time, to the elements such as memory, attention, and perception through the medium of inference, making a fundamental role in performing the coding and attention processes (Cassany, 2004; Coll, 2005; Solé, 1987).

In addition, reading comprehension can be divided into three levels of textual comprehension with respect to Barret's Taxonomy, which are explained by Gordillo and Flórez (2009) in Table 2:

Table 2 Description of Levels of textual comprehension 

Level of textual comprehension Description
Literal level This aims to identify ideas and information that are visible or explicit in the text and responds to the recognition of the elements, the main ideas and the central theme of it.
Inferential level This level is characterized by finding out and showing the relationships of meanings that give the reader the opportunity to read between the lines (Cassany, 2004); that is, while someone is reading, it is also deducing the implicit by means of the search for relationships that go beyond what is seen directly in the text, explaining, adding information through experiences and, generating hypotheses and new positions are also part of this level.
Critical level In this level, the reader makes value judgments about what is reading through arguments, rejecting or accepting what is proposed. The type of reading has an evaluative character in which the reader's training, knowledge and criteria are directly proportional to the type of judgment that can be issued.

Source: Edited from Gordillo and Flórez (2009).

In order to reach advanced levels of reading comprehension, students should be guided into conscious activities to become skilled readers (Grabe & Stoller, 2002; Romero, 2017). Indeed, there are different authors who defined taxonomies for reading comprehension strategies (Grabe & Stoller, 2002; Iglesias, 2008; Solé, 1987), in which there is a prevalence for the different phases of the reading: pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading strategies (Block & Pressley, 2002).


This study presented a qualitative approach, defined as a study focused on data collection and detailed analysis of various situations, events, people, interactions, manifestations and behaviors. In addition, the researchers were involved in the context to intervene. Its main technique is unstructured observation, journals for detailed notes, focal group and observation grids. There is no manipulation of reality, but the results are extracted (R. Hernández, Fernández, & Baptista, 2010).

The scope of this research is descriptive since, according R. Hernández et al. (2010), it aims to collect and measure information emancipated or related to these concepts, compendia, qualities, characteristics, profiles and characteristics of individuals, groups, communities, procedures, objects or any other phenomenon related to the study and subject to analysis without indicating how they are related.

The methodological perspective followed during this research process is based on the Action-Research (AR) guidelines, one of whose origins is to apply a wide range of strategies implemented to improve the educational system and social (Latorre, 2003). The present project does not seek to propose fantastic solutions but to treat the problems to know and know each other. In addition, Kemmis and McTaggart (1988) argue that action research is a means of seeking self-assessment through four processes, which are presented in Table 3:

Table 3 Processes in A.R 

Processes in A.R Description
Planning The problem is identified and an action plan is developed to improve the context to be studied.
Action The plan is carefully reviewed and voluntary interventions are involved.
Observation It is the contextual documentation, the collection of data.
Reflection The reflection is evaluated and a description of the action is made to understand the problem studied.

The project was developed in three stages. The first phase corresponds to the diagnostic test. The objective was to identify the reading comprehension level in English of the participating population. This process was carried out through a questionnaire-type test named Key English Test (KET), designed by Cambridge English Language Assessment (2016); which is aimed at level A2, which is pre-intermediate level in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale (Council of Europe, 2001).

In the second stage, known as phase of implementation, a series of interventions was developed through a program of activities based on soft-CLIL that promoted the understanding, and use of reading comprehension strategies to develop exercises which implied the ability to read, a process carried out during 8 sessions, on the other hand, this phase also counted with a focal group section were carried out, where the students described their perceptions regarding the use of these strategies and the effect of the approach, their incidence in the reading skill.

At the third moment, a final test was carried out by applying a new copy of the KET test (Cambridge English Language Assessment, 2016), to the studied population. The last was in order to compare the initial results and thus to check whether there was an advance in the ability to read, through the use of reading comprehension strategies, besides knowing the effect of the soft-CLIL if this functioned more widely.


The study population was the whole group of eleventh grade students of the Rafael Pombo Institute, a private institution in Tuluá, Colombia. There were 21 students who were enrolled in the institution and who were in the last year of the vocational media. Eleven (11) of them belonged to the feminine gender and the other ten (10) belonged to the masculine gender. This population needed to be intervened due to the challenges it required to face when presenting the Saber 11 test, which the students were about to present, in which they were going to face a series of readings with various components that evaluated not only their English level in its 4 skills, but also the correct use of strategies to understand these texts.


First, the Survey of Reading Strategies (SORS) (Mokhtari & Sheorey, 2002) were administered to know the strategies used each student used when performing any reading in English, which were measured by means of some categories of analysis based on a scale of one to five, being one (1) Never use the aforementioned strategy and five (5) always use the exposed strategy. Also, this test was composed of 30 statements which they should read; after reading each statement, the student marked the number (1, 2, 3, 4 or 5). It was taken into account that there were no correct or incorrect answers to any of the elements of the survey mentioned. The information was qualified using a format of tabulation in Excel, this with the objective of designing and constructing the didactic unit.

Second, KET is a questionnaire-type test named Key (KET), done by Cambridge English Language Assessment (2016), which is aimed at evaluating level A2, pre-intermediate level in the Common European Framework of Reference of Languages (CEFR) scale (Council of Europe, 2001). Only the reading comprehension module was taken from a basic, medium and high level of difficulty. This 1 hour 10 minutes length test was composed by 35 questions divided into 5 components. Finally, the general score of the Cambridge English Key was calculated by adding up all the individual scores of the reading comprehension component and was divided by the four levels (-A, A1, A2, B1); which is, the grade obtained was based on the number of good questions and that is how the general score of the candidate or the level in the CEFR (Council of Europe, 2001) was stipulated.

Afterwards, a teaching unit, as it can be seen in Table 4 was designed. It is divided into eight lesson plans based on the soft-CLIL approach and the Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives revised by Anderson and Krathwohl (2001), with the aim of developing reading comprehension skills in a foreign language (Echeverri & McNulty, 2010).

Table 4 Teaching Unit 

1st week Educational Rights and Duties A man with a dream (reading comprehension) The students create a video showing a duty and a right. It is going to be done individually.
2nd week Human Rights African Girl (reading comprehension) The students contrast the human rights before and after the declaration of human rights through a video. They must work in couples and it is going to be uploaded on YouTube.
3rd week Household Chores Owls, White Flags and Peace Symbo (reading comprehension) The students create diagrams, mind maps, fish bone, and comparative charts when reading to better understand.
4th week Rights and Duties Voting, Election, President (reading comprehension) The students create a brainstorm to show the key vocabulary from the unit.
5th week Shopping Shopping Reading Comprehension Passage (reading comprehension) The students create a video to show over packaging in their real lives to create conscience and upload the video to YouTube.
6th week Business Plan Problems about Shopping (reading comprehension) The students create a brainstorm to show the key vocabulary from the unit.
7th week Shopping Mc Donald's (reading comprehension) The students create graphic organizers to show ideas from the topics.
8th week Garbage Where Garbage Goes (reading comprehension) The students create a video about how to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Source: Own design.

Finally, the research had three more collection techniques. The first was an observation grid, which was used by researchers to evaluate the efficiency or usefulness of the strategies that were involved for reading comprehension through five nuances of categorization. In addition, at the front each category was assigned a box for the findings found by the researchers through a frequency scale where the level of agreement or disagreement with a statement was specified.

On the other hand, the second technique were journals to record the most important events that concern the teaching-learning process of the investigation; being these useful to capture the reflections and meaningful moments in a parallel way; allowing the researcher "permanent monitoring of the observation process" (Bonilla Castro & Rodríguez, 1997).

And the third technique was a focal group, with this it was tried to discuss, from five questions diverse points of view to topics or subjects which were proposed by the researchers; with the purpose of finding different perspectives on the subject was being addressed at that time.


Description of the Results of the Reading Comprehension Strategies Survey

As it is illustrated in Figure 3, it can be observed the strategies that the 11th graded-students of the Rafael Pombo Institute used when reading a text in a foreign language - English, through the "Survey of Reading Strategies" designed by Mokhtari and Sheorey (2002). The analysis suggested, the 11th grade students of the Rafael Pombo Institute did not present specific details that a good strategic reader should possess. These results showed an average tendency of the total use of reading comprehension strategies, with a score no higher than 3.5 out of 5.0. That is, the report detailed a use of problem-solving strategies (PROB subscale) with a score of 3.6; followed by the average use of global strategies (GLOB subscale) with a score of 3.1; also, with a low perception of 2.7 points, support strategies (SUP subscale). Finally, it was observed the subscale with the highest tendency in its use by the students of the 11th grade of the Rafael Pombo Institute during a reading comprehension activity is the PROB strategy or problem solving, with a perception which surpasses the limit of 3.5.

In short, students tended to be in an intermediate level. However, the fact that the use of PROB strategies was more frequently reported allowed us to assume that these students could easily develop strategies addressed in a CLIL focus class. Therefore, it was considered to implement these strategies in the didactic unit, since this type of skills correspond to processes the young reader uses to better understand the text while working directly with it.

Figure 3 Score of Survey Reading Strategies for Subscales. 

KET (diagnostic phase)

As it is seen in Figure 4, all of the students (21 students) of the eleventh grade did not meet the expected level set by the Ministerio de Educación Nacional (2006) in the Guide 22. In other words, none of the students achieved a level B1 (inferential level in the traceability of the common reference levels) of reading comprehension. Therefore, it is observed a small amount of the students (5 students) settled down in the lowest level of acquisition of the English language, -A; whereas a majority of the students managed to establish themselves in a basic level of the A1 language; however, they did not pass the test, since they did not reach the minimum level allowed. In addition, it is necessary to emphasize that a large minority obtained A2 level; this means only one student passed the English test, but it was not established at a meritorious level.

Figure 4 Cambridge Test Results Diagnostic, English, KET by levels. 

KET (evaluation phase)

As illustrated in Figure 5, it is shown that a totally zero amount of students (0 students) settled down in the lowest level of acquisition of the English language, -A; whereas a notorious majority of the students (12 students) manage to establish themselves in a basic level of the A1 language, which, according to the common reference levels, corresponds to a literal level of reading comprehension; in effect, they failed the test, since it does not reach the minimum level recognized. In addition, it is necessary to emphasize that a considerably high number of students reached A2 level. This means nine students managed to pass the English test according to the Cambridge English Language Assessment (2016).

Figure 5 Cambridge Test Results Evaluation, English, KET by levels 

In summary, the students used most of the time the graphic organizers and figures, the predictive reading, the self-regulated monitoring, the underlining of unknown words, among others to order the most relevant information of the texts they faced during the interventions. This was due to the simultaneous use of the majority of students who dared to create, from the read, new elements to understand a text, to remember and inspect the reading process, managing to be more efficient and manage to represent organized information (Grabe & Stoller, 2002; Kim, Vaughn, Wanzek, & Wei, 2004).


The results obtained with the instruments allowed to conclude the use of reading comprehension strategies before, during and after the reading, through the soft-CLIL approach, were effective in improving the reading comprehension skills of the eleventh grade students at the Rafael Pombo Institute, as the students showed during the classes and through the final test that after engaging the reading strategies, they more easily understood the texts they faced during the eight weeks of intervention. Thanks to the above, the students dared to identify the central theme of the text through images; they highlighted key ideas of reading; they read aloud without fear of being corrected; they followed the reading that the teachers made; they read the text again to inquire about the unknown vocabulary; they answered questions related to the text; they made schemes, comparative tables, conceptual maps, mental maps and other diagrams; they improved their participation in class; they increased their vocabulary; they improved teamwork; they gained self-confidence and felt well advised.

When contrasting the results of the present research with the background, it can be deduced they are similar, since in Eguiluz (2013), Hamidavi, Amiz, and Gorjian (2016) an advance was found in the development of reading comprehension through the use of reading comprehension strategies during exposure to a text that was addressed in a class with the CLIL approach, facing to good results in both Ket test and in the monitoring process using the reading strategies, since they agree that the use of reading strategies before (such as supposing from images), during (such as skimming) and after reading a text facilitates the improvement of reading comprehension and enrichment of vocabulary.

One more element that coincides, is what was observed in the work of Echeverri and McNulty (2010), postulating the participants, by involving reading strategies and an interactive task, improved the reading comprehension in a foreign language to respond to knowledge, to understanding and to a good number of questions of the application, which was observed in the same way, in the present work; eleventh grade students showed great motivation to answer reading comprehension questions and to socialize them, since they felt confident to know the subject after having gone through a series of activities to master the vocabulary.

In the same way, these results are based on the CLIL theory which mentions that it is a dual approach where the Content Learning and the use of the Foreign Language is integrated, emphasizing the functional aspects of the language, in which it gives an interactive learning, through different methodologies that favor student autonomy (Coyle et al., 2010). Similarly, when referring to the four Cs (4Cs) in CLIL, progress was found in the students when facing a new Content (Content), using a key vocabulary and activities such as creating from instructions, served as a vehicle to prepare students to rise cognition level, getting it out; that is, the participants managed to transcend high order thinking skills (HOTS), creating new knowledge through their own analysis and being faithful to the aspects of Communication (Communication) as they are the language of learning (language of learning ), language for learning (language for learning) and language through learning (language through learning), since students achieved a good performance in the classroom during English classes with the soft-CLIL approach when using keywords as vocabulary and expressions in the target language assigned from the beginning of the activities. In addition to the above, in the form of culture, students managed to create an improvement in their personal and social, by supporting their peers, respect different opinions, create useful content for the community as the use of videos on platforms, among others.

According to the theory of reading comprehension strategies, each subcategory evaluated: use of pre-reading strategies, use of Strategies during reading, use of post-reading strategies, and use of tables, figures, images and / or graphic organizers to construct information inferences and increase understanding has some objectives. It is worth noting that these strategies were used during the whole sessions, without leaving any out. Although, when the students were not asked to use the five strategies, they used one, two or three at most; which shows that the students were conditioned to what the teachers demanded, without denying that the results of the use of these were satisfactory.

On the other hand, the activities used with the soft-CLIL approach in the present project were diverse; those were previously planned mostly were used, although some took more time than established because of the importance that was given to the class as a whole, they were carried out in their entirety; going from the activation of the class or warm up (warm up), the vocabulary activity, the reading comprehension activity and the use of their strategies, the writing activity and the listening activity until the evaluative phase in which it was put in practice the use of communicative competence from various modalities (oral, auditory, reader and writer). The above, allowed to realize that the CLIL approach is an "umbrella", as Marsh (2002) calls it in which it is possible to diversify knowledge through the variety of strategies as shown above.

However, the role of the teacher in CLIL is shown as a facilitator of learning, not as a judge or dictator; since he/she monitors the progress of the student from each of its stages, without neglecting the least. In addition, teachers made constant or continuous feedback and monitoring students' achievements and possible difficulties, in order to avoid what was raised by authors such as Harrop (2012) and Bruton (2011) who argue that the approach is limited in the little time that is dedicated to grammar, which in this case was seen on very few occasions, and it was not shown as an obstacle to learning the target language. Although grammar errors occur, it was corrected from the use of phrases, without being explained as the formula must be followed; which led to the relevance in the correction of the aspect, in addition to pronunciation, writing and vocabulary errors that, with the progress of the classes, were notorious in lesser magnitude.

Finally, when the results of the backgrounds are compared with those of the present research and the theory which supports the use of reading comprehension strategies and the CLIL approach are reviewed, they greatly favor the improvement of reading comprehension thanks to the use of pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading strategies.


The two categories of analysis, reading comprehension skill and CLIL approach, had a formidable incidence on reading competence in English in the population studied, taking into account the results obtained in the initial and final tests for the ability and its relevant comparison, in which it was evident that half of the students reached the average level in all the trials. A little less than half achieved medium-high levels.

During the intervention phase, great progress was observed in the students regarding the use of learning strategies for the development of reading comprehension in L2, such strategies were carried out in an unconscious and integral way, such as, the proposition of the predictive reading from textual segments, self-regulated monitoring of the mental process (read and think aloud), use of reference materials (for example: dictionary) to help understand what was read, selective rereading and the use of graphic organizers. However, advances in the recognition of communicative intention were few since they presented difficulties, especially in not being able to identify the purpose of the text.

Starting from the subjects of Social Sciences and Natural Sciences (democracy and peace and globalization), areas in which class planning was focused, it is important to emphasize the benefits that were derived from the application of CLIL to the development of the interventions; consequently, an integration and structuring of the language to situations of the subjects with doubly focused objectives was achieved. This is the case of learning objectives, both language and content, which can be established in parallel with relative ease and whose execution can be carried out through the development of different activities, exercises or slogans.

For the mentioned educational context, CLIL approach has become one of the most innovative methods, which aimed to ensure that the students obtained a good communicative competence in a foreign language. Although the institute did not have the didactic and the material proposed in this degree work, they showed better skills in the communicative competence.

The linear structure in how the reading comprehension strategies were carried out, allowed to develop the basic skills for the learning of the language in its reading component; where, on the one hand, the pre-reading strategies managed to support knowledge, contexts, experiences, beliefs, previous ideas to face the new information of the document; On the other hand, the strategies during the reading, which the students had to use a close interaction with the text through self-regulated and supervised processes; and all in order to find out if the use of those strategies were working. In addition, the use of strategies after reading allowed students to consolidate their understanding, organizing more logically the data provided to the text through the use of summaries, rereading, and even the design of graphic organizers to make the process more unconscious to better understand what is read.

Finally, and taking into consideration the assertions of the participants and the researchers regarding the promotion of reading comprehension strategies that when not encouraging them, the students will not do so; the opposite was observed, despite the affirmation, the students were autonomous in using some reading strategies when reading texts in a foreign language.


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5This article is the result of the action research “Effect of Content and Language Integrated Learning on the Development of English Reading Comprehension Skills”, presented as a requirement to get the B.A. in Foreign Languages Degree at Unidad Central del Valle del Cauca -Uceva by Jaumer Andrés Quintana and Daniela Restrepo. Gonzalo Romero Martínez and Gustavo Adolfo Cárdenas Messa were Director and Assesor, respectively. Funding source: Uceva. Date: from February 10th 2018 to: February 28th 2019

1Licenciado en Educación Básica con Énfasis en Lenguas Extranjeras de la Unidad Central del Valle del Cauca. Miembro del semillero de investigación Lingüística Aplicada.

2Licenciada en Educación Básica con Énfasis en Lenguas Extranjeras de la Unidad Central del Valle del Cauca. Miembro del semillero de investigación Lingüística Aplicada.

3Licenciado en Educación Básica con Énfasis en Lenguas Extranjeras de la Unidad Central del Valle del Cauca - Uceva, Tuluá, Colombia. Magíster en Educación Bilingüe por la Universidad Internacional de la Rioja, Logroño, España. Docente Tiempo Completo de la Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación y coordinador del programa de Licenciatura en Lenguas Extranjeras con Énfasis en Inglés de la Uceva. Docente de Fonología y Morfología. Asesor, director y jurado de trabajos de grado e investigador del grupo de Investigación en Lingüística Aplicada ILA. Áreas de investigación: Procesos de enseñanza de lenguas extranjeras, bilingüismo y lingüística aplicada.

4Licenciado en Literatura de la Universidad del Valle, Colombia. Profesional en Ciencias de la información, Universidad del Quindío, Colombia. Magíster en Educación, Universidad Católica de Manizales, Colombia. Docente Tiempo Completo de la Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación, Unidad Central del Valle. Docente de Didáctica, pedagogía, currículo, investigación educativa, PEI. Asesor, director y jurado evaluador de trabajos de grado en pregrado y maestría, e investigador del grupo de Investigación en Educación y Pedagogía. Áreas de investigación: Didáctica, evaluación, currículo. Par Académico del Ministerio de Educación Nacional para Registros Calificados.

Recebido: 28 de Março de 2019; Aceito: 30 de Maio de 2019

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