Designing EAP reading courses at the university level

Elana Spector-Cohen*, Michal Kirschner, Carol Wexler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In countries where university students must read course bibliographies in English but perform related tasks in L1, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course coordinators must often design their own courses and materials. In this paper, we present the Complementary Pyramid Syllabus Design (CPSD), developed at the Division of Foreign Languages, Tel Aviv University, Israel. The CPSD is a principled four-pronged approach to EAP reading course design employing elements of Type A syllabi (focusing on the discrete elements of language) and Type B syllabi (emphasizing the purposes for and process of acquiring a language). A CPSD syllabus for a particular course incorporates explicit instruction on discrete linguistic forms, reading comprehension strategies, academic genres, as well as criterion tasks which focus on meaning and which mirror real-life academic tasks. The weight of each of these elements varies in a systematic manner depending on the students' L2 proficiency. The CPSD approach is grounded in the literature on such topics as syllabus design, the nature of the reading process in L1 and L2, and genre. A flowchart depicting the procedure for designing EAP course syllabi as well as a sample case of course design are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-386
Number of pages20
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2001


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