Verbal protocols have been used to construct proposition about cognitive process in language learning and reading process. Despite extensive development of cognitive –based research in reading strategies, revelations of cognitive process as well as its relation to proficiency are still inconclusive and more studies are still needed to venture into this field. There is a need to add existing literature in order to refresh current inconsistency regarding the relationship between proficiency and reading strategy. The paper reports the findings of a case study research at one of public university in Makassar, Indonesia. Five less proficient learners at English Department, Hasanuddin University participated in a six-weeks training. The verbal reports were recorded, transcribed, and then analyzed qualitatively by means of interpretative paradigm. Findings showed that less proficient EFL learners performed wide range of strategies, such as skimming, as well as compensation strategy of code-switching, and sounding out words to help their comprehension process. These learners tended to employ those strategies in less efficient manner so as to read the text line by line. Variability in the use of strategies did not fully support these learners’ comprehension over the text as indicated in the way they approached the tasks as well as their performance results in task completion. Lexical problem was indicative to account for their comprehension problem as shown in their report for willing to use ssupport strategy, such as the use of dictionary. Overall, the less proficient learners performed almost all of the important reading strategies commonly practiced by the proficient learners of ESL background. The findings strengthen previous proposition that no consensus can be drawn between certain pattern of strategy use in relation to proficiency level. The finding confirmsan emerging need of reading strategy instruction in order to generate strategic reading behaviour in these learners.
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