Reading in a Foreign Language    ISSN 1539-0578
Volume 24, Number 1, April 2012

The interplay of processing task, text type, and proficiency in L2 reading
Mami Yoshida

This study was an investigation of how particular processing tasks influence L2 reading in relation to text type effects and L2 reading proficiency. Two groups of Japanese university EFL students (N = 103), varying in English reading proficiency, read a narrative passage and an expository passage in one of three task conditions: outlining, answering embedded questions, and reading only. All three groups produced written recalls immediately after reading as well as one week later. The results indicated no significant differences related to task types. However, a main effect for text type effect was shown only on the immediate recall of main ideas: More main ideas were recalled for the narrative text than for the expository text. Text type effects became more prominent in the delayed recalls. The content analysis of prototypical recalls suggested qualitative differences between task types and possible interactions between task types and text types.


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Assisted repeated reading with an advanced-level Japanese EFL reader: A longitudinal diary study
Etsuo Taguchi, Greta Gorsuch, Miyoko Takayasu-Maass, & Kirsten Snipp

Reading fluency has attracted the attention of reading researchers and educators since the early 1970s and has become a priority issue in English as a first language (L1) settings. It has also become a critical issue in English as a second or foreign language (L2) settings because the lack of fluency is considered a major obstacle to developing independent readers with good comprehension skills. Repeated Reading (RR) was originally devised by Samuels (1979) in order to translate Automaticity Theory (LaBerge & Samuels, 1974) into a pedagogical approach for developing English L1 readers’ fluency. Extensive research has been conducted to show the positive effects of RR in English L1 settings. A growing number of L2 reading researchers have demonstrated that RR may be a promising approach for building fluency and comprehension in L2 settings. However, while L1 research has demonstrated a robust correlation between improved reading fluency and enhanced comprehension, L2 fluency research has not yet shown such a strong correlation. In addition, most studies on reading fluency in L2 settings have used quantitative approaches and only a few of them have explored the “inside of L2 readers' brain,” that is, what is actually happening while they engage in RR. The present study attempts to reveal the inner process of L2 reading fluency development through RR for an advanced-level L2 reader who is articulate in describing her metacognitive processes. Using a diary study approach comprising more than 70 RR sessions over the course of 14 weeks, the current study investigated an L2 reader with good comprehension skills engaging in RR. This study was designed to investigate specifically how her reading fluency developed and how her comprehension changed during the course of the treatment. Based on the study findings, some issues are discussed for better RR program implementation.


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Improving reading rate activities for EFL students: Timed reading and repeated oral reading
Anna C-S Chang

This study investigates the effect of timed reading (TR) and repeated oral reading (RR) on 35 adult students of English as a foreign language. Students in the TR (n =18) and RR (n =17) groups read 52 and 26 passages respectively over a 13-week period. Reading rates and comprehension levels were measured at three occasions: pre-intervention, post-intervention, and delayed post-intervention. The reading rate results show that the TR group increased 50 (49%) words per minute (wpm) and 23 wpm (27%) for the RR group. The rate gains of both groups were largely retained after six weeks with no further instructional practice. In terms of comprehension levels, the TR group scored 53%, 67%, and 63%, and the RR group 53%, 60%, and 53% at the pretest, posttest and delayed posttest respectively. Overall, increasing the reading amount for the TR group improved reading rates and comprehension ; increasing the reading rate for the RR group did not have a negative impact on reading comprehension. Thus, it is worthwhile including reading ratebuildup activities in L2 reading instruction.

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Effects of discourse structure graphic organizers on EFL reading comprehension
Xiangying Jiang

This study investigated the effects of a 16-week reading instruction program with discourse structure graphic organizers (DSGOs) on the development of English reading comprehension among college-level English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students. A total of 340 first and third semester students of non-English majors at a Chinese university participated in this study. A DSGO completion test and a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) reading comprehension test were administered before, immediately after, and 7 weeks following the instructional treatment. The results showed that the DSGO instruction significantly improved discourse comprehension as measured by the DSGO completion task, and the effect was retained 7 weeks after the instructional treatment. Significant improvement was also observed in the general reading ability as measured by TOEFL reading comprehension in the immediate posttest, but the effect did not persist in the delayed posttest. These findings apply to both the first and third semester students. Pedagogical implications of the DSGO instruction are discussed.

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Graded readers: How the publishers make the grade
Gillian Claridge


Publishing graded readers is big business, but there is evidence that the texts themselves are not being read in sufficient quantity to improve language proficiency. This article reports on a study of graded readers, focusing on interviews with some major publishers of graded readers, to investigate their production rationales. The findings suggest that the opinions of the ultimate consumers, the learners, are not regularly researched, with publishers tending to base production more on the demands of teachers and librarians who buy the books. The largest quantity of graded readers is produced for the intermediate levels, although if pleasure reading is the main purpose of graded readers, it would seem logical to publish a greater number of texts at the lowest level, to inculcate good reading habits from the start.

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