Reading in a Foreign Language
Volume16, Number 1, April 2004
ISSN 1539-0578

Reading in a Foreign Language: April 2004: abstracts

Reading attitudes in L1 and L2, and their influence on L2 extensive reading
Junko Yamashita

The present study examines the relationship between both first language (L1) and second language (L2) reading attitudes, and learners' performance in L2 extensive reading. Four reading attitude variables were identified (Comfort, Anxiety, Value, Self-perception), both in L1 and L2, according to learners' responses to a questionnaire. Results of analyses using these four variables are summarised on two levels. First, the study supports the transfer of the affective domain of reading (attitudes) from L1 to L2. But L2 proficiency does not affect this transfer in the way in which the linguistic threshold hypothesis would predict if this hypothesis were applied to the affective domain. Since this hypothesis explains the transfer of the cognitive domain of reading (i.e., reading abilities and strategies), these findings suggest that cognitive and affective domains of reading relate differently in L1 and L2. Although the transfer of reading attitude is generally supported, there are different degrees of transferability among different attitude variables: what learners think (Value) is more likely to transfer from L1 to L2 than what they feel (Comfort, Anxiety, Self-perception). Second, from a more pedagogical point of view, the positive feeling towards reading, both in L1 and L2, facilitates learners' performance in extensive reading. Merely thinking that reading is beneficial to oneself does not represent a strong enough motivation. The study has thus demonstrated the importance of understanding learners' attitudes (particularly feelings) to reading both in L1 and L2 for encouraging L2 learners' involvement in extensive reading.
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Extensive reading in Japanese
Claire Ikumi Hitosugi and Richard R. Day

This article discusses how we incorporated an extensive reading (ER) program into a second semester Japanese course at the University of Hawai`i using Japanese children's literature. After summarizing the ten principles of ER, we describe how we addressed six critical issues faced while introducing ER into the course. We also discuss the outcomes of this ten-week program, which showed that the students improved their scores according to a traditional measure of reading comprehension. We also found positive results in an affective questionnaire that measured attitudes toward and motivation for learning Japanese.
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