Reading in a Foreign Language
Volume 17, Number 1, April 2005
ISSN 1539-0578

Understanding the role of text length, sample size and vocabulary size in determining text coverage
Kiyomi Chujo and Masao Utiyama

Although the use of "text coverage" to measure the intelligibility of reading materials is increasing in the field of vocabulary teaching and learning, to date there have been few studies which address the methodological variables that can affect reliable text coverage calculations. The objective of this paper is to investigate how differing vocabulary size, text length, and sample size might affect the stability of text coverage, and to define relevant parameters. In this study, 23 varying vocabulary sizes taken from the high frequency words of the British National Corpus and 26 different text lengths taken from the Time Almanac corpus were analyzed using 10 different sample sizes in 1,000 iterations to calculate text coverage, and the results were analyzed using the distribution of the mean score and standard deviation. The results of the study empirically demonstrate that text coverage is more stable when the vocabulary size is larger, the text length is longer, and more samples are used. It was also found that the stability of text coverage is greater from a larger number of shorter samples than from a fewer number of longer samples. As a practical guideline for educators, a table showing minimum parameters is included for reference in computing text coverage calculations.
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A framework for developing EFL reading vocabulary
Alan Hunt and David Beglar

Effective second language vocabulary acquisition is particularly important for English as a foreign language (EFL) learners who frequently acquire impoverished lexicons despite years of formal study. This paper comprehensively reviews and critiques second language (L2) reading vocabulary research and proposes that EFL teachers and administrators adopt a systematic framework in order to speed up lexical development. This framework incorporates two approaches: 1) promoting explicit lexical instruction and learning strategies; and 2) encouraging the use of implicit lexical instruction and learning strategies. The three most crucial explicit lexical instruction and learning strategies are acquiring decontextualized lexis, using dictionaries and inferring from context. Implicit lexical instruction and learning can take many forms including the use of integrated task sets and narrow reading; however, this framework emphasizes extensive reading, which is arguably the primary way that EFL learners can build their reading vocabulary to an advanced level. The principal notion underlying this framework is that the most effective and efficient lexical development will occur in multifaceted curriculums that achieve a pedagogically sound balance between explicit and implicit activities for L2 learners at all levels of their development.
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Developing reading comprehension questions
Richard Day and Jeong-suk Park

This article presents a detailed picture of six types of comprehension and five forms of questions that can be used to help students become interactive readers. The taxonomies of the types of comprehension and the forms of questions may also be used as a checklist for language teachers as well as materials developers. Teachers can use the taxonomies to make their own comprehension questions for texts that their students read to help them understand better what they read. In addition, they can be used to analyze instructional materials and to develop materials to ensure that the various forms of questions are used to help students respond to a variety of types of comprehension.
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