Reading in a Foreign Language    ISSN 1539-0578
Volume 23, Number 1, April 2011

Extensive reading and the effect of shadowing
Takayuki Nakanishi & Atsuko Ueda

The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of extensive reading (ER) and shadowing on performance on reading comprehension tests. This study addressed the following research questions: (a) Can extensive reading improve students’ reading comprehension? and (b) can shadowing enhance the effects of extensive reading? The participants in the study were 89 Japanese university students majoring in human science. Based on two experimental groups and two control groups, we examined the relationships and interactions of the two variables (ER and shadowing) over a one-year treatment (two semesters), using ANOVA. Three reading comprehension tests, a pretest, posttest 1 (after the first semester), and posttest 2 (after the one-year treatment), were administered. The results indicated that there was no statistically significant difference among groups, but a significant difference was found between the three test scores. Results are also considered in terms of an increased understanding of shadowing, and implications for curricula and classroom applications are discussed.


back to table of contents | pdf

Reading books in class: What "just to read a book" can mean
Marianne

This article presents and analyzes qualitative ethnographic data from research investigating intensive reading in an English Second Language high school class. It focuses on selected teacher-student interactions and considers the effect of these interactions in terms of the processes and products of students’ intensive study of a fiction text. The article considers how the teacher asserted control over physically handling the text, the processes of reading it, and the classroom discourses about the text. Data analysis and discussion unpacks the teacher’s claim that what she wanted students to get out of their experience of reading The Cay was “just to read a book.” This claim, and the teacher-student interactions which followed, is considered against the backdrop of curriculum goals aiming to create sophisticated, critical readers. The article concludes by highlighting several critical pedagogical and intellectual implications arising from aspects of teacher-student interactions and provides direction for future research.
back to table of contents | pdf


Roles of general versus second language (L2) knowledge in L2 reading comprehension
Ying Guo & Alysia D. Roehrig

We examined the roles of metacognitive awareness of reading strategies, syntactic awareness in English, and English vocabulary knowledge in the English reading comprehension of Chinese-speaking university students (n = 278). Results suggested a two-factor model of a General Reading Knowledge factor (metacognitive awareness employed during the English reading process) and a Second Language (L2) Specific Knowledge factor (comprising vocabulary knowledge and syntactic awareness) offered the best fit to the data; 87% of the variance in reading comprehension was explained by the two factors together. L2 Specific Knowledge was a stronger predictor of reading comprehension than metacognitive awareness. A multigroup analysis was conducted using structural equation modeling to compare poor-reader and good-reader groups. The correlation between the L2 Specific Knowledge and metacognitive awareness and their relations to reading comprehension was the same across groups.
back to table of contents | pdf


A primer on the General Service List
Leah Gilner

This paper aims to be an introduction to the General Service List (GSL) that brings together descriptive data with material otherwise dispersed throughout the literature. The discussion first provides an historical overview of the work that scholars, researchers, and educators used as foundations for the manufacturing of the GSL. Following, a collection of modern studies is presented in an effort to critically assess the contents and intent of the GSL. In this manner, the paper attempts to provide comprehensive information on the manufacture, content, characteristics, and analyses of the GSL that can serve to inform those interested in the GSL, in particular, and the compilation and assessment of new word-lists, in general.
back to table of contents | pdf


Text readability and intuitive simplification: A comparison of readability formulas
Scott A. Crossley, David B. Allen, & Danielle S. McNamara

Texts are routinely simplified for language learners with authors relying on a variety of approaches and materials to assist them in making the texts more comprehensible. Readability measures are one such tool that authors can use when evaluating text comprehensibility. This study compares the Coh-Metrix Second Language (L2) Reading Index, a readability formula based on psycholinguistic and cognitive models of reading, to traditional readability formulas on a large corpus of texts intuitively simplified for language learners. The goal of this study is to determine which formula best classifies text level (advanced, intermediate, beginner) with the prediction that text classification relates to the formulas’ capacity to measure text comprehensibility. The results demonstrate that the Coh-Metrix L2 Reading Index performs significantly better than traditional readability formulas, suggesting that the variables used in this index are more closely aligned to the intuitive text processing employed by authors when simplifying texts.
back to table of contents | pdf


Links between teachers' beliefs and practices and research on reading
Irena Kuzborska

Teachers’ beliefs are thought to have a profound influence on their classroom practices. An understanding of this relationship is important for the improvement of teachers’ professional preparation and the successful implementation of new curricula. However, there is little previous research on this issue in the Lithuanian university context. This evaluative-interpretative study investigated the relationship between the beliefs of eight teachers and their practices in the teaching of reading to advanced learners. It used video stimulated recall to obtain measures of teachers’ beliefs, while comparing those beliefs and behaviors against the research norms. The beliefs that were identified as congruent with practices of the majority of the teachers reflected a skills-based approach to reading instruction, emphasizing vocabulary, reading aloud, translation, and whole class discussion of texts. However, a metacognitive-strategy approach is largely supported by research and regarded as most appropriate in academic contexts.
back to table of contents | pdf


About RFL | Table of Contents | Past Issues | Supplement Issues | Subscribe | Editorial Board | Submissions | Contact RFL