Reading in a Foreign Language    ISSN 1539-0578
Volume 25, Number 1, April 2013

The effects of large-group instruction, modeling, or see the sound/visual phonics on undergraduate students learning to read Italian
Traci M. Cihon, Zachary Morford, Christopher J. Stephens, Dorothy Morrison, Rachael Shrontz, & Kimberly L. Kelly

Reading in the second language (L2) allows learners access to new vocabulary and opportunities to translate from the L2 to the first language (L1) and vice versa. In this paper, we describe three studies that explored strategies for developing L2 Italian decoding repertoires. Participants were undergraduate students preparing for a short-term study abroad trip to Italy. The results indicate that most participants acquired the target Italian letter(s)-sound relations with group instruction and that modeling and/or modeling with See the Sound/Visual Phonics were effective interventions for participants who struggled to acquire the L2 repertoires. Results are discussed in terms of selecting the effective teaching strategies to develop L2 decoding repertoires.

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Character reading fluency, word segmentation accuracy, and reading comprehension in L2 Chinese           
Helen H. Shen & Xin Jiang

This study investigated the relationships between lower-level processing and general reading comprehension among adult L2 (second-language) beginning learners of Chinese, in both target and non–target language learning environments. Lower-level processing in Chinese reading includes the factors of character-naming accuracy, character-naming speed, and word segmentation accuracy. The results of this study show that all three components contribute to reading comprehension in conjunction. Among them, character-naming accuracy was identified as the strongest predictor for reading comprehension; this was followed by character-naming speed. Character reading accuracy was also identified as a major predictor for word segmentation. The findings of this study partially support the studies conducted on alphabetic languages. Based on the results, pedagogical implications are discussed and recommendations for improved teaching are formulated.

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Word recognition subcomponents and passage level reading in a foreign language
Junko Yamashita

Despite the growing number of studies highlighting the complex process of acquiring second language (L2) word recognition skills, comparatively little research has examined the relationship between word recognition and passage-level reading ability in L2 learners; further, the existing results are inconclusive. This study aims to help fill the gap. Three word recognition subcomponents (decoding, sight word reading, and lexical meaning access) and general English language ability were examined in terms of their contributions to predicting the reading comprehension and reading rate of Japanese university students learning English. Multiple regression analyses revealed that, in addition to the contribution made by English language ability, lexical meaning access was a significant predictor of both reading comprehension and reading rate, and decoding was a predictor of reading rate only. These results not only supported some previous findings but also added new insight into the influence of efficiency of lexical meaning access to reading comprehension.

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A model of motivation for extensive reading in Japanese as a foreign language
Ryoko de Burgh-Hirabe & Anne Feryok

Numerous studies have reported that extensive reading (ER) has a positive influence on affect. Recent studies suggest that motivation for ER changes. This is in line with recent developments in second language (L2) motivation research that have highlighted the complex and dynamic nature of L2 motivation. This study presents a model of complex and dynamic motivation for ER. This qualitative study examined 9 Japanese as a foreign language learners’ motivation for ER. The participants were encouraged to read as many Japanese books as possible outside class for 5 to 7 months. Data from interviews and journal entries were analyzed for factors influencing their motivation. The participants’ motivation changed as different factors interacted, leading to different patterns of engagement with ER, which fit within the model. This suggests the value of using a complex and dynamic approach to L2 extensive reading motivation. Implications concern the importance of varied materials and of making ER obligatory.

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