Reading in a Foreign Language    ISSN 1539-0578
Volume 28, Number 1, April 2016

Text-based recall and extra-textual generations resulting from simplified and authentic texts
Scott A. Crossley & Danielle S. McNamara

This study uses a moving windows self-paced reading task to assess text comprehension of beginning and intermediate-level simplified texts and authentic texts by L2 learners engaged in a text-retelling task. Linear mixed effects (LME) models revealed statistically significant main effects for reading proficiency and text level on the number of text-based propositions recalled: More proficient readers recalled more propositions. However, text level was a stronger predictor of propositional recall than reading proficiency. LME models also revealed main effects for language proficiency and text level on the number of extra-textual propositions produced. Text level, however, emerged as a stronger predictor than language proficiency. Post-hoc analyses indicated that there were more irrelevant elaborations for authentic texts and intermediate and authentic texts led to a greater number of relevant elaborations compared to beginning texts.

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Investigating reading comprehension and learning styles in relation to reading strategies in L2
Meral Özkan Gürses & Eric Bouvet

This study aims to investigate the extent to which reading comprehension and learning styles are related to perceived use of reading strategies among students studying French at an Australian university and a Turkish university. Ninety-one participants completed a background questionnaire, the Survey of Reading Strategies, the Kolb Learning Style Inventory 3.1 as well as a reading comprehension test. The findings revealed a small negative correlation between perceived use of reading strategies and reading comprehension for all participants and, in particular, for the Australian subgroup; however, correlation coefficients were not statistically significant. Furthermore, the findings indicated that the participants with converging styles reported the highest usage of strategies in both subgroups and that converging learning styles influenced perceived use of reading strategies. In light of its findings, this research calls for larger-scale studies investigating the relationship among learning styles, reading comprehension, and reading strategies of language learners.

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Automatization and orthographic development in second language visual word recognition
Shusaku Kida

The present study investigated second language (L2) learners’ acquisition of automatic word recognition and the development of L2 orthographic representation in the mental lexicon. Participants in the study were Japanese university students enrolled in a compulsory course involving a weekly 30-minute sustained silent reading (SSR) activity with graded readers for 12 weeks. They completed the masked form-priming lexical decision task (LDT) before and after the in-class SSR activity. Results showed that participants exhibited signs of increasing automaticity of L2 word recognition (analyzed with the coefficient of variation), but could not develop their L2 orthographic representation (analyzed with the pattern of priming effects in the masked form-priming LDT). These findings suggest that automatization does not necessarily entail the development of orthographic representation, that is, the acquisition of automatic word recognition and the development of orthographic representation do not occur simultaneously. Instead, their development is asymmetrical.

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What can readers read after graded readers?
Jeff McQuillan

Nation (2014) concluded that most of the vocabulary one needs to read challenging texts in English can be acquired incidentally through voluminous reading. This study examines possible texts that second language (L2) readers can use to move from controlled-vocabulary materials such as graded readers, which go up through approximately the 4,000-word-family level, to more challenging texts such as newspapers, classic novels, and academic texts, at the 9,000-word-family level. An analysis of a set of popular fiction series books found that such books can provide a sufficient amount of input, with 98% vocabulary coverage, so as to serve as one possible “bridge” to more challenging texts.

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Cohesion features in ESL reading: Comparing beginning, intermediate and advanced textbooks
Lia Plakans & Zeynep Bilki

This study of English as a second language (ESL) reading textbooks investigates cohesion in reading passages from 27 textbooks. The guiding research questions were whether and how cohesion differs across textbooks written for beginning, intermediate, and advanced second language readers. Using a computational tool called Coh-Metrix, textual features were compared across the three levels using Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA). The results indicated that some features of cohesion yielded significant variation, but with small effect sizes. The majority of cohesion features considered were not different across the textbook levels. Larger effect sizes were found with factors like length, readability and lexical or syntactic complexity.

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Scaffolding in L2 reading: How repetition and an auditory model help readers
Etsuo Taguchi, Greta Gorsuch, Kristin Lems, & Rory Rosszell

Reading fluency research and practice have recently undergone some changes. While past studies and interventions focused on reading speed as their main goal, now more emphasis is being placed on exploring the role prosody plays in reading, and how listening to an audio model of a text while reading may act as a form of scaffolding, or aid, to reading comprehension. This article explores how two elements unique to repeated reading (RR) practices likely provide scaffolding for L2 learners’ reading comprehension: repetitions in reading a text, and having learners read along with an audio model of the text. Scaffolding is an oft-used term in L2 education, but specific examples of it are seldom given. This article addresses scaffolding and suggests future research that can impact reading fluency intervention practices.

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Measuring second language vocabulary knowledge using a temporal method
Masayuki Tanabe

The present study addressed the role of speed as a factor in tests of second language (L2) vocabulary knowledge, presupposing that speed of performance is important in actual language use. Research questions were: (a) Do learners with a larger vocabulary size answer faster on an L2 vocabulary breadth test than smaller vocabulary sized learners?; (b) Are there systematic increases in response time (RT) as word frequency decreases in an L2 vocabulary breadth test?; and (c) Do RTs of correct responses on an L2 vocabulary breadth test predict accurate and quick L2 reading? Participants were 24 Japanese university students. Results indicated that (a) vocabulary size facilitated lexical accessibility, (b) high frequency words were accessed more quickly but this was only observable after reaching a certain threshold of vocabulary size, and (c) vocabulary score (accuracy) alone was not associated with accurate and quick reading but vocabulary RT (accuracy + speed) was.

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