Effective strategy groups used by readers of Chinese as a foreign language
Second language (L2) reading research suggests that successful reading comprehension usually involves a repertoire of strategies. Although Chinese is considered to be a challenging language for foreign language readers, thus far, few studies have investigated how strategies are orchestrated by readers of Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) to enhance comprehension. This study investigated how L2 Chinese readers grouped multiple strategies to comprehend a Chinese text. Through think-aloud and recall protocols, observations, and interviews, it identified several strategy clusters and pairs that helped adult CFL readers to infer words, monitor comprehension, and segment words successfully. It also revealed interrelations between and among strategies within each cluster and pair. The results showed that successful use of strategies in CFL reading usually involves context and multiple linguistic cues. In addition, vocabulary and grammar knowledge play important roles in CFL readers’ use of reading strategies.
Multilinguals and extensive reading: Two multilinguality portraits of learners of Norwegian
This paper presents an exploratory-interpretive study of two multilingual adults acquiring Norwegian through extensive reading. The study examined social and cognitive aspects of language acquisition, and individual factors, such as the language learning behaviors, experiences, attitudes, and beliefs of the participants. The data were collected using background self-reports, diaries in which the participants recorded their extensive reading and related language learning experiences, and semi-structured interviews. To represent adult language learning from a multilingual perspective, the data were analyzed qualitatively using a priori themes derived from the ecological model of multilinguality (Aronin, 2016; Aronin & Ó Laoire, 2004; Aronin & Singleton, 2012). The findings suggest that environment, previous education, reasons for learning a language, and previous knowledge of other languages affect how multilingual learners approach language learning and how they use a new language.
Incidental learning of duplex collocations from reading: Three case studies
There is little research available on the incidental learning of figurative language from reading (e.g., Webb, Newton, & Chang, 2013). This study looked at collocations with both literal and figurative meanings, that is, duplex collocations (Macis & Schmitt, 2017a) and whether reading could enhance lexical knowledge of the figurative meanings of these collocations. In three case studies, relatively advanced second language (L2) learners read a semi-authentic novel that contained 38 target items. Through one-to-one interviews, the study examined how much learning occurred at the meaning-recall level and how repetition affected this knowledge. Results showed that knowledge of more than half of the target collocations for each participant was enhanced either partially or fully and that repetition was consistently positive, although not always statistically significant.
Increasing reading self-efficacy and reading amount in EFL learners with word-targets
We compared three methods for increasing reading amount and reading self-efficacy among L2 learners. (1) We required a word-target group to read at least 2,500 words a week outside class. (2) We required a sustained silent reading (SSR) group to do (a) in class SSR for 15 minutes every week, and (b) to read one book per week. (3) We required a comparison group to read one book per week. In the post-treatment period, we required all participants to read one book per week outside class, and during the post-treatment, the word-target group read significantly more, relative to a previously established baseline. We argue that learners in the word-target group internalized extrinsic motivation from the word-targets, and this led them to do more free reading and increase their reading self-efficacy more than the other groups.
The threshold of anxiety in low-stakes testing for foreign language reading
The following question has yet to be answered by researchers: when does anxiety have a systematic downward bias on foreign language (FL) reading test scores? The results of the correlation and regression analyses conducted in this study indicate that, at least in the case of university-level English learners in Japan, anxiety-induced bias occurs in a low-stakes FL reading test when the test becomes objectively challenging for students. Our data also suggest that concerns about unsuccessful text comprehension play a central role in the elevation of anxiety in a low-stakes test situation.
Embodied EFL reading activity: Let’s produce comics
While theories of embodied cognition have been investigated in lab experiments with proficient readers, currently no studies have applied these theories to improving reading comprehension for low-proficiency readers. Using an embodied cognition approach, this study investigated producing comics as an embodied reading activity. To compare effects on English as a foreign language (EFL) reading comprehension of narrative texts, 71 low-proficiency tertiary EFL readers were randomly assigned to one of two collaborative post-reading activity groups: comics production or translation. Before the activities, the participants were given background knowledge instruction for the narrative texts. Reading comprehension was assessed by a true-false test, followed by a semi-structured focus group interview. The results show that the comics production group outperformed the translation group in reading comprehension. Moreover, evidence from interviews shows the comics production activity assisted low-proficiency EFL readers in constructing multimodal representations of what they read, improving the depth of their reading comprehension.
Bringing extensive reading and reading strategies into the Taiwanese junior college classroom
An intact 10th grade English as a Foreign Language vocational business junior college reading intervention class (n = 52) received 16 weeks of integrated reading strategy instruction with extensive reading while an intact traditional class (n = 48) received traditional intensive reading instruction with extensive reading. The intervention class showed reading proficiency improvements and increased use of reading strategies, especially strategies activating background knowledge. Furthermore, reading proficiency could be differentiated by learners’ use/disuse of context to aid reading comprehension. Outcomes shed light on English reading instruction in Taiwan and offer language teachers an alternative to the traditional approach. Guidelines helpful in designing quality instructional procedures to improve vocational school students’ reading proficiency and pedagogical implications for reading strategy instruction in the global language classroom are discussed.
L2 reading fluency progression using timed reading and repeated oral reading
The progression of silent reading rates and reading comprehension were examined among Japanese university students (N = 55) over one academic semester. Participants were divided into three quasi-experimental groups. The first group practiced a combination of timed reading and repeated oral reading with attention paid to chunking and prosody. The second group practiced timed reading exclusively. The comparison group engaged in oral communication training. Reading rate data were examined using four scoring methods. The results indicated that the treatment groups made statistically significant rate gains, ranging from 13 to 27 standard words per minute. While comprehension percentages were slightly below 70% for both groups, rate gains were accompanied by comprehension increases during the treatment. Both treatment groups outperformed the comparison group in terms of rate and comprehension. While no statistically significant differences were found between the treatment groups, both types of practice were efficacious in promoting second language reading fluency.
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