Reading in a Foreign Language
Volume 18, Number 2, October 2006
Readings on L2 reading: Publications in other venues
Cindy Brantmeier, Editor
This feature offers an archive of articles and books published in other venues during the past year and serves as a valuable tool to readers of Reading in a Foreign Language (RFL). The Articles section treats any topic within the scope of RFL and second language reading. Articles are organized by topic and are listed in alphabetical order. This section includes titles of the articles as well as brief summaries. Two additional sections include a list of books, volumes and dissertations that treat second language reading. The editor of this feature attempted to include all related articles that appear in other venues. However, undoubtedly, this list is not exhaustive.
Green, C. (2005). Integrating extensive reading in the task-based curriculum. English Language Teaching Journal, 59, 306-311.
The author presents the extensive reading programs used in Hong Kong secondary schools and pays close attention to the top-down fashion. The author describes a program that incorporates both extensive reading and task-based instruction that includes interaction, sharing, and modeling of good reading practices. Details about a program of this kind are provided. No evidence to support such a program is offered.
Hiram, M. (2006). Integrating textual thinking into the introductory college-level foreign language classroom. The Modern Language Journal, 90, 19-32.
The author discusses the difficult transition from lower to upper level university language courses and the readings incorporated at each level. Through a well-executed experiment with 27 first-semester learners of German, the author demonstrates how textual thinking that is common practice at the upper levels can be an effective part of instruction at the beginning levels. As beginning learners read a full-length novel, they understand message systems that entail cultural significance.
Individual Reader Differences
Ketchum, M. E. (2006). The cultural baggage of second language reading: An approach to understanding the practices and perspectives of a nonnative product. Foreign Language Annals, 39, 22-42.
This article presents and discusses a model of reading strategies that include recognize, research, and relate. The author emphasizes the role of background knowledge about a target culture while reading. Data are reported from a qualitative study that tests the effectiveness of this new model. Practical implications are thoroughly reported and discussed.
Kong, A. (2006). Connections between L1 and L2 readings: Reading strategies used by four Chinese adult readers. The Reading Matrix, 6, 19-45.
This study examines the reading strategies employed by four Chinese adult readers while reading Chinese and English texts. Data reveal two categories of strategies: text-initiated and reader-initiated. Learners utilize more strategies while reading English texts than Chinese texts. Overall, with these four learners L2 proficiency level does not appear to predict the use of higher level thinking strategies, but prior L1 reading and L2 learning contribute to L2 strategy use.
Usó-Juan, E. (2006). The compensatory nature of discipline-related knowledge and English language proficiency in reading English for academic purposes. The Modern Language Journal, 90, 210-227.
The article reports on a study that estimates the contribution of discipline-related knowledge and English-language proficiency to reading comprehension in English for academic purposes. Findings reveal that English proficiency accounted for a higher percentage of reading than did discipline-related knowledge. The author presents levels at which the compensatory effect between the two variables takes place for successful reading. The author offers practical implications that appear to be quite useful for English language programs.
Chikamatsu, N. (2006). Developmental word recognition: A study of L1 English readers of L2 Japanese. The Modern Language Journal, 90, 67-85.
With two different proficiency groups of L2 Japanese, the author investigates developmental word recognition strategies. Findings reveal that (a) L2 word recognition strategy is developmental and reconstructed as L2 proficiency advances, however (b) automaticity takes time to develop, and (c) developmental effects could be involved differently between prelexical and postlexical phonology (p. 65). The author offers detailed suggestions for future research concerning developmental word recognition.
Kondo-Brown, K. (2006). How do English L1 learners of advanced Japanese infer unknown Kanji words in authentic texts? Language Learning, 56, 109-153.
With advanced Japanese language learners, this investigation examines abilities to infer unknown kanji words during the process of reading authentic Japanese texts. With 42 English L1 students, findings reveal that learners guess the meanings of unknown words in context, but they frequently generate erroneous guesses. Results also show that when students can pronounce the unknown kanji word either fully or partially while reading out loud this knowledge is related to the ability to successfully generate inferences. The author discusses how the latter finding substantiates Bernhard's (1991) model of L2 reading.
Leong, C. K., Tan, L. H., Cheng, P. W., & Hau, K. T. (2005). Learning to read and spell English words by Chinese students. Scientific Studies of Reading, 9, 63-84.
With 156 Cantonese speaking Chinese students who are studying English as a second language in Hong Kong, the present study examines the structural relationships between the following variables: latent independent constructs of orthographic and lexical knowledge and phonological sensitivity. Additionally, the authors explore the effects of these variables on the latent construct of literacy while reading aloud and spelling regular and exception English words. Findings reveal related domains of orthographic and lexical knowledge and phonological sensitivity to literacy. The authors are careful to emphasize that this model is not proven but adds to the lacuna of this type of research.
Practical Implications (Methods and Materials)
Hayati, M. (2006). The effect of monolingual and bilingual dictionaries on vocabulary recall and retention of EFL learners. The Reading Matrix, 6, 125-134.
This investigation examines the use of bilingual versus monolingual dictionaries and the effects on recall and retention of vocabulary. With 60 Iranian students studying EFL, results indicate that both readers learn the same number of words and that dictionary-type has no significant effect on learners' vocabulary recall and retention. Findings also indicate that speed is significantly related to the use of bilingual dictionaries.
Taillefer, G. (2006). Foreign language reading and study abroad: Cross-cultural and cross-linguistic questions. The Modern Language Journal, 89, 503-528.
The author investigates whether students of varying academic literacy and sociolinguistic backgrounds at different levels of language proficiency utilize different reading skills and strategies. Findings indicate the same scores for foreign language competency but a hierarchy in both FL reading comprehension and strategy use. The author discusses pedagogical implications in light of different cross-cultural academic literacy, FL traditions, and FL competency.
Warrington, D. S. (2006). Building automaticity of word recognition for less proficient readers. The Reading Matrix, 6, 52-65.
The article demonstrates how to build the automatic processes involved in word recognition with less proficient readers. The author thoroughly discusses the problems these readers face and provides practical implications for instructors. Characteristics of extensive reading are presented with corresponding implications for building automaticity. In addition, the author provides learner strategies that can be implemented outside of classroom instruction.
The Reading Process
Nikolov, M. (2006). Test-taking strategies of 12- and 13-year-old Hungarian Learners of EFL: Why whales have migraines. Language Learning, 56, 1-51.
This article examines 12 and 13 years old children's uses of strategies during the ESL reading and writing process. The author provides an extensive and detailed review of strategy research. The study identifies three types of strategies: (a) metacognitive, (b) social and affective strategies, and (c) cognitive strategies. The author offers a case study of four different learners to further exemplify strategy use and type. A thorough discussion of strategies and test design is presented.
Testing and Assessment
Brantmeier, C. (2006). Advanced L2 learners and reading placement: Self-assessment, computer-based testing, and subsequent performance. System, 34, 15-35.
With 102 advanced learners of Spanish, the study is a preliminary attempt to provide empirical evidence concerning the use of a self-assessment factor and CBT placement score as predictors of subsequent reading achievement. Results suggest that self-assessment of L2 reading ability is not an accurate predictor variable for placement or subsequent performance. Learners overestimated their L2 reading abilities as measured via CBT and in-class performance. These results both echo and contradict prior research, which calls attention to the need for more investigations concerning self-assessment as a factor to be used in placement decisions for advanced learners.
Brantmeier, C. (2006). The effects of language of assessment and L2 reading performance on advanced readers' recall. The Reading Matrix, 6, 1-17.
This article reports on an investigation that examines how much variance in L2 comprehension, measured via written recall, is accounted for by the condition (L1 or L2) of assessment under which it is administered. It also considers prior L2 reading achievement as a predictor of comprehension with advanced learners. Participants are 106 learners enrolled in Advanced Spanish at the university. Results hold important implications for research, and they may suggest that, with learners from advanced levels of language instruction, researchers should assess reading achievement before making a decision about language of assessment for comprehension.
Books and Volumes Treating L2 Reading
Farr, M. (2005). Latino Language and Literacy in Ethnolinguistic Chicago. Mahawah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
The author explores social issues related to language and literacy with a Latino community in Chicago. She offers a detailed understanding of the connections among language, literacy and social identity. The author brings together complex issues while simultaneously discussing implications for education. She presents factual information regarding the entire Spanish speaking population in the USA and links these details to concerns about literacy in the USA.
Dissertations Treating L2 Reading
Bell, Fleming Louis. (2006). Comprehension
aids, internet technologies, and the reading of authentic materials by adult
second language learners.
Chung, Lichiu L. (2005). A qualitative study of peer-assisted learning for college English as a foreign language learners in Taiwan.
Henry-Vega, Grandfield. (2005). Exploratory study on the processing styles and the processing strategies of 2 second language graduate students when reading texts for academic purposes.
Jang, Eunice Eunhee. (2005). A validity narrative: Effects of reading skills diagnosis on teaching and learning in the context of NG TOEFL.
Kim, Hyoung il. (2005). A study of the factors that influence Korean students' reading of culturally embedded texts in the U.S.
Lam, Margaret Yiu-Ki Kong. (2006). The acquisition of grammatical skills and its relation to reading comprehension in ESL students.
Park, Heenam. (2006). Second language reading: The interrelationships among text adjuncts, students' proficiency levels and reading strategies.
Tseng, Ching Ying. (2005). The effects of an internet-based intervention on foreign language learners' reading strategies.
About the Editor
Cindy Brantmeier is an Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics and Spanish, Washington University in St. Louis. She is Co-Director of the Graduate Certificate in Language Instruction, and she also oversees language program assessment and placement. Dr. Brantmeier has published articles concerning interacting variables in adult second language reading, reading research methodology, testing and assessment, and other related areas. She was nominated to the College Board's World Advisory Committee for Advanced Placement, and she is also a member of RFL's editorial board.
RFL readers are requested to send to Dr. Brantmeier titles of appropriate articles. Please include all relevant information (e.g., author(s), journal, date of publication) and, if possible, a brief summary. Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org