Reading in a Foreign Language    ISSN 1539-0578
Volume 19, Number 2, October 2007

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Readings on L2 reading: Publications in other venues

2006-2007

Cindy Brantmeier, Editor
Washington University
United States

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. 

Articles

Course Design

Crossley, S., Louwerse, M. M., & McCarthy, P. M. (2007). A linguistic analysis of simplified and authentic texts. Modern Language Journal, 91, 15–30.

The authors reported and discussed findings of a study that examined the differences between the linguistic structures of 105 ESL texts, both simplified and authentic reading materials, which were used for beginning and intermediate learners. Results revealed that authentic texts may better demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships, and consequently simplified texts may be more difficult to read. On the other hand, findings also suggested that simplified texts are comprised of more coreferential cohesion and rely more on frequent and familiar words, thus making the reading easier. The authors concluded that more research in this area is warranted. 

Li, K.-M., & Shen, H. Z. (2006). Integration of computers into an EFL reading classroom. ReCALL: The Journal of EUROCALL, 18, 212–229.

With 74 first-year English students in Korea, this study explored how CALL effects student perceptions and reading achievement. Results indicated that CALL did not hinder or enhance performance on reading tasks. On the other hand, the students’ perceptions were implicated by CALL. Students in the CALL course were more positive than those in the regular classroom. The author concluded that learning in the CALL-based English class may be more enjoyable for students because there are more opportunities for exposure to and interaction with reading materials. 

Tanaka, H., & Stapleton, P. (2007). Increasing reading input in Japanese high school EFL classrooms: An empirical study exploring the efficacy of extensive reading. The Reading Matrix, 7 (1), 115–131.

This study examined the effects of a quasi-extensive reading program on 96 EFL learner’s reading comprehension in Japan. Results substantiated prior research that yielded positive results of extensive reading programs. The authors presented a detailed discussion about how increasing reading input within linguistic levels may enhance reading abilities, and they included a very thorough review of prior research in this topic. In addition, a detailed discussion of issues concerning instructors in Japanese high school settings was offered. 

Individual Reader Differences

Alptekin, C. (2006). Cultural familiarity in inferential and literal comprehension in L2 reading. System, 34, 494–508.

With 98 Turkish EFL university students, Alptekin investigated the role of culturally familiar background knowledge in inferential and literal L2 reading comprehension. The author modified a short story to reflect the learner’s own culture, and multiple choice items were used to assess comprehension. Results yielded significant effects of the nativization of a short story on inferential comprehension, but not on literal understanding. The author offered a discussion about how advanced L2 learners generate inferences from a short story from the target culture if it includes contextual and textual culturally familiar cues. The conclusion presented suggestions for future experiments that should include learners with different profiles. 

Chiu, M. M., & McBride-Chang, C. (2006). Gender, context, and reading: A comparison of students in 43 countries. Scientific Studies of Reading, 10, 331–362.

This investigation, conducted in 43 countries with 199,097 fifteen-year-olds, compared male versus female achievement on varied contextual readings. In all countries, female learners outscored their male counterparts. Reading enjoyment was the most powerful predictor of reading achievement. The authors also found that family socioeconomic status, schoolmates’ family socioeconomic status, number of books at home, and enjoyment of reading positively related to individual reading achievement. The authors offered a detailed case for a more comprehensive model of reading achievement with adolescents. 

Huang, S.-C. (2006). Reading English for academic purposes—What situational factors may motivate learners to read? System, 34, 371–383.

With 212 students studying business administration or international trade in Taiwan, the author investigated learner perspectives concerning situational factors that motivate the reading of EAP texts. Factor analysis yielded the following three clusters of variables: (1) EFL teacher facilitation, (2) reading requirements, and (3) text facilitation. The author thoroughly discussed results in light of practical implications for the classroom. The pedagogical suggestions concerned consultation between teacher and student, selection of texts for appropriate linguistic level, required reading, and selection of content familiar texts. 

Lafontaine, M. (2007). Élaboration et validation d’échelles d’attitudes envers la lecture en français langue première, de motivation et d’anxiété envers la lecture en anglais langue seconde. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 39, 92–109.

The author developed and validated three scales for measuring attitudes towards reading in French (L1), motivation to read in English (L2), and anxiety about reading in L2. Using a sample of 102 undergraduate students, validity was investigated and was deemed satisfactory. High correlations were found between anxiety and reading in L2. Reliability was also verified using the test-retest method.

Lee, S.-K. (2007). Effects of textual enhancement and topic familiarity on Korean EFL students’ reading comprehension and learning of passive form. Language Learning, 57, 87–118.

With 259 EFL students in Korea, this experiment examined whether textual enhancement and topic familiarity affects both reading comprehension and the learning of a grammatical form, the passive. Results yielded significant effects of textual enhancement for the learning of target grammatical forms, but no such effects were found for meaning comprehension. The opposite results were found for the effects of topic familiarity. The author included a very extensive and thorough review of previous research and displayed key variables and results on tables. In addition, a detailed discussion of present findings was included with direct connections to prior research. 

Lesser, J. (2007). Learner-based factors in L2 reading comprehension and processing grammatical form: Topic familiarity and working memory. Language Learning, 57, 229–270.

This study is the first ever to examine the effects of both topic familiarity and working memory capacity on L2 reading comprehension and acquisition of grammatical forms. The author went to great lengths to ensure that the 94 high beginner learners of Spanish were not previously exposed to the grammatical form, the future tense. Findings revealed significant effects for topic familiarity on comprehension, form recognition, and tense identification. Topic familiarity also enhanced learners’ ability to make form-meaning connections. Working memory, as measured via a computerized reading span test, significantly related to both comprehension and form recognition, but only within particular familiarity levels. The author offered a thorough discussion of relevant research in light of present results. 

Maun, I. (2006). Penetrating the surface: The impact of visual format on readers’ affective responses to authentic foreign language texts. Language Awareness, 15, 110–127.

This article presented a pilot study with students of post-compulsory school studying French in England. The authors offered a very detailed analysis of student reactions to texts in order to show that use of authentic texts may have a negative affective impact on learners. Instructors in charge of text selection for courses should understand that authentic texts may not necessarily be the best for foreign language learning. Issues such as text format and content of authentic texts are discussed, and an argument for the use of electronic design to improve reading is offered. 

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 author utilized regression techniques to examine the contribution of discipline-related knowledge and language proficiency to EAP reading. In addition, the authors attempted to find out whether a low knowledge of one of the variables (discipline related knowledge and language proficiency) would compensate for a high knowledge of the other variable. Participants included 380 native Spanish speaking university students, with ages ranging 18 to 59 years. Results indicated a higher range of accountability of English proficiency than discipline-related knowledge. The author concluded that language proficiency level predicts EAP reading level from 2 to 3 times better than discipline-related knowledge. In addition, with advanced or intermediate levels of language proficiency, learners will be successful comprehenders without discipline-related knowledge. 

Lexis

Mori, Y., Sato, K., & Shimizu, H. (2007). Japanese language students’ perceptions on kanji learning and their relationship to novel Kanji word learning ability. Language Learning, 57, 57–85.

This study, conducted with 80 Japanese language students in the USA, researched how learners attitudes toward kanji relate to morphological ability, how beliefs about the effectiveness of kanji learning strategies relate to morphological ability, and what particular aspect of kanji-specific beliefs is most closely related to morphological ability. Results offered compelling evidence to support the argument for the significant relationship between learner perceptions and the ability to analyze the morphological structures of novel kanji words. The authors concluded with a discussion about how future research should further examine the effects of metacognitive training on student learning. 

Pulido, D. (2007). The effects of topic familiarity and passage sight vocabulary on L2 lexical inferencing and retention through reading. Applied Linguistics, 28, 66–86.

With 35 adult L2 learners of Spanish, the investigation examined the effects of both topic familiarity and passage sight vocabulary on lexical inferencing (success and ease of processing) and retention through reading. Results revealed the multifaceted quality of the effect and interaction between passage sight vocabulary and background knowledge during lexical input processing. Findings hold important implications for L2 vocabulary development through reading. The author provided a thorough and exhaustive review of prior related research, and she drew connections between present findings and diverse theories concerning lexical development through reading tasks. 

Practical Implications (Methods and Materials)

Berardo, S. A. (2006). The use of authentic materials in the teaching of reading. The Reading Matrix, 6(2), 60–69.

The author offered several arguments with examples for the use of authentic reading materials. Specifically, details about the retrieval and use of authentic reading material from the Internet were provided and practical implications were drawn. The author concluded with anecdotal evidence about the use of authentic materials with advanced language learners. 

Brantmeier, C., Flores, L., & Romero, G. (2006). Theory driven technologies: Frameworks for individual language learners. The Reading Matrix, 6(3), 299–309.

The article presented two different CALL projects that were driven by current research and theory in the field. Research concerning CALL and the individual learner was reviewed with corresponding practical implications and examples. In all, the article showcased CALL materials authored and created by L2 instructors who were faced with the challenge of using new technologies where learners read as a process. 

Yang, L., & Wilson, K. (2006). Second language classroom reading: A social constructivist approach. The Reading Matrix, 6(3), 364–372.

The authors connected Vygostsky’s social constructivist approach to the teaching of reading. A thorough review of social constructivism concerning language learning was included. Through examples from a classroom, the authors detailed how this approach empowers readers during the complex process of L2 reading. Details about scaffolding and strategy use were also provided. 

The Reading Process

Bang, H. J., & Zhao, C. G. (2007). Reading strategies used by advanced Korean and Chinese ESL graduate students: A case study. The Reading Matrix, 7(1), 30–50.

The authors examined the reading strategies used by both Korean and Chinese ESL learners and found that the Korean learners tend to rely on phonological strategies, while Chinese learners rely on visual-orthographic strategies during the reading of English materials. Authors also reported that English language proficiency may be a more significant variable than strategies used for L2 reading comprehension. Suggestions for future research were provided along with a thorough review of related research. 

Ikeda, M., & Takeuchi, O. (2006). Clarifying the differences in learning EFL reading strategies: An analysis of portfolios. System, 34, 384–398.

With 37 female EFL learners from various different levels of language instruction, the authors analyzed portfolios to examine reading strategies. The authors listed significant findings on a table so that readers can view the vast differences between the high and low proficiency groups. Furthermore, the authors detailed conclusions with specific examples from the portfolios. Finally, implications and suggestions for future research were detailed. Appendices with data collection instruments were included for future research. 

Kolic-Vehovec, S., & Bajsanski, I. (2007). Comprehension monitoring and reading comprehension in bilingual students. Journal of Research in Reading, 30(2), 198–211.

With 271 fifth- to eighth-grade Croatian students learning Italian, the study examined comprehension monitoring, or the process of checking comprehension during reading, along with reading comprehension and perceived use of reading strategies. The authors provided a thorough review of prior research and they specifically included details about the differences in strategic reading with bilingual and monolingual children. Findings underscored the claim that comprehension monitoring is an accurate predictor of reading comprehension, and that comprehension monitoring is the most important factor of reading comprehension with higher elementary school learners. 

Lipka, O., & Siegel L. S. (2007). The development of reading skills in children with English as a second language. Scientific Studies of Reading, 11(2), 105–131.

The authors conducted a longitudinal study, in part, to compare variables that predict reading skills between ESL learners and L1 English speakers who were enrolled in elementary schools in North Vancouver, Canada. Findings revealed that the L1 students in kindergarten achieved significantly higher scores on an oral cloze task, memory for sentences test, phonological processing, and lexical access. When students reached the completion of Grade three, the groups achieved similar scores on measures of phonological processing, word reading, word reading fluency, reading comprehension, working memory and lexical access. The only measure in which L1 students performed better than ESL students at this stage was on syntactic awareness. The only task in which ESL students outperformed their counterparts was on spelling. Findings were discussed in light of prior research and they substantiate the incorporation of balanced literacy programs. 

Taguchi, E., Gorsuch, G. J., & Sasamoto, E. (2006). Developing second and foreign language reading fluency and its effect on comprehension: A missing link. The Reading Matrix, 6(2), 1–18.

Through a thorough literature review, the authors presented various operational definitions for reading fluency while simultaneously providing support for developing reading fluency. In addition, the authors offered evidence to substantiate repeated reading practices in L1 settings and consequently discussed the lacuna of research concerning repeated reading in L2 environments and its effects on comprehension. Automaticity theory was detailed, and issues and concerns regarding prior studies on repeated reading in the L2 setting were explored. 

Williams, J. N. (2006). Incremental interpretation in second language sentence processing. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 9, 71–88.

The investigation examined plausibility effects in native and non-native sentence processing. Two different experiments were conducted with native speakers of Chinese, Spanish, Italian and English. Results supported prior research that supports the claim that retrieval of semantic information is less efficient from L2 words. The authors provided a strong argument for knowing whether underlying syntactic processes are native-like and concluded with remarks about how non-natives can “behave in a remarkably native-like way, especially when the relevant kind of processing is encouraged by task” (p. 86). 

Testing and Assessment

Brantmeier, C. (2006). Readers’ gender and test method effect in second language reading. Forum on Public Policy, 1–36. 

In the present study, reanalysis of data from prior studies was conducted, and findings specified that gender differences in comprehension may be a function of the type of assessment used at the intermediate level of language instruction. In four studies that utilized the same set of texts across levels of language instruction, the multiple choice test method was inconsistent by gender, and the written recall was consistent by gender with females outperforming males at the intermediate levels of instruction. In addition, findings indicated a tendency toward readers’ gender presiding over topic familiarity on written recall, and topic familiarity presiding over readers’ gender on multiple choice at the intermediate levels.

Cahng, Y.-F. (2006). On the use of the immediate recall task as a measure of second language reading comprehension. Language Testing, 23, 520–543.

In a review of relevant research, the author examined different variables involved in the written recall task utilized to measure L2 reading comprehension. In doing so, the authors showed the importance of examining the requirement of memory in the recall task. With 97 native speakers of Mandarin studying English in Taiwan, the study compared a translation with immediate recall of a text. Findings yielded significantly more evidence of comprehension than did the recall task. The authors concluded that this difference is because of the requirement of memory in the recall task. Findings were discussed in light of prior research. 

Books and Volumes Treating L2 Reading

Birch, B. M. (2006). English L2 reading: Getting to the bottom (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Hudson, T. (2007). Teaching second language reading. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Koda, K. (Ed.). (2007). Reading and language learning. Language Learning, 57 (Suppl. 1). 

Dissertations Treating L2 Reading

Abbott, M. L. (2006). English reading strategies: Differences in Arabic and Mandarin speaker performance on the CLBA reading assessment. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 3590.

Al-Ghonaim, A. (2006). ESL college students' beliefs and attitudes about reading-to-write in an introductory composition course. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 2905.

Arce Medero, M. (2006). Spanish-English cognates, false cognates, and reading proficiency among ESL college students in Puerto Rico. Dissertation Abstracts International, 67, 2027.

Bell, F. L. (2006). Comprehension aids, internet technologies, and the reading of authentic materials by adult second language learners. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 2517–18.

Crossley, S. (2006). A computational approach to assessing second language reading texts. Dissertation Abstracts International, 67, 1312–13.

Jang, E. E. (2006). A validity narrative: effects of reading skills diagnosis on teaching and learning in the context of NG TOEFL. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 2531.

Ku, K.-Y. (2006). Korean high school students' English language proficiency and Korean reading ability as factors in reading English as a second language. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 3969.

Liang, M.-Y. (2006). Interaction in EFL online classes: How web-facilitated instruction influences EFL university students' reading and learning. Dissertation Abstracts International, 67, 1257.

Limbos, M. (2006). Early identification of second-language students at risk for reading disability. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 3565–66.

MacConnell, K. L. (2006). The effect of phonic redundancy in text on increasing the reading fluency of second grade students at risk for reading disabilities. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 3254.

Ou, F.-C. (2006). The effects of the summarization strategy on reading comprehension of non-proficient Taiwanese university EFL learners. Dissertation Abstracts International, 67, 82–83.

Pan, L.-M. (2006). The implication of schema theory, metacognition and graphic organizers in English reading comprehension for technical college students in Taiwan. Dissertation Abstracts International, 67, 83.

Park, H. (2006). Second language reading: The interrelationships among text adjuncts, students' proficiency levels and reading strategies. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 3288.

Scott, K. W. (2006). Relationships between operationalizations of dyslexia and attitudes and perceptions of learning a foreign language. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 3900.

Shalit, R. E. (2006). Using the meaning equivalence methodology to assess deep comprehension of English spatial prepositions in normally achieving, reading disabled, and English as a second language college students. Dissertation Abstracts International, 67, 2052–53.

Steinagel, L. O. (2006). The effects of reading and reading strategy training on lower proficiency level second language learners. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 3959.

Tchigaeva, S. (2006). Postgraduate students' reading of disciplinary academic texts in a second language: An activity theoretical analysis of textual actions and interactions. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 3629.

Thampradit, P. (2006). A study of reading strategies used by Thai university engineering students at King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang. Dissertation Abstracts International, 67, 1213–14.

Tsai, S. H. E. (2006). The effect of EFL reading instruction by using a WebQuest learning module as a CAI enhancement on college students' reading performance in Taiwan. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 3558.

Wang, Q. (2006). Predicting Chinese children's reading development from kindergarten to second grade. Dissertation Abstracts International, 66, 2534.

About the Editor

Cindy Brantmeier is Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and Spanish, Washington University in St. Louis. She is Co-Director of the Graduate Certificate in Language Instruction and Director of the Undergraduate minor program in Applied Linguistics. She also oversees Romance 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 in journals such as The Modern Language Journal, System, Foreign Language Annals, and Reading in a Foreign Language.

RFL readers are encouraged 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: cbrantme@wustl.edu

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