Reading in a Foreign Language    ISSN 1539-0578
Volume 22, Number 2, October 2010

Repeated-reading-based instructional strategy and vocabulary acquisition: A case study of a heritage speaker of Chinese
ZhaoHong Han and Cheng-ling Alice Chen


Repeated reading, a procedure involving repetition of the same text, has received copious attention from first language reading research providing highly converging evidence of its potency for reading fluency, accuracy, and comprehension. In contrast, second language research on repeated reading has been scarce. The very few studies extant have, nevertheless, shown similar, albeit inconclusive, findings. The present study was an attempt to foray into a hitherto uncharted area in both first and second language research, by investigating vocabulary gains from implementing a set of repeated-reading-based pedagogical and learning procedures. Using one heritage speaker of Chinese as its subject, the study administered 20 sessions of assisted repeated reading over three weeks. Results indicated both intentional and incidental vocabulary gains that would not otherwise have been possible through conventional reading or vocabulary instruction.
back to table of contents | pdf


Examining reading fluency in a foreign language: Effects of text segmentation on L2 readers
Junko Yamashita and Shingo Ichikawa

Grouping words into meaningful chunks is a fundamental process for fluent reading. The present study is an attempt to understand the relationship between chunking and second language (L2) reading fluency. The effects of text segmentation on comprehension, rate, and regression in L2 reading were investigated using a self-paced reading task in a moving-window condition. The participants were intermediate and advanced level Japanese EFL learners. The difficulty of chunking a text negatively affected comprehension and smoothness for the intermediate learners, while the advanced learners were able to overcome chunking difficulty. In this study, although the negative effects of chunking difficulty were observed, the positive effects of assisting chunking were not clearly detected, which was interpreted as suggesting that the relationship between chunking and reading needs to be considered in light of the complex interplay between text difficulty and different aspects of reading.
back to table of contents | pdf


The effect of a timed reading activity on EFL learners: Speed, comprehension, and perceptions
Anna C-S Chang

To develop reading fluency, a 13-week timed reading activity was integrated into a normal curriculum with the aim of improving students’ reading rates. Participants were 84 college students divided into an experimental and a control group. The test instruments involved pretests and posttests on reading speed and comprehension. Students’ perceptions were based on a final written report toward the end of the course activity. Results show that students doing the timed reading activity increased their reading speed on average by 29 words per minute (25%) and comprehension by .63 (4%). The differences across two time periods for the experimental group were statistically significant but not so for the control group. Students who did the timed reading activity became more confident in their reading and were impressed with the amount of the reading they had done without the teachers’ guidance. Limitations and factors contributing to the outcome are discussed.
back to table of contents | pdf


Extensive graded reading in the liberal arts and sciences
Joseph Poulshock

For this research, learners did extensive graded reading (EGR) with traditional graded readers, and they also interacted with short graded stories in the liberal arts and sciences (LAS). This study describes the purpose and format of the LAS stories used by hundreds of university students and adult learners in Japan. It summarizes the results of two semester-long pilot projects done with 10 students in 2008 and 24 students in 2009, and it compares how both these groups perceived their experiences of doing EGR with traditional graded readers in combination with graded stories in the liberal arts and sciences. Lastly, this study examines how students learned vocabulary from the LAS stories that they used. The results support the idea that learners enjoy, are motivated by, and can gain vocabulary knowledge through using short graded stories in the liberal arts and sciences.
back to table of contents | pdf


Self-assessment of word knowledge with graded readers: A preliminary study
Udorn Wan-a-rom

The study investigated how second language (L2) learners self-assessed word knowledge on a page of text taken from a graded reader. The case study subjects were five Thai high school learners of English. They were asked to assess their word knowledge using a page of continuous text. Data gained through observation, interviews, self-assessment and a translation test showed that such self-assessment of word knowledge resulted in learners using various reading techniques from simple translation to more complicated guessing from context. The results provide some insight into how self-assessment of word knowledge with graded readers is carried out and provides evidence to support the value of self-assessment as an easy procedure to direct learners to an appropriate reading level as suggested by the scholars in the field (Bamford & Day, 2004; Day & Bamford, 1998; Waring, 1997). Suggestions for pedagogical practice are given.
back to table of contents | pdf


About RFL | Table of Contents | Past Issues | Supplement Issues | Subscribe | Editorial Board | Submissions | Contact RFL