Reading in a Foreign Language    ISSN 1539-0578
Volume 28, Number 2, October 2016

The complexity of second language reading: Investigating the L1-L2 relationship
Lisbeth M. Brevik, Rolf Vegar Olsen, & Glenn Ole Hellekjær

This article contributes to the field of reading assessment in English as a second language (L2). Few reading studies have been carried out at the upper secondary school level, and the present study provides insight into upper secondary school students’ L2 reading proficiency. It examines whether such proficiency can be explained by reading proficiency in Norwegian as their first language (L1). The analysis uses data from two national reading tests, comprising a large sample of 16-year-old students (N=10,331), and it is the first time reading across these languages has been investigated at this level. The results show a significant and meaningful relationship between students’ reading proficiency in the two languages. The results also reveal marked reading differences in reading proficiency in the two languages among poor readers.

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Proficiency as a variable in Gulf EFL students’ employment of reading strategies
Martin J. Endley

This paper reports a study of the reading strategies used by twelve Arabic-speaking undergraduates at a major Gulf university when reading texts in English. The procedure employed was a think-aloud protocol followed by semi-structured interview. Three research questions were addressed: (a) What are the primary comprehension problems encountered by students attending an English-speaking university in the Gulf region when reading academic texts in English? (b) What reading strategies do the students actually employ in order to solve their reading problems? (c) To what extent can the demographic variable of English reading proficiency be used to reliably predict the students’ use of reading strategies in English? Results revealed that while the participants were already in possession of a repertoire strategies, they often failed to use them effectively. This was especially the case with the lower-proficiency readers. The implications of these findings are briefly discussed.

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Exploring learner factors in second language (L2) incidental vocabulary acquisition through reading
Aiping Zhao, Ying Guo, Carrie Biales, & Arnold Olszewski

This study examined the predictive role of several learner factors in second language (L2) incidental vocabulary acquisition through reading, including: L2 proficiency, motivation, anxiety, and mastery of strategies. Participants were 129 English learners in a comprehensive university in China. Participants read two English texts and were given an unannounced vocabulary test to assess their incidental vocabulary acquisition. Their levels of motivation, anxiety, and mastery of strategies were measured by three specifically designed instruments that targeted incidental vocabulary acquisition. A multiple linear regression analysis revealed that L2 proficiency, anxiety, and mastery of strategies were positive and significant predictors of incidental vocabulary acquisition, although motivation was not. This confirms the role that learners’ linguistic, affective, and cognitive features play in L2 incidental vocabulary acquisition.

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The effectiveness of ER on reading proficiency: A meta-analysis
Eun-Young Jeon & Richard R. Day

A meta-analysis was performed to investigate the impact of extensive reading (ER) on reading proficiency. This study gathered 71 unique samples from 49 primary studies published from 1980 to 2014 involving a total of 5,919 participants. Effect sizes were generated separately according to two different study designs: experimental-versus-control contrasts and pre-to-post-test contrasts. Small to medium effect was found in both study designs. Moderator analysis showed growing interest in ER in the field over the last 30 years. Also, a higher effect was found in the adults than in the children and adolescents group. English as a foreign language (EFL) settings showed a higher effect than English as a second language (ESL) settings; and web-based stories had a higher effect than paper books. Finally, ER as a part of curriculum showed the highest mean effect among ER types. Suggestions are made on how to implement ER in ESL and EFL settings effectively.

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Investigating connections among reading, writing, and language development: A multiliteracies perspective
Kate Paesani

This study explores relationships among reading literature, creative writing, and language development in a university-level advanced French grammar course through the theoretical lens of the multiliteracies framework. The goal is to investigate reading-writing connections and whether these literacy practices facilitate students’ understanding and use of resources such as grammar, vocabulary, genre, and style. Qualitative and quantitative findings show that students recognize reading-writing connections and their contribution to language development; they perceive reading and writing as contributing to their understanding of language and text-based features; and they can apply to varying degrees textual resources learned through reading to creative writing tasks. The implications of these findings lend support to a growing body of research that explores the feasibility and outcomes of literacy-based approaches to teaching and learning in university-level foreign language contexts that have as their goal development of students’ advanced foreign language competencies.

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