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The Role of Narrow Reading in L2 Learners’ Reading Rate and Text Comprehension

  • Modern English Education
  • Abbr : MEESO
  • 2019, 20(2), pp.45-53
  • DOI : 10.18095/meeso.2019.20.2.45
  • Publisher : The Modern English Education Society
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Language Teaching
  • Received : March 14, 2019
  • Accepted : May 17, 2019
  • Published : May 31, 2019

Kang, Eunyoung 1

1Columbia University

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Researchers have suggested that reading thematically related texts, referred to as narrow reading, can allow second language (L2) learners to process textual information more efficiently due to the repetition of content and content-related words. Although the benefits of narrow reading have been proposed in the literature, these ideas have not been widely investigated empirically. This quasi-experimental study investigated whether narrow reading can facilitate English language learners’ reading rate and text comprehension. Sixty-eight Korean high school students from two intact classes were assigned to either a narrow or a comparison group. While the narrow reading group engaged in theme-based reading, the comparison group read about various topics. After treatment sessions, each participant took reading comprehension tests, and their reading rate was measured. All participants also completed an exit questionnaire on their experiences in the reading sessions. The findings revealed that topically linked narrow reading aided text comprehension of the topic. In addition, narrowly reading about one topic promoted L2 learners’ reading rate, even though the mean reading rate of the narrow reading group was not significantly higher than that of the comparison group both on the immediate and delayed post-tests. The study concludes with pedagogical implications for L2 reading instruction.

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