Repeated reading for developing reading fluency and reading comprehension: The case of EFL learners in Vietnam

Greta Gorsuch, Etsuo Taguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Reading in a foreign or second language is often a laborious process, often caused by underdeveloped word recognition skills, among other things, of second and foreign language readers. Developing fluency in L2/FL reading has become an important pedagogical issue in L2 settings and one major component of reading fluency is fast and accurate word recognition. Repeated reading (RR) was devised by Samuels [Samuels, S.J. (1979). The method of repeated readings. The Reading Teacher 32, 403-408] to develop reading fluency in English L1 readers, and instantiate Automaticity Theory [LaBerge, D., Samuels, S.J., 1974. Toward a theory of automatic information processing in reading. Cognitive Psychology 6, 293-323] in practice. In RR, readers read a simplified text repeatedly to help automatize word recognition, leaving more cognitive resources for higher order comprehension processes. RR used in FL settings is a more rare practice; studies show RR increases FL learners' reading fluency but not necessarily their comprehension, possibly due to poor comprehension test instrumentation. This report describes an 11-week quasi-experimental RR study carried out with university-level Vietnamese learners of English using improved reading comprehension testing procedures. Results suggest that the experimental group (n = 24) gained in reading fluency, and comprehended significantly more than the control group (n = 26). The results have implications for future uses of RR in FL contexts, future reading comprehension test design, and the need for measurement of working memory during short- and long-term use of RR. The results also imply a need for further study of a persistent but unsupported belief in FL settings that simply increasing language proficiency guarantees reading fluency and that word recognition and fluency need not be developed as skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-278
Number of pages26
JournalSystem
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008

Keywords

  • ESL/EFL reading
  • Fluency
  • Word recognition

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