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.
- ESL/EFL reading
- Word recognition