Reading Comprehension in Polish and English

Reading Comprehension in Polish and English

Evidence from an Introspective Study

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This book is about reading. Throughout the book, the author explains the complexity of the dual-language involvement of FL/L2 reading by showing how L1 and FL/L2 factors interplay in FL/L2 reading. The main aim of the book is to explore reading in English in the foreign/second language context as a cross-linguistic phenomenon and to present the results of a think-aloud study which investigated reading in Polish as the L1 and English as the FL of Polish learners of English. The project consisted of six stages, each focussing on a different aspect of reading. Thus, the following was explored: reading strategies, problems and solutions, the way the subjects constructed their representations of the texts, the students’ individual patterns of developing comprehension and effectiveness in identifying the main ideas. The findings revealed both differences and similarities between the subjects’ reading in Polish and their reading in English. The book offers implications for further research and elucidates the usefulness of think-aloud protocols in foreign language instruction.


Liczba stron238
WydawcaWydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego
ISBN-13978-83-233-3513-9
Numer wydania1
Język publikacjipolski
Informacja o sprzedawcyRavelo Sp. z o.o.

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Spis treści

   ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS     11
  INTRODUCTION     13
  PART I: ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS OF READING – A CROSS-LINGUISTIC APPROACH    15
  1. FL/L2 reading – a language problem or a reading problem?    16
    1.1. Th e Linguistic Th reshold Hypothesis     16
    1.2. Th e Linguistic Interdependence Hypothesis     17
    1.3. Consolidating the Linguistic Th reshold and the Linguistic Interdependence Hypotheses     18
  2. Lower-level language processing – word and sentence level     19
    2.1. Phonological processing     20
      2.1.1. Th e importance of phonological decoding in L1 reading     20
      2.1.2. Phonological processing in diff erent orthographic systems     20
      2.1.3. Phonological processes in reading English as L1 and Polish as L1     21
      2.1.4. Cross-linguistic variations: Th e infl uence of L1 orthographic background on FL/L2 reading     22
    2.2. Word recognition     23
      2.2.1. Th e role of phonological mediation in word recognition     23
      2.2.2. Word recognition in the rauding theory     25
    2.3. Vocabulary knowledge     26
      2.3.1. Th e importance of vocabulary knowledge in L1 and FL/L2 reading     26
      2.3.2. Cross-linguistic studies     27
    2.4. Sentence processing     28
      2.4.1. Factors infl uencing sentence processing     28
      2.4.2. Sentence processing in the competition model of language acquisition     29
      2.4.3. Cross-linguistic variations in sentence processing     30
  3. Higher-level language processing – discourse level and text structure knowledge     32
    3.1. Discourse processing     32
      3.1.1. Th e Kintsch model     32
      3.1.2. Mental models     33
      3.1.3. Studies on L1 and FL/L2 discourse comprehension     34
    3.2. Coherence development     35
      3.2.1. Coherence in the psychological perspective     35
      3.2.2. Contrastive studies     35
    3.3. Establishing coherence through inferencing     36
      3.3.1. Elaborative and bridging inferences     37
      3.3.2. Studies on coherence building in L1 and FL/L2 reading     37
    3.4. Text structure and comprehension     38
      3.4.1. Narrative texts     39
        3.4.1.1. Story grammar     39
        3.4.1.2. Causal network models     40
      3.4.2. Expository texts – focus on the text structure     41
        3.4.2.1. Meyer’s system     41
        3.4.2.2. Contrastive studies     42
      3.4.3. Expository texts – focus on the reader’s comprehension     43
        3.4.3.1. Th e Gernsbacher model     43
        3.4.3.2. Britton’s grammar of exposition     47
        3.4.3.3. Inducing insights by exposition     50
    3.5. Contrastive rhetoric     51
      3.5.1. Pioneering studies     52
      3.5.2. European languages     52
      3.5.3. Th e Polish language     54
      3.5.4. Summary     56
      3.5.5. Implications for FL/L2 reading     57
  4. Language-independent factors     58
    4.1. Background knowledge     58
      4.1.1. Conceptual knowledge     59
      4.1.2. Domain knowledge     59
      4.1.3. Cultural knowledge     60
      4.1.4. Th e relationship between background knowledge and FL profi ciency     61
      4.1.5. Teaching implications     62
    4.2. Metalinguistic knowledge     62
      4.2.1. Defi nition of the term     62
      4.2.2. Interrelations among metalinguistic knowledge, metalinguistic awareness and metalinguistic ability     64
      4.2.3. Metalinguistic phenomena in bilingual learners’ reading     64
      4.2.4. Summary     66
    4.3. Metacognition     67
      4.3.1. Various conceptions of metacognition     67
      4.3.2. Metacognition of L1 readers     68
      4.3.3. Metacognition of FL/L2 readers     69
      4.3.4. Metacognition in the Bernhardt constructivist reading model     70
      4.3.5. Cross-linguistic studies     71
      4.3.6. Eff ects of metacognitive training     73
  5. Summary of the fi ndings and implications for future research     74
    5.1. Vocabulary, syntax and discourse     75
      5.1.1. Th e role of L1 in FL/L2 reading     75
      5.1.2. Diff erences between L1 and FL/L2 reading     75
      5.1.3. Interlingual transfer     76
    5.2. Metacognition, metalinguistic knowledge and background knowledge     78
    5.3. Suggestions for future research     79
      5.3.1. A call for a unifi ed theory of reading     79
      5.3.2. Th e need for more cross-linguistic reading research in Poland     80
  PART II: THINK-ALOUD READING COMPREHENSION STUDIES     83
  1. Th ink-aloud methodology     83
    1.1. Aspects of reading investigated by think-aloud methodology     83
    1.2. Using protocol analysis in theory building and research     85
    1.3. Th eoretical underpinnings of think-aloud methodology     85
    1.4. Ericsson and Simon’s model and text processing     87
    1.5. General methodological guidelines for think-aloud research     88
  2. A review of selected studies in the L1 reading context     92
    2.1. Reading as a problem-solving process     94
    2.2. Reading as a process of constructing a text model     94
    2.3. Evaluating text understanding     95
    2.4. Strategies used by expert readers     96
    2.5. Diff erences between expert and novice readers     97
    2.6. A summary of research fi ndings     99
    2.7. Conclusions – reading in L1     102
      2.7.1. Th e relationship between the think-aloud method and reading     102
      2.7.2. Th e view of reading and the reader created by the studies     104
  3. A review of selected studies in the FL/L2 reading context     106
    3.1. FL/L2 readers’ approach to the text     107
    3.2. Strategies used by successful and unsuccessful readers     108
    3.3. Monitoring comprehension by profi cient and less profi cient readers     109
    3.4. Factors that make texts diffi cult to read     110
    3.5. Conclusions – reading in FL/L2     110
      3.5.1. Skilled vs. less skilled FL/L2 readers     111
      3.5.2. FL/L2 reading vs. L1 reading     112
  4. A review of selected comparative studies in L1 and FL/L2     113
    4.1. Processing strategies in L1 and FL/L2 reading     115
    4.2. Interpretation problems of L1 and FL readers     117
    4.3. Test-taking strategies in L1 and FL reading     117
    4.4. Transfer of reading processes from L1 to FL     118
    4.5. Conclusions – reading in L1 and FL/L2     119
  PART III: THE THINK-ALOUD STUDY     125
  1. Description of the study     125
    1.1. Th e goal of the study     125
    1.2. Subjects     126
    1.3. Texts     126
    1.4. Tasks     127
    1.5. Directions to subjects     128
    1.6. Transcription process     128
    1.7. Process of analyzing the protocols     129
  2. Analysis of students’ strategies: Stage 1     130
    2.1. Research questions     130
    2.2. Results     130
    2.3. Discussion     140
    2.4. Conclusions     144
  3. Analysis of problems and solutions: Stage 2     145
    3.1. Research questions     145
    3.2. Procedures applied in the analysis     146
    3.3. Results     146
      3.3.1. Problems and solutions applied in reading in Polish and English – a comparison of comprehension processes     146
      3.3.2. How did the students cope with vocabulary problems inreading the English text?     150
      3.3.3. How did the students cope with diffi culties in understanding concepts?     151
    3.4. Conclusions about the students’ comprehensionof the text     154
  4. Analysis of propositions: Stage 3     156
    4.1. Research questions     156
    4.2. Results     157
      4.2.1. Identifying diff erent types of propositions     157
      4.2.2. Th e role of predictions in understanding the text     160
      4.2.3. Th e role of pictures in understanding the text     163
      4.2.4. Strategies the students used to evaluate their comprehension     164
    4.3. Conclusions     165
  5. Students’ idiosyncratic patterns of constructing comprehension: Stage 4     166
    5.1. Research questions     166
    5.2. Results and conclusions     166
  6. Evaluating the readers’ comprehension – how well the subjects understood the texts: Stage 5     169
    6.1. Research focus and analysis of results     169
    6.2. Conclusions     173
  7. Th e interview with the students: Stage 6     174
    7.1. Research focus     174
    7.2. Results     174
      7.2.1. Students’ individual styles of reading in relation to the Polish and the English text     174
      7.2.2. Diff erences between reading in Polish and reading in English     176
    7.3. Conclusions     178
  8. Evaluation of the study     179
    8.1. General comments on the design of the study     179
    8.2. Evaluation of the reliability and validity of the study     180
    8.3. Triangulation     182
    8.4. Limitations of the study     185
  9. Implications of the fi ndings     189
    9.1. Implications for further research     189
    9.2. Teaching implications     191
  CONCLUDING SUMMARY     195
  APPENDICES     199
  APPENDIX 1.     199
  APPENDIX 2.     201
  APPENDIX 3.     211
  BIBLIOGRAPHY     215
  INDEX     235
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