Theses Doctoral

The Effects of Second-language Repeated Reading on Reading Comprehension and Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition

Chen, Cheng-Ling

Reading in a second language (L2) is considered a necessary skill in increasingly globalized societies. Not only is reading for purposes of comprehension necessary for survival, also reading in an L2 is an important means by which L2 acquisition occurs, particularly where vocabulary is concerned. Consequently, there is a strong demand for L2 research to investigate the instructional conditions that will best promote reading comprehension and vocabulary through efficient and effective reading strategies.
The current study addressed this dual need, reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition, through an investigation of a particular type of pedagogical intervention, repeated reading (RR; i.e., multiple encounters with the same text), with high school English language learners in Taiwan. The study examined the effects of three conditions – Unassisted RR (repeated reading only), Assisted RR (repeated reading plus listening), and Control – on the participants’ reading comprehension and incidental vocabulary acquisition through a pre-test, post-test, and delayed post-test design.
The results of the data from 42 participants suggested that L2 RR did not promote reading comprehension, nor did it contribute to a transfer of practice effect to new text in terms of reading comprehension. However, there were statistically significant incidental vocabulary gains and retention for the Unassisted RR group and some vocabulary gains for the Assisted RR group. When the percentage of unknown words of a text reached 10% and the participants were not provided with additional support, five repeated encounters with the text (over eight treatment sessions) were found to be inadequate in promoting reading comprehension. Nonetheless, the participants provided with such challenging condition still benefited from the incidental vocabulary acquisition. Findings may imply that a certain threshold of proficiency (e.g., percentage of known words of a text) is necessary for the beneficial effects of repeated reading to support comprehension. Additionally, RR alone may still be insufficient and additional support to RR may still be necessary for L2 learners dealing with difficult texts.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Han, ZhaoHong
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
November 9, 2018