A study on the reading strategies of CSL adult learners

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A study on the reading strategies of CSL adult learners

 

Author: Ke, Sihui
Title: A study on the reading strategies of CSL adult learners
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 2013
Subject: Reading comprehension -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers.
Chinese language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers.
Adult learning.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Chinese and Bilingual Studies
Pages: xiii, 211 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2639059
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7130
Abstract: The application of reading strategies plays an important role in CSL reading. This study examined the interaction among CSL learners' use of reading strategies, L1 literacy background, overall CSL proficiency, and CSL reading performance. 75 CSL learners of three proficiency levels - elementary, intermediate and advanced - were recruited for the study. The participants could also be categorized further into two groups according to their L1 backgrounds: those within the Chinese cultural sphere and those from the non-Chinese cultural sphere. The data were collected by engaging the participants in reading tasks, a questionnaire survey and a follow-up interview. In the reading tasks, the participants were required to perform verbal reports during reading and free recall after reading. The verbal reports were aimed at revealing the use of reading strategies during reading and free recall was used to assess reading performance. Thereafter, participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire adapted from the 4-pronged Comprehension Strategy Framework (McNamara et al., 2007), which tapped into their use of reading strategies in both L1 reading and CSL reading. The results reveal that the application of CSL reading strategies is influenced by CSL proficiency level and L1 background. As the overall CSL proficiency level improved, there was progression in the use of CSL reading strategies. Regardless of the CSL learners' Chinese proficiency levels, however, they still needed to use decoding strategies frequently at the character or word level in CSL reading. Additionally, the adoption of decoding strategies varied between the learners of different L1 backgrounds. It was also found that, at the elementary level, the effect of CSL proficiency was greater than that of reading strategy on CSL reading performance, while at the intermediate and advanced levels, reading strategy tended to be a stronger predictor in determining CSL reading performance. Through the effective application of reading strategies, it was possible for CSL readers with lower CSL proficiency to outperform those with higher CSL proficiency, suggesting that reading strategy is an important predictor for CSL reading performance. The findings of this study are congruent with Bernhardt's (2005, 2010) Compensatory Model of L2 reading, which proposes that there is mutual compensation among factors in L2 reading, including L1 literacy, L2 proficiency, comprehension strategies and so forth. However, there is also inconsistency in that the Compensatory Model views L1 literacy and L2 proficiency as two major factors in L2 reading performance and treats reading strategy as a supplementary component, whereas it was found in this study that the effective application of reading strategies is valuable in leading to successful L2 reading. Therefore, it is suggested that the Compensatory Model of L2 reading might need to attribute more attention to the role of reading strategy. Also, practical implications can be drawn for CSL reading instruction. It is necessary for teachers to provide systematic reading strategy instruction for CSL adult learners in order to improve their reading proficiency and enhance their learning throughout the CSL curriculum.

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