Integrating extensive reading into China's English language curriculum : the case of a Shanghai senior high school

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Integrating extensive reading into China's English language curriculum : the case of a Shanghai senior high school

 

Author: He, Mu
Title: Integrating extensive reading into China's English language curriculum : the case of a Shanghai senior high school
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2013
Subject: English language -- Study and teaching -- China -- Shanghai
Reading (Secondary) -- China -- Shanghai
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: xiv, 328 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2639053
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7197
Abstract: The primary purpose of this research undertaking was to investigate the significance of extensive reading on the reading, listening and writing proficiency and linguistic knowledge (grammar and vocabulary) of senior high school students in a sample school in Shanghai, Mainland China. This study used the Control-Group Post-test Only Design. Two tests were employed to establish three comparable groups for this study in terms of English language proficiency. The first test was the pre-term stratification test developed by the test bureau of the school district, which was used to stratify students with almost equal English language proficiency. The second test was the Edinburgh Project on Extensive Reading (EPER) Placement Test, which ensured that the students who entered this study possessed approximately equal ability to read in English. Ninety-nine students were stratified into three groups of thirty-three on the basis of overall English language proficiency, reading proficiency and gender. The groups were: the Complementary Reading (CR) group, the Free Reading (FR) group and the Control Group (CG). The CR group and the FR group formed the experimental population. Extensive reading was integrated into the English language curriculum of the CR group as a component complementary to the normal English language curriculum, whereas extensive reading was used as a medium of additional input for the FR group. Intensive (rather than extensive) reading was used in the Control Group (CG). The first final-term English test of the school district served as the mid-test to monitor the students{174} progress halfway through the study. The second final-term test of the school district administered at the end of the first academic year served as the post-test at the end of the study; it was used to evaluate the effect of extensive reading on senior high school English language teaching and learning. The same EPER Placement Test used earlier as a pre-test for reading proficiency was re-administered to the students a few days later after the post-test at the end of this study (i.e.at the end of the first academic year). One year after the program ended, the final term test administered at the end of the second academic year functioned as the delayed post-test to collect data on the long-term effect of extensive reading. An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) test and post hoc Fisher's LSD test were conducted to locate the statistical mean differences on the post-test and delayed post-test between the Control Group (CG) and the two experimental groups (CR and FR). The paired-sample t-test was used to test the statistical mean differences on the pre-and post-EPER Placement tests.
The following major findings emerged from the data analysis: 1. The results of the locally developed pre-and post-tests and the EPER Placement Test suggest that extensive reading as both a medium of additional voluntary input for the FR group and as a required component complementary to normal English language curriculum for the CR group result in improvement in the sample students' overall English language proficiency. 2. The post-test results show improvement in specific proficiency areas (i.e. listening, reading, and writing proficiency) and language knowledge components (i.e. grammar and vocabulary). The delayed post-test results show students' further improvement in writing proficiency one year after the program ended; this suggests that it takes more time for extensive reading to show positive effect on the productive skills. 3. The analysis of the reading records suggest that extensive reading significantly improves students' reading speed. 4. Despite its benefits, extensive reading has limitations. It is less effective in helping students acquire some types of vocabulary knowledge, such as low frequency words. It was also less effective in helping students to improve their writing accuracy. To summarize, the present study examined the effects of extensive reading in a Chinese context, and has shown that benefits generated from an extensive reading program integrated into standard curriculum. The teaching situation of the present study was challenging, spanning only one third of the whole senior high school period, in an EFL environment where the students lacked experience, habit and linguistic foundation for reading in English. In this challenging environment, extensive reading has nevertheless shown positive results. This provides solid evidence in favor of extensive reading.

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