Alderson´s question revisited once again: Is reading in a FL a reading problem or a language problem? Bertha Leiva, Univer...
L1 reading problem or L2 language problem? <ul><li>Motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Brief literature review </li></ul><ul><li>...
Motivation <ul><li>Discrepancy between the general objective of a freshman EST reading program, the students´ English prof...
Literature Review Charles Alderson (84)  FL reading A language problem in L2  or a reading problem in L1  ? Mark Clarke (8...
Reading in a second language is not a monolingual event since readers have access to their L1 as they read in L2 and many ...
<ul><li>Bernhardt ´ s   compensatory model considers that knowledge sources are not additive, but rather operate synchroni...
Contribution of L1 and L2 to reading in L2 <ul><li>L2 proficiency and L1 reading ability together do play a role in succes...
<ul><li>In Spanish-speaking populations: </li></ul><ul><li>There are studies of L1 as a predictor of academic success and ...
Research questions <ul><li>Does  L1 verbal ability in Spanish and grammar knowledge of EFL correlate with reading comprehe...
Bilingual contexts, language majors or other L1 students USB context Study: Contribution of L1 VA and EFL grammar to EFL r...
EFL Grammar exam 1000 freshmen a year USB Context EFL Reading Exemption  exam 3 courses 48 hrs each 12 weeks 4 hrs week En...
Research Design <ul><li>Non experimental cross-sectional research . </li></ul><ul><li>Study of the relationship among a gr...
Variables <ul><li>Predictor variables : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>VA: Ability to understand written material in Spanish </li><...
Subjects: 1.059 <ul><li>Students from the EST reading program. </li></ul><ul><li>30% of cohorts  00-01-02-03 </li></ul><ul...
Instruments <ul><li>Registration data and admissions exam: verbal ability section     VA </li></ul><ul><li>Grammar knowled...
Analysis <ul><li>SPSS 7.5 </li></ul><ul><li>Descriptive statistics:  Mean and SD </li></ul><ul><li>Variable correlations: ...
Results: Correlations   Sig. > .01
  R   R²   BETA   sig. Cohort 1  EFLG   .68   .46   .68 .000 EFLG-VA   .70   .50   .66/.18 .000 Cohort 2  EFLG   .72   .53...
  Contingency Coefficient C: No significant association between EFL reading comprehension and subjects´ age and geographic...
<ul><li>EFLG and EFLR means show that, despite instructors beliefs, students from different cohorts had similar entrance E...
<ul><li>Multiple regression coefficients, R²,  indicate that the variation percentage of EFLR due to EFLG is higher than t...
Limitations of the study <ul><li>No control over research variables.  </li></ul><ul><li>No causal relationships , just cor...
Limitations of the study <ul><li>L1 limited to  verbal ability  (data already available) </li></ul><ul><li>Comparison of L...
Once again it has been found that reading English as a foreign language is both a reading problem and a language problem. ...
Thank you very much! Further questions and comments:  [email_address] www.bleiva2003 . motime.com
References <ul><li>Alderson, J. (1984).  Reading in a foreign language: A reading problem or a language problem?.  En J. A...
<ul><li>Brisbois, J.E. (1995). Connections between first and second language reading.  Journal of Reading Behavior , 27 (4...
<ul><li>Delmastro, A. (1985).  Perfil lingüístico del estudiante que ingresa a la Mención de Idiomas Modernos de LUZ. Pone...
<ul><li>Singhal, M. (1998). A comparison of L1 and L2 Reading: Cultural Differences and Schema.  The Internet TESL Journal...
Suggestions for further studies <ul><li>Design L1-L2 reading comprehension equivalent tests. </li></ul><ul><li>Have a batt...
Suggestions for further studies <ul><li>Collect a variety of information on both L1 and EFL by means of additional instrum...
Suggestions for further studies <ul><li>Identify students´s perception on their difficulties and successful strategies as ...
<ul><li>The moon has no light of its own but reflects the sunlight.  It has </li></ul><ul><li>no water or oxygen.  Rocks a...
Spanish Verbal Ability section
Spanish Verbal Ability section
Diagnostic grammar exam
Contingency Coefficient C
<ul><li>There seems to be a compensation mechanism between reading in L1 and the FL in order to achieve the highest readin...
Verbal ability in L1 <ul><li>Measures the capacity of the subject to comprehend written material and relate and order idea...
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Alderson´s question revisited: Is reading in a foreign language a language problem or a reading problem?

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A non-experimental correlational research was carried out to study the relationships between reading comprehension of EFL, grammatical knowledge of EFL and reading comprehension of Spanish as a first language of 1.059 freshman engineering and basic sciences students at a South American university.

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  • Alderson´s question revisited: Is reading in a foreign language a language problem or a reading problem?

    1. 1. Alderson´s question revisited once again: Is reading in a FL a reading problem or a language problem? Bertha Leiva, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas, Venezuela
    2. 2. L1 reading problem or L2 language problem? <ul><li>Motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Brief literature review </li></ul><ul><li>Research questions </li></ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Results and conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations </li></ul>
    3. 3. Motivation <ul><li>Discrepancy between the general objective of a freshman EST reading program, the students´ English proficiency level and their L1 verbal ability as perceived by instructors of the program. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Literature Review Charles Alderson (84) FL reading A language problem in L2 or a reading problem in L1 ? Mark Clarke (80) Short-circuit Hypothesis Jim Cummins (81) Common Underlying Proficiency Model Linguistic Interdependence Hypothesis Threshold Hypothesis
    5. 5. Reading in a second language is not a monolingual event since readers have access to their L1 as they read in L2 and many use it as a reading strategy. Upton and Lee-Thompson 2001, Cook 2006 L2 Reading comprehension
    6. 6. <ul><li>Bernhardt ´ s compensatory model considers that knowledge sources are not additive, but rather operate synchronically, interactively, and synergistically. It attempts to conceptualize: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How familiarity with orthographic patterns can facilitate the word recognition process without actual language knowledge. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How the higher the L1 literacy level, the more it is available to support impoverished second language processes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How the more word knowledge is developed, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the more it frees up resources to operate on </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more complex syntactic patterns, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bernhardt 2005 </li></ul>L2 Reading comprehension
    7. 7. Contribution of L1 and L2 to reading in L2 <ul><li>L2 proficiency and L1 reading ability together do play a role in successful L2 reading. </li></ul><ul><li>L1 reading explains a certain percentage of the L2 reading comprehension variance. </li></ul><ul><li>Carrell, 1991; Bossers,1991; Brisbois,1995; Bernhardt y Kamil, 1995; Taillefer, 1996; Lee and Lemonnier, 1997; Yamashita, 2002 </li></ul>
    8. 8. <ul><li>In Spanish-speaking populations: </li></ul><ul><li>There are studies of L1 as a predictor of academic success and L1 as predictor of success in L2 in university language major students. </li></ul><ul><li>Delmastro and Salazar, 1996; Delmastro and Martinucci, 1999 </li></ul>Contribution of L1 and L2 to reading in L2
    9. 9. Research questions <ul><li>Does L1 verbal ability in Spanish and grammar knowledge of EFL correlate with reading comprehension of EFL in the given context? </li></ul><ul><li>Additionally, is there a correlation between academic, personal and family variables and EFL reading comprehension in this given context? </li></ul>
    10. 10. Bilingual contexts, language majors or other L1 students USB context Study: Contribution of L1 VA and EFL grammar to EFL reading in Spanish speaking freshmen Main skill at the University level EFL Reading
    11. 11. EFL Grammar exam 1000 freshmen a year USB Context EFL Reading Exemption exam 3 courses 48 hrs each 12 weeks 4 hrs week Entrance Exam: VA All Spanish speaking subjects USB Reading Program
    12. 12. Research Design <ul><li>Non experimental cross-sectional research . </li></ul><ul><li>Study of the relationship among a group of variables at a given moment. </li></ul><ul><li>Observation of existing conditions, not controlled intentionally. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Variables <ul><li>Predictor variables : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>VA: Ability to understand written material in Spanish </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EFLG: Knowledge of English grammar </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Criterion variable: </li></ul><ul><li>EFLR: Reading comprehension in English </li></ul>
    14. 14. Subjects: 1.059 <ul><li>Students from the EST reading program. </li></ul><ul><li>30% of cohorts 00-01-02-03 </li></ul><ul><li>Average age: 19 </li></ul><ul><li>Gender: 63% M - 37% F </li></ul><ul><li>High School: 90% private - 10% public </li></ul><ul><li>75% Caracas metropolitan area </li></ul><ul><li>25% countryside </li></ul><ul><li>Parent´s education: bachelor, HS. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Instruments <ul><li>Registration data and admissions exam: verbal ability section VA </li></ul><ul><li>Grammar knowledge diagnostic test EFLG (0.95 correlation with TOEFL, reliability 0.84 Hoyt, Lertap) </li></ul><ul><li>Reading comprehension exemption exam (0.90 correlation with TOEFL reading comprehension section) EFLR </li></ul>
    16. 16. Analysis <ul><li>SPSS 7.5 </li></ul><ul><li>Descriptive statistics: Mean and SD </li></ul><ul><li>Variable correlations: Pearson MPCC </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple regression : Predictors to explain EFL reading comprehension. </li></ul><ul><li>Contigency Coefficient C for nominal variables </li></ul>
    17. 17. Results: Correlations Sig. > .01
    18. 18. R R² BETA sig. Cohort 1 EFLG .68 .46 .68 .000 EFLG-VA .70 .50 .66/.18 .000 Cohort 2 EFLG .72 .53 .72 .000 EFLG-VA .75 .56 .67/.18 .000 Cohort 3 EFLG .80 .65 .80 .000 EFLG-VA .83 .68 .75/.19 .000 Cohort 4 EFLG .82 .67 .82 .000 EFLG-VA .83 .69 .77/.15 .000 Results: Regressions
    19. 19. Contingency Coefficient C: No significant association between EFL reading comprehension and subjects´ age and geographical origin. Positive significant relationship with gender, school and parents´ educational level in this study. Results: personal variables
    20. 20. <ul><li>EFLG and EFLR means show that, despite instructors beliefs, students from different cohorts had similar entrance EFL grammar knowledge and EFL reading comprehension each year. </li></ul><ul><li>There was a significant correlation (p<0.01) between EFLR, VA and EFLG in each cohort, but it was always higher between EFLR and EFLG. </li></ul>Conclusions
    21. 21. <ul><li>Multiple regression coefficients, R², indicate that the variation percentage of EFLR due to EFLG is higher than the influence of VA (46-67%). Beta values for each cohort show the significant weight or influence that EFLG has over EFLR. </li></ul><ul><li>In the case of Universidad Simon Bolivar students, EFL grammar level is a better predictor of EFL reading comprehension than VA in Spanish. </li></ul>Conclusions
    22. 22. Limitations of the study <ul><li>No control over research variables. </li></ul><ul><li>No causal relationships , just correlations and associations. </li></ul><ul><li>Proficiency of the target language restricted to grammar (considerable amount of available data). Instruments that measure other linguistic areas would yield more information on the subjects´ knowledge of the target language. </li></ul>
    23. 23. Limitations of the study <ul><li>L1 limited to verbal ability (data already available) </li></ul><ul><li>Comparison of L1-L2 reading tests not made because of confidentiality issues. </li></ul><ul><li>No determination of the cognitive level required by tests. </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of direct access to databases and confidentiality restrictions caused delay in processing and analysis. </li></ul>
    24. 24. Once again it has been found that reading English as a foreign language is both a reading problem and a language problem. If part of the academic and job success of our students depends on how well they read in English, then, we should keep on studying ESL/EFL reading processes and the variables that seem to significantly correlate with them. A final word …
    25. 25. Thank you very much! Further questions and comments: [email_address] www.bleiva2003 . motime.com
    26. 26. References <ul><li>Alderson, J. (1984). Reading in a foreign language: A reading problem or a language problem?. En J. Alderson y A. Urquhart (Eds.) Reading in a foreign language (1-27). London: Longman. </li></ul><ul><li>Añez, M. y Mantilla, M. (1988). &quot;Influencia de las destrezas léxicas, sintácticas y semánticas en el rendimiento académico del alumno&quot;. En Memorias EVEMO 2 ; Sección GEL. </li></ul><ul><li>Bernhardt, E.B. (1991). Reading development in a second language: Theoretical, empirical and classroom perspectives . Norwood, NJ: Ablex. </li></ul><ul><li>Bernhardt, E.B. y Kamil, M.L. (1995). Interpreting relationships between L1 and L2 reading: Consolidating the linguistic threshold and the linguistic interdependence hypotheses. Applied Linguistics , 16(1),15-34. </li></ul><ul><li>Bernhardt, E.B. (2005) Progress and procastination in second language reading. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics , 25. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Bossers, B. (1991). On thresholds, ceilings and short-circuits: The relation between L1 reading, L2 reading, and L1 knowledge. En J. Hulstijn y J. Matter (Eds.) AILA Review , 8, 45-60. </li></ul><ul><li>Brachbill de M., P. (1996). Primera Aproximación a un perfil del estudiante del curso básico de inglés de la USB. Trabajo de Ascenso. Caracas: Universidad Simón Bolívar. </li></ul>
    27. 27. <ul><li>Brisbois, J.E. (1995). Connections between first and second language reading. Journal of Reading Behavior , 27 (4), 565-584. </li></ul><ul><li>Carrell, P. (1991). Second language reading: Reading ability or language proficiency? Applied Linguistics , 12, 159-179. </li></ul><ul><li>Clarke, M.A. (1980). The short-circuit hypothesis of ESL reading --or when language competence interferes with reading performance. Modern Language Journal , 64, 203-209. </li></ul><ul><li>Cook, V.J. 2006. ‘Interlanguage, multi-competence and the problem of the ‘second’ language. Rivista di Psicolinguistica Applicata VI, 3 </li></ul><ul><li>Cummins, J. (1979). Linguistic interdependence and the educational development of bilingual children. Review of Educational Research , 49, 222-251. </li></ul><ul><li>Cummins, J. (1981). The role of primary language development in promoting educational success for language minority students. En Schooling and language minority students: A theoretical framework . California State Department of Education, Office of Bilingual Bicultural Education. Los Angeles: California State University, Evaluation, Dissemination and Assessment Center. </li></ul><ul><li>Davis, J. y Bistodeau, L. (1993). How do L1 and L2 reading differ? Evidence from think-aloud protocols. The Modern Language Journal , 77(iv), 459-470. </li></ul>References
    28. 28. <ul><li>Delmastro, A. (1985). Perfil lingüístico del estudiante que ingresa a la Mención de Idiomas Modernos de LUZ. Ponencia en la Convención Anual de ASOVAC . </li></ul><ul><li>Delmastro, A. y Pérez, A. (1987). Destrezas de lectura en L1 y análisis lingüístico como predictores de rendimiento en L2. Ponencia en la Convención de ASOVAC y Seminario Nacional de Investigación en las Universidades Nacionales, Maracaibo. </li></ul><ul><li>Delmastro, A. y Salazar, L. (1996). Medición de destrezas en lengua materna en la selección de estudiantes de lenguas extranjeras. Encuentro Educacional , CEDIP, 3 (1-2), 11-31, Universidad del Zulia. </li></ul><ul><li>Delmastro, A. y Martinucci, D. (1999). Lengua materna, lengua extranjera y desarrollo de destrezas lectoras. En las Memorias del V Congreso Aveplefe , Mérida, Venezuela, 103-110. </li></ul><ul><li>Lee, J.W. y Lemonnier, D. (1997). The relative contribution of L2 language proficiency and L1 reading ability to L2 reading performance: A test of the threshold hypothesis in an EFL context. Tesol Quarterly , 31 (4), 713-739. </li></ul><ul><li>Páez U., I. (1990). Algunos resultados de una investigación sobre las competencias y las deficiencias lingüísticas del estudiante de la USB. Argos , 12, 7-23. </li></ul>References
    29. 29. <ul><li>Singhal, M. (1998). A comparison of L1 and L2 Reading: Cultural Differences and Schema. The Internet TESL Journal , IV (10). </li></ul><ul><li>Taillefer, G. (1996). L2 reading ability: Further insight into the short-circuit hypothesis. The Modern Language Journal , 80, iv, 461-477. </li></ul><ul><li>Tang, H. (1997). The relationship between reading comprehension processes in L1 and L2. Reading Psychology , 18(3), 249-303. </li></ul><ul><li>Upton, T. y Lee-Thompson, L. (2001). The role of the first language in second language reading. Studies in Second Language Acquisition , 23, 469-495. </li></ul><ul><li>Yamashita, J. (2002a). Mutual compensation between L1 reading ability and L2 language proficiency in L2 reading comprehension. Journal of Research in Reading , 25(1), 81-95. </li></ul><ul><li>Yamashita, J. (2002b) Reading strategies in L1 and L2: Comparison of four groups of readers with different reading ability in L1 and L2. ITL: Review of Applied Linguistics. Vol. 135-136, 1-35. </li></ul>References
    30. 30. Suggestions for further studies <ul><li>Design L1-L2 reading comprehension equivalent tests. </li></ul><ul><li>Have a battery of tests with additional linguistic aspects besides grammar (i.e. knowledge of cohesive devices, text rhetorical organization, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Implement a quasi-experimental study with a pre-post reading comprehension design in order to examine the effect of intentional and explicit treatments that could include training, practice and reinforcement of reading comprehension strategies in L1 for one group, EFL vocabulary and grammar teaching and learning for another group, a third group with both treatments and a control group with no treatment. </li></ul>
    31. 31. Suggestions for further studies <ul><li>Collect a variety of information on both L1 and EFL by means of additional instruments such as recall or think-aloud protocols so that subjects can describe the strategies they use when reading in each language and reflect about differences and similarities. Although the collection, transcription and coding of this information is difficult and time-consuming, the subject himself could be made aware of the transfer of strategies he uses and if some of the comprehension problems are due to lack of EFL knowledge or reading strategies in L1 or in EFL according to the task. Protocols allow for the register of the negotiation of meaning that the reader makes with the text or if the text has an independent meaning from the individual reader, something multiple choice tests seem to account for. </li></ul>
    32. 32. Suggestions for further studies <ul><li>Identify students´s perception on their difficulties and successful strategies as they practice reading comprehension in EFL, as well as in their L1 (questionnaires, interviews, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Study the possible effects that practicing EFL reading strategies may have in students with an initial low verbal ability in L1. </li></ul><ul><li>Finally, it is convenient to study other variables such as motivation, self-confidence, rejection to reading in L1 or L2, language problem solving abilities and even metacognitive abilities that help understand what we do when we read and how to improve our strategies on the basis of this knowledge. </li></ul>
    33. 33. <ul><li>The moon has no light of its own but reflects the sunlight. It has </li></ul><ul><li>no water or oxygen. Rocks and craters are plentiful on its surface. </li></ul><ul><li>Scientists doubt that people or animals live on the moon. We could see </li></ul><ul><li>both sides of the moon if our Earth did not rotate. Many legends and </li></ul><ul><li>exciting stories are told about our nearest neighbor in space. </li></ul><ul><li>We do not know what our moon looks like on the other side because_____ </li></ul><ul><li>a) it rotates. </li></ul><ul><li>b) it has no light of its own. </li></ul><ul><li>c) our Earth moves around it. </li></ul><ul><li>d) our Earth spins on its axis. </li></ul>Exemption exam: Sample question
    34. 34. Spanish Verbal Ability section
    35. 35. Spanish Verbal Ability section
    36. 36. Diagnostic grammar exam
    37. 37. Contingency Coefficient C
    38. 38. <ul><li>There seems to be a compensation mechanism between reading in L1 and the FL in order to achieve the highest reading comprehension in the FL. </li></ul><ul><li>The threshold cannot be determined in absolute terms and will depend on reading comprehension in L1. </li></ul><ul><li>Yamashita, 2002 </li></ul>Contribution of L1 and L2 to reading in L2
    39. 39. Verbal ability in L1 <ul><li>Measures the capacity of the subject to comprehend written material and relate and order ideas and concepts. </li></ul><ul><li>Predictor of academic performance. </li></ul>

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