A Case study: Comparing reading strategies of advanced CFL learners on different genres and media of text
Advisor:Chan, Marjorie K.M.
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Series/Report no.:2007 Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum. 21st
Despite the increasing number of advanced Chinese as a Foreign Language (CFL) learners in American universities, there have been very few investigations of their reading processes and strategies. Most researchers have examined learners’ Chinese character recognition (e.g., Hayes, 1987; Wen, 1995), with the notable exception of Ke’s (1997) study on CFL learners’ approaches to reading. However, Ke (1997) limited the study to one genre of paper-based text (i.e., newspapers) in order to explore the reading processes and strategies of CFL learners. Currently, though, CFL learners engage in various kinds of screen-based hypertext reading, even in the early stages of Chinese learning. Given the lack of research in this domain of reading, it is difficult to generate meaningful discussions about the reading processes and strategies that CFL learners employ. This, in turn, could limit the ability of instructors to teach and evaluate Chinese reading effectively. Therefore, there is a need to examine how CFL learners select and use different reading strategies when engaging in various kinds of Chinese texts (e.g., print-based text and hypertext). This study examined advanced CFL learners’ reading processes and strategies in relation to the different media of texts that they engaged (i.e., print, computer), and a variety of genres of texts (i.e., poetry, essays, textbooks, and newspapers).The research questions were: How do learners utilize different reading strategies? What triggers their application of the same strategy to different texts? To ensure validity, various kinds of data gathering procedures were adopted: in-depth interviews, think-aloud protocols, participants’ marginalia (e.g., notes) in texts, computer mouse movements, and oral summaries of assigned texts. The study revealed that the participants had developed preferences for genres from the early stages of their Chinese learning. Four principal patterns of reading strategies emerged. First, the participants used bottom-up strategies when reading familiar genres in both textbooks and hypertexts. Second, a top-down strategy was generally used by participants for the genres with which they were either unfamiliar or disliked. Third, an interactive model of reading (combined with top-down and bottom-up strategies) was used when they read newspaper articles in print-based texts and hypertexts. Finally, regarding online hypertext-reading, hyperlinks in the texts triggered the application of different strategies. The results suggest that instructors need to provide various genres of texts and explain the characteristics of the different reading strategies available. Moreover, in order to motivate students to read, instructors should introduce different texts through meaningful classroom exercises, such as pre-reading and post-reading activities.
Education: 1st Place (The Ohio State University Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum)
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