The Impact of EFL Students’ Vocabulary Breadth of Knowledge on Literal Reading Comprehension

| April 21, 2011
The Impact of EFL Students Vocabulary Breadth of Knowledge on Literal Reading Comprehension

Keywords: vocabulary breadth of knowledge, reading comprehension, literal reading, second language learning

Kuang Yu Chen
YuanPei University, Taiwan

Bio Data
Kuang Yu Chen holds a doctorate in bilingual education from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She is an assistant professor currently teaching at Applied Linguistics department of YuanPei University, Taiwan. Her research interests include foreign language learning, vocabulary knowledge, second language reading comprehension, and bilingualism.

Second language reading is a challenging task for foreign language learners. The amount of vocabulary students store in their brains will assist them in understanding reading, especially when students first language is a nonalphabetic language. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether EFL students vocabulary breadth knowledge influences their literal reading comprehension. To accomplish this study, the mixed methods design was used.All the participants in this study were given a set of tests which included Vocabulary Levels Test and Reading Comprehension Tests. Individual interviews were conducted after the quantitative phase and were used as supportive data. The bivariate of regression analysis tools were used to interpret the correlations between vocabulary breadth knowledge within literal reading comprehension. The quantitative results indicated that vocabulary breadth of knowledge was positively and significantly correlated to literal reading comprehension. The qualitative findings showed that the majority of participants agreed breadth of vocabulary knowledge played a greater role in their literal reading comprehension process. The interview results determined the participants relied more on breadth of vocabulary knowledge than others, for example syntactic knowledge, during literal reading. Moreover, the interviewees who had better language proficiency tended to utilize more literacy skills in interpreting the content of reading passages than did lower language proficiency learners. Ultimately, the researcher hopes that the findings shown in this study will provide insight into the connection between EFL learners vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension.

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Category: Monthly Editions, Volume 51