The Science of Second Language Reading: Ecological, Educational, Neurolinguistic, Psychological, and Sociocultural Perspectives

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Language and Literacy Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 10120

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Interests: second language reading; biliteracy development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In many parts of the world, literacy competency in a second language is required for gaining access to formal education; thus, it is imperative that we expand the understanding of the nature of reading development in an additional language from different theoretical and methodological perspectives. 

The aim of this Special Issue is three-folded:

  • To clarify the universal and language-specific processes in second language reading acquisition and how language-, measurement-, learner-, and context-related factors can shape the development of language and literacy skills in two or multiple languages;
  • To expand current work of language and literacy education to solve real-world problems in relation to the use of multiple languages because the competence of an additional language, oftentimes, is not just an asset for learners but the key to accessing formal education in a current globalized world;
  • To provide a venue for the report of interdisciplinary collaboration and participation, and the training for researchers, teachers and students to work in typologically different languages across fields, including cognitive science, education, linguistics, psychology, and second language acquisition.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Comparing first and second language reading
  • Cross-language and cross-cultural influences in second language reading
  • Ecological and sociocultural perspectives of second language literacy
  • Individual differences in second language reading acquisition
  • Meta-analyses and systematic reviews of second language reading research
  • Metalinguistic awareness and second language reading
  • Neurolinguistic and psycholinguistic approaches toward second language reading research
  • Reading and second language acquisition interfaces
  • Second language reading and special education
  • Second language reading and teacher education
  • Second language reading assessment and instruction
  • Second language reading acquisition during COVID-19
  • Technology and second language reading education
  • Vocabulary and second language reading acquisition

Dr. Sihui (Echo) Ke
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • reading
  • second language acquisition
  • education
  • interdisciplinarity

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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24 pages, 2135 KiB  
Article
How a Phonics-Based Intervention, L1 Orthography, and Item Characteristics Impact Adult ESL Spelling Knowledge
by Katherine I. Martin
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14040421 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 526
Abstract
Spelling ability is a key dimension of orthographic knowledge and a crucial component literacy skill that supports automatic word recognition and fluent reading. There has been substantial research on first language (child) English speakers’ spelling ability, including the effectiveness of instruction interventions for [...] Read more.
Spelling ability is a key dimension of orthographic knowledge and a crucial component literacy skill that supports automatic word recognition and fluent reading. There has been substantial research on first language (child) English speakers’ spelling ability, including the effectiveness of instruction interventions for improving spelling knowledge. However, there is relatively little research on spelling in adult learners of English as a second language, and even less examining instructional interventions for improving their spelling. The current study addressed this gap by implementing an adaptation of a phonics-based instructional intervention in a university-based intensive English reading class. Compared to two different control cohorts, the cohort receiving the intervention significantly improved their ability to accurately identify whether an English word was spelled correctly or not. Analyses also considered the influence of a variety of lexical characteristics as well as participants’ L1 writing system. The results demonstrate the efficacy of this intervention in adult L2 English learners and also highlight the importance of considering word characteristics and participants’ language background when examining spelling performance. Full article
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11 pages, 219 KiB  
Article
L2 Reading Assessment from a Sociocultural Theory Perspective: The Contributions of Dynamic Assessment
by Ali Kushki and Hossein Nassaji
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14040342 - 24 Mar 2024
Viewed by 901
Abstract
Our understanding of assessing L2 reading has significantly expanded in recent years, including both theoretical and practical aspects. There is a growing consensus that reading comprehension involves multiple skills and subskills. Classroom-based assessment practices reflecting such conceptualizations have also become widely utilized. This [...] Read more.
Our understanding of assessing L2 reading has significantly expanded in recent years, including both theoretical and practical aspects. There is a growing consensus that reading comprehension involves multiple skills and subskills. Classroom-based assessment practices reflecting such conceptualizations have also become widely utilized. This article explores the Vygotskyan sociocultural theory (SCT) and its implications for L2 reading assessment, with a specific focus on dynamic assessment as an effective classroom-based approach for L2 reading and literacy instruction. We will review the research that has applied DA principles to the assessment and teaching of L2 reading. We conclude by outlining potential avenues for future DA research and L2 reading instruction. Full article
14 pages, 542 KiB  
Article
Direct and Indirect Contributions of Three Aspects of Morphological Knowledge to Second Language Reading Comprehension
by Junko Yamashita and Kunihiro Kusanagi
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(3), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14030270 - 5 Mar 2024
Viewed by 880
Abstract
Growing attention has been devoted to the contribution of morphological knowledge to reading comprehension. Because of the complex nature of morphological knowledge, more fine-grained approaches are sought on this topic by exploring multiple aspects of morphological knowledge and multiple pathways through which each [...] Read more.
Growing attention has been devoted to the contribution of morphological knowledge to reading comprehension. Because of the complex nature of morphological knowledge, more fine-grained approaches are sought on this topic by exploring multiple aspects of morphological knowledge and multiple pathways through which each aspect contributes to reading comprehension. This study measured three aspects of affix knowledge (form, meaning, and use) and vocabulary breadth and examined how each aspect contributes to EFL (English as a foreign language) reading comprehension by modeling direct and indirect effects with vocabulary as a mediator. The participants were 211 Japanese university students. All variables were measured using standardized tests. Direct effects of meaning, use, and vocabulary and indirect effects of meaning and use via vocabulary were significant. However, form displayed no significant effect. The lack of significant effects for form may be due to the design of this study, which did not include word reading (a variable that may mediate form’s effect). In sum, although the form aspect did not show any effect, semantic and syntactic aspects demonstrated direct and indirect contributions. Overall, this study endorsed the criticality of a more fine-grained approach, shedding light on what and how morphological knowledge supports L2 reading comprehension. Full article
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15 pages, 589 KiB  
Article
Independent Semantic and Syntactic Representations in L2 Mandarin Learners: Evidence from Structural Priming
by Douglas J. Getty, Xiang Wei and Lin Chen
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020204 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 765
Abstract
Structural representations in English have been shown to be quite abstract, with structural information being represented independently from semantic information. Mandarin has a relatively sparse marking of syntactic information, with no inflections for case, number, or tense. Given this syntactic sparsity, Huang et [...] Read more.
Structural representations in English have been shown to be quite abstract, with structural information being represented independently from semantic information. Mandarin has a relatively sparse marking of syntactic information, with no inflections for case, number, or tense. Given this syntactic sparsity, Huang et al. (2016) hypothesized that, distinct from English-language findings, Mandarin learners may have shared syntactic and semantic representations, such that semantic information can guide structure building. We examined this question in L2 Mandarin learners using a structural priming paradigm that required reading Mandarin primes. We found that L2 Mandarin learners exhibit within-language structural priming, and this effect is independent of semantic information. These findings have two implications: (1) this represents the first demonstration of within-language L2 Mandarin structural priming; (2) L2 learners can develop syntactic representations independent of semantic representations, even when the target L2 language lacks rich marking of syntactic information. Full article
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15 pages, 563 KiB  
Article
The Role of Second Language Reading Proficiency in Moderating Second Language Word Recognition
by Xiaomeng Li and Tianxu Chen
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020193 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 805
Abstract
Drawing upon the division of labor between orthographic and phonological information, this study investigated whether and how L2 reading proficiency moderates learners’ reliance on phonological and orthographic information in retrieving word meanings. A total of 136 Chinese collegiate students who learned English as [...] Read more.
Drawing upon the division of labor between orthographic and phonological information, this study investigated whether and how L2 reading proficiency moderates learners’ reliance on phonological and orthographic information in retrieving word meanings. A total of 136 Chinese collegiate students who learned English as a foreign language (EFL) completed English reading proficiency tests and were divided into higher and lower reading proficiency groups using an extreme-group approach. Behavioral tasks were used to measure the participants’ sensitivity to and processing skills of orthographic and phonological information. The analysis showed that the reliance on phonological and orthographic information differed significantly across L2 reading proficiency groups: The higher reading proficiency group was sensitive to both phonological and orthographic information within words, while the lower reading proficiency group was only sensitive to orthographic information; only orthographic processing skills significantly contributed to the word meaning retrieval of individuals in the higher reading proficiency group, while phonological processing skills were the only predictor for the lower reading proficiency group. These results suggest that the use of phonological and orthographic information vary as a function of L2 learners’ English reading proficiency. Implications regarding the changing patterns of L1 influences and the language-universal and language-specific aspects of word recognition were discussed. Full article
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10 pages, 268 KiB  
Article
Chinese Students Learning English as a Second Language
by Maria McQuade, Dora Jue Pan, Jana Chi-San Ho, JingTong Ong, Melody Chi Ying Ng, Xiangzhi Meng and Catherine McBride
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020180 - 10 Feb 2024
Viewed by 928
Abstract
The way in which different cities teach children to read in Chinese may have an impact on the skills they later utilize to acquire English word reading skills. This study examined the relative contributions of several cognitive–linguistic measures to English word reading for [...] Read more.
The way in which different cities teach children to read in Chinese may have an impact on the skills they later utilize to acquire English word reading skills. This study examined the relative contributions of several cognitive–linguistic measures to English word reading for Chinese students learning English as a second language in two Chinese cities, one whose school system teaches Pinyin (Beijing) and one whose school system does not teach Pinyin (Hong Kong). Students in grades 2–3 completed measures on Chinese morphological awareness (MA), Chinese phonological awareness (PA), Pinyin writing, and English word reading. In the Beijing group, it was found that PA (β = 0.334, p < 0.01) and Pinyin (β = 0.257, p < 0.05) were significant predictors of English word reading. In contrast, in the Hong Kong group, only MA (β = 0.263, p < 0.05) was found to be a significant predictor of English word reading. The difference in predictors could be due to the availability of a phonological tool (Pinyin) for the Beijing students when learning Chinese, while the Hong Kong group may have relied more heavily on learning using MA and rote memory techniques. Overall, the results from this study provide data supporting the benefits of having a phonological tool like Pinyin for Chinese children when learning to read in English. Full article
16 pages, 825 KiB  
Article
Bilingual Home Literacy Experiences and Early Biliteracy Development among Chinese–Canadian First Graders
by Guofang Li, Fubiao Zhen, Zhen Lin and Lee Gunderson
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(8), 808; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13080808 - 6 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1306
Abstract
This study was designed to examine the role of early bilingual home literacy experiences (HLE) (including parent–child shared reading, parents’ direct teaching in Chinese and English, the availability of books in both languages, and children’s access to digital devices for bilingual learning) in [...] Read more.
This study was designed to examine the role of early bilingual home literacy experiences (HLE) (including parent–child shared reading, parents’ direct teaching in Chinese and English, the availability of books in both languages, and children’s access to digital devices for bilingual learning) in the biliteracy development of 66 Chinese–Canadian first graders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Descriptive analyses reveal that overall, parents report higher engagement in English than in Chinese across the four HLE measures. Parent’s engagement in bilingual HLE differs by gender, SES, and immigration status. Pearson correlational analyses of English reading, decoding, and bilingual oral receptive vocabulary reveal that the four dimensions of HLE are not strongly related to English early literacy skills but are positively related to Chinese receptive vocabulary. Finally, hierarchical regression analyses indicate that the availability of books in Chinese and parent–child shared reading in Chinese are key factors associated with Chinese receptive vocabulary score variance; the amount of time using digital devices is found to be significantly related to English reading comprehension, but not Chinese vocabulary; and parents’ direct teaching is not significant with either English early literacy skills or Chinese receptive vocabulary. These findings have important implications for parental engagement in early bilingual home literacy activities and early literacy instruction in school. Full article

Review

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26 pages, 816 KiB  
Review
What Can Eye Movements Tell Us about Reading in a Second Language: A Scoping Review of the Literature
by Juan Francisco Quiñonez-Beltran, Taylor Marissa Seymour, Robert A. J. Robbins, Ying Xu and R. Malatesha Joshi
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14040375 - 4 Apr 2024
Viewed by 787
Abstract
There is a growing interest in the similarities and differences in reading processes in L1 and L2. Some researchers propose that reading shares commonalities across languages, while others state that each language has particularities that would affect reading processes. One way to better [...] Read more.
There is a growing interest in the similarities and differences in reading processes in L1 and L2. Some researchers propose that reading shares commonalities across languages, while others state that each language has particularities that would affect reading processes. One way to better understand the reading processes is by using eye-tracking methodologies to explore reading processes online. This review focuses on the research done about reading processes in bilinguals to understand the effect of L1 in L2 processing. We found that most of the studies followed two methods of comparison: Bilinguals vs. monolinguals and L1 vs. L2. In general, bilinguals presented longer times in all reading measures; however, the results are discussed based on different characteristics of the studies and the type of comparison. Full article
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