Reading experience drives L2 reading speed development: a longitudinal study of EAL reading habits


The present longitudinal study tested the hypotheses that (i) learners become faster readers after intensive English language instruction, and that (ii) learners who read more English texts tend to make larger gains in reading speed. Study participants were 142 L1 Cantonese or Mandarin English learners enrolled in an eight-month university bridging program. Participants completed a reading habits log each week, reporting information about their reading activity, including the type of texts they read, the amount of time they spent reading each text, and the number of pages they read. It was found that English language learners spent less time reading per page of text by program end, as shown by a significant linear weekly increase in reading speed. Critically, there was also a significant effect of reading experience: learners who read more pages of text than their peers during the bridging program tended to make the largest net gains in reading speed. The results support the idea that reading experience is a factor that contributes to reading speed development in English language learners.

In Frontiers in Education: Educational Psychology, 9