1 Discover the power of reading for university learners of Japanese in New Zealand Mitsue Tabata-Sandom Victoria University of Wellington
2 The power of reading The power of reading is claimed by Krashen (2004). He suggests that free voluntary reading is beneficial in: Reading habit/pleasure Vocabulary learning General reading ability Many other aspects Studies of extensive reading support this stance (e.g., Elley & Mangbuhai, 1983).
3 Project I : Questionnaire Survey Participants : - 51 university students - From 2 classes Administration : - During classroom time - About 25 minutes The questionnaire used : - 4 sections (A ~ D)
4 Section A This section asks : - learners reading habit out of classroom - learners motivation to master L2 Japanese reading - learners preference between hard copy reading versus computerised reading
5 Section A Although 100% of the participants want to master L2 Japanese reading, they do not carry out reading in Japanese out of classroom. The majority of them prefer hard copy reading.
6 Section B The following questions are about factors that may affect the difficulty of reading a Japanese text. Please rate each factor below from 1~4 to indicate the degree to which you think each factor contributes to the difficulty of a text. (1) Type of text, e.g., a novel, diary, newspaper article, an academic article, encyclopaedia entry. 1. very little 2. somewhat 3. quite a lot 4. a lot 8 factors are: type of text, coherence, abstractness, sentence length, proportion of kanji in a text, text length, familiarity with the content, personal interest in the content.
7 Section B The decreasing rank of the 8 factors is : Proportion of kanji>type of text>coherence> Content familiarity>interest>abstractness > Sentence length>text length The participants overall find proportion of kanji in a text most strongly determined the difficulty of the text.
8 Section C
9 Section C 新 ホームレス ネットカフェ 難 民 企 業 に 見 放 され 家 族 にも 見 放 された 新 たな 形 のホームレス が 増 えているという 名 付 けて ネッ トカフェ 難 民 アパート 代 を 払 えず 追 い 出 された 若 者 が1 日 契 約 の 派 遣 の 仕 事 に 出 かけながら 毎 日 のねぐらにネットカフェを 利 用 しているという 先 日 放 送 された NNNドキュメント 07( 日 テレ 系 ) で 彼 らの 生 活 が 映 し 出 されていた 必 需 品 はケータイ( 派 遣 会 社 との 連 絡 ) コイ ンロッカー( 荷 物 の 預 け) そして ネットカ フェ( 低 料 金 での 宿 泊 )である だが 体 を 伸 ば して 眠 りたい と ある10 代 後 半 の 女 性 はつぶ やいていた
10 Section C Average number of circled words/phrases as difficult to understand. Second Year Class 11 out of 47 content words (23%) Third Year Class 7.4 out of 47 content words (16%) The overwhelming majority of comments concerned kanji in the text. 26 out of 28 comments in Class 2 and 18 out of 20 comments in Class 3 were about kanji. But there were a few comments about the syntax structure of the text.
11 Section D Section D provided three types of modified versions of the original text used in Section C. (The three texts are the simplified text, the elaborated text and the text with a marginal gloss.) Then the section asked the respondents to answer : Which is the easiest text? Which is the most difficult text? - The respondents also gave reasons for their decision.
12 Section D The three modified texts : The simplified text The elaborated text The text with a marginal gloss
13 Section D Section D: What is the easiest/most difficult text? Class 2 Class 3 Easiest modified text Simplification 66% Elaboration 9% Marginal gloss 25% Simplification 61% Elaboration 9% Marginal gloss 30% Most difficult modified text Simplification 11% Elaboration 63% Marginal gloss 26% Simplification 13% Elaboration 61% Marginal gloss 26%
14 Overall findings The respondents do not carry out enough reading in Japanese in their own free time although they want to master it. The respondents vocabulary knowledge for the online text is far below the ideal vocabulary knowledge level proposed by Hu and Nation (2000). The respondents prefer hard copy reading despite a fast advancement of CALL (computer assisted language learning) approach.
15 Implication from Project 1 The participating students need to read more voluntarily to become a fluent reader (Williams, 1993; Nuttall, 1998). The participants students are not capable of reading unmodified texts. When they read for pleasure, they prefer hard copy. We need to examine the efficacy of modified texts such as graded readers.
16 Project II Project II examined how a sample of similar students responded to two types of Japanese texts: originals and their graded reader versions. Participants : 14 university students of Japanese (lower intermediate upper intermediate advanced)
17 Project II The texts used : Two pairs of Japanese literary originals and their graded reader (GR) versions The texts used in Project II Chuumon no ooi Original version ryooriten Hashire Merosu Original version Graded Reader version Graded Reader version The second pair was used only for the advanced learners.
18 Project II Methodology Think-aloud task Summary task Content comparison procedure Unstructured exit interview
19 Project II Think-aloud task to induce the participants online response toward two types of texts A think-aloud task of the GR version of Chuumon no ooi ryooriten. A think-aloud task of the original
20 Project II Summary task to assess the participants understanding of the GR version of Chuumon no ooi ryooriten. 6 core episodes of the part which they read for the project are: There were two men in the story. The scene was a mountain. The two men were from Tokyo. Their dogs died. The mountain was spooky. The two men found a restaurant.
21 Project II Content comparison procedure to examine what aspects they find easy and difficult according to version of the texts.
22 Project II Unstructured exit interview to induce the participants views toward two versions of Chuumon no ooi ryooriten. Questions which were asked included: Which do you find more interesting, the original literary text or the GR version? Which version do you choose to read for free voluntary reading?
23 Project II From the participants think-aloud protocols of the GR version of Chuumon no ooi ryooriten Comments about furigana : slightly more than half of the participants gave negative comments Comments about syntax : A few students. noticed that sentences were short. Comments about styles : some students found the style of the GR text repetitive whereas others found it helpful.
24 Project II A summary task revealed that the participants generally understood the gist of the GR excerpt. The participants got about 70% of 17 general episodes and 82% of 6 core episodes (when calculated excluding one participant s results).
25 Project II Content comparison procedure revealed that the participants responses toward the two versions, i.e., the original and the GR version of Chuumon no ooi ryooriten, varied. The participants views equally divided in terms of the difference of richness of descriptions, and furigana provision.
26 Project II Content comparison procedure also demonstrated that the following findings. The participants generally supported deletion of fringe episodes. The participants found that coherence was lost when a long sentence in an original text was divided into multiple shorter sentences. Many participants mentioned that the GR version sounds a little disjointed.
27 Project II Example of lost coherence when an original long sentence is divided into shorter sentences.
28 Project II Five advanced participants read the other pair of texts of Hashire Merosu, which were more demanding than the two texts of Chuumon no ooi ryooriten. These five participants discovered the efficacy of GRs from this procedure.
29 Project II Five advanced participants change of perceptions toward GRs
30 Project II Unstructured exit interviews confirmed many of the findings obtained from the other tasks. One particular finding detected from this interview is: Straightforward affective factors of less capable participants complex affective factors of advanced participants
31 Project II From the exit interviews Less capable participants easier texts give them higher motivation. Advanced participants reserved reaction about their better comprehension. They think that they have to read more difficult texts (original texts).
32 Project II Some advanced participants have cult of original (Day & Bamford, 1998, p. 53). These learners believe the absolute superiority of unmodified texts. They need to be guided what they have to read in order to become a fluent reader in Japanese.
33 Integrating the findings from Projects I & II It is now known that learners such as the current participating students do not have enough linguistic proficiency to read unmodified texts independently. Their reading skills, in particular, lower level processes such as word recognition, have to be more automatic (Grabe, 2009). Extensive reading can be a good approach to develop such skills.
34 Integrating the findings from Projects I & II Implications of the current projects for extensive reading & GR texts : Lexical modification has the most priority. Syntax modification may have low efficacy. Furigana provision and oversimplification may discourage learners. Providing an appropriate-level GR is very important. Advanced learners with firm learning belief may need to be given the rationales of extensive reading & GR texts.
35 In the end, extensive reading is not a panacea but intensive reading cannot grow fluent readers. How one learner sounds when she read the following text aloud? (She has studied Japanese for more than 4 years.) ぜんたい ここらの 山 はけしからんね 鳥 も 獣 も 一 匹 もいやがらん なんでも 構 わないか ら 早 くタンタァーンと やって 見 たいもんだ なあ 鹿 の 黄 色 い 横 っ 腹 なんぞに 二, 三 発 お 見 舞 いもうしたら ずいぶん 痛 快 だろうねえ く るくるまわって それからどだっとたおれるだ ろうねえ
36 References Elley, W. B., & Mangubhai, F. (1983). The impact of reading on second language learning. Reading Research Quarterly, 19(1), Day & Bamford Hu and Nation (2000). Krashen, S. (2004). The power of reading: Insights from the research. Retrieved from Reading.pdf Williams, 1993; Nuttall, 1998