General programme, activity sheet

Thursday 8 September, 2016 17:00 to 17:30 Oral presentation
Science vocabulary learning through reading only vs. reading-while-listening in primary school
Speaker: Raquel Serrano, Universitat de Barcelona

Authors: Serrano, R.; Pellicer, A.; Andria, M.


It has been shown that extensive reading can lead to significant L2 gains (Horst, 2005). Additionally, several studies have suggested that assisted reading (or reading-while-listening) encourages the acquisition of new vocabulary (Webb & Chang, 2014), even more so than unassisted reading (or reading only) (Webb & Chang, 2012). The purpose of this study is to further examine the effect of input modality (assisted vs. unassisted reading) on vocabulary acquisition by considering a group of young learners (as opposed to adults or teenagers who are the target population of most studies on input modality) and importantly by examining the acquisition of science vocabulary (which has not been previously examined). The participants of our study are a group of 10/11 year-old Catalan/Spanish bilingual learners of English (N= 96) who were assigned to three different conditions: one group (N= 48) followed an assisted reading program, devoting two periods a week to reading-while-listening to non-fiction graded readers related to the topics that are covered in the subject of science, while another group (N= 24) devoted two periods to reading-only (“unassisted reading program”). In both groups, students worked autonomously under the teacher’s supervision. Additionally, there was a control group (N=24), which spent the same amount of time learning English through teacher-fronted instruction. The students’ knowledge of the target vocabulary, which was included in the graded readers they read (50 items) was assessed through a multiple choice test including translations at the beginning of the school year (pretest), three months later, and then at the end of the school year. The results of the analyses seem to suggest that both modalities are beneficial: reading-while-listening provides multimodal input, while reading only makes it easier for learners to read at their own pace.
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Teaching and learning of languages
Place: Room A-15

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