Goal-Oriented L2 Reading Processes in Maintaining the Coherence of Narrative Comprehension

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Abstract

This study discusses the processes of reading in a second language that determine success in maintaining the coherence of narrative comprehension. In an experiment, Japanese university students thought aloud their cognitive processes when reading narratives, which included discrepancies between characters’ traits and actions. Participants, first, read 4 narratives to answer comprehension questions and then mentally visualized situations described in the other 4 narratives to prepare for drawing the 4-frame pictures. After classifying their verbal reports from lower-level processing (e.g., lexical and grammatical analysis) to higher-level processing (e.g., inference production), a decision tree analysis was conducted to examine which types of reading processes were more likely to reach success in keeping narrative comprehension coherent. In conjunction with the qualitative interpretations of think-aloud protocols, the results revealed that (a) mentally visualizing characters’ traits based on inference was a trigger for detecting coherence breaks in comprehension, and (b) strategic rereading and reasoning were used to resolve these comprehension in consistencies. These findings were consistent with the framework of the standards of coherence; goal-oriented reading regulated by a specific instruction affected the criteria that individual learners set for the level of coherence in comprehension.

Journal

  • JACET Journal

    JACET Journal 62 (0), 109-128, 2018

    The Japan Association of College English Teachers

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