Lexical Inferencing Strategy Instruction and the Development of Reading Comprehension: The Case of Iranian EFL Learners

Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

Abstract

Lexical inferencing has been recognized as an effective learning strategy in SLA. The present study investigated Iranian EFL learners’ development of reading comprehension as a result of exposure to lexical inferencing strategy instruction. To do so, 45 female participants studying in Simin Language Institute in Rasht, Iran were selected from among 60 students based on the results of a sample of Oxford quick Placement (OQP) test, who scored from 40 to 47. They were in two intact classes, assigned to one experimental (n=24) and one control group (n=21). The experimental group underwent the teaching of reading comprehension through lexical inferencing strategy to help learners infer the meaning of unknown words and promote their understanding of the text. However, the control group received the traditional instruction of reading comprehension concentrating on the translation of new words. The results of the pre- and post-tests of reading comprehension revealed the significant outperformance of the treatment group over the control group’s reading comprehension ability. It was concluded that lexical inferencing strategy teaching could develop the learners’ potential to improve their cognitive capacities in inferring the meaning of unknown words, which might be facilitative in their reading comprehension.

Keywords


Alahmadi, A., & Foltz, A. (2020). Effects of language skills and strategy use on vocabulary learning through lexical translation and inferencing. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s10936-020-09720-9
Alderson, J. C. (2000). Assessing reading. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Anvari, S., & Farvardin, M. T. (2016). Revisiting lexical inferencing strategies in L2 reading: A comparison of successful and less successful EFL inferences. The Reading Matrix: An International Online Journal, 16(1), 63-77.
Ascher, A., & Saslow, J. (2011). Top notch series. London: Longman Pearson.
Ausubel, D.A. (1968). Educational psychology: A cognitive view. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Bae, J. (2011). Teaching process writing for intermediate/advanced learners in South Korea. (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Wisconsin.
Bengeleil, N., & Paribakht , T.S. (2004). L2 reading proficiency and lexical inferencing by university EFL Learners. Canadian Modern Language Review, 61(2), 225-249.
Bensoussan, M., & Laufer, B. (1984). Lexical guessing in context in EFL reading comprehension. Journal of Research in Reading, 7(1), 15-31.
Brown, C. (1993). Factors affecting the acquisition of vocabulary: Frequency and saliency of words. In T. Huckin, M. Haynes, & J. Coady (Eds.), Second language reading and vocabulary learning (pp. 263-286). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Catalan, R. M. J. (2003). Sex differences in L2 vocabulary learning strategies. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 13(1), 54-77.
Carnine, D., Kameenui, E. J., & Coyle, G. (1984). Utilization of contextual information in determining the meaning of unfamiliar words. Reading Research Quarterly 19, 188-204.
Coady, J. (1997). L2 vocabulary acquisition: A synthesis of the research. In J. Coady, & T. Huckin, (Eds.), Second language vocabulary acquisition (pp. 273-90). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
DeBot, K., Paribakht, T.S., & Wesche, M. (1997). Towards lexical processing model for the study of second language vocabulary acquisition: Evidence from ESL reading. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 19, 309-329.
Dubin, F., & Olshtain, E. (1993). Predicting word meanings from contextual clues: Evidence from L1 readers. In T. Huckin, M. Haynes, & J. Coady (Eds.), Second language reading and vocabulary learning (pp. 181-202). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Fan, H. C. S. (2009). The effectiveness of metacognitive strategies in facilitating Taiwanese university learners in EFL reading comprehension (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Kansas.
Frantzen, D. (2003). Factors affecting how second language Spanish students deriving meaning from context. The Modern Language Journal, 87, 168-199. 
Fraser, C. (1999). Lexical processing strategy use and vocabulary learning through reading. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 21, 225-241.
Geranpayeh, A. (2003). A quick review of the English quick placement test. Research Notes, 12, 8-10.
Guthrie, J. T., McGough, K., Bennett, L., & Rice, M. E. (1996). Concept-oriented reading instruction: An integrated curriculum to develop motivations and strategies for reading. In L. Baker, P. Afflerbach, & D. Reinking (Eds.), Developing engaged readers in school and home communities (pp. 165-190). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Haastrup, K. (1990). Developing learners’ procedural knowledge in comprehension. In R. Phillipson, E. Kellerman, L. Selinker, M. Sharwood Smith, & M. Swain (Eds.), Foreign/second language pedagogy research (pp. 120-133). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Haastrup, K. (1991). Using think-aloud and retrospection to uncover learners’ lexical inferencing procedures. In C. Faerch, & G. Kasper (Eds.), Introspection in second language research (pp. 197-212). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Haastrup, K. (2010). Research on the lexical inferencing Process and its outcomes. In S. Paribakht, & M. Wesche (Eds.), Lexical inferencing in a first and second language: Cross-linguistic dimensions (pp. 3-31) Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Haynes, M. (1993). Patterns and perils of guessing in second language reading. In T. Huckin, M. Haynes, & J. Coady (Eds.), Second language reading and vocabulary learning (pp. 46-62). Norwood, NJ: Ablex
Haynes, M., & Baker, T. (1993). American and Chinese readers learning from lexical familiarization in English texts. In T. Huckin, M. Haynes & J. Coady (Eds.), Second language reading and vocabulary learning (pp. 130-152). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Hinkel, E. (2002). Second language writer’s text: Linguistic and rhetorical features. Mahawah, New Jersey and London: Lawrence, Erlbaum Associates.
Hu, M., & Nassaji, H. (2014). Lexical inferencing strategies: The case of    
      successful versus less successful inferences. System, 45, 27-38.
Huckin, T., & J. Bloch. (1993). Strategies for inferring word meaning from context: A cognitive model. In T. Huckin, M. Haynes, & J. Coady (Eds.), Second language reading and vocabulary learning (pp.153-178). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Hyland, K. (2003). Genre-based pedagogies: A social response to process. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12, 17-29.
Jafari, D., & Ketabi, S. (2012). Metacognitive strategies and reading comprehension enhancement in Iranian intermediate EFL setting. International Journal of Linguistic, 4(3), 1-14.
Laufer, B. (1989). What percentage of text-lexis is essential for comprehension? In Ch. Lauren, & M. Nordman (Eds.), Special language: From humans thinking to thinking machines (pp.69-75). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Laufer, B. (1997). What’s in a word that makes it hard or easy: Some interalexical factors that affect the learning of words. In N. Schmitt & M. McCarthy (Eds.), Vocabulary: Description, acquisition and pedagogy (pp. 140–180). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Maghsoudi, N. (2012). The impact of schema activation on reading comprehension of cultural texts among Iranian EFL learners. Canadian Social Science, 8(5), 196-201.
May, F. (2001). Unraveling the seven myths of reading: Assessment and intervention practices for counteracting their effects. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Mehrpour, S. (2004). A causal model of factors affecting reading comprehension performance of Iranian learners of English as a foreign language. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran.
Mehrpour, S., Razmjoo, S. A., & Kian, P. (2011). The relationship between depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension among Iranian EFL Learners. Journal of English language teaching and learning, 2(222), 97-127.
Nassaji, H. (2006). The relationship between depth of vocabulary knowledge and L2 learners’ lexical inferencing strategy use and success. The Modern Language Journal, 90(3), 387-401.
Nation, I. S. P. (1990). Teaching and learning language. New York: New Burry House.
Nation, I. S. P., & Coady, J. (1988). Vocabulary and reading. In R. Carter, & M. McCarthy (Eds.), Vocabulary and language teaching (pp. 97-110). London: Longman.
Oxford, R. (1990). Language learning strategies: What Every Teacher Should Know. Massachusetts: Heinle & Heinle.
Oxford, R. L., & Scarcella, R. C. (1994). Second language vocabulary learning among adults: State of the art in vocabulary instruction. System, 22(2), 231-243.
Paribakht, T. S. (2005). The influence of first language lexicalization on second lexical inferencing: A study of Farsi speaking learners of English as a foreign language. Language Learning, 55, 701-748.
Paribakht, T. S., &Wesche, M. (1996). Enhancing vocabulary acquisition through reading: A hierarchy of text-related exercise types. Canadian Modern Language Review, 52, 155-178.
Paribakht. T. S., & Wesche. M. (1999). Reading and “incidental” L2 vocabulary acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 21,195-224.
Pulido, D. (2007). The effects of topic familiarity and passage sight vocabulary on L2 lexical inferencing and retention through reading. Applied linguistics, 28(1), 66-86.
Qian, D. D. (1998). Depth of vocabulary knowledge, assessing its role in adults' reading comprehension in English as a second language (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). National Library of Canada.
Qian, D. D. (2005). Demystifying lexical inferencing: The role of aspects of vocabulary knowledge. TESL Canada Journal, 22(2), 34-54.
Rashidi, N., & Khosravi, N. (2010). Assessing the role of depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge in reading comprehension of Iranian EFL learners. Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics, 14(1), 81-108.
Riazi, A., & Babaei, N. (2008). Iranian EFL female students’ lexical inferencing and its relationship to their L2 proficiency and reading skill. The Reading Matrix: an international online journal8(1), 186-195.
Rumelhart, D. E. (1977). Toward an interactive model of reading. In S. Dornic (Eds.), Attention and performance (pp. 573-603). Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Rumelhart, D.E. (1981). Schemata: The building blocks of cognition. In J.T. Guthrie (Ed.), Comprehension and teaching: Research reviews (pp. 3-26). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Rumelhart, D. E. (1985). Toward an interactive model of reading. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Schellings, G., Aarnoutse, C., & Leeuwe, J. V. (2006). Third-grader’s think aloud protocols: Types of reading activities in reading an expository text. Learning and Instruction, 16(6), 549-568.
Spearitt, D. (1972). Identification of sub-skills of reading comprehension by maximum- likelihood factor analysis. Reading Research Quarterly, 8, 92-111.
Stoller, F., & Grabe, W. (1993). Implications for L2 vocabulary acquisition and instruction from L1 vocabulary research. In T. Huckin, M. Haynes, & J. Coady (Eds.), Second language reading and vocabulary learning (pp. 29-45). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Sweet, A. P., & Snow, C. E. (2003). Rethinking reading comprehension. Solving problems in the teaching of literacy. New York: Guilford Publications.
Wenden, A. L. (1987). Metacognition: An expanded view on the cognitive abilities of L2 learners. Language Learning, 37, 573-596.