Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 7 : 11 November 2007
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Seyed Hassan Talebi, Ph.D. Candidate


This study intends to determine whether strategic reading in L1 differs from that of L2 or not. In other words, whether there are two systems for strategic reading in L1 and L2 or one system for both L1 and L2.

To this end, a test of English language proficiency was distributed among students to have two groups of intermediate and advanced proficiency levels. The subjects were put into control and experimental groups. Then reading comprehension tests in Persian and English as pretests were given to the students followed by a reading comprehension strategy questionnaire to determine what strategies students employed while reading in L1 and L2.

The experimental group received strategy instruction in L1 and after the treatment the posttest was given to the students. The obtained results showed that the reading strategy awareness can be the same in L1 and L2 at two proficiency levels of intermediate and advanced. However, the reading ability of students in L1 and L2 was differently affected by the L1 reading strategy instruction. In other words, the same improvements in L1 reading performance were not observed in L2 reading as a result of L1 reading strategy instruction. Therefore, the reading strategy awareness in L1 and L2 can be one system but the reading performance is not necessarily the same in L1 and L2. Pedagogically, through reading strategy instruction in L1 our students can benefit from an increase in the reading strategy awareness in L1 and L2 without receiving any instruction in L2. However, in order to improve the L2 reading ability students need to be familiarized with the effective use of reading strategies in L2 classes with the L2 code.


It is commonly asserted by many teachers that the reason why their students cannot read adequately in English is that they cannot read adequately in the native language (Alderson, 1984). In second language acquisition, theorists have argued whether bilingual individuals have two separate stores of information in long-term memory, one for each language, or a single information store accompanied by selection mechanisms for using the L1 or L2. If individuals have a separate store of information maintained in each language, then transfer of information acquired in the L1 to L2 applications would be difficult because of the independence of the two memory systems.

In other words, intriguing questions involve whether there are two parallel cognitive processes at work, or whether there are processing strategies that accommodate both the first and the second language (Singhal, 1998).

Two Hypotheses

Two hypotheses, the common underlying proficiency hypothesis and the reading universal hypothesis, claim that reading is a skill interdependent or universal across languages (Tang, 1996).

The common underlying proficiency hypothesis suggests that adult L2 readers who are already literate in L1 may have two channels available to them as they develop literacy skills in L2. Educated L2 readers can draw on their literacy skills and knowledge of literacy practices from L1 and they can also draw on input from the second language.

Focus of This Study

This study, however, is going to investigate how Iranian EFL students come to read in L1 and L2. It is going to find out whether they have a unitary view of reading in L1 and L2. It is going to find out whether the reading strategy awareness of students in L1 will transfer to L2 reading and whether this transfer will have the same effects on L1 and L2 reading ability.

Questions Raised

The following questions are suggested:

  1. Is there any relationship between the language variable and Reading Comprehension performance?
  2. Does reading strategy training have any effects on students' reading comprehension in Persian?
  3. Does reading strategy training have any effects on students' reading comprehension in English?
  4. Does reading strategy training have any effects on increasing the reading strategy awareness of students in Persian?
  5. Does reading strategy training have any effects on increasing the reading strategy awareness of students in English?

A null hypothesis was suggested for all the above questions.



The subjects of this study were Iranian students. Through administering the NELSON English Language tests, series 300B, to 310 students, 160 students were chosen for the purpose of this study. The subjects were classified into control and experimental groups. Each group was again classified into intermediate and advanced subgroups of language proficiency. Forty students took part in each subgroup.


A) Language proficiency test

In order to make sure of the homogeneity of control and experimental groups in terms of English language proficiency, a test of NELSON, series 300B, after being piloted on a similar group of ten students, was administered. It consisted of four parts: cloze tests, structure, vocabulary, and pronunciation and the time allotted was 35 minutes.

B) Test of reading comprehension in English

The English reading comprehension test was selected from the reading section of the TOEFL TESTS OF ARCO (1997). It was in three passages containing thirty items. The time allowed was 20 minutes. To ensure that this test is an appropriate one in terms of text difficulty level to be given to the both groups of proficiency, first from the course books of the two proficiency groups, the Reading Section, some passages were randomly selected. The readability formula was run afterward to obtain an index of readability for them. The mean index turned out to be 22.83.

Then the readability formula, after studying many texts, was run for the above-mentioned test of TOEFL, ARCO, which turned out to be 23.7and seemed quite suitable for the purpose of this study. To estimate the reliability of the test of reading in English a pilot study was conducted. The test was administered to a similar group of ten students.

The reliability of the test was estimated through the KR-21 formula. The same procedure was run for the NELSON proficiency test in the piloting stage in order to see whether the test is reliable for the above-mentioned group or not. To have the most appropriate test, item characteristics, that is item facility and item discrimination, were also studied. In order to determine the concurrent validity of the test of reading in English, it was validated against the aforesaid NELSON standard test of proficiency, which was given to the same group of ten students. The correlation coefficient between the test of NELSON and Reading was calculated which turned out to be suitable for this study at 0.1 level of significance.


A Reading Program for 13 Year-old Deaf Boy | Strategic Reading in L1 and L2 - One System or Two Systems? | Postpositions in Bangla with Special Reference to Prepositions in English | Translation: New Dimensions | Attitude and Motivation in English Language Learning - A Study of Female Learners of Southern Punjab | Collage as a Narrative Device of Raghavendra Rao's The Journey to Golgotha | HOME PAGE OF OCTOBER 2007 ISSUE | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Seyed Hassan Talebi, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Studies in English
University of Mysore
Mysore 570006, India

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