Computers and L2 Reading: Student Performance, Student Attitudes1


  • James N. Davis,

    1. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 4

      James N. Davis (Ph.D., University of Minnesota) is Co-ordinator/Supervisor of Basic French Instruction at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

  • Mary Ann Lyman-Hager

    1. Pennsylvania State University, University Park
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 5

      Mary Ann Lyman-Hager (Ph.D., University of Idaho) is Affiliate Assistant Professor of French; Project Director, Language 3 Initiative; and Coordinator of Instructional Computing, at the College of Liberal Arts, Pennsylvania State University, University Park.

  • 1

    I Results of this study were presented in April, 1995 by the first author at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in San Francisco. The authors acknowledge Scott Hershberger, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Kansas, for help with the statistical analysis. Roby Ariew, Rick Donato, Patricia Dunkel, Michael Everson, Lydie Meunier, and Judith Walker made insightful comments regarding this manuscript. The content of the article is, however, the sole responsibility of the authors.


ABSTRACT  We investigated the ways intermediate-level undergraduate students of French interacted with a computerized L2 reading gloss from three perspectives: 1) the relationship between the group's choice of program options and the quantity and accuracy of their comprehension; 2) individual user styles; and 3) student perceptions of the effectiveness of the program. Opinions of the software were unanimously favorable, although there was no evidence of a relationship between computer use and comprehension. While many types of information were available to them, students tended to consult almost exclusively word definitions provided in English. Comparisons of tracker data with recall protocols implied that comprehension might have improved had other program components also been accessed. We conclude with suggestions for more effective L2 reading software design for students at this instructional level, as well as with indications of likely directions for future research.