Cindy Brantmeier is Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics and Spanish at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.
Beyond Linguistic Knowledge: Individual Differences in Second Language Reading
Version of Record online: 31 DEC 2008
© 2003 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Foreign Language Annals
Volume 36, Issue 1, pages 33–43, March 2003
How to Cite
Brantmeier, C. (2003), Beyond Linguistic Knowledge: Individual Differences in Second Language Reading. Foreign Language Annals, 36: 33–43. doi: 10.1111/j.1944-9720.2003.tb01930.x
- Issue online: 31 DEC 2008
- Version of Record online: 31 DEC 2008
ABSTRACT: Reading in a second language (L2) is a dynamic process that involves the interplay of complex factors. This study investigated the effects of readers' gender, topic familiarity, enjoyment, and interest on second language reading. During two different class periods, 86 learners of intermediate Spanish at the university level completed: (1) a reading passage (a different passage each day), (2) a written recall comprehension task, and (3) a questionnaire. The reading passages were taken from authentic short stories often used for this level of language instruction. The findings suggested that in addition to linguistic factors that impede successful reading comprehension, other variables such as gender, passage content, and topic familiarity may increase the L2 reader's burden. Enjoyment and interest mattered little at this level of instruction. The predicted variables did not completely explain the gender differences in reading comprehension of the intermediate-level passage topics; however, the study results indicated that when using authentic texts, instructors should incorporate prereading activities that activate learners' existing knowledge.