Two Types of Input Modification and EFL Reading Comprehension: Simplification Versus Elaboration

Authors

  • SUN-YOUNG OH

    1. University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, California, United States
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    • Sun-Young Oh, who holds an MA in TEFL from Seoul National University, is currently a doctoral student in applied linguistics and TESL at University of California, Los Angeles. Her areas of interest include foreign language teaching materials development, acquisition of L2 tense and aspect, discourse analysis, and conversation analysis.


Abstract

This study investigates the relative effects of two types of input modification—simplification and elaboration—on Korean high school students' EFL reading comprehension. Six English reading passages in one of three forms—(a) baseline, (b) simplified, or (c) elaborated—were presented to 180 students, who were divided into two proficiency levels (i.e., high proficiency and low proficiency). Comprehension was assessed by an 18-item multiple-choice test, which included items for assessing (a) general, (b) specific, and (c) inferential comprehension. In addition, students' perceptions of their comprehension were measured by their responses on a 6-point unipolar scale. The test data were analyzed by a 2-by-3 analysis of variance, with least significant difference tests used in post hoc analyses. The results support the suggestion that input should be modified in the direction of elaboration rather than by artificial simplification, because elaboration retains more nativelike qualities than and is at least equally successful as—if not more successful than—simplification in improving comprehension. Instruction with elaborated input should accelerate the progression to fluent reading of unmodified materials, which is the ultimate goal of foreign language reading instruction.

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