Dissertation Abstract

Emergent Reading in Novice Second Language Readers: Focus on Russian

The purpose of the study investigated and clarified the relationship between emergent literacy and novice reading in a second language (L2). During the past two decades, little research regarding this relationship has been conducted. The majority of studies that examine emergent-like reading strategies, look at novice L2 readers' use of sight or known words. Further, the studies that have examined L2 reading have concentrated on the measurable product of novice L2 reading and been of short duration. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, this study examines novice L2 reading of Russian over an extended time period, in order to determine how and why novice L2 readers use emergent reading strategies. Further, the study examines whether novice L2 readers progress through developmental stages of reading as do emergent readers. Data were gathered from classroom observations, questionnaires, and 83 think-aloud reading protocol sessions conducted with eight university students enrolled in beginning Russian. Reading was viewed using the Systemic-functional model of language learning (Hasan and Perrett, 1994) as a theoretical basis. Data collection was conducted using the theoretical perspective of orientational qualitative inquiry (Patton, 1990). Data management was aided by a HyperCard stack. Data analysis was conducted using miscue analysis (Goodman and Goodman, 1994) and looking for recurring regularities (Guba, 1978; Patton, 1990). Evidence from data analysis indicates two trends among novice L2 readers: (a) They progress through three stages of reading development, and (b) they use emergent reading strategies as tools during the L2 reading process. Discussion of the study centers on reading that occurred as novice Russian readers were observed in classroom and tutorial reading situations and includes four case studies. These two trends have significant implications for L2 instruction, specifically in terms of the use of reading as a tool for L2 instruction. In addition, this study adds to the L2 reading research data base as an additional study conducted over an extended time period and indicates that further research in this area is needed in other L2s, among other age groups with other L1s, and in greater numbers.

Contact Dr. Lund at: lundd@suu.edu

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