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Learning to Read in Second Language as an Adult Learner

  • Date Submitted: 12/08/2010 06:09 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 67.1 
  • Words: 433
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People rarely put much thought into how they read, to them it is something that comes almost automatically. They learned to read when they were very young and it is now deeply ingrained in their minds. For adults who are trying to learn English as a second language they are now faced with the difficult of learning to read in a new language. These adult ESL learners offer insight into the nature of reading. They will read differently in their L2 than they would in their L1. They will use reading strategies differently in their L1 and L2. Also formal schemas can be a barrier to readers trying to read in their L2. These factors result in the reader having a different experience when reading in their L1 and L2.
The use of reading strategies is very useful way of making the process of reading easier. There are many strategies that can help people tackle any kind of text. For example skimming can be used to quickly read through a text book when someone needs to prepare for a test. When it comes to reading in a L1 or L2 how people use strategies will change. A study compared how four Chinese adult readers used reading strategies while reading in Chinese (L1) and while reading in English (L2). The results of this study found that the four readers used more reading strategies while reading in English then they did when reading in Chinese. The study also found that learning they did in their L2 and their exposure to L2 culture impacted their use of reading strategies. The readers’ proficiency in their L2 also effects how well they bring over reading strategies from their L1, but their L2 proficiency did not affect the readers’ use of higher thinking while they read the text (Ailing Kong, p. 19).
In conclusion one of the main differences between reading in a L1 and a L2 is that the reader will lack formal schemata when reading in their L2. Regardless of their proficiency in the L1 this will serve as a barrier. The reader will also rely more on reading strategies when...

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