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Research Paper

  • Date Submitted: 12/15/2010 06:18 AM
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Can We Increase the Power of Reading by Adding More Output and/or Correction?
Beniko Mason and Stephen Krashen
Texas Papers in Foreign Language Education (in press)
It is firmly established that free reading leads to increased second language competence (Krashen, 1993; Elley, 1991, Mason and Krashen, 1997). A recent confirmation is Tsang (1996), who reported that EFL students in an English-medium school in Hong Kong who engaged in self-selected reading for 24 weeks made significant gains in writing (overall impression, content, and language use), but those who did extra writing did not. Tsang noted, however, that the writing was done "without teacher feedback" (p. 227). Papers were "impressionistically graded, given brief positive comments" and returned to the students (p. 217).
In this study, we assume the power of reading, and seek to determine whether output practice, with and without correction, will increase its effectiveness, as it has been suggested that increasing output and form-focus may enhance the effect of comprehensible input (e.g. Swain, 1995; Schmidt, 1995).
Method
Subjects were 104 first year female English majors, ages 18-19, in an extensive reading program in a college in Osaka, Japan. No students had been in English speaking countries, none had had extra English lessons or an English-speaking friend, and none worked in businesses that required use of English. The study was therefore done in a pure EFL situation. All were "high beginning/low intermediate" students of English (mean score of the TOEIC = 123.6 for Reading, 153.6 for Listening, out of a possible 495 for each section).
All groups engaged in extensive reading (Mason and Krashen, 1997). They were required to read about 2000 pages in two semesters (400,000 to 500,000 words), a longer duration than Tsang (1996) employed, and with far more reading. All students began reading graded readers at the lowest level, and worked up to higher levels and easy authentic reading for native...

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