What types of texts and reading aids are good for Japanese graded readers?

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Mitsue Tabata-Sandom

Abstract

This study investigates what types of texts and reading -aids are suitable for Japanese graded readers. Thirty-one New Zealand university students of Japanese as a foreign language read one authentic text and four differently modified texts. The four differently modified texts were simplified texts, elaborated texts, texts with marginal glosses and texts with on-screen pop-ups. The participants completed an oral free-recall task and a short-answer reading comprehension test. Statistical analysis showed that their scores on reading tasks for the four modified texts were significantly higher than their scores on the tasks for the authentic texts. The participants gained the highest scores with the simplified texts, followed by the elaborated texts. Qualitative analysis was conducted on data from the free-recall protocols and exit -interview. Both quantitative and qualitative results suggest that simplified texts are the most suitable for graded readers targeted at developing students; elaborated texts play an important role for advanced students; key-word provision at the beginning of a text is a useful supportive feature for L2 Japanese readers; furigana-provision finely-tuned for learners’ levels can be more positively challenging in terms of kanji learning; and hard copy texts are preferred to texts on a computer screen for pleasure reading.   

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Author Biography

Mitsue Tabata-Sandom, The University of Hawai'i

Mitsue Tabata-Sandom, the University of Hawai'i I am an assistant professor at East Asian Languages and Literature, University of Hawai'i. My research interests include extensive reading in L2 Japanese, language learner literature, and teachers' beliefs about L2 reading instruction.