Date of Award

8-1-2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Charkova, Krassimira

Abstract

Despite the fact that a considerable body of empirical research has been done to examine the role of metacognitive strategic awareness both in L1 and L2 reading, controversial findings have been reported. In addition, although a substantial number of studies have been conducted to investigate reading strategy use by English learners of various first languages, there is a lack of research involving Vietnamese ESL learners. The present study was designed in order to add to the existing literature new evidence about the second language reading strategies used by Vietnamese ESL learners. Particularly, three main aspects of reading strategy use were investigated: 1) the reading strategies that are most frequently used by Vietnamese ESL learners; 2) the reading strategies that distinguish high achieving readers and low achieving readers; and 3) the reading strategies that are significantly associated with performance on lower order and higher order reading questions. The participants of the study were 32 Vietnamese ESL college students in Vietnam. The research instrument employed two tasks: a fourteen-item reading comprehension test and a five-point Likert scale survey of reading strategies (SORS). The reading test was used to divide the sample into a higher performing group and a lower performing group. The SORS was taken from Mokhtari and Sheorey (2002) and consists of 30 items which measure learners' frequency of use of global, problem solving and support strategies when reading academic materials in English. The data was analyzed through descriptive statistics, multiple independent samples t-tests, and multiple regressions. The frequency analysis revealed a fairly regular use of reading strategies by Vietnamese ESL learners. Of the three types of strategies, support strategies were the most frequently employed, followed by global and problem solving strategies. Regarding strategies used by the higher and lower performing readers, the results revealed significant differences in the use of 5 global and 1 problem solving strategies. In addition, the study found that participants' performance on higher order and lower order reading questions was significantly associated with a set of reading strategies. Specifically, 14 reading strategies were significantly correlated with performance on lower order reading questions and 22 reading strategies with performance on higher order reading questions. These findings have provided new evidence and insight about the use of reading strategies in second language reading, particularly focusing on the relationships between strategy use and reading performance and strategy use and type of reading questions. Especially, the findings about the relationship between reading strategies and performance on lower order and higher order reading questions are novel, which fact, undeniably, requires further research in order for these findings to be validated and expanded. Finally, the present study's findings carry valuable pedagogical implications concerning the design of ESL reading curricula and the practice of teaching ESL reading strategies. Namely, curriculum designers and teachers should take into account the following issues: 1) the universality and uniqueness of ESL learners' preferences for reading strategies; 2) the connection between strategy use and reading performance, and 3) the fact that effective performance on higher and lower order questions is correlated with the use of specific reading strategies.

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