CMRJ 499 American Military University Identifying and Solving Problems Discussion

Description

Prior to attempting this week’s discussion read the information in week 4 and 5’s lesson. Students are to post at least 3 problems encountered in either writing their rough draft and/or pertaining to appropriately citing their paper. Below is the link for:Reference list: Articles in PeriodicalsReference list: Author/AuthorsReference list: Basic rulesReference list: BooksReference list: Electronic sources (web publications)Reference list: Other non-print sourcesReference list: Other print sourceshttps://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_electronic_sources.htmlteaching tips
Associate Editors: Diane M. Billings, EdD, RN, FAAN, ANEF
Karren Kowalski, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
Author: Wyona M. Freysteinson, PhD, MN, RN
The Language of Scholarship for Novice Writers
abstract
This article is an introduction
to the language that is required to
convey nursing knowledge through
essays, dissertations, and articles in
peer-reviewed journals. The tentative style of scholarly language is explored. Key elements of the uniform
structure of headings, citations, and
references are considered. Guidelines for reviewing one’s own paper
using computer-processing strategies are shared.
J Contin Educ Nurs. 2013;44(12):533534.
T
he American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (2013) Magnet Recognition Program® and Pathways to
Excellence® Program have empowered practicing nurses in advancing
nursing knowledge and disseminating that knowledge through scholarly
dialogue. This article provides an introduction to the language of scholarship. In addition to the information
provided in this article, novice writers
are encouraged to explore additional
sources to learn more about article
content, target audience, and mechan-
ics of writing (e.g., EasyBib, 2013;
Purdue University, 2013; Saver, 2011).
THE LANGUAGE OF SCHOLARSHIP
Tentativeness
The language of scholarship is often
tentative. This is particularly true when
one cites academic sources within a
paper. Researchers rarely can prove
something to be absolutely true. What
may appear to be true or proven today
may become untrue or disproven with
more research, so words that suggest
there is scientific proof (e.g., caused,
prove, proved) are avoided. A tentative
voice is preferred, and the word may is
often used instead of will or can.
In keeping with the tentative nature of scholarly language, literary
embellishments are avoided. For example, adjectives (e.g., exceptionally,
extremely) are used sparingly. Persuasive statements, such as it is imperative
or we must, are avoided. Declarative
phrases to describe research findings,
such as the research confirmed, are also
inappropriate.
Past Tense
A past tense writing style is used
in scholarly language when writing
about and citing research literature.
Dr. Freysteinson is Assistant Professor, Nelda C. Stark College of Nursing, Texas Woman’s
University, Houston, Texas.
The author has disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.
Address correspondence to Wyona M. Freysteinson, PhD, MN, RN, Assistant Professor,
Nelda C. Stark College of Nursing, Texas Woman’s University, Houston, Texas 77030; e-mail:
wfreysteinson@twu.edu.
doi:10.3928/00220124-20131121-13
The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing · Vol 44, No 12, 2013
The reason for this is that research,
even if completed yesterday, occurred
in the past. For example, the statement
the research says is replaced with a past
tense statement, such as the research
indicated or the research suggested.
Jargon and Acronyms
Jargon is avoided in scholarly writing. Referring to nurses who have just
graduated as newbies or to patients
with dementia as the demented are
examples of jargon and are disrespectful of human beings. Highly technical words and acronyms may also be
considered jargon because these terms
may not be understood by nurses in
other countries, other health care professionals, or the general public.
If nursing or medical jargon is required in an article, it is frequently in
the form of acronyms or abbreviations. To ensure that all readers understand these shortened versions,
the full meaning is provided the first
time it is used in a paper, followed by
the acronym. For example, the statement the patient had congestive heart
failure (CHF) is shown and then the
acronym CHF is used throughout
the remainder of the paper.
AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL
ASSOCIATION STYLE
The Publication Manual of the
American Psychological Association
(APA, 2010) provides a uniform structure for scholarly documents. When
one has learned APA rules, one can
readily see errors in APA style articles.
For example, nursing professors and
533
peer reviewers for nursing journals
can scan a reference list and see APA
errors within seconds. An article submitted for peer review that is written in
flawless APA style may automatically
be given an initial “nod of approval”
by a peer reviewer. In other words,
the peer reviewer may begin to read
the paper with an optimistic outlook
when it appears to be in perfect APA
format. The first items in APA style
or any publication manual that one
should review and learn are related to
headings, citations, and references.
Headings
Five levels of headings are described in the APA manual (2010).
Typically, a paper uses two or three of
these heading levels. Headings should
use the same font and size as the rest
of the document. Special heading settings included in software products
are to be avoided in scholarly writing.
Citations
Crediting an author of a research
article, document, or website is called
an in-text citation. Chapter six of the
APA manual (2010) is devoted to citations. Credit must be given for sources
one has used in writing a paper; failure
to cite references may be deemed plagiarism. The APA manual includes a
table that provides examples of “Basic
Citation Styles” (p. 177).
References
Familiarity with chapter seven in
the APA manual (2010) is essential to
writing the reference page. Houghton
and Houghton (2009) developed a
short, simplified guide on APA writing style that may be easier to use for
the novice scholar.
A key factor to remember in writing the reference page is that journal
articles, books, and websites are referenced differently; however, some similarities exist. For example, initials are
used for an author’s first and middle
names; italics are used in every refer534
ence to indicate a journal name or title
of a book; and the first letter of the
first word of the title of every article or
book is capitalized. A digital object indicator (doi) is required for each journal article; these can be found by conducting an online search of the title and
searching the first page of the article.
COMPUTER PROCESSING TIPS
Writing program software includes
helpful features. In Microsoft® Word,
for example, features such as find,
spell check, thesaurus, track changes,
navigation pane, view side by side, and
show/hide ¶ are found on the toolbar.
Use the find feature, under the
home tab, to search for key words
used frequently in an article. This
feature can also be used to ensure the
names of authors cited in the text are
spelled exactly as they are spelled in
the reference list. To do this, type the
first author of a citation in the find
feature box. The reference for this
citation, and each time the citation is
used, will appear on the screen. Use
the same process to ensure that every
reference is cited in the article.
The find feature may also be used
to ensure abbreviations are used appropriately throughout the text. For
example, if CHF is used, type in congestive heart failure to ensure the full
explanation was provided initially
and that only the acronym is used
subsequently.
Two useful features under the
review tab are spell check and the
thesaurus. The thesaurus is helpful
when trying to find the best word
to use or when trying to avoid using
words repetitively.
Valuable features under the review
tab also include track changes and
the reviewing pane. When reviewing
documents, reviewers frequently use
track changes to suggest changes.
One can accept or reject these
changes by hovering the mouse over
the change or make changes directly
in the reviewing pane.
To view or work on two documents
at the same time, use the side by side feature under the view tab. The synchronous scrolling feature can be turned on
to allow one to browse through both
documents simultaneously.
The show/hide ¶ feature shows
hidden marks within the text and
is useful to ensure equal spacing after each sentence. The APA manual
(2010) suggests that two spaces after
each sentence may improve document readability; however, one space
after sentences is also appropriate.
DISCUSSION
The language of scholarship is simple, with a degree of humility. A tentative, past tense voice depicts research
findings accurately. Jargon is avoided.
Care is taken to ensure respectful
words describe human beings. Initially, papers that require APA style
(2010) or another uniform manuscript
format can be time consuming and
frustrating to write. However, over
time, the simple tentative nature and
uniform structure of scholarly language becomes habitual. This allows
the writer the freedom to create scholarly documents with greater ease.
REFERENCES
American Nurses Credentialing Center.
(2013). Overview of ANCC international programs [Brochure]. Retrieved
from http://ancc.nursecredentialing.org/
Magnet/International/InternationalOverview-Brochure.aspx
American Psychological Association. (2010).
Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
EasyBib. (2013). Writing guide. Retrieved
from http://content.easybib.com/students/
writing-guide/
Houghton, P.M., & Houghton, T.J. (2009).
APA: The easy way (2nd ed.)! Flint, MI:
Baker College.
Purdue University. (2013). Owl Purdue online writing lab. Retrieved from http://
owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/
Saver, C. (2011). Anatomy of writing for publication for nurses. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma
Theta Tau International.
Copyright © SLACK Incorporated
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without
permission.
teaching tips
Associate Editors: Diane M. Billings, EdD, RN, FAAN, ANEF
Karren Kowalski, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FAAN
Authors: Wyona M. Freysteinson, PhD, MN; Rebecca Krepper, PhD, MBA, RN; and Susan Mellott, PhD, RN
The Language of Scholarship: How to Rapidly Locate and
Avoid Common APA Errors
abstract
This article is relevant for nurses
and nursing students who are writing scholarly documents for work,
school, or publication and who have
a basic understanding of American
Psychological Association (APA) style.
Common APA errors on the reference
list and in citations within the text are
reviewed. Methods to quickly find
and reduce those errors are shared.
J Contin Educ Nurs. 2015;46(10):436438.
N
urses have been empowered by
the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (n.d.) Magnet Recognition Program® to disseminate
nursing knowledge through scholarly
dialogue. Scholarly written communication requires the use of a clear, concise, uniform language. American Psychological Association (APA) style is
most frequently used for scholarly
nursing communication, and information about this style can be found in
the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010).
The APA Publication Manual describes all elements of preparing a
manuscript, including ethics, writing
clearly and concisely, the correct use
of punctuation, how to cite literature,
and how to structure a reference list.
Standards in the APA allow for a consistent writing style that eases reading
comprehension and allows readers to
quickly find and locate the key points
of an article. When in-text citations
and reference lists are written using
APA style, readers can easily retrieve
the publications used in researching
the paper.
This article focuses on common
citation and reference list errors and
how to best identify and correct these
errors. The authors believe that such
errors account for the majority of
the mistakes found in the papers and
articles they have reviewed over the
course of many years. Elimination
of those errors will result in a more
scholarly paper. Because nursing faculty and reviewers for peer-reviewed
journals are familiar with APA style,
they can spot errors before they begin
to read the article. Papers written using
flawless APA style appear more scholarly to the individual who is familiar
with APA guidelines (Freysteinson,
2013). In the current article, we offer
suggestions regarding how to quickly
Dr. Freysteinson is Associate Professor, Dr. Krepper is Professor, and Dr. Mellott is Associate
Professor, Nelda C. Stark College of Nursing, Texas Woman’s University Institute of Health
Sciences-Houston Center, Houston, Texas.
The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.
Address correspondence to Wyona M. Freysteinson, PhD, MN, Associate Professor, Nelda
C. Stark College of Nursing, Texas Woman’s University Institute of Health Sciences-Houston
Center, 6700 Fannin Street, Houston, TX 77030; e-mail: wfreysteinson@twu.edu.
doi:10.3928/00220124-20150918-14
436
and efficiently locate commonly made
errors. In addition, the authors offer a
new lens, or a slightly different way,
of locating these errors. Journal and
book references are used as examples
throughout this article. Key items
within these examples are shown in
boldface for clarity.
REFERENCE LIST
Authors are encouraged to ensure
that all reference list entries are accurate and in APA format (see sections
6.22-6.32; APA, 2010). This article
advocates for the use of several rapid
reviews of the reference list. These
rapidly focused reviews may ultimately save time and be more effective in identifying reference list errors. The four rapid reviews include
reviewing title capitalization, italics,
the ampersand, and the doi number.
Capitalization
One of the most common errors
made on reference lists is related to the
capitalization of article, book, dissertation, and report titles. Only the first
word of the article or book title, subtitle, and proper names are capitalized
(see section 6.29; APA, 2010). In addition, the titles of all journals are capitalized. To avoid inaccurate article title
capitalization, review your reference
list, looking only at the capitalization
of journal article and book titles. Then,
review the references again, looking
only at the capitalization of journal
titles. Examples of correct capitalization are in shown below in boldface.
Journal Article Title. Smart, D.,
English, A., James, J., Wilson, M.,
Copyright © SLACK Incorporated
Daratha, K., Childers, B., & Magera,
C. (2014). Compassion fatigue and
satisfaction: A cross-sectional survey among US healthcare workers.
Nursing & Health Sciences, 16, 3-10.
doi:10.1111/nhs.12068
Book Title. Ricard, M. (2015). Altruism: The power of compassion to
change yourself and the world. New
York, NY: Little Brown.
Journal Title. Smart, D., English, A., James, J., Wilson, M., Daratha, K., Childers, B., & Magera,
C. (2014). Compassion fatigue and
satisfaction: A cross-sectional survey among US healthcare workers.
Nursing & Health Sciences, 16, 3-10.
doi:10.1111/nhs.12068
Italics
Book, dissertation, and report titles
and journal names are shown in italics
(see section 6.29; APA, 2010). Conduct a quick scan of your reference list
for italics to ensure that each entry
has a book, dissertation, or report title
italicized. An italicized item that is
frequently overlooked is the journal
volume number. The volume number
is shown in italics, whereas the issue
number is not italicized. However,
the issue number is shown in parentheses after the volume number only
if the journal is paginated separately
by issue (see section 6.30; APA, 2010).
Examples of correct italicization are in
indicated below in boldface.
Journal Title. Smart, D., English, A., James, J., Wilson, M., Daratha, K., Childers, B., & Magera,
C. (2014). Compassion fatigue and
satisfaction: A cross-sectional survey among US healthcare workers.
Nursing & Health Sciences, 16, 3-10.
doi:10.1111/nhs.12068
Book Title. Rogers, F., Jr. (2015).
Practicing compassion. Nashville,
TN: Fresh Air Books.
Ampersand
The symbol for ampersand is “&.”
This symbol is used in reference lists
instead of the word and. When two
to seven authors of a journal or book
are indicated, the ampersand is placed
before the name of the last author (see
section 6.27; APA, 2010). Conduct a
rapid scan for the ampersand of every entry in your reference list with
more than one author and up to seven
authors to ensure an ampersand is
present and that it is placed in the correct position. When a publication has
eight or more authors, an ampersand
is not used. Rather, only the first six
authors’ names are shown, followed
by a comma, three ellipsis points (with
a space inserted between each ellipsis),
and the last author’s name. Examples
are indicated below in boldface.
Reference With Seven Authors.
Smart, D., English, A., James, J., Wilson, M., Daratha, K., Childers, B.,
& Magera, C. (2014). Compassion
fatigue and satisfaction: A cross-sectional survey among US healthcare
workers. Nursing & Health Sciences,
16, 3-10. doi:10.1111/nhs.12068
Reference With More Than Seven
Authors. Ross, A.J., Anderson, J.E.,
Kodate, N., Thomas, L., Thompson,
K., Thomas, B., . . . Jaye, P. (2013).
Simulation training for improving
the quality of care for older people:
An independent evaluation of an
innovative programme for interprofessional education. BMJ Quality
& Safety, 22, 495-505. doi:10.1136/
bmjqs-2012-000954
Digital Object Identifier
The majority of journal articles
have a digital object identifier (DOI),
which is a unique identifier and a path
to an article’s location on the Internet.
The DOI is typically found within
each article or is readily obtained by
searching for the article by typing the
title in the search field of an Internet
browser. For articles that do not have
a doi, the URL of the journal website
homepage can be used (see section
6.32; APA, 2010). Conducting a rapid
scan for the DOI will ensure that all of
The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing · Vol 46, No 10, 2015
your journal entries have a DOI number or URL. Examples of the DOI
number or journal website homepage
are indicated below in boldface.
Reference With DOI. van der
Cingel, M. (2014). Compassion: The
missing link in quality of care. Nurse
Education Today, 34, 1253-1257.
doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2014.04.003
Reference Without DOI. Dellasega, C., Gabbay, R., Durdock,
K., & Martinez-King, N. (2009). An
exploratory study of the orientation
needs of experienced nurses. The
Journal of Continuing Education in
Nursing, 40, 311-316. Retrieved from
http://www.healio.com/nursing/
journals/jcen
CITATIONS WITHIN THE TEXT
Occasionally, there is confusion
around the reference list and citing
the references within the body of the
text. For students and new authors,
APA style may primarily be perceived
as being all about the reference list.
Accordingly, many may turn to reference management software to build
the reference list. Several such programs are available and can be readily
located by using the search function
of an Internet browser. However,
those programs are not useful to determine the citation format within the
text of the article. Citations provide
support for knowledge, facts, and figures that are not typically known and
are required when a researcher uses
references that influence the writing
of a paper. Scanning your text for
author citations using the word and,
ampersands, the term et al., and reviewing direct quotations, which will
require indication of the page number
on which the quotation appears in
the cited material, will eliminate the
majority of citation errors.
When to Use “And” or “&”
When two to five authors are
initially cited within the text, the
ampersand symbol is used if the
437
authors are cited within parentheses. When authors’ surnames appear within the narrative of the text,
place the word and before the final
author’s name. Conducting a quick
scan of your article, looking only for
the ampersand and the word and in
author citations, will aid in identifying this error. Note that although
the authors’ initials are used on the
reference list, only the surname of
authors is used within the text (see
section 6.12; APA, 2010). Examples
are shown below in boldface.
Citing Authors Parenthetically.
The best book about teamwork was
written as a handbook for teams to use
(Scholtes, Joiner, & Streibel, 2003).
Citing Authors in the Text Narrative. Scholtes, Joiner, and Streibel
(2003) wrote the best book available if you want to know about how
teams work.
When to Use “et al.” The abbreviation “et al.” is used in some author
citations within the text. In works
by one to five authors, all authors’
last names are cited at first mention
in the text. For subsequent citations
of three to five authors, use the first
author’s last name followed by “et
al.” Work by six or more authors is
cited at the first and all subsequent
mentions in the text by the first author’s name and “et al.” When a publication has two authors, both author
names are always cited throughout
the text. Table 6.1 in the Publication Manual (APA, 2010, p. 177) is
an excellent resource for basic citation styles and the best quick guide
for how to cite a reference the first
time it appears and in subsequent
citations; the difference between a
parenthetical citation and an in-text
citation is also demonstrated. Examples are shown below in boldface.
First Time Three to Five Authors
Are Cited in the Text. Scholtes,
Joiner, and Streibel (2003) wrote
the best book available if you want
to know about how teams work.
438
Subsequent Times Three to Five
Authors Are Cited in the Text.
Scholtes et al. (2003) wrote a great
book on how teams work.
Each Time Six or More Authors Are
Cited in the Text. Ross et al. (2013)
wrote a book on simulation training.
QUOTATIONS
The use of quoted material does
not make an article stronger or more
factual. In scholarly written communications, direct quotations should
be used sparingly and only when the
information being relayed cannot
be said in any other way. Referring
to another person’s work or paraphrasing that work is appropriate.
Quotations of less than 40 words
are placed within quotation marks,
followed by the author(s) name(s),
publication year, and page number
(designated by the abbreviation “p.”)
in parentheses. The sentence punctuation mark (period) is placed after
the closing parenthesis of the author
citation. Quotations of more than 40
words are placed in a freestanding
block of text. All quotations require
the page number on which the quotation appears in the original work
(see section 6.03; APA, 2010). Review
your quotations for the correct use
of quotation marks or block of text,
and ensure every quotation has a page
number indicated with the citation.
In block quotations, the period follows the quotation, and the citation
inserted without ending punctuation.
Quotations of Less Than 40 Words.
“Authors do not present the work of
another as if it were their own work”
(APA, 2010, p. 16).
Quotations of 40 or More Words.
Over the years, the [APA] Publication Manual has grown by necessity from a simple set of style
rules to an authoritative source
on all aspects of scholarly writing, from the ethics of duplicate
publication to the word choice
that best reduces bias in language.
(APA, 2010, p. 3)
REFERENCE LIST AND CITATION
CONGRUENCE
A common error found in papers is
the spelling of author names in in-text
citations that do not match the spelling
of those names on the reference list. In
a similar manner, the publication year
cited may be different in the text, compared with the reference list. One way
to correct this error is to use the “find”
feature in a Word document, which is
located under the Home tab. Using
the find feature, highlight the name of
the author in the text and each time the
author’s name was cited in the text and
on the reference list will appear on the
screen. Use this opportunity to visually check all citations against the reference list. Whenever a discrepancy is
found, check the reference against the
original publication. As a bonus, this
search will enable you to make sure
that the et al. abbreviation discussed
above was used correctly throughout
the text.
CONCLUSION
Many schools of nursing and nursing journals have adopted the APA as
its primary language of scholarship.
This article aimed to address rapid
review tools to ensure that the reference list and in-text citations are written in APA format. The language of
the APA may be initially frustrating;
however, when this writing style is
learned, authors find papers easier to
write, as they are not bogged down
by wondering how to cite documents
or develop a reference list.
REFERENCES
American Nurses Credentialing Center.
(n.d.). Home page. Retrieved from http://
www.nursecredentialing.org/default.aspx
American Psychological Association. (2010).
Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Freysteinson, W.M. (2013). The language of
scholarship for novice writers. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 44, 533-534. doi:10.3928/0022012420131121-13
Copyright © SLACK Incorporated
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without
permission.
Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
ISSN: 2251 – 6204
www.mjltm.com
submit@mjltm.com
hamedghaemi@ymail.com
Editor – in – Chief
Hamed Ghaemi, Assistant Professor in TEFL, Islamic Azad University (IAU)
Editorial Board:
1. Abednia Arman, PhD in TEFL, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran
2. Afraz Shahram, PhD in TEFL, Islamic Azad University, Qeshm Branch, Iran
3. Amiri Mehrdad, PhD in TEFL, Islamic Azad University, Science and research
Branch, Iran
4. Azizi Masoud, PhD in Applied Linguistics, University of Tehran, Iran
5. Basiroo Reza, PhD in TEFL, Islamic Azad University, Bushehr Branch, Iran
6. Dlayedwa Ntombizodwa, Lecturer, University of the Western Cape, South
Africa
7. Doro Katalin, PhD in Applied Linguistics, Department of English Language
Teacher Education and Applied Linguistics, University of Szeged, Hungary
8. Dutta Hemanga, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, The English and Foreign
Languages University (EFLU), India
9. Elahi Shirvan Majid, PhD in TEFL, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran
10. Fernández Miguel, PhD, Chicago State University, USA
11. Ghaemi Hamide, PhD in Speech and Language Pathology, Mashhad
University of Medical Sciences, Iran
12. Ghafournia Narjes, PhD in TEFL, Islamic Azad University, Neyshabur
Branch, Iran
13. Grim Frédérique M. A., Associate Professor of French, Colorado State
University, USA
14. Izadi Dariush, PhD in Applied Linguistics, Macquarie University, Sydney,
Australia
15. Kargozari Hamid Reza, PhD in TEFL, Payame Noor University of Tehran,
Iran
16. Kaviani Amir, Assistant Professor at Zayed University, UAE
17. Kirkpatrick Robert, Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics, Shinawatra
International University, Thailand
18. Mehrani Mehdi, PhD in TEFL, University of Neyshabur, Neyshabur, Iran
19. Morady Moghaddam Mostafa, PhD in TEFL, University of Tabriz, Iran
20. Mouton Nelda, PhD in Education Management, North-West University
(NWU), South Africa
Vol. 6, Issue 5, August 2016
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
21. Najafi Sarem Saeid, PhD Candidate in TEFL, Islamic Azad University, Science
and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran
22. Naicker Suren, Department of Linguistics and Translation, University of
South Africa
23. Ndhlovu Finex, PhD, Linguistics Programme, University of New England,
Australia
24. Raddaoui Ali Hechemi, PhD, Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics,
University of Wyoming in Laramie, USA
25. Rezaei Saeed, PhD in TEFL, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
26. Rolstad Kellie, PhD, Associate Professor of Education, University of
Maryland, USA
27. Roohbakhshfar Hamid, PhD in TESOL, Islamic Azad University, Neyshabur
Branch, Iran
28. Sanatifar Mohammad Saleh, PhD in Translation Studies, Tabaran Institute of
Higher Education, Mashhad, Iran.
29. Shafiee Sajad, Department of English, Shahrekord Branch, Islamic Azad
University, Shahrekord, Iran
30. Stobart Simon, PhD, Dean of Computing, Teesside University, UK
31. Suszczynska Malgorzata, Senior Assistant Professor, University of Szeged,
Hungary
32. Tabeifard Sayed Javad, PhD in ELT, University of Tehran, Kish International
Campus, Iran
33. Weir George R. S., PhD in Philosophy of Psychology, University of
Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
34. Zabihi Reza, PhD in TEFL, University of Neyshabur, Neyshabur, Iran
35. Zegarac Vladimir, PhD, University of Bedfordshire, UK
Vol. 6, Issue 5, August 2016
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Abstracting/Indexing
Index Copernicus 2011
Linguistics Abstract
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EBSCO Publication
Lulu Publication
Directory of Open Access Journals
ProQuest
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Modern Language Association
Cabell’s Directories
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Directory of Research Journal Indexing (DRJI)
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Indian Citation Index
International Society of Universal Research in Sciences
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Vol. 6, Issue 5, August 2016
Page 7
Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE EFFECT OF ETYMOLOGY INSTRUCTION ON IDIOMATIC CAPABILITY OF IRANIAN
INTERMEDIATE EFL LEARNERS
Sorour Parvin Nejad
USING EXPLICIT FLUENCY TRAINING TO IMPROVE THE READING COMPREHENSION OF
SECOND GRADE CHINESE IMMIGRANT STUDENTS
Kai Yung (Brian) Tam
Mary Anne Heng
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BELIEFS ABOUT LANGUAGE LEARNING, GENDER, AND
THE USE OF LANGUAGE LEARNING STRATEGIES OF IRANIAN EFL LEARNERS
Halimeh Ahmadi
Pegah Abdollahzadeh
Ali Taghinezhad
Alireza Mohammad Beigi
CREATIVE WRITING: COMPOSING AND ENJOYING HAIKU IN THE EFL CLASSROOMS
Farzaneh Aladini
Marjan Heydarpour
THE EFFECT OF ORAL AND WRITTEN INSTRUCTION ON DEVELOPING EFL LEARNERS’
STRESS RECOGNITION AT THE INTERMEDIATE LEVEL
Emad Arvand
Bahman Gorjian
AN EXPLORATION OF TASKS, MATERIALS, TECHNIQUES, FACTORS, PRINCIPLES AND
OTHER CLASSROOM VARIABLES RELATED TO L2 LEARNING MOTIVATION AND THE
LEARNING OUTCOME
Davood Asadinik
Esmaeil Jadidi
TRANSLATION OF PROLOGUE OF SAADI’S BOSTAN AND ITS ANALYSIS ACCORDING TO
CATFORD’S THEORY OF TRANSLATION SHIFT
Yahya Barkhordar
THE IMPACT OF EFL TEACHERS’ EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE ON THEIR TEACHING
PREFERENCES
Mohammad Hadi Eal
PERSIAN WH-QUESTIONS: A CASE OF GENDER AND CONTEXT
Elahe Ghasemi Javan
Laya Heidari Darani
IMPACTS OF INPUT ENHANCEMENT ON LISTENING COMPREHENSION IMPROVEMENT
OF IRANIAN INTERMEDIATE FEMALE EFL LEARNERS
Omid Tabatabaei
Afsaneh Khashavi
THE EFFECT OF OPEN CONCEPT SORT STRATEGY ON PRE-INTERMEDIATE LEARNERS’
VOCABULARY RECALL AND RETENTION
Razi Mayah
Bahman Gorjian
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
THE EFFECT OF PRONUNCIATION-FOCUSED LANGUAGE TEACHING ON LISTENING
SKILL DEVELOPMENT
Seyedeh Fatemeh Mousavi
Seyed Reza Basiroo
Akbar Molaee
THE EFFECT OF CODE SWITCHING
CLAUSES BY IRANIAN EFL LEARNERS
Mitra Khalilzad
Nesa Nabifar
ON THE ACQUISITION OF OBJECT RELATIVE
THE ROLE OF PODCAST RECONSTRUCTION IN INTERMEDIATE EFL LEARNERS’ ORAL
PERFORMANCE: THE CASE OF GENDER
Batoul Nasiri
Bahman Gorjian
IRANIAN EFL LEARNERS’ ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION PROBLEMS AND THE USEFUL
SUGGESTIONS TO TEACH THEM
Abbas Pourhosein Gilakjani
THE EFFECT OF DIGITAL GAMES ON IRANIAN PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’
VOCABULARY RETENTION
Marjan Latifie Keraroudi
Hamed Babaie
Majid Pourmohammadi
THE IMPACT OF EXTENSIVE VERSUS INTENSIVE READING ON IRANIAN INTERMEDIATE
EFL LEARNERS’ KNOWLEDGE OF SEMANTIC PROSODY
Niloofar Mohammadzadeh
Majid Pourmohammadi
Hamed Babaie
ON THE IMPACT OF ONE-WAY VS. TWO-WAY TASKS ON IRANIAN INTERMEDIATE EFL
LEARNERS’ COLLOCATION COMPETENCE
Pouyan Pourramzan
Akhtar Zohouri Vaghei
Davood Taghipour Bazargani
THE IMPACT OF FIRST LANGUAGE POLYSEMOUS WORDS ON THE PRODUCTION OF
SECOND LANGUAGE LEXICAL ITEMS
Omid Tabatabaei
Mahmoud Mehrabi
Nafise Radi
The Scope of Discourse Analysis and Language Teaching (A review)
Payman Rajabi
Abbas Bayat
Ahmad Reza Jamshidipour
Masoud Hashemi
THE EFFECT OF TEACHER’S FACIAL EXPRESSIONS ON TEACHING PHONETICS
Behnaz Rastegar
Parya Isazadeh
Neda Rostami
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MOTIVATION AND SELF-EFFICACY OF IRANIAN HIGH
SCHOOL LEARNERS AND THEIR VOCABULARY SIZE
Nicki Sadat Razavi
Seyed Mohammad Reza Amirian
ACCEPTABILITY AND ADEQUACY IN TRANSLATION OF JOHN STEINBECK’S NOVEL BY
PARVIZ DARYOUSH
Reza Fatemi
THE EFFECT OF PROMPT CARDS ON VOCABULARY LEARNING: COMPREHENSION AND
PRODUCTION
Zahra Rezaee Galedari
Seyed Reza Basiroo
TEXTUALITY ORIENTED OR GRAMMATICALITY
Farid Ghaemi
Forouzan Rezaei Tajani
THE IMPACT OF USING GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS ON LEARNING THE ORGANIZATION OF
WRITING SKILL AMONG IRANIAN PRE-INTERMEDIATE EFL LEARNERS
Maryam Rezaie
Bahman Gorjian
ORIGINALITY AND PLAGIARISM IN SCIENTIFIC DOCUMENTATION AND ACADEMIC
WRITING
Hossein Saadabadi M.
Arshad Abdul Samad
THE EFFECT OF RECAST VS. SELF_CORRECTION ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF WRITING
ABILITIES OF IRANIAN HIGH SCHOOL EFL STUDENTS
Parastoo Saadat
Masoumeh Arjmandi
Marjan Heydarpour
SENTENCE-INITIAL CONJUNCTIVE ADVERBIALS IN ACADEMIC ARTICLES WRITTEN BY
NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS AND IRANIAN EFL WRITERS
Amir Sabzevari
Hamidreza Haghverdi
Reza Biria
THE MEDIATION OF MOBILE APPLICATION IN BOOSTING THE VOCABULARY
LEARNING OF UPPER-INTERMEDIATE EFL LEARNERS: ADVANTAGES AND
DISADVANTAGES
Fazlolah Samimi
Saeideh Mahmoodi Moemen Abadi
THE INFLUENCE OF TEACHING EXPLICIT READING STRATEGIES ON IRANIAN EFL
LEARNERS’ READING COMPREHENSION ABILITY
Fateme Saneie Kashanifar
THE EFFECT OF DYNAMIC ASSESSMENT ON IRANIAN INTERMEDIATE EFL LEARNER’S
NARRATIVE PERFORMANCE
Shahabaddin Behtari
Malahat Shabani Minaabad
Mehdi Adli Hamzekhanlou
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
LEXICAL INFERENCING STRATEGIES OF IRANIAN EFL LEARNERS AT DIFFERENT LEVELS
OF PROFICIENCY WHILE READING
Zahra Rouholamin
Sajad Shafiee
A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF SIMPLE TEXT TRANSLATION BASED ON TARGET
LANGUAGE EMPHASIS VS. SOURCE LANGUAGE EMPHASIS METHODS AMONG
IRANIAN BA TRANSLATION TRAINEES
Mohammad-Ali Shahed Sadeq (corresponding author)
Majid Pourmohammadi
Mohsen Khleseh Dehghan
THE EFFECT OF INDIVIDUALIZATION VERSUS COLLABORATION ON THE ACCURCY OF
WRITTEN GRAMMAR
Narminolsadat Shahgoli
Farahman Farrokhi
INVESTIGATING THE IMPACT OF CONSTRUCT IRRELEVANT
DEPENDABILITY OF WDCT AND ODCT PRAGMATIC TESTS
Reza Shahi
FACTORS
ON
IN SEARCH FOR A SUPPLEMENTARY PATH TO ENHANCE L2 VOCABULARY RECALL AND
ACQUISITION
Nima Shakouri
Parviz Maftoon
COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS BETWEEN CONSONANTS IN ENGLISH AND PERSIAN
Bibi Zohreh Shojaee
THE EFFECT OF USING SHORT STORIES AND SONGS ON THE SECOND LANGUAGE
ACHIEVEMENT OF IRANIAN YOUNG LEARNERS
Mehrdad Amiri
Fatemeh Sobouti
THE IMPACT OF SIMPLIFIED VS ORIGINAL TEXT PRACTICE ON IRANIAN PREINTERMEDIATE EFL LEARNERS’ READING COMPREHENSION ABILITY
Sophia Razmjou Soufiani
Majid Pourmohammadi
Hamed Babaie
INVESTIGATING THE IMPACT OF GENDER ON FOREIGN LANGUAGE LEARNING
ANXIETY OF IRANIAN EFL LEARNERS
Ali Taghinezhad
Pegah Abdollahzadeh
Mehdi Dastpak
Zohreh Rezaei
THE SUPERIORITY OF LINGUISTIC, PSYCHOLOGICAL, OR SOCIAL FRAMEWORKS IN
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
Hamideh Taheri
Firooz Sadighi
EXPLORING PRE-SERVICE ENGLISH TEACHERS’ LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT LITERACY
Raveewan Viengsang
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
THE IMMEDIATE AND DELAYED EFFECTS OF AUTHORITATIVE VS. FACILITATIVE
INTERVENTIONS ON IRANIAN EFL LEARNERS’ LEVEL OF ANXIETY
Mohammad Ali Yaghchi
Nasser Ghafoori
Nesa Nabifar
VARIABLES AFFECTING L2 VOCABULARY ACQUISITION AND RETENTION; CALL FOR A
HOLISTIC VIEW OF L2 VOCABULARY LEARNING
Mohammad Hossein Yousefi
Reza Biria
ON THE EFFECTS OF TEACHERS’ EMPLOYMENT OF CODE SWITCHING ON IRANIAN EFL
LEARNERS’ VOCABULARY RETENTION AND MOTIVATION
Fariba Zanjani
Zargham Ghapanchi
Hamed Ghaemi
THE IMPACT OF ANTICIPATION GUIDES AS PRE-READING ACTIVITIES ON IRANIAN
INTERMEDIATE EFL LEARNERS’ READING COMPREHENSION ABILITY
Seyyedeh Mansoureh Zib Sayyadan
Majid Pourmohammadi
Ghasem Aghajanzadeh Kiasi
A COMPARATIVE STUDY ON INTONATIONAL ELEMENTS AND
COMMISSIVE
ILLOCUTIONARY FORCE INTERFACE WITH RESPECT TO CONTEXTUAL ASPECTS AND
CULTURAL BACKGROUND
Elkhas Veysi
Farangis Abbaszadeh
INVESTIGATION OF GOOGLE TRANSLATE TRANSLATION BASED ON LEXICOGRAMMAR-ERROR MODEL OF HAR INSPIRED FROM SFG CONCERNING VERBAL
PROCESS
Aghagolzadeh Ferdows
Kambuziya Aliyeh
Golfam Arsalan
Rahmani Zeinolabedin
CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS OF TWO LANGUAGES WITH THE SAME NAME IN TWO
DIFFERENT GEOGRAPHIC REGIONS: AINU LANGUAGE IN CHINA AND AINU
LANGUAGE IN JAPAN
Samaneh Satari
THE IMPACT OF TASK COMPLEXITY ALONG SINGLE TASK DIMENSION ON EFL
IRANIAN LEARNERS’ WRITTEN PRODUCTION:
STRUCTURAL COMPLEXITY
Esmaeil Shajeri
Siros Izadpanah
THE STUDY OF INSTRUCTIONAL APPROACH (FONF OR FONFS) IN FACILITATING
INCIDENTAL ACQUISITION OF PLURAL S AND COPULA BE
Hossein Arabgary
Siros Izadpanh
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
THE EFFECT OF ETYMOLOGY INSTRUCTION ON
IDIOMATIC CAPABILITY OF IRANIAN
INTERMEDIATE EFL LEARNERS
Sorour Parvin Nejad
Department of Management and Humanities,
Islamic Azad University of Tonekabon, Tonekabon, Iran
ABSTRACT
THE PRESENT STUDY ENDEAVORS TO INVESTIGATE THE IMPACT OF ETYMOLOGICAL
TREATMENTS ON LEARNING IDIOMS AMONG ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS. FORTY
INTERMEDIATE STUDENTS AT ISLAMIC AZAD UNIVERSITY IN TONEKABON WERE
SELECTED FROM AMONG A TOTAL NUMBER OF 64 LEARNERS BASED ON THEIR
PERFORMANCES ON THE NELSON PROFICIENCY TEST TO FULFILL THE PURPOSE OF THE
STUDY. THE STUDENTS WERE THEN ASSIGNED INTO AN EXPERIMENTAL GROUP AND A
CONTROL GROUP. INITIALLY, A PRE-TEST OF IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS INCLUDING 36
IDIOMATIC ITEMS WAS ADMINISTERED TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN ALL GROUPS. DURING
THE INSTRUCTIONAL PERIOD, THE EXPERIMENTAL GROUP WAS TAUGHT A GROUP OF
ABNORMALLY
DECOMPOSABLE
IDIOMS
THROUGH
DIFFERENT
TREATMENTS
ELABORATION. AT THE END OF THE INSTRUCTIONAL PERIOD, THE PARTICIPANTS IN ALL
GROUPS WERE GIVEN A POSTTEST WHICH WAS THE SAME AS THE PRETEST. THE DESIGN
OF THIS STUDY IS QUASI-EXPERIMENTAL. THE FINDINGS OF THIS STUDY HAVE
IMPLICATIONS FOR EFL TEACHERS, STUDENTS, AND MATERIALS DEVELOPERS.
KEYWORDS: ETYMOLOGICAL TREATMENTS, ETYMOLOGICAL ELABORATION, IDIOMATIC
EXPRESSION
Introduction
Failing to remember previously studied idioms serves as one of the most commonly reported
difficulties in idiom learning. This article makes an attempt to resolve this complex matter through a
practical lesson, which is based on the etymology of the word hermetic. This sample lesson is
examined both theoretically and practically through teaching it in an advanced class and gathering
the students‟ opinions about it, using a short questionnaire. These opinions show a positive attitude
toward the lesson on the part of the students. The importance of idiom learning can be perceived by
looking at the body of research done in this regard (e.g. Singleton, 2008), the type of teaching
techniques and materials developed (e.g. Gairns & Redman, 1998), and also the number of word lists
offered for different purposes (e.g., West, 1953; Nation, 1990; Laufer, 1992; or Cobb, 2002).
Research Questions
In order to investigate the effects of the etymology approach for vocabulary learning, the following
research question was generated:
Q1. Does etymology instruction have any significant effect on idiom learning of university EFL
students?
Materials and Methods
Participants
The population of the present study included 40 male EFL students at intermediate level of language
proficiency who were selected out of 64 learners from Islamic Azad University, Tonekabon branch.
After conducting the proficiency test, the participants whose scores were one standard deviation
above and below the mean were selected. Due to the existing limitations, no randomization was used
in selecting the participants.
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
Instruments
The following instruments were employed in the present study: a) a standard proficiency test (Nelson
Proficiency Test), b) a researcher-made pre/posttest of idioms, and c) some idiomatic pictorial clues.
Nelson Proficiency Test
The first instrument used in this study was an English general language proficiency test adopted from
a Nelson Proficiency Test to measure general language proficiency level of the participants and to
ensure that they all belonged to the same population. Originally, the test comprised four sections
including speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Each of the writing and reading sections had
three parts (sign interpretation, two reading texts, and a vocabulary cloze for the reading part; and
paraphrasing, letter writing, and story writing for the writing part). The reliability estimate of the test
(r=0.78), calculated through Kuder-Richardson formula (KR-21), indicated that the test had a
relatively high reliability index and showed that there was an acceptable internal consistency among
the items of the test.
Pre/Posttest of Idioms
The pretest consisted of 35 items assessing knowledge of idioms at the level of comprehension. The
students were free to elaborate on the meaning of idioms in Persian or in English. A pilot study was
done on 14 students and the reliability analysis of the test was confirmed through test-retest method
as .76. The same test was administered to the participants at the time of post testing.
Data Collection and Procedure
In order to ensure the homogeneity of the participants and determine the participants’ language
proficiency, the researcher administered the Nelson Proficiency Test to 64 students. Forty students
were selected as intermediate level learners. Intact group method was used in selecting the
participants. In other words, the students were non-randomly selected and then randomly assigned
to a control group and an experimental group. Initially, the researcher provided the participants with
some introductory information about the objectives of the course, the importance of learning idioms,
the difficulties of learning and memorizing idioms through verbal definitions, and finally different
methods of treating idioms along with the other tools. The participants were administered a
proficiency test before being exposed to the treatments. A pretest including the target idiomatic
expressions was administered to the target population to assess the students’ degree of familiarity
with the target items in the second instructional session. The participants in the experimental group
followed a procedure different from the one pursued in the first group. They were provided with
some handouts including the etymology of the idioms. In the thirteenth session, the participants in
the three groups had to review the idioms they had learned during the instructional period. Finally, a
posttest was administered to the participants in the ultimate session to assess the students’ degree of
achievement.
Results & Findings
Results of Pretest
The major question addressed in this study was whether the use of etymology strategy would
improve Iranian EFL learners’ idiom learning at the upper-intermediate level of language proficiency.
Before the implementation of treatment (i.e., etymology instruction), the researcher administered a
researcher-made idiom pretest to experimental and control groups in order to compare the two
groups’ means obtained from the pretest. To capture the initial differences between the two groups’
means on pretest, a t-test was applied. The results appear in Tables 1 and 2. Based on Table 1, the
means of experimental group and control group are 39.06, 37.23, respectively. Based on Table 2, the
results obtained from t-test revealed that the two groups did not differ significantly in their
performance on the pre-test at .05 level of significance. The degree of structural significance .050 is
more than α=.05. So there is no significant difference between experimental and control groups from
their overall performance point of view.
Table1. Descriptive Statistics for Pretest Results on Vocabulary Test for Both Groups
Group
Experimental
Control
Vol. 6, Issue 5, August 2016
Mean
39.06
37.23
N
30
30
Std. Deviation
4.107
3.971
Std. Error Mean
.878
.798
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
Table2. Independent Sample T-Test
Pretest
Difference
Mean
Std.
Deviation
Std. Error
Mean
Exp and
Control
2.13
7.541
1.163
Confidence interval
of difference
Lower
Upper
-.12
4.27
T
df
1.43
27
sig(2-tailed)
0.050*
Results of Posttest for Both Groups
In order to see whether the treatment given to the experimental group had caused any significant
change in this group and to see if the participants in this group had performed significantly different
on the posttest, another independent t-test was run. The results obtained from this statistical test are
presented in Table 3 below. The independent sample t-test demonstrated in Table 4 indicated that the
mean difference between the experimental and control groups’ scores measured at the time of
posttest was significant. There is, in fact, a mean difference of 4.43 points between the means of the
two groups. As Table 4 shows, the level of significant .026 is greater than the probability value, Pvalue = 0.026> α =.05. This indicates that the experimental group outperformed the control group. In
other words, it reveals that the treatment given had affected the experimental group.
Table3. Descriptive Statistics for Post-test
Group
Experimental
Control
Mean
42.93
37.70
N
30
30
Std. Deviation
5.247
5.630
Std. Error Mean
.860
1.021
Table4. Independent Sample T-Test
Pretest
Difference
Mean
Std.
Deviation
Std.
Mean
Exp and
Control
4.43
7.709
1.407
Error
Confidence interval
of difference
Lower
Upper
.25
7.11
T
2.187
df
sig(2-tailed)
27
0.026*
Discussion
Idiomaticity has recently attracted considerable attention in linguistics, psycholinguistics and
psychology (Cacciari & Tabbosi, 1993). In other words, languages contain many formulaic phrases
and expressions that every speaker must learn. According to Bobrow & Bell (1973) and Boers et al.
(2004), languages contain many phrases and expressions that every speaker should learn. Because
language production concentrates on an ability to string multi-word expressions, people don`t seem
proficient speakers of the foreign language until they master many idioms that are used in every day
discourse. The results of the study suggest that reference to the idiom origin in the presentation stage
can facilitate the acquisition of both idiom meaning and their linguistic form. Etymological
background is likely to have promoted the creation of mental images for the target expressions that
were stored alongside their verbal forms, facilitating their retention and recall. However, it is
important to remember that the mnemonic effect of etymological input varied depending on the
nature of the task (receptive vs. productive knowledge) and the stage of the experiment (immediate
vs. delayed post-test). The data from this study indicate that students in experimental group
significantly outperformed the students in control group in idiom learning through the etymology
method. The results obtained via this experiment can be a source of motivation for both teachers and
learners to take advantage of etymological awareness to deal with this aspect of language. These
results reveal that figurative aspect of many idioms is not arbitrary; rather, there is an origin or story
behind many of them, and reviving such stories can be a crucial factor in learning idiom. There is a
correlation between this study and findings.
Conclusion
When undergraduates embark on the study of a particular discipline in second language acquisition,
they must absorb a core English idioms specific to an academic discipline. For this, it is imperative
that they become literate in the jargon, the technical terms, and specialized idioms of the field. They
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
must absorb a core English idiom specific to an academic discipline. Each day that students progress
in a target discipline, they are encountering this core idiom which conveys the intellectual flow of
discipline.
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Mitchell. Eye Line, 30, 16-21.
Noroozi, I., & Salehi, H. (2013). The Effect of the etymological elaboration and rote memorization on
learning idioms by Iranian EFL learners. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 4 (4), 845-851.
Saffarian, R., Gorjian, B., & Bavizadeh, K. (2013). The effect of using pictures on EFL learners’
retention of body idiomatic expressions. Journal of Comparative Literature and Culture, 2(4), 150-154.
Schmitt, N. (2010). Researching vocabulary: A vocabulary research manual. New York: Palgrave
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USING EXPLICIT FLUENCY TRAINING TO IMPROVE THE
READING COMPREHENSION OF SECOND GRADE CHINESE
IMMIGRANT STUDENTS
Kai Yung (Brian) Tam
Xiamen University of Technology, China
Ralph Gardner, III
The Ohio State University, U.S.A.
Mary Anne Heng
National Institute of Education
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Christopher D. Yawn
The City College of The City University of New York, U.S.A.
Preparation of this manuscript was fully supported by the Center for Minority Research in Special
Education (COMRISE), Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, USA.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kai Yung (Brian) Tam via his e-mail at
kybtam@xmut.edu.cn or to Ralph Gardner, III at gardner.4@osu.edu.
ABSTRACT
THIS STUDY EVALUATED THE EFFECTS OF EXPLICIT FLUENCY TRAINING ON THE READING
COMPREHENSION OF FOUR 2ND GRADE ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS (ELLS). THE
STUDY CONSISTED OF TWO EXPERIMENTAL CONDITIONS: GROUP INSTRUCTION (GI) AND
GROUP INSTRUCTION WITH FLUENCY READING TRIALS (GI&FRT). GI CONSISTED OF
SMALL GROUP READING INSTRUCTION INVOLVING VOCABULARY DISCUSSIONS, ROUND
ROBIN READING, SILENT READING, AND ORAL READING. THE SAME PROCEDURES WERE
USED DURING THE GI&FRT, EXCEPT THAT INSTEAD OF BEING ASKED TO READ THE
PASSAGE THREE TIMES SILENTLY PRIOR TO READING ORALLY, STUDENTS WERE ASKED TO
READ THE PASSAGE ALOUD THREE TIMES AS QUICKLY AND ACCURATELY AS THEY
COULD PRIOR TO THE ORAL READING ASSESSMENT. THE RESULTS SHOWED A STEADY
INCREASE IN ORAL READING FLUENCY UNDER BOTH EXPERIMENTAL CONDITIONS.
HOWEVER, THERE WAS AN INCREASE IN COMPREHENSION DURING EXPLICIT FLUENCY
TRAINING (GI&FRT) CONDITIONS ACROSS ALL FOUR STUDENTS.
The Center for Immigration Studies (Center) in Washington DC reported that more than three
million new legal and illegal immigrants in the United States in 2014 and 2015, a 39 percent increase
over the previous two years. The number of legal and illegal residing in the US is higher than during
the 2007 economic recession and may match levels in 2000 and 2001 (Camarota, 2016). The Center also
found that, in 2016, the total immigration population in the US is estimated at approximately 43
million. Recently, there has been a surge of immigrants, both legal and illegal, from the regions of
Latin American countries other than Mexico, South Asia (e.g., India and Pakistan), and East Asia (e.g.,
China and Vietnam) (Camarota, 2016).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent data, of 291.5 million people aged 5 and
over in 2011, 60.6 million people (21 percent of US population) spoke a language other than English at
home (Ryan, 2013). The number of children enrolling in American schools who take English as a
second language is rapidly growing (Cartledge, Gardner, & Ford, 2008; Conger, Schwartz, & Stiefel,
2003; National Center for Education Statistics, 2016). In fact, the percentage of public school students
in the US who were English language learners (ELLs) was higher in the 2013-14 school year, an
estimated 4.5 million students, than in 2003-04, an estimated 4.2 million. ELLs represented
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
approximately 9.3 percent of the national public school population in 2013-14 (National Center for
Education Statistics, 2016). ELLs are students who come from homes where a language other than
English is spoken, and who score below a state-designated proficiency level on a test of English
language skills (New York City Department of Education, 2015).
In 2013-14, 139,843 students were designated as ELLs in New York City (NYC) schools,
making up about 14.3 percent of the city’s public school student population (New York City
Department of Education, 2015). Approximately 49 percent of all ELLs are foreign born, or have
parents who are foreign born. In 2013-14, 43.3 percent (or 423,189 students) of all New York City
Department of Education students reported speaking a language other than English at home (New
York City Department of Education). Nationally, Spanish is the home language for the majority of
ELLs (Gollnick & Chinn, 2013), followed by Chinese (Ryan, 2013). In NYC schools, 14.2 percent (22,
170 students) of ELLs speak Chinese in their homes.
Chinese ELLs have not always received the same level of focus from educators and researchers as
ELLs of other minority groups (Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, 2008). This could
be attributed to the widespread stereotype of academic success among Asian and Asian-American
students that may engender less concern for the special needs of struggling learners from Asian
families (Doan, 2006; Lee, 2009; Tam, 2002). Moreover, there has been a distinct dearth of educational
programs and services designed specifically for this group of students (Ramanathan, 2006; Yau &
Jimenez, 2003).
English Language Instruction
The increasing number of immigrant children has generated interest among educators, and has led to
a growing body of research on how students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds
acquire English in schools (Institute of Education Science, 2007, 2014; Gersten & Baker, 2000). The fact
remains that ELLs comprise one of the largest groups of students who have difficulty developing
English literacy, in general, and vocabulary and comprehension, in particular (August, Carlos,
Dressler, & Snow, 2005; Denton, Anthony, Parker, & Hasbrouck, 2004; McMaster, Kung, Han, & Cao,
2008).
The purpose of English language instruction is to promote the rapid acquisition of English language
skills for students who enter school with limited English (Connell & Resnick, 2004). The two basic
programs for promoting English language instruction for ELLs are bilingual education and English as
a Second Language (ESL) program (Gollnick & Chinn, 2013). Bilingual education programs accept
and include native language instruction in the educational process. English as a Second Language
(ESL) programs only utilize English for instruction (Gollnick & Chinn, 2013). The dominant English
acquisition program in the U.S. has been ESL (Gollnick & Chinn, 2013; Pang, 1995).
Reading Instruction
An important initial step in becoming literate in English is the ability to read accurately with
understanding. While there is a growing body of literature focused on the instructional language for
ELLs, there is less known about the instructional components most critical to the development of
reading skills for these students (Mathes, Pollard-Durodola, Cardenas-Hagan, Linan-Thompson, &
Vaughn, 2007).
If immigrant students are to experience success in American schools, educators must develop
effective reading strategies for these students. English reading proficiency is the single most
important skill required for success in American schools. The National Reading Panel (NRP)’s
extensive review of reading research (2000) identified phonemic awareness, phonological awareness,
fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension as essential components for developmental reading
programs. Additionally, the NRP identified key directions for further research to examine the
relationship between guided oral reading instruction and the development of fluency. In particular,
the NRP identified a need for research into specific components of instructional practice (e.g., oral
reading, guidance, repetition) most responsible for improved fluency. The panel noted a pressing
need for rigorous experimental research on the impact of specific elements of instructional programs
on different student populations (NRP). Reading “fluency” consists of speed, accuracy and prosody
(Bursuck & Damar, 2015; Chard, Vaughn, & Tyler, 2002). Fluency is a critical but often overlooked
component of reading programs (Kame’enui & Simmons, 2001). The U.S. National Research Council’s
Committee for the Prevention of Reading Failure noted that:
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. . . because the ability to obtain meaning from print depends so strongly on the development of word
recognition accuracy and reading fluency, both the latter should be regularly assessed in the
classroom, permitting timely and effective instructional response when difficulty or delay is apparent.
(Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998, p. 7)
Fluency
While there is some debate as to the nature of the relationship between fluency and comprehension,
research generally indicates that an increase in one leads to an increase in the other (Stevens, Walker,
& Vaugh, 2016). Many struggling readers have not developed automaticity or fluency in reading
(Bursuck & Damer, 2015). LeBarge and Samuels’ automaticity theory generated interest among
researchers about the influence of reading fluency on overall reading achievement (Fuchs, Fuchs,
Hosp, & Jenkins, 2001). The theory of automaticity suggests that slow reading consumes working
memory and prevents the individual from actively thinking about the text meaning while reading
(Chard et al., 2002; LeBarge & Samuels, 1974).
Kuhn and Stahl (2003) reviewed the literature on fluency and reading, they found that teachers
should engage in fluency training more frequently because it improves both reading accuracy and
comprehension. Fluency serves as a connector between decoding and comprehension that allows
students to increase their overall reading achievement (Carnine, Silbert, Kame’enui, & Tarver, 2009).
Researchers have found oral reading fluency to be a strong indicator of reading competence
(Kame’enui & Simmons, 2001). Good, Simmons, and Kame’enui (2001) found fluency-based
indicators to be effective predictors of reading success for elementary school students.
Breznitz (1987) conducted four experiments on first grade students in both Israel and the
United States to determine the effects of accelerated reading rates on students’ ability to decode
mistakes and to comprehend altered and unaltered test passages. In a fast-paced condition in all four
experiments, students were required to maintain their own maximal oral reading rates. When
presented with texts at students’ maximal reading rates, students made fewer oral reading errors and
attained higher reading comprehension scores compared to text presented at slower rates. In these
experiments, poor readers, in particular, showed improvements when they experienced reading
conditions that required and encouraged them to read faster.
Repeated reading is one strategy that has demonstrated effectiveness in improving students’ oral
reading fluency and comprehension (Chard et al., 2002; Gorsuch & Taguchi, 2010; Therrien & Kubina,
2006). Therrien, Gormley, and Kubina (2006) recommended combining fluency training and question
asking in order to boost students’ overall reading achievement.
Using a multiple baseline across subjects experimental design, Tam, Heward and Heng (2006)
examined the effects of an intervention program consisting of vocabulary instruction, error correction,
and fluency building on the oral reading rates and reading comprehension of five ELLs who were
struggling readers. There were two intervention conditions in which ELLs received vocabulary
instruction, error correction and fluency training. During the first fluency training condition, each
student was asked to read a new passage as quickly and accurately as possible for three consecutive
trials in each experimental session. In the second fluency training condition, the same passage was
used across sessions until individual students reached a predetermined number of words read
correctly per minute (repeated readings). All the students improved their oral reading rates and
reading comprehension during the two intervention conditions, as compared with their performance
in the baseline phase. All students performed at their highest level of reading accuracy rate and
comprehension during the second fluency training condition (repeated reading). Repeated readings
helped four of five students reach the predetermined fluency criterion of 100 correct words per
minute. There was also improved reading comprehension during the fluency training condition on
comprehension of untaught reading passages.
The purpose of this study was to continue to investigate the effects of fluency training on
improving the reading comprehension and oral reading rate of immigrant children, specifically
Chinese second graders in a public school bilingual class.
The three research questions were:
1.
What effect will Group instruction and Group instruction with fluency training
have on the reading comprehension of immigrant Chinese students?
2.
What effect will Group instruction and Group instruction with fluency training
have on the reading comprehension of novel reading passages?
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
3.
What effect will Group instruction and Group instruction with fluency training
have on the oral reading fluency of immigrant Chinese students?
Method
Setting and Participants
This research project was conducted in a public primary school in a major metropolitan area in the
U.S, in an area known as Chinatown. The school has a diverse student population, comprised
predominantly of Chinese students with smaller numbers of African-American, Hispanic and
Caucasian students. The particular school was chosen because of its sizable population of new
immigrant students, many of these students were struggling to learn English as a second language.
One month before the start of the research project, the teacher-researcher (who is fluent in both
English and Chinese) began daily visits to the school for the purpose of developing relationships with
the students in the classroom. The class was a bilingual class comprising 23 first and second graders.
The teacher-researcher took responsibility for the daily reading instruction for the second graders
while the classroom teacher taught the first graders.
Four immigrant Chinese students in the bilingual class were identified for the project. The four
participants had strong mathematics skills but they were struggling to learn English language skills.
Instructional sessions with the four 2nd graders were held in a quiet area near the students’ home
room. The four participants were identified for the study because: (a) each participant was formally
identified by the local educational agency as an ELL, (b) the principal and teacher recommended each
participant for additional reading instruction, and (c) parental consent was obtained for the student.
At the time of the study, all the participants in the project were new immigrants who had lived in the
U.S. for a period ranging from one year to two-and-a-half years. An initial reading assessment was
completed for each participant using the Brigance Diagnostic Inventory of Basic Skills (Brigance, 1983).
All four participants attained lower first grade level in the word recognition, oral reading and reading
comprehension subtests (see Table 1).
Alice. Alice was a 7-year-old girl who was born in Mainland China. Her first language was
Fukinese/Chinese. Alice had one older brother and one older sister. She lived with her parents in
Chinatown. Alice attended an after-school program for children who lacked academic supervision at
home.
Dexin. An 8-year-old boy born in Mainland China and the only child in the family, Dexin’s
native language was Fukinese/Chinese. He lived in Chinatown with his grandparents. Dexin’s
parents worked in a Chinese restaurant in another state, and were only able to spend time with him
during his summer holidays and during the Chinese New Year holidays. Dexin attended an afterschool program for children who lacked academic supervision at home.
Rui. Rui was an 8-year-old boy who was born in Mainland China. His first language was
Fukinese/Chinese. Rui had no sibling and his biological father stayed in China. He lived with his
mother and stepfather in Chinatown. Rui attended an after-school program for children who lacked
academic supervision because his mother worked long hours every day.
Wing. Wing was an 8-year-old girl who was born in Hong Kong. Her first language was
Cantonese/Chinese. She had no sibling and her parents were divorced. Wing’s mother went back to
Hong Kong and she stayed with her father in Chinatown. As with the other three children, Wing
attended an after-school program for children who lacked academic supervision at home.
Dependent Variables
The number of correct and incorrect responses to comprehension questions from passages
read during reading group was the primary dependent variable. The number of correct and incorrect
words participants read per minute, as well as responses to comprehension questions from novel
reading passages were also analyzed.
Comprehension. Reading comprehension was defined as the child’s ability to respond correctly to
comprehension questions about the selected reading stories. Comprehension was measured as the
number of correct answers to literal and inferential comprehension questions drawn from the reading
passage used in the study. Pupils were given five seconds to answer orally each comprehension
question. For each passage, six comprehension questions were developed, comprising two inferential
(e.g., what does this story teach us? What is the main idea of this story? If you were the character,
what would you do to help Tabby?) and four literal comprehension questions (e.g., What type of
plane does Mr. Putter like most? What did John’s mother do after she was told about John’s
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
trouble?). There was only one correct answer to each literal comprehension question, and although a
little more thought was needed before responding to inferential comprehension questions, similar
responses to those on a prepared answer key were accepted.
Novel passages. Reading comprehension was also measured on novel or untrained passages. Novel
passages were written text that had not been used during instruction and were not available to a
participant prior to the time the participant was asked to read the text silently and respond to
comprehension questions. The same data collection procedures used for the trained passages was
used for the novel passages.
Oral reading fluency. Oral reading fluency was defined as the number of words read correctly in one
minute. Words read correctly per minute were defined as the number of words a participant
pronounced correctly that corresponded to the words in the printed passage, during the 1-minute
timing. Five types of oral reading errors were recorded: omissions, substitutions, repetitions,
insertions and reversals. The participant would sit at the table with the first author (i.e., teacherresearcher). Both the teacher-researcher and the student would have a copy of the reading in front of
them. The teacher-researcher would start the tape-recorder. When the participant began reading the
first word, the teacher-researcher would start the timer. The teacher-researcher would mark each
reading error. When the timer sounded after 1 min., the teacher-researcher would put a vertical line
after the last word read by the participant. The teacher-researcher then counted all of the unmarked
words from the beginning of the story to the vertical line as the correct words read.
Research Design
A multiple baseline across subjects research design was used to analyze the effects of
intervention on the dependent variables (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). The multiple baseline is
an effective design for evaluating the effects of intervention on target behaviors in which the
withdrawal of the effective intervention is not required to demonstrate experimental control (Cooper
et al., 2007).
Procedures
Initial Reading Assessment. At the start of the study, a reading assessment for each participant using
the Brigance Diagnostic Inventory of Basic Skills (1983) was conducted. The teacher-researcher shared
the assessment data with the classroom teacher. The teacher-researcher and classroom teacher then
determined the reading materials to be used in the study. Reading passages selected from commercial
reading materials (e.g., Reading for Understanding by Taught Fair, Inc.) were used for the project.
The beginning level second grade reading materials were selected for all participants based on the
assessment data. The passages contained 90 – 110 words. All passages were typed, double-spaced in
16-point Times New Roman font on 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets of paper. Accompanying pictures or titles of
reading passages (if any) were deleted so that students had to obtain answers to the comprehension
questions from the text itself (Vargas, 1984).
Baseline-Group Instruction (GI). In order to examine the effects of fluency trials on learner oral reading
rate and reading comprehension, the teacher-researcher used GI as the baseline condition in which
the learner did not receive any fluency training. GI comprised two segments: (a) group instruction,
and (b) individual practice. During GI, participants were instructed to read an instructional passage
silently twice and underline words they could not pronounce and/or define. Each participant raised
his or her hand when he or she had finished reading the passage. The teacher-researcher then read the
passage to the participants and required them to follow along by pointing to each word as the
teacher-researcher read. The teacher-researcher would periodically look-up when he was reading the
passage and praise children for following along with their fingers or redirect them to point to each
word if they were not doing so. The teacher-researcher instructed and modeled oral reading skills:
reading with expression and reading at an appropriate rate, pronouncing word endings, and pausing
at periods and commas. After hearing the passage read, participants were asked to define the words
they underlined. Participants were also encouraged to define words by using context clues. The
teacher-researcher verified the accuracy of participants’ definitions, praising participants for correct
definitions as well as crediting effort even when definitions were inaccurate. Incorrect responses were
immediately corrected with the teacher-researcher supplying the correct definition. The teacherresearcher then read the passage a second time followed by a review of the vocabulary words.
Participants were asked about words they did not know or could not pronounce. If participants still
could not define a word, the teacher-researcher would again define the word. Round-robin reading
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
then followed. The participants were randomly called on to read to increase their focus during
instruction (Bursuck & Damer, 2015). The entire passage was read using this method. The same
round-robin reading procedure was conducted again, but the second time, participants were asked to
read multiple sentences (i.e., 2 to 3 sentences). Participants were given the opportunity to raise
questions, if any, about the passage.
Following the round robin reading during GI, individualized practice was conducted for each
participant. Each participant read a passage silently three times, after which the participant were
given another opportunity to raise questions about the passage. The teacher-researcher audio-taped
each participant reading the passage orally.
During individual instruction, the teacher-researcher called a particular participant over to a
designated individual-instruction table. For each session, the order in which different participants
were called upon for individual instruction varied. The remaining participants were assigned
independent seatwork at a separate group table in an unrelated subject (i.e., math). At the group
table, participants put on headsets and listened to soft background instrumental music while they
worked on their assignments. The music decreased the possibility that they could overhear their
classmate’s oral reading and responses to comprehension questions. A behavioral management plan
for the participants at the group table was also implemented. Each participant received stickers when
he or she completed an independent assignment and behaved appropriately while the teacherresearcher was working with another participant.
At the individual instruction table, the teacher-researcher turned on the tape recorder and this
signaled the beginning of the session as the teacher-researcher gave the participant an instructional
passage to read. The participant was praised for his or her efforts during individual instruction (i.e.,
oral reading and comprehension questions), after which the participant returned to work on
independent seatwork assignments at the group table. Another participant was called upon for
individual instruction and the process continued until all four participants completed individual
instruction.
Intervention-Group Instruction and Fluency Reading Trials (GI&FRT). In the Group Instruction
and Fluency Reading Trials condition, explicit fluency reading was introduced as part of the reading
program. During GI&FRT, the same procedures used in GI condition were implemented. As part of
the individualized instruction, each participant was asked to read aloud an instructional passage
three times. Before each reading, the participant was told to read as quickly and accurately as
possible, and to omit words he/she did not know. Before the second reading, the participant was
informed of the speed of the first reading and encouraged to improve on the number of words read
correctly. The third reading proceeded in the same fashion, with the participant being encouraged to
improve on the speed of the second reading. The audio-taping of each participant’s oral reading
occurred following these three readings.
Generality Probes. Generality probes were administered throughout the study to examine
whether transfer of training occurred. A new untaught passage at each participant’s instructional
reading level was used for each probe. The purpose of the probes was to find out if improvement in
reading comprehension would transfer to novel reading passages. Participants did not have to read
the passage aloud during the probes. They were given five minutes to read a passage, after which
they were asked six questions on the passage. Each participant’s response to each comprehension
question was recorded.
Monitoring Intervention Procedures to Enhance Believability of the Data
Each participant’s oral reading and responses to comprehension questions were audio-taped to
provide a permanent product for recording reading rate as well as to obtain interobserver agreement
(IOA) data. After each reading session, the tape was replayed and all words incorrectly read were
marked. The number of correct and incorrect words read, the total amount of time each participant
engaged in reading the passage, as well as correct responses to comprehension questions were noted.
Interobserver Agreement on Dependent Variables
A random sample comprising 20% of all reading sessions was selected. A word-by-word and answerby-answer comparison was made. The homeroom teacher served as the second observer in the
computation of the IOA. Mean IOA for words read correctly per minute for all four participants was
95.8% (with a range from 90.4% to 98.7%). The mean agreement for correct answers to comprehension
questions was 100% for all four participants for all observed sessions.
Procedural Reliability
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
The homeroom teacher who served as the independent observer completed a procedural
checklist which contains the specific sequence of instruction and feedback statements for 20% of each
experimental condition. A step-by-step score was calculated based on the observations for the
required elements of each session. Procedural reliability was 100% for all sessions observed during
GI, GI&FRT and generality probes.
Results
Tables 2 and 3 summarize the mean number and range of words read correctly per minute, as well as
the correct responses to comprehension questions by each ELL participant across the two
experimental conditions.
Reading Comprehension
There was an improvement in reading comprehension once GI&FRT condition was implemented
across all four participants. All participants showed an increase in comprehension scores on GI&FRT
as compared to baseline condition of GI only (see Figure 1 and Table 2). Alice, Dexin, Wing and Rui
registered an increase in the mean number of correct responses to comprehension questions, with
increases of 1.7, 1.7, 1.4, and 1.6 more correct responses, respectively. On average, participants
registered an increase of 1.6 more correct responses. For generality probes on novel, untaught
passages, Alice, Xin, Chun and Riu registered increases of 0.5, 0.7, 0.3, and 0.1 more correct responses,
respectively. The average increase across participants was 0.4 more correct responses (see Table 3).
Oral Reading Rate
A functional relationship between reading fluency training and oral rate was not found, although all
the participants did experience increased reading fluency. There was a steady increase in reading
fluency across both experimental conditions for all 4 participants. Figure 2 presents the steady
increase in the oral reading rate of one of the ELL participants, Dexin.
As compared to GI, GI&RFT led to an increase in the mean number of correct words read per minute
for all four participants, with increases of 27.6, 38.2, 36.7, and 37.4 words for Alice, Dexin, Wing and
Rui, respectively. The average gain across participants is 35 more correct words read per minute (see
Table 3).
Discussion
This study analyzed the effects of fluency reading trials paired with group instruction on the
comprehension and oral reading rate of elementary ELLs. Specifically, this study involved four 2nd
grade Chinese immigrant students who were reading below grade level. This is an ethnic population
often overlooked in research studies of academic difficulties. It is well-documented, however, that
when children have reading deficits in elementary school, they will continue to experience reading
difficulties throughout their schooling unless teachers provide direct and systematic instruction to
develop the needed reading skills (Bursuck & Damer, 2015; Vaughn et al., 2000)
While there was steady improvement in reading comprehension for all for participants during Group
Instruction (GI) the introduction of explicit reading fluency trials prompted an immediate increase in
the ability of the participants to respond to comprehension questions. This is consistent with other
researchers’ findings about the relationship between fluency and comprehension (Breznitz, 1987;
Stephens et al., 2016; Vaugh et al., 2000). Figure 1 shows in the GI condition that each participant was
making gradual process in his or her ability to respond to comprehension questions. However, with
the implementation of fluency trials, there was an immediate sequential improvement in text
comprehension across the four participants. The data shows a correlation between the
implementation of the fluency trials and improved correct responding to comprehension questions.
The data indicates that the GI condition only was effective in providing a gradual improvement in
text comprehension, possibly due to the direct instruction of vocabulary. Fluency trials, however,
accelerated the students’ abilities to respond to accurately to comprehension questions. Interestingly,
the questions that were most frequently missed during the GI condition were inferential questions.
Intuitively, it seems that inferential questions would require more thinking time. In other words,
increasing the oral reading speed would seem to decrease the amount of time participants would
have to think about inferences in the passages. However, the increased oral speed seemed to promote
a better understanding of the text, including inferences. This study did not analyze why this
phenomenon might have occurred, but this study seems to provide further validation for LeBarge
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Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
and Samuels (1974) theory of automaticity. Hence, as oral reading accuracy becomes more automatic,
the individual is able to focus more on other reading tasks, such as understanding the text.
Additionally, this study lends some empirical support to the effectiveness of vocabulary instruction,
round-robin reading, and fluency reading trials for teaching ELLs, and contributes to the limited
work in this area (Foorman, Goldenberg, Carlson, Saunders, & Pollard-Durodola, 2004; Gersten &
Baker, 2000; Mathes et al., 2007; Nixon, McCardle, & Leos, 2007). The study also adds to the small
body of experimental studies that show ELLs benefit from direct, structured and systematic
instruction (e.g., Rousseau & Tam, 1991; Rousseau, Tam, & Ramnarain, 1993; Tam et al.,, 2006).
When participants were encouraged to read faster during the GI and GI&FRT conditions, participants
did so without decreases in accuracy. Participants were able to read over 100 correct words per
minute in most sessions during the GI&FRT conditions. The fact is that there was a steady increase in
reading fluency across all four participants across both experimental conditions. The increase was
steady and consistent, seemingly unaffected by introduction of the fluency trials during the multiple
baseline experimental design.
Markell and Deno (1977) stated that oral reading performance is a reliable indicator of reading
comprehension and that “only when the oral reading scores increase by a substantial amount—
perhaps 15 to 20 words read correctly—can improvement be confidently predicted” (p. 249). The
reading scores of all participants in this study increased to more than 20 words read correctly after
they began to receive group instruction. Moreover, as one study pointed out, prompting participants
to read faster than their normal pace increases their comprehension, whereas a slower than normal
pace decreases comprehension (Breznitz, 1987). Poor readers, in particular, improved their reading
accuracy and comprehension significantly when they were in fast-paced reading. The results of this
study show that fluency training improved comprehension scores.
Transfer of Learning
Although all participants increased their oral reading rate and number of correct responses to
comprehension questions on taught passages, there were only modest gains in comprehension on
untaught passages. Participants registered notably fewer correct responses to comprehension
questions in the generality probes on untaught passages as compared to scores on taught passages,
and showed greater difficulty on inferential (as compared to literal) comprehension questions. This
suggests that ELLs might need to be purposefully instructed to promote reading generality. This
points to the need for teachers to use proven generality strategies to promote students’ ability to
better comprehend novel readings.
Classroom Implications
This study’s results show that teachers can improve ELLs’ ability to comprehend text through explicit
and systematic instruction that includes vocabulary instruction and high levels of active student
responding. The results further demonstrate that the use of fluency trials in effective reading
instruction can rapidly boost students’ comprehension skills. Fluency trials are relatively easy for
teachers to implement and are also easily implemented by student peers.
Fluency trials can be developed using the materials that already exist in the classroom and require a
minimal amount of time during the school day. This low investment strategy, however, seems to
provide a great benefit to students, including ELLs. Fluency training may have its greatest benefit for
those students experiencing reading difficulties or at risk for reading problems. Therefore, making it
an effective supplement to the regular school reading instruction
Limitations
Although the present reading program helped all the participants improve their reading fluency and
reading comprehension on taught passages, the external validity of this study is limited since the
number of participants is small and all of the participants are Chinese immigrants.
This study does not show a functional relationship between oral reading rate and fluency trials.
Instead, there is a steady improvement of oral reading rate across the experimental conditions.
Possibly different results would have been obtained on reading rates if criterion for oral reading rates
were included in the study.
There is a possible ceiling effect for comprehension questions as only six questions per passage were
used in this study. It is not known if the participants would have been able to demonstrate even more
progress with an increased number of comprehension questions.
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Lack of pre-post reading assessments in a limitation that prevents the possible demonstration of
student improvement on standardized achievement test. Future research should include a
comparison of reading achievement before and after intervention.
Summary
The present study showed that a reading program comprising group instruction and fluency reading
trials led to increases in the oral reading rate and reading comprehension scores of four ELL students.
Similar to the reading activities developed by Tam et al (2006) for ELLs, all participants in this study
were offered opportunities to participate in meaningful literacy activities such as adequate feedback
and practice, and opportunities to read and to experience success (Yoon, 2007). The study has
contributed to the limited body of research on teaching ELL students, and has made
recommendations for the use of explicit fluency training to improve reading comprehension for a
small, relatively marginalized group of struggling readers.
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Table 1
Demographic
school-related
data
for
student
participants.
__________________________________________________________________________________________
_________
Student Gender
Age
OR1
RC1
WR1
in US (no. of yrs.)
Ethnicity
Native
Entered School Grade
Language
(Dialect)
__________________________________________________________________________________________
_________
Alice
F
7
Chinese Chinese 2 years & 5 months
2nd
1st
1st
2nd
1st
1st
2nd
(Cantonese)
1st
1st
1st
American
Dexin
M
8
Chinese Chinese
(Fukinese)
2 years
1st
American
Wing
F
8
1st
Chinese Chinese
(Fukinese)
1 year
American
1st
1st
M
8
Chinese Chinese
1 year
2nd
1st
American
(Fukinese)
__________________________________________________________________________________________
Notes:
1 = Brigance Inventory of Basic Skills administered prior to study; WR = word recognition; OR = oral
reading; RC = reading comprehension.
Rui
Table 2
Mean number of comprehension questions answered correctly by each ELL student in each experimental
condition
________________________________________________________________________
Student Group Instruction
Group Instruction &
Fluency Reading Trials
________________________________________________________________________
Alice
3.7
5.4
Vol. 6, Issue 5, August 2016
Page 27
Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM)
(1.3)
(0.8)a
Dexin
3.9
5.6
(1.6)
(2.3)
Wing
4.4
5.8
(2.3)
(2.6)
Rui
4.3
5.9
(3.0)
(3.1)
________________________________________________________________________
Group Mean
4.1
5.7
(1.9)
(2.3)
________________________________________________________________________
Note:
a = Generality Probes
Table 3
The mean number and range of words read correctly per minute in each experimental condition by each ELL
students
________________________________________________________________________
Student
Group Instruction
Group Instruction &
Fluency Reading Trials
________________________________________________________________________
Alice
(46-88)b
Dexin
100.4
72.8a
(87-11…
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