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Vocabulary Decoding and Inferencing Processes of Young Learners during Reading - A Think-Aloud Case Study

Schweitzer, Annette Elisabeth (2016) Vocabulary Decoding and Inferencing Processes of Young Learners during Reading - A Think-Aloud Case Study. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This study investigates the role of strategic and non-strategic knowledge sources that young EFL learners retrieve for decoding vocabulary and inferring contextual meaning whilst reading. The inquiry is based on the theoretical frameworks of incidental vocabulary acquisition and interactive reading comprehension processes. The study uses the Think-Aloud Method (TAM) to probe the introspective and retrospective verbalisations of 9 to 10 year old German-speaking students during reading. The main study data were collected over a 3-week period at the German School Shanghai and consists of the learners’ Think-Aloud Protocols (TAP). The findings of the study support the view of reading as an interactive process. In order to understand written texts, the learner’s cognitive and metacognitive processes in his or her short-term memory trigger the retrieval of appropriate schematic knowledge from the long-term memory for decoding vocabulary and inferring contextual meaning. The results of the study suggest that the learners retrieved a variety of knowledge sources whilst reading. These included linguistic knowledge, external knowledge and strategic knowledge. The range of strategic and non-strategic knowledge sources retrieved by the learners in this study appear to be similar to the knowledge sources retrieved by both adult and young L2 learners in previous empirical studies. The quantity and quality of verbal data collected for this study seem to suggest that the learners were capable of introspective and retrospective verbalisation. This study supports the findings of other think-aloud studies which have demonstrated the effectiveness of TAM for investigating the vocabulary learning and reading processes of young learners. Nevertheless, it appears that the use of well-planned training sessions for the researcher to model the thinking aloud process is important for the success of the method. The study also demonstrates that the use of appropriately leveled reading material is essential for effective data collection and analysis.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Education (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.698237
Depositing User: Dr. Annette Elisabeth Schweitzer
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2016 09:50
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/15502

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