Improving lexical access and acquisition through reading the news: case studies of senior high school students in China
Yuandi Zhang & James Milton
This paper reports an empirical study investigating the effects of extensive reading on vocabulary uptake, and speed of word access, among of Chinese high school students using English as a second language. It builds on a study by Masrai & Milton (2018) which reported that an informal program of watching the news on TV and reading subtitles, carried out outside class, could result in significant and measurable improvements in both orthographic vocabulary size and speed of lexical access. This study investigates whether these findings can be repeated with learners from a different L1 background, and reading process background, and where the vocabulary noticing focus of the intervention is removed. The participants were given tests of written vocabulary size, aural vocabulary size, and reading speed. These tests were conducted before and after a six-week intervention which involved reading current news materials. The results showed an increase in reading speed which is assumed to indicate an improvement in the speed of lexical access, but no obvious growth in vocabulary size. It is suggested that this is a learning method which can help facilitate Chinese students' ability to acquire their second language ability in English.
Key words: ELT, Second language acquisition, Chinese education, vocabulary uptake, senior high school, lexical access, reading speed