Lezen in onderwijs en onderzoek
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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This paper presents an approach of training foreign language reading based on the theory that reading can be described as a cybernetic process of 'bottom up' and 'top down' processing. In this framework we distinguish five fields of knowledge which the reader can use for 'top down' processing:1. Knowledge about the probability of letter combinations2. Knowledge about sentence structures3. Knowledge about the probability of word combinations4. Knowledge about logical structures5. Knowledge about the worldKnowledge in the fields 1, 2 and 3 is language-bound. Therefore, the ratio between the visual information needed and the knowledge already possessed will be more adverse than in the mother tongue, for most foreign language readers. This lack of knowledge can be compensated for by optimalizing knowledge in the fields 4 en 5, which are only slightly language-bound.To enlarge the readers'knowledge in the fields 1, 2 and 3, we have developed a reading programme, providing the student with a rich learning environment in the form of much reading material of an adequate level. We used the CLOZE-procedure to grade the reading material and to determine the appropriate level. To extend the students'ability to use knowledge from the fields 4 and 5, we developed a training programme partly based on Gal'perins theory of the stagewise development of mental activities. One of the most important stages to be completed is the so-called 'verbal stage', in which the prediction strategies used by the reader had to be expressed in words.After 8 months (one hour a week) a qualitative and a quantitative evaluation was completed. In respect of the latter, we found the most significant effect (p < .01) was an increased ability to predict meaning on the basis of a relatively incomplete foreign language knowledge.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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