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Using the YARC Secondary with adult Arabic L1 learners of English: an exploration of L2 learners’ reading comprehension and their ability to learn new words

Treffers-Daller, J., Alkhudiry, R. and Laws, J. (2019) Using the YARC Secondary with adult Arabic L1 learners of English: an exploration of L2 learners’ reading comprehension and their ability to learn new words. Language Studies Working Papers, 10. pp. 3-16. ISSN 2040-3461

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Official URL: https://www.reading.ac.uk/english-language-and-app...

Abstract/Summary

The York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension Secondary Test (YARC) was originally designed by Stothard, Snowling, Clarke, Barmby and Hulme (2010) for secondary school students in the UK between the ages of 11 and 16 (both monolinguals and learners of English as an Additional language). Since tests that were developed for a particular group are not necessarily suitable for other groups, the aim of this research was to find out to what extent the YARC Secondary reading comprehension test could be used to measure reading comprehension among Arabic L1 adult L2 learners of English. As vocabulary knowledge has often been found to be a key predictor of reading, we administered two offline vocabulary tests (measuring depth and size of word knowledge) in addition to the YARC Secondary to 30 native English-speaking and 28 Saudi Arabian learners of English attending university courses in their home country. The findings showed that YARC scores correlated significantly with scores on the vocabulary tests, and that scores on the Single Word Reading Test (SWRT) for adult L1 Arabic learners fell within the range for children in the UK aged 11 years and three months. Evidence of the suitability of the YARC texts was also obtained through an analysis of students’ ability to retain meaning and use (in a sentence) of non-words encountered in the YARC texts. We conclude that the YARC Secondary can be used with some groups of adult L2 learners of English, provided adaptations are made to the reading comprehension texts to ensure the vocabulary levels are appropriate for the target group.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:88014
Uncontrolled Keywords:reading comprehension, vocabulary size, vocabulary depth, second language learning, incidental vocabulary learning
Publisher:University of Reading

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