Successful reading comprehension requires constructing coherent mental representations of texts (i.e., situation models). However, the mechanism of maintaining coherence in EFL reading has not been fully clarified. Therefore, the Tsukuba Reading Research Group explored this issue using eye-tracking methodology. The participants read narratives that included an inconsistency between a character description (e.g., a vegetarian) and his/her subsequent action (e.g., ordering a cheeseburger). In Experiment 1, the maintenance of local coherence was examined by inserting a single intervening sentence between these conflicting statements. Results showed that local inconsistency increased the initial processing time of the characters’ action and caused more look-backs to the earlier character description. In Experiment 2, one or four intervening sentences were inserted to examine the maintenance of local and global coherence. Results indicated that local inconsistency induced more look-backs whereas global inconsistency failed to do so, indicating that the participants experienced difficulty in maintaining global coherence. In Experiment 3, the participants were instructed to mentally visualize the situation when reading narratives including global inconsistency. Results demonstrated that the instruction helped maintain global coherence, as evident from the processing time of the character’s action. These results were discussed based on the cognitive processes of situation-model construction.
There are various types of students in Japanese middle school classes, with their own skills for learning English. Knowing what and how students like to study is a key to improving these classes. Especially, it is necessary to consider carefully how students can use Apple iPad tablets in English classes. To this end, a questionnaire was taken of 60 students in two second-year classes after having used iPad tablets in five lessons. As a result, it became clear that the students perceived the device as very useful. Especially students with higher English ability considered them useful for studying English vocabulary drills. On the other hand, lower level students indicated a desire to have constant access to and use the tablet iPads freely as a learning tool. These results may have implications for improving English classes.
The current study reports on an intervention study that investigated the effects of interactive storybook reading on foreign language (FL) vocabulary development, particularly gains in knowledge of sound-to-picture (meaning) correspondences (SPC) and sound-to-letter correspondences (SLC) of target items, in Japanese primary school learners of English. Two sets of a four-lesson unit entailing shared storybook reading and extension activities were implemented with an intact class of 38 children in Year 5. The results showed that intervention effects were pronounced in the SPC vocabulary scores in both units, whereas few significant gains were made in knowledge of SLCs. The observed intervention effects and lack thereof are discussed in terms of the research principles gleaned from the interactive storybook reading literature.