COGNITIVE-LINGUISTIC CORRELATES OF L2 READING: A CASE STUDY OF BEGINNER ESL READERS
University of the Free State (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Research has demonstrated that exposing a child to high quality language and literacy experiences during kindergarten and in the first years of schooling have a positive influence on the child’s future academic success and literacy achievements. Moreover, previous research has shown a significant relationship between children’s spoken home language abilities and their appreciation of the sound structure of speech and their phonological awareness abilities in their L1. In addition to the role of phonology, researchers have also explored the possible contribution of other cognitive and linguistic skills and how they may contribute to reading proficiency, for example working memory, word decoding, word reading, vocabulary, syntax and linguistic comprehension. Despite voluminous research on the cognitive linguistic factors contributing to L1 literacy and reading, research investigating the underlying cognitive linguistic features of L2, English reading ability is not substantial; especially research conducted amongst novice ESL readers. The aim of the current paper is to expand the scholarly knowledge about factors influencing the early reading development of novice English language learners (ESL’s), by exploring the interaction between cognitive and linguistic skills and their contribution to early reading development among ESL learners (N = 109), sampled at three South African schools. The results of this study demonstrated higher correlations between phonological awareness, word decoding and reading ability in earlier grades whilst significant correlations were also yielded for the following cognitive and linguistic skills, namely working memory, vocabulary and oral language comprehension. Moreover, this study makes a valuable contribution in identifying the underlying cognitive-linguistic difficulties of ESL readers which may help inform teaching practices for novice ESL readers during the early stages of reading.
Keywords: Early reading development, ESL learners, cognitive linguistic processing.