The reader-text-writer interaction: L2 Japanese learners' responses toward graded readers

Date
2013-10
Authors
Tabata-Sandom, Mitsue
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University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center
Center for Language & Technology
Abstract
This paper reports on two projects which investigated graded readers (GRs) as meaningful input for learners of Japanese as a foreign language (JFL). Project One examined the intentions of six writers of Japanese GRs. A focus group interview demonstrated that the writers had a genuine communicative intent in the writing process. Project Two investigated how fourteen learners of JFL responded to the GRs produced by these writers. Most participants welcomed lexical simplification in the GRs and their think-aloud protocols indicated that they experienced an effortless reading process with the GRs. This implies that GRs can be productive reading materials for JFL reading fluency development. In the affective domain, the less proficient participants tended to react favourably to the writers’ communicative intent, whereas advanced participants demonstrated negative perceptions toward reading the GRs. The paper argues that the potential of GRs as meaningful input for learners of JFL is maximized when their efficacy is explicitly taught.
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Keywords
graded readers (GRs), extensive reading, fluency development, learners of Japanese as a foreign language (JFL), writers of Japanese GRs
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