The Relationship between L1 and L2 Reading Comprehension and Language and Reading Proficiency at the Tertiary Level
Journal of Language and Education, 2019, 5(4), 54-65. doi: 10.17323/jle.2019.9773
12 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2020
Date Written: December 20, 2019
The importance of reading is especially emphasized nowadays when the majority of information, irrespective of the source (books, daily press, professional literature, web sources, etc.), is primarily accessed via reading. Therefore, effective reading and reading comprehension are important in everyday life, but also in an academic setting. This particularly refers to pre-service preschool and primary school teachers, whose teacher training courses imply a good command of reading skills, but also teaching skills required for the development and teaching of pre-reading and reading skills. In L2 reading, there are additional issues that need to be considered, principally the possibility of skill transfer between the mother tongue and the second/foreign language. Hence, this research aimed to test reading comprehension in both Croatian (L1) and English (L2) languages in a group of university students (N=83), studying to become pre-service preschool and primary school teachers. Reading comprehension tests and a background questionnaire were used as research instruments in this mixed-method research. Contrary to our expectations, reading comprehension test results were fairly low, i.e. out of a total of 17 points, the mean results for the Croatian language reading comprehension test were M=13.6 (SD=2.05), while for the English language reading comprehension test they were M=11.29 (SD=2.24). The results were further correlated with the participants’ self-assessed language knowledge and reading abilities in both languages. A positive correlation was found only between the English language reading comprehension test and the participants’ self-assessed language knowledge and reading ability. Based on the obtained results, it may be proposed that teachers should focus more on developing reading skills and reading comprehension at all levels as well as in all of the languages that the learners are acquiring, especially in view of the proposed possibility of the transfer of skills among languages.
Keywords: language knowledge; reading; reading comprehension; self-assessed reading proficiency; transfer of skills
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