L2 Vocabulary learning from reading: Effects of word-focused activity type, learner variables, and announcement




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Classroom studies have shown that learning new vocabulary from reading can be enhanced if the reading task is followed by a word-focused activity, such as a fill-in-the-blank activity. However, little is known about: (1) whether a post-reading word-focused activity can also positively affect vocabulary uptake in out-of-classroom contexts when there is no instructor support, (2) whether vocabulary gains differ based on proficiency levels, and (3) whether awareness of an upcoming post-reading word-focused activity influences learning gains. The present study addresses these issues by having native (high-proficient) or nonnative (L2 high-intermediate) English speakers read a narrative containing 16 recurring non-word target items. Within each proficiency group, one subgroup of participants was instructed that they would be given the word-focused activity after they finished reading, another subgroup was not. Participants then engaged in a word-focused activity that involved either the non-word target items or real words from the narrative. Finally, all participants were given a vocabulary test. We found that, compared to the real-word activity, the target-item activity led to significantly greater vocabulary gains, especially for the L2 high-intermediate learners, regardless of whether or not participants were forewarned of an upcoming word-focused activity.

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