The Effect of Pleasure Reading on Japanese University EFL Learners’ Reading Rates
Few second-language (L2) reading studies have examined the relationship between reading large amounts of text and fluency, and those studies that have tend to be problematic in terms of their designs and/or analyses. In order to address this lack of empirical L2 reading fluency research, this study investigates the effects of a 1-year pleasure reading program on the reading rate development of first-year Japanese university students (N = 97). The reading rates and reading comprehension of an Intensive Reading Group and three Pleasure Reading Groups were measured at the beginning and end of the academic year. All Pleasure Reading Groups made greater gains than the Intensive Reading Group, and the two Pleasure Reading Groups that read the most made greater reading rate gains than the Pleasure Reading Group that read the least. Reading one book every 2 weeks or more was the most effective means for promoting reading rate gains for the majority of learners. An additional finding was that reading comprehension was consistently high on both the pretest and posttest; thus, the increased reading rates did not come at the expense of passage comprehension. A final finding was that reading simplified rather than unsimplified texts resulted in greater reading rate gains.
from Language Learning