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Volume 9 Number 2, Summer 2012, Pages 1-148   

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Profiling Individual Differences of Successful and Unsuccessful L2 Readers

    Tomohito Hiromori, Hiroyuki Matsumoto and Akira Nakayama

Understanding the ways in which L2 learners differ from one another is one of the primary concerns of those involved in second language acquisition (SLA) research. Although studies conducted so far offer various insights into effective L2 teaching, they also have several drawbacks, such as (1) they have focused on each learner variable individually, thus lacking a holistic perspective; (2) they have employed cross-sectional designs, thus lacking a developmental perspective; and (3) they have dealt with each learner variable on a general level, and have not related these variables to specific language skills or tasks. On the basis of the above, the objective of this study is to identify, in a holistic and developmental way, the relationships among L2 learners' reading motivation, reading strategy use, learner beliefs, and L2 reading achievement, and consequently reveal the profiles of successful and unsuccessful L2 readers. The results showed that: (1) participants could be divided into four groups with various learner characteristics; and (2) each group followed unique developmental paths for (un)successful learning. This suggested that more than one route exists to success or failure in learning an L2, indicating that teachers should adjust their teaching strategies according to the profiles of L2 learners.

Keywords: individual differences, reading motivation, strategy use, learner beliefs, reading achievement