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Volume 10 Number 4, Winter 2013, Pages 1-239   

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The Influence of Chunking on Reading Comprehension: Investigating the Acquisition of Chunking Skill

    Harumi Nishida

Chunking has been demonstrated to improve reading comprehension. In order to understand the function of using chunks to aid reading, learners require knowledge of syntactic structures and the ability to use them in practice. In this study, participants received instructions relating to syntactic structure and were asked to practice reading using chunks. This study aimed to quantitatively assess whether the ability to practice chunking accurately could improve reading comprehension skills. Thereafter, records of learning achievement (i.e., chunking tests and English-to-Japanese translation practice conducted during classes) were qualitatively analyzed, and attempts were made to clarify the process by which participants acquired chunking and improved their reading comprehension skills. Additionally, factors contributing to the improvement of reading comprehension skills were explored. The findings showed that chunking errors decreased when participants received continued instructions on chunking methods and syntactic structures. However, a decrease in chunking errors was not always associated with improved reading comprehension skills. Reading comprehension was most affected by differences in the acquisition and implementation of knowledge of syntactic structure.

Keywords: chunking, reading comprehension, instruction on syntactic structures, triangulated study