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Volume 11 Number 3, Autumn 2014, Pages 1-156   

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Investigating Differences in the Reading Processes of Advanced and Intermediate Readers

    Harumi Nishida

This study investigates the differences between advanced and intermediate readers, focusing on the reading process of Japanese EFL students at the university level. A reading test was conducted among English learners with advanced and intermediate reading skills, with three people in each respective group. Subsequently, interviews were held to determine how the participants had read the English texts. The results of a qualitative analysis of this interview data revealed three differences between the reading processes of the advanced and intermediate readers. The first difference concerned vocabulary size (larger in the advanced group), while the second concerned their knowledge of syntactic structures: the advanced group was sufficiently knowledgeable about sentence structures to understand the material, but the intermediate group was not, and therefore sometimes made mistakes in understanding the sentences. The third difference involved automaticity: the advanced group was able to carry out lower-level reading processing nearly automatically, while the intermediate group could not. These findings indicate that to improve reading skills, it is not only necessary to increase vocabulary size, but to also build up learners' knowledge of sentence structures.

Keywords: reading process, syntactic structures, reading fluency, automaticity, advanced reader, intermediate reader