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Volume 18 Number 2, Summer 2021, Pages 390-744   


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The Role of Glossing and Working Memory Capacity in Second Language Reading Comprehension

    Jookyoung Jung


Glossing, providing information for unfamiliar lexical items to promote reading comprehension, has long been investigated as a textual modification technique to promote second language (L2) reading comprehension. Thus far, however, inconclusive findings have been produced as to whether L2 readers' working memory capacity plays as a moderator of the effects of glossing on L2 reading comprehension. To fill the gap, the present study explored the moderating impact of working memory capacity on the efficacy of glossing in L2 reading comprehension. Eighty-eight Korean university students read two English passages in either a glossed or an unglossed version, while answering multiple-choice reading comprehension items. Participants' phonological short-term memory was assessed with a digit span task and a Korean nonword repetition task, while their complex working memory was measured with a backward digit span task and an automated operation span task. The results of mixed-effects modeling revealed that forward digit span scores moderated the effects of glossing on L2 reading comprehension scores.

Keywords: working memory capacity, glossing, L2 reading comprehension