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Volume 15 Number 2, Summer 2018, Pages 257-565   


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READ+ vs. READ: Investigating Extensive Reading and Vocabulary Knowledge Development Among Malaysian Remedial ESL Learners

    Debbita Tan Ai Lin, Ambigapathy Pandian & Paramaswari Jaganathan


Research supports extensive reading (ER), which draws on incidental learning, as a primary tool for second/foreign language vocabulary knowledge development. However, while it is deemed useful for vocabulary learning, the claim that ER on its own is sufficient for learners to experience significant lexical gains has been challenged. Instead, a more fitting measure appears to be a combination of incidental and intentional vocabulary learning, with ER followed by explicit vocabulary study. Given the issue of Malaysian tertiary students lacking English vocabulary knowledge, this quasi-experimental study implemented a method incorporating ER using graded readers and explicit vocabulary study (READ+) to observe its effectiveness for receptive and productive vocabulary knowledge development, as compared against another method (READ) in which only ER was utilised. The study was conducted in a Malaysian public university employing two groups of participants. Each group comprised 14 Malaysian undergraduates of the MUET Band 1 to Band 3 cohort undergoing a preparatory English language course at the university. Pre-, post- and delayed post-testings were carried out using the Vocabulary Knowledge Scale. Results from statistical analyses indicate that the READ+ group performed significantly better than the READ group for both receptive and productive vocabulary knowledge recall and retention.

Keywords: vocabulary development, extensive reading, explicit vocabulary study, READ+, tertiary