Le Castellet, © Marva A. Barnett

"Teaching Reading Strategies: How Methodology Affects
Language Course Articulation"
Marva A. Barnett
In Foreign Language Annals 21 (1988): 109-119.


This study examines whether university-level French students trained during the second semester to use effective reading strategies and skills demonstrate better reading comprehension and, hence, perform better in the third semester than their untrained peers. The experimental reading activities were derived from recent L1 and L2 reading process theory and research; a sample text, exercises, and lesson plan appear together with teacher and student reactions to the experimental reading practice.

The self-report data show widely varying responses to the experimental approach to reading and provoke considerable reflection about the impact of both the teacher variable and cognitive styles on language learning. The repeated measures experiment compares the performance of experimental and control groups on a standardized reading test at the end of the second- and third-semester courses.

Although this experiment shows that students given special training in reading made somewhat more progress in reading comprehension than did their peers in the traditional course, the results do not solve definitively the problem of articulation within language courses. The experiment results, together with the analysis of student and teacher reactions, prompt further questions about how to examine the impact of various language teaching methodologies and about the value of encouraging students to analyze their own learning processes.