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http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/rfl
Reading in a Foreign Language
April 2014
, Volume 2
6, No.
1 ISSN 1539
-0578
pp. 49
Ð72 Pleasure reading behavior and attitude of non
-academic ESL students:
A replication study
Eunseok Ro University of HawaiÕi at Manoa United States Cheng-Ling Alice Chen Teachers College, Columbia University United States Abstract The present study replicated the methods and data analysis of Crawford CamiciottoliÕs
(2001) study on
second language (L2) reading behavior of academic English-as-a-foreign-language students. Using the original studyÕs questionnaire, we investigated 60 advanced non-academic English-as-a-second-language learnersÕ L2 reading frequency
and attitude. Descriptive statistics and multiple regressions were applied for the analysis
. Our study revealed differentiated findings, while
partially confirming Crawford
CamiciottoliÕs results. In contrast to the original study, we found that the participants
with positive attitudes towards reading tend to read more and that experience in the target-language culture and years of previous Engl
ish study did not show statistically
significant results on the participantsÕ reading habits and attitudes. On the other hand and in line with the original study,
first language (L1) reading correlated with L2 reading habits, and lack of time was the most selected reasons for poor reading habits. Keywords
: L2 reading habits, L2 reading attitudes, non
-academic ESL learners, L2 reading
motivation
, pleasure reading
Studies have shown that attitude towards reading greatly affects the reading achievement an
d performance of second language (L2) learners (Kamhi-Stein, 2003; Yamashita 2004, 2007, 2013). However, Crawford Camiciottoli (2001) argued that mere attitudes of being positive do not guarantee frequent reading. Based on her findings, our replication study begins with a
hypothesis that there
might not be a strong correlation between frequent L2 reading habits and attitudes towards L2 reading. While the original study focused on academic students in an
English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) setting, we wondered what the result would be with non-academic students in an English-as-a-second-language (ESL) setting. In the present study,
academic students in an EFL context are defined as those who are learning English outside of


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Ro & Chen: Pleasure reading behavior and attitude of non
-academic ESL students
50 Reading in a Foreign Language
26(1)
English-speaking countries for academic purposes (e.g., to earn credits toward obtaining a degree), whereas non-academic students in an ESL setting are those who are learning English in an English speaking environment for purposes other than to obtain a postsecondary degree
(Bailey, 2006). I
n order to investigate whether learnersÕ positive attitudes towards L2 reading can lead to higher reading frequency (i.e., the amount of reading), we compared our findings on non-academic ESL learnersÕ reading habits and attitudes with the original study.
In what follows, we provide a review of the literature on L2 reading attitude, present the design of our study,
analyze
data, and discuss our findings. Definition of Second Language Reading Attitude Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) defined attitude as Òa learned predisposition to respond in a consistently favorable or unfavorable manner with respect to a given objectÓ (p. 6). They further
characterized reading attitude as Òa system of feelings related to reading which causes the learner
to approach or avoid a reading situationÓ (p. 1). According to Fishbein and AjzenÕs description, attitude seems to play an important role in
affecting oneÕs reading performance. However, attitude is a complex construct and, as Athey (1985) noted
, reading attitude tends to involve shadowy variables that are difficult to conceptualize, measure, and address instructionally. In
addition, Day and Bamford (1998) state
d that attitude towards reading is a complex hypothetical
construction that usually is subject to change.
Day and Bamfo
rd (1998), however, further provided a model of Acquisition and Development of Second Language Reading Attitude that underlines four sources of learner attitudes towards second language reading. According to this model, learners will most likely gain a
positive attitude towards L2 reading if they (a) favor reading books in their native languages, (b) have had positive previous experiences with learning to read in a target language, (c) have a good perception of the target language, culture, and the people, and (d) are in a positive L2 reading classroom environment with a favorable teacher, classmates, and materials. Among the factors that affect decisions to read in a second language, Day and Bamford (1998)
highlighted attitude and motivation as the two most affective dimensions of language learning. Even though motivation and attitude share many aspects in common (e.g.,
degrees of intensity),
it is noteworthy that they are different affective
constructs. For instance, motivated readers could show high reading achievement without enjoying the process of reading (Baker & Wigfield,
1999), while learners with mere attitudes of being positive towards L2 reading may not
necessarily be engaged in L2 reading (Crawford Camiciottoli, 2001). Considering this, it could
be said that a positive attitude only provides a weak linkage whereas motivation provides a more
definite linkage to actual reading performance. On top of that, reading motivation is multidimensional (Mori, 2002; Wigfield & Guthrie, 1997); attitude toward
s reading is one of the multifaceted characteristics of motivation along with other dimensions such as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.


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Ro & Chen: Pleasure reading behavior and attitude of non
-academic ESL students
60 Reading in a Foreign Language
26(1)
Table 3.
Frequency of reading any type of English materials (item 15)
Independent variables
Beta
SE of
B B t(52)
p-value
(Constant)
.970
2.991
3.084
.003
Gender
-.134
.332
-.305
-.920
.362
Age
.033
.151
.034
.22
3 .824
Private courses/lessons
.026
.135
.025
.182
.856
Past access to English books
-.111
.179
-.130
-.723
.473
Self
-rating of English ability
.245
.167
.262
1.574
.122
Time spent in English speaking country
.079
.156
.085
.543
.589
# of L1 b
ooks read (past 12 m
onths)
-.012
.125
-.011
-.084
.933
Note. R
= .266,
R2 = .071, Adjusted
R2 = -.055,
F (7, 52) =
.564,
p = .781, St
andard
error of
estimate: 1.041
Table 4
. Number of English books read in the past 12 months (item 17)
Independent varia
bles
Beta
SE of
B B t(52)
p-value
(Constant)
.863
.379
.439
.662
Gender
.099
.295
.226
.765
.448
Age
-.272
.134
-.280
-2.089
.042*
Private courses/lessons
.058
.120
.055
.459
.648
Past access to English books
.249
.160
.293
1.836
.052 Self
-rating of English ability
.169
.148
.183
1.231
.224
Time spent in English speaking country
-.057
.139
-.062
-.447
.657
# of L1 books read (past 12 months)
.324
.111
.287
2.578
.013*
Note. R
= .524,
R2 = .274, Adjusted
R2 = -.177,
F (7, 52
) = 2.810,
p = .15, St
andard
error of
estimate: 0.926,
n=60, *Significant at
p < .05
In contrast to the original study where the researcher found that
both Òtime spent in an English-speaking countryÓ and Ònumber of books read in Italian in the last 12 monthsÓ were statistically
significant determinants of reading frequency (for both the two frequency questionnaire items),
the results in this study were different. Table
s 3 and 4 illustrate that none of the independent variables predicted the frequency of En
glish reading for item 15, but the results were significant for item 17 (t[52] = 2.578, p < .05). This could possibly
mean that the more the learners read in their native languages, the higher the chance they may read in English. In addition,
ÒageÓ in item 17 (t[52] = 2.089, p < .05) was found to be a significant factor. Further, separate analysis of age
factor and item 17 revealed that people in age groups 18 to 25 (60%) and 30 to 40 (48%) had a tendency to read at least 1
or 2 English books, whereas 26 to 30 (44%) and over 40 (50%) age groups had not read English books for pleasure in the last 12 months.


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Ro & Chen: Pleasure reading behavior and attitude of non
-academic ESL students
61 Reading in a Foreign Language
26(1)
Table 5.
Attitude based on degree of willingness to find time to read as implied by
reasons for limiting
pleasure
reading in English (item 20)
Independent variables
Beta
SE of
B B t(52)
p-value
(Constant)
.837
3.270
3.906
.000
Gender
.079
.225
.129
.573
.569
Age
-.017
.103
-.013
-.123
.903
Past access to English books
-.043
.121
-.036
-.297
.768
Self
-rating of reading ability
-.285
.113
-.218 -1.927
.059
# of L1 books (past 12 months)
.010
.086
.006
.073
.942
Years of previous study
.045
.077
.025
.321
.749
Purpose of stay in the US
-.318
.100
-.230
-2.301
.025*
Note. R
= .432,
R2 = .186, Adjusted
R2 = .077,
F (7, 52) = 1.700,
p = .130
Standard
error of estimate: 0.696
Table 6.
Opinion on importance of
pleasure
reading in English (item 22)
Independent variables
Beta
SE
of
B B t(52)
p-value
(Constant)
.530
2.592
4.891
.000
Gender
.403
.142
.451
3.172
.003*
Age
-.070
.065
-.035
-.54
2 .590
Past access to English books
.151
.076
.087
1.141
.259
Self
-rating of reading ability
.244
.072
.129
1.797
.078
# of L1 books (past 12 months)
.093
.055
.040
.741
.462
Years of previous study
-.112
.049
-.043
-.871
.388
Purpose of stay in the U
S -.062
.063
-.031
-.488
.627
Note. R
= .561,
R2 = .315, Adjusted
R2 = .223,
F (7, 52) = 3.420,
p = .04
Standard
error of estimate: 0.440,
n=60, *Significant at
p < .05
In addition to results of regression analysis for frequency, Table
s 5 and 6 show the results for items 20 and 22, which represent attitudes towards L2 pleasure reading. In the original study,
Crawford Camiciottoli (2001) found that Òyears of previous study in English
Ó was a significant determinant of the Òwillingness to find time to readÓ and ÒlearnersÕ perceptions of the importance of English reading.Ó To be more specific, the negative correlation between the years of past
English study and reading attitude was a surprising finding for Crawford Camiciottoli. She
speculated that it might be because of the participantsÕ relatively low confidence level and a
sense of discouragement stemming perhaps from negative reading experiences. However, unlike the original study, the present study showed no significant correlation between
the years of
previous study in English and reading attitude.
The results from the original study also revealed that
Ònumber of books read in L1Ó was significantly related to
Òthe willingness to find time to read,Ó while Òpurpose of stay in an
English-speaking countryÓ was the significant predictor of the ÒlearnersÕ perceptions of the importance of English reading.Ó Intriguingly, our data also showed that
Òpurpose of stay in an
English-speaking countryÓ (item 12) was a significant indicator for Òthe willingness to find time to readÓ (item 20), but not for ÒlearnersÕ perceptions of the importance of English readingÓ (item 22). Further separate analysis of item 20 showed that
Òlack of timeÓ was the most popular response (see, again, Table 1) regardless of the participantsÕ purpose of stay. In addition, people
who came for tourism or part-time work considered Òlack of confidence in their L2


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Ro & Chen: Pleasure reading behavior and attitude of non
-academic ESL students
71 Reading in a Foreign Language
26(1)
23. Why do you think reading books for pleasure in English is important?
From the list below, rank
at l
east three reasons
in order of importance. Write
1 for the most important
reason,
2 for the second and
3 for the third.
a. _______could be useful also in other academic subjects
b. _______to acquire a wider range of vocabulary
c. _______could be useful
for the English course
d. _______to learn more about other cultures
e. _______could be useful for my career
f. _______to enhance my knowledge and literacy on a general level
g. _______other reason (
write here)
Appendix B Contributing factors for ER motivation I. de Burgh
-Hirabe and FeryokÕs (2013) ten major factors affecting nine JFL learnersÕ motivation for ER:
1. Goal to improve their Japanese
2. Instrumental benefits
3. Perceived progress and feeling of success
4. Intrinsic values
5. ER books
6. Beliefs about L2 learning
7. Autonomy
8. External demands
9. Distractions
10. Self
-regulation
II. RoÕs (
2013) five
contributing factors that changed an unmotivated reader to do ER:
1. Convenience or Accessibility
2. Satisfaction
3. Comfort or ease
4. Enjoyment
5. Usefulness
About the Authors Eunseok Ro is currently in a PhD program in
the Second Language Studies at University of
HawaiÕi at Manoa (UHM). He is also an assistant editor for the Reading in a Foreign Language journal and a second language instructor, teaching advanced reading course, at the UHM. His research interest is in second language reading, particularly on extensive reading and its effects
on language learning. E-mail: [email protected]


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Ro & Chen: Pleasure reading behavior and attitude of non
-academic ESL students
72 Reading in a Foreign Language
26(1)
Cheng-Ling Alice Chen is a doctoral student in the TESOL program at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she received her masterÕs degree in Applied L
inguistics. Her research interests include instructed second language learning, reading instruction and comprehension, and vocabulary acquisition. She is also interested in technology
-assisted and online game-based foreign-language learning. In addition to academic pursuits, she had taught English to second and foreign language young and adult learners in Taiwan and in the U.S., and
is currently program secretary for the TCSOL Certificat
e Program at Teachers College. E-mail: [email protected]

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