A MULTI-METHOD DESIGN TO INVESTIGATE THE ROLES OF READING STRATEGY USE AND READING INTEREST IN COMPREHENSION OF ENGLISH EXPOSITORY TEXTS FOR EIGHTH GRADERS IN THE EFL CONTEXT
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This study aimed to address three research gaps revealed in previous studies on L2 reading comprehension and L2 reading strategy use: (a) a restricted use of methodology in assessing L2 reading strategies, (b) inadequate attention to the role of reading interest in L2 reading comprehension, and (c) a lack of comprehensive understanding about the relationships between reading strategy use and reading interest in L2 reading. A multi-method design was adapted to assess L2 reading strategy use and L2 reading interest. The assessment methods for strategy use included think-aloud protocols and a L2 reading strategy questionnaire, the Cognitive-Metacognitive Strategy Questionnaire. To quantify the data from the think-aloud protocols, three scoring procedures were developed based on the frequency counts of the strategy coding system: (1) Quantity of Total Strategy Use, (2) Quality of Total Strategy Use and (3) Sophistication of Strategy Use. In addition, the readers' reading interest was measured by semi-structural interviews and two interest scales: the Situational Interest Questionnaire and the Interest Experience Scale. Based on the multiple assessments with 36 participants, the study examined (1) the specific L2 reading strategies employed by eighth graders in Taiwan and how the results from different strategy assessments corresponded to each other, (2) the sources for L2 reading interest for the eighth graders, and (3) how L2 reading strategy use and reading interest interacted with each other to influence L2 reading comprehension. The results indicated that the L2 readers utilized three clusters of reading strategies during comprehension: (1) textbase comprehension strategies, such as translation and paraphrasing, (2) situation model construction strategies, such as elaboration, summarization and drawing inferences, and (3) metacognitive monitoring strategies. The study also found that the measure, Sophistication of Strategy Use, had the most satisfactory validity among the strategy measures. The degree of sophistication in strategy use was more associated with the readers' text recalls than the quantity of total strategy use, indicating how the readers intentionally and carefully processed each strategy played a significant role to improve reading comprehension. Moreover, the study found several content characteristics which had positive influences on L2 readers' interest in the text; they were relevance, importance, novelty and familiarity of the ideas contained in the text. Furthermore, the case analyses on three readers' profiles showed that reading interest was closely related to the depth of the readers' strategic engagement. The less proficient L2 reader, Alice, possessed high reading interest and demonstrated an attempt to employ more higher-order, situation model construction strategies during reading. By contrast, the proficient L2 reader, Stella, did not intend to comprehend the text in depth and utilized the strategies at the superficial level due to low reading interest. These findings presented a dynamic picture of the intertwined relationship between strategy use and reading interest in L2 reading comprehension.