Matching the syntactic structure of textbook with the oral language proficiency levels of English-as-a-Second Language students
Palmer, Muriel Henrietta
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects that matching the syntactic structure of textual material with the English oral language proficiency levels of high school English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) students has on their reading comprehension of the materials. The hypothesis tested in this study was that when the syntactic structure of textual material "matches", or is similar to, the English syntactic structures (or oral English language patterns) frequently used by high school ESL students who are at given oral language proficiency levels, then reading comprehension achievement is greater than when there is no "match", or similarity.Sixty-four 9th to 12th grade Vietnamese English-as-a-Second Language students with one to two years of English and enrolled in history classes at Ballard, Franklin, and Ingraham High Schools in Seattle, Washington, were identified at their schools for participation in the study.The Bilingual Syntax Measure II-E was used to determine the oral proficiency levels of the participants. Then a Cloze Reading Comprehension Test was administered to ascertain their reading ability. Finally, thirty-six participants at levels four and five oral proficiency levels were randomly assigned to the treatment conditions.At the fourth proficiency level, ten students read an adapted ("matched") version of an excerpt from a history textbook used by low fluency students. Ten others read the "unmatched" (original) versions. At the fifth proficiency level eight students read the "matched" version and eight read the "unmatched" version of an excerpt from a more difficult high school history textbook.Two t-tests used to test the research hypothesis supported the hypothesis. The t-test analysis suggested that "matching" is, in general, superior to "not matching", therefore "matching" does affect reading comprehension achievement.The participants in the "matched" groups outperformed those in the "unmatched" groups. The difference between the means of both groups at the fourth proficiency level was significant (p .05) at the fifth proficiency level.Implications for textbook writers, regular classroom teachers, and ESL teachers as well as suggestions for further research are discussed.
- Education - Seattle