Departmental Bulletin Paper Assessing the effect of Span Limited Tactile Reinforcement on the reading rate of second language learners


The present study analyses the English reading rates of second year Japanese junior high school students studying in a mandatory English language course. Each participant in the study completed sixteen readings in two separate conditions over a twelve-week period. In the first condition, participants read texts printed on A4 paper with standard block text formatting. In the second condition, participants read from a small handheld device (iPod Touch) with texts prepared according to guidelines detailed by Schneps et al. (2013b) and referred to as Span Limited Tactile Reinforcement (SLTR). The main features of SLTR include: large font size, short line length, and manual scrolling capability. The purpose of the study was to determine which ― if either ― of these conditions produced faster reading rates in the sample population, and if the observed effect size varied according to initial reading ability, as measured by the Oral Reading Fluency Test (ORF). Results suggest that the digital presentation of text via a handheld device and formatted according to SLTR produces a small, though statistically significant, effect on the reading rates of Japanese junior high school students.

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