A Study of the Effects of Two Text Structures on Taiwanese EFL Junior High School Students Strategy Use

  • Yi-Shong Sun

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The purpose of the present study is to investigate the influence of two expository text structures-collection of description and compare/contrast on EFL learners' strategy use during reading. Four proficient and four less proficient third year junior high school students were asked to read two passages written in two different structures---collection of description and compare/contrast--- about animal behavior. The two passages were controlled for syntactic structures, word number and difficulty level. The participants were required to verbalize their on-going thoughts while reading the passages. Post the think-aloud, the participants also took a comprehension test and answered a questionnaire designed to tap their awareness of different strategies. An analysis of the think-aloud protocols, comprehension scores, and the questionnaires reveals that regardless of structure types, the most frequently used strategy for both groups when they did not encounter difficulty was translating. When experiencing difficulty, more proficient readers used a variety of strategies to cope with their problems, whereas less proficient readers used avoidance (skipping unknown words) and questioning most frequently. With respect to structure effects, the structure of collection appeared to pose more difficulty to both groups due to its "loose" structure, rendering them more bounded by individual words. As a result, proficient readers, when experiencing problems in reading the passage of collection structure, resorted to a variety of strategies to cope with word meanings. On the other hand, less proficient readers, when encountering problems in reading the passage of collection structure, tended to skip the unknown words and ignore the problem. Both groups of readers were aware of equal numbers of strategy types, but more proficient readers were able to utilize more types of strategies during the actual reading situation. Less proficient readers, on the other hand, were unable to utilize the strategies of which they were aware due to the inhibiting effect of limited language competence on strategy use.
Date of Award2003
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorHui-Tzu Min (Supervisor)

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