Education Quarterly Reviews
Published: 23 February 2021
The Effect of Lexical Inference Strategy Instruction on Saudi EFL learners’ Reading Comprehension
Assuit University, Egypt
Download Full-Text Pdf
Keywords: Reading Comprehension, Lexical Inferencing Strategy, Verbal report
Lexical inference strategy plays an important role in increasing the level of reading comprehension of second or foreign language learners. Lexical inferencing as an efficient strategy to deal with unfamiliar words has attracted much attention in the comprehension literature. However, few studies on lexical inferencing have been conducted in an English as a foreign language (EFL) setting. To fill in the existing gap, the current study aimed at investigating the effect of lexical inferencing strategy instruction on Saudi EFL students’ reading comprehension. Additionally, it sought to identify the lexical inferencing strategies used by Saudi EFL learners while they were inferring unknown words in a text. Last, the current study attempted to find the relationship between lexical inference strategies and reading comprehension among Saudi EFL learners. Sixty students from the English department were selected based on their scores on the Oxford Placement Test, indicating that they were at intermediate levels of English proficiency. The participants were randomly divided into two groups: control and experimental (each consisting of 30 students). The participants in the control group received regular instruction, while the participants in the experimental group were treated using lexical inference strategies. The instruments used for collecting data were Oxford Placement Test, reading comprehension test, and think-aloud protocol. A pre-test and post-test were administered for control and experimental groups. The results of the independent samples t-test revealed that teaching inference skills had a significant effect on reading comprehension performance among EFL learners. The results of the paired t-tests showed that lexical inferencing instruction had a statistically significant effect on EFL learners’ reading comprehension development. The results of the Spearman correlation coefficient indicated that there was a significant relationship between lexical inferencing strategies and reading comprehension. The findings revealed the profound impact of lexical inferencing strategy instruction on the experimental group's performance in understanding reading text. Hence, it was concluded that lexical inferencing strategies were recommended to teach to improve the students’ reading comprehension performance.
Al Fraidan, Abdullah (2011) Test-taking strategies of EFL Saudi university-level learners on two varieties of gap-filling vocabulary achievement tests. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Essex, UK.
Amer, A. And Ghabelju, M.2013. Test taking strategies instruction and Iranian EFL learners’ performance on international language tests. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English LiteratureVol. 2 No. 1; January
Anvari, S. and Farvardin, M. (2016). Revisiting lexical inferencing strategies in L2 reading: A comparison of successful and less successful EFL inferencers. The Reading Matrix: An International Online Journal, VL - 16
Awni Etaywe (2013). Lexical inferencing strategies by learners of English as a foreign language, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/353465
Bengeleil, N & Paribakht, T.S. (2004). L2 reading proficiency and lexical inferencing by university EFL learners. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 6 (2), 225-251.
Brown, H. D. (2007). Principles of language learning and teaching. New York: Pearson Education.
Buslon, J., & Alieto, E. (2019). Lexical inferencing strategies and reading comprehension in English: A case of ESL third graders. Asian EFL, 22(1), 73-94.
Cai, W. & Lee, B., P., H. (2010). Processing unfamiliar words: Strategies, knowledge sources, and the relationship to text and word comprehension. The Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics: 15 (1). 122-145.
Chavosh, M., & Davoudi, M. (2016). The effect of explicit teaching of lexical inferencing strategies on the vocabulary learning among Iranian field-dependent and independent EFL learners. Studies in Literature and Language, 12 (4), 44-53. Available from: http://www.cscanada.net/index.php/sll/article/view/8296. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/8296
Chegeni, N. & Tabatabaei, O. (2014). Lexical inferencing: The relationship between number and density of lexical items and L2 learners' reading comprehension achievement. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 5 (2) , 306 -312.
Chi, F. & Chern, C. (1988). The study of English teaching and learning in senior high school. In Tavakoli, M. & Hayati, S. (2011). The relationship between lexical inferencing strategies and L2 proficiency of Iranian EFL learners. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2 (6), 1227 - 1237. doi:10.4304/jltr.2.6.1227- 1237.
Edwards, (2007). Solutions: Placement Test Elementary to Intermediate. Oxford.
Haastrup, K. (1991). Lexical inferencing procedures or talking about words. Tubingan: Gunter Narr.
Hassanzadeh, Z., Tamjid, N., Ahangari, S. and Agudo, J. (2019). The effect of lexical inference strategy instruction on Iranian EFL learners’ vocabulary depth and breadth. Cogent Education, Vol.6, Issue1.
Hagaman, J. L., Casey, K. J., & Reid, R. (2016). Paraphrasing strategy instruction for struggling readers. Preventing School Failure, 60, 43-52.
Jamil, A., Aziz, M. S., A. &Razak, N., A (2010).The utilization of test-taking strategies among female students in a tertiary institution. GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies, 10(3), 105-125.
Jelić, A.-B. (2007). Lexical inferencing strategy use by Croatian foreign-language learners. In J. Horváth & M. Nikolov (Eds.), UPRT 2007: Empirical studies in English applied linguistics (pp. 245-254). Pécs: Lingua Franca Csoport.
Julianna, J. (2017). The comparative impacts of using lexical glossing and inferencing strategies on students' reading comprehension. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 9 (1), 1-4.
Ilter, I. (2018). Effects of the Instruction in inferring meanings from context on the comprehension of middle school students at frustration reading level. Journal of Education. Vol. 198(3) 225–239
Kaivanpanah, S. & Moghaddam, M.S. (2012). Knowledge sources in EFL learners' lexical inferencing across reading proficiency levels. RELC Journal, 43 (3), 373 - 391. Doi: 10.117/0033688212469219.
Kashkouli, Z. &Barati, H., &Nejad Ansari, D. (2015, A). An investigation into the test-taking strategies employed for a high-stake test: Implications for test validation. International Journal of Research Studies in Language Learning, 4(3), 61-72. http://dx.doi.org/10.5861/ijrsll.2014.852
Kispal, A. (2008). Effective Teaching of Inference Skills for Reading: Literature Review. National Foundation for Educational Research. ISBN 978 184775 141 6
Muikku-Werner, P. (2017). Lexical inferencing and the mutual intelligibility of Estonian and Finnish. Nordic Journal of Linguistics, 40 (2), 201 - 223.
Nakagawa, C. (2006). The effects of morphological and contextual clues on EFL readers' lexical inferencing. ARELE: Annual Review of English Language Education in Japan, 17, 151-160.
Nassaji, H. (2003). L2 vocabulary learning from context: Strategies, knowledge sources, and their relationship with success in L2 lexical inferencing. TESOL QUARTERLY, 37 (4), 645 - 670.
Nassaji, H. 2006. The relationship between depth of vocabulary knowledge and L2 learners’ lexical inferencing strategy use and success. The Modern Language Journal, 90, pp. 387-401.
Parel, R. (2004). The impact of lexical inferencing strategies on second language reading proficiency. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 17 (9) , 847–873.
Paribakht, T. S. (2005) The influence of first language lexicalization on second language lexical inferencing: A study of Farsi-speaking learners of English as a foreign language, Language Learning, 55(4), 701–748. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0023-8333.2005.00321.x.
Paribakht, T. S. & Wesche, M. (1997). Reading and incidental L2 vocabulary acquisition: An introspective study of lexical inferencing. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 21, 195-224.
Radojevic, N. (2009). Exploring the use of effective learning strategies to increase students’reading comprehension and test taking skills. Unpublished Master, Brock University, St.Catharines, Ontario.
Riazi, A. and N. Babaei. 2008. Iranian EFL female students’ lexical inferencing and its relationship to their L2 proficiency and reading skill. The Reading Matrix 8 (1): 186-195.
Sadeghi, A., Gilani, L., and Niyazi, M. (2018). The effect of inference skills on reading comprehension among EFL learners. Pakistan Journal of Language Studies. Vol. 2, Issue 1
Safa, M.A & Kokabi, M.Y. (2017). The role of lexical inferencing and morphological instruction on EFL learners' reading comprehension development. Iranian Journal of Applied Language Studies, 9 (1), 1- 32.
Seng, G. H. (2007) The effects of think-aloud in a collaborative environment to improve comprehension of L2 texts, The Reading Matrix, 7(2), 29–45. http://www.readingmatrix.com/articles/ seng/article.pdf.
Shen, M.-Y. (2009). Technical university EFL learners' reading proficiency and their lexical inference performance. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching - Center for Language Study, 6 (2), 189 - 200.
Smith, P., Kim, D., Vorobel, O., and King, J. (2019). Verbal reports in the reading processes of language learners: A methodological review. Review of Education, Volume 7, Issue 2 Pages: 235-451 DOI: 10.1002/rev3.3170
Tavakoli, M. & Hayati, S. (2011). The relationship between lexical inferencing strategies and L2 proficiency of Iranian EFL learners. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2 (6), 1227 - 1237. doi:10.4304/jltr.2.6.1227-1237.
Shen, M.-Y. (2017). The role of text type and strategy use in L2 lexical inferencing. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 56 (2), 1-21.
Stern, H.H. (1992). Issues and options in language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Van Zealand, H. (2014). Lexical inferencing in first and second language listening. The Modern Language Journal, 98(4), 1006-1021. DOI: 10.1111/modl.12152.
Wang, Q. (2011). Lexical inferencing strategies for dealing with unknown words in reading—A contrastive study between Filipino graduate students and Chinese graduate students. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2 (2), 302-313.
Yousefi, M. and Ahadzadeh, M. (2017). Iranian intermediate EFL learners' vocabulary inferencing strategies: A qualitative study. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 533-539, July 2017 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17507/tpls.0707.05