Extensive Reading for Undergraduate EFL Learners: Multimodal Text vs. Linear Text
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Scholars have advocated that the literacy of multimodal text is indispensible and irreversible in this era of widespread use of Information and Computer Technology (ICT). In response to this advocacy, the current quasi-experimental study was designed to examine effects of English Internet extensive reading on the development of English proficiency of Taiwanese undergraduate learners of English as a foreign language (EFL). Because positive impact of the extensive reading of books, or linear printed text, has been established relatively firmly by existing literature, the current study examined effects of the extensive reading of multimodal text against that of linear text. Fiction was the genre of reading text in the current study because it was used in all the reviewed studies of extensive reading of linear text. Guided by four hypotheses, three types of statistical analysis tests were conducted. The analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) test results indicated equally significant improvement in English proficiency in the experimental groups but not significant change in motivation for reading across all three groups. The multiple regression test results suggested that the extensive reading of either linear or multimodal text predicted English proficiency. The chi-square test results did not reveal significant association between extensive reading and application of several reading strategies. The discussion involving statistical findings and contextual data provided by questionnaires and participants' assignment sheets leads to pedagogical implications and directions for future research. The pedagogical implications are incorporating extensive reading of linear and/or multimodal text into formal EFL curricula and including multimodal informational text in the program. Regarding directions for future research, one is unveiling EFL learners' perception of the role of multimodal text in and the impact of their perception on their development of English literacy. Other directions include exploring effects of interacting with informational type of multimodal text and integrating reading strategy instructions in an extensive reading program. Finally, future research is recommended to identify essential elements a reliable and valid measure of motivation for EFL reading should contain to uncover the role motivation for reading plays in the development of EFL learners' English literacy.