reineke wrote:Jumping from the highest graded readers to ungraded novels: Four case studies
Jez Uden & Diane Schmitt
This study follows a small group of learners in the UK to the end of a graded reading program using the Cambridge Readers and investigates whether this particular graded reading series provides a bridge to reading unsimplified novels for pleasure. The participants’ reading comprehension, reading rates, vocabulary text coverage, and overall affect were measured and used for comparison between two of the highest level Cambridge Readers and two ungraded novels. The four books were also analysed to investigate the potential ‘gap’ in vocabulary coverage between graded and ungraded fiction. The overall results revealed that learners can progress from a graded reading
program using the Cambridge Readers to reading unsimplified novels for pleasure, but are likely to experience a reduction in vocabulary coverage from over 98% to around 95%. It was also found that the gap between graded and unsimplified novels may not be as big as previously thought.
How interesting that there's a whole journal on the subject of Reading in a Foreign Language! Thanks for the link.
It's fascinating to me that the students in the study were at a B2 level and yet they were still on graded readers – and that there was some doubt whether they could 'make the jump' to native literature. I'd always understood that one of the foundational definitions of B2 reading ability is "I can understand contemporary literary prose."
I'm certain I started extensive reading of native novels before I 'should' have done, probably at more like a high B1. But then I don't think there are any graded readers available in Icelandic. The first romance novel that I struggled my way through was fairly hard going, but after a year and a half, and around 3000 pages, I can now read... not all contemporary literary prose, but a good deal of it.