This SLLAT talk will be delivered by Ana Pellicer-Sanchez (UCL), on 'Examining learners’ eye movements during reading in different input modalities'.


Reading is a key component of second language proficiency and through reading second language learners can improve a variety of linguistic skills. Thus, exploring the benefits of reading and ways of further improving these benefits have become a major concern in second language acquisition research. Numerous studies have shown that reading is an important source of vocabulary growth in a second language, with learners acquiring knowledge of different aspects of lexical mastery incidentally from reading. Previous studies have also shown that combining reading with other input modes (such as pictures and auditory input) can further increase the learning potential of reading. Supporting reading with auditory input and pictorial information has been shown to lead to the improvement of reading comprehension and vocabulary learning. However, the majority of previous research findings are based on studies using off-line, post-reading tests that do not provide information about the actual process of reading and how this process is affected by different input modalities. The online investigation of the process of reading can be accomplished using eye-tracking. However, only a few studies have been conducted in this area.

This presentation will report results of several studies that have used eye-tracking to investigate the process of vocabulary learning from reading and to compare learners’ reading behaviour under different reading conditions (e.g. reading only supported by pictures and reading while listening). A discussion of these research findings will contribute to our understanding of the second language reading process and of the benefits of reading for the improvement of a variety of linguistics skills. This presentation will also discuss the relationship between eye-movement behaviour and learning gains. Directions for future research will also be identified.

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