The reading processes of twelve ESL high school seniors reading four texts: Two literary and two non-literary

Frances Antoinette Morano, Fordham University


This study investigated the cognitive functions employed by 12 ESL high school seniors in responding to four types of text: short story, poem, social studies article, and persuasive essay. An internal representation of text--the environment of the text generated during the act of reading--was modeled through verbal protocol analysis. Think aloud techniques, adapted from problem-solving research, allowed all subjects to verbalize their processing of text. Results indicated these readers focused on surface level features of text, primarily engaging in the decoding processes of reading comprehension. Three major categories of cognitive processing functions were identified: text bound, prior knowledge, and reader bound. High frequencies of text bound processing functions manifested subjects' absorption in discerning word meanings and ideas in the content. These subjects could not access adequate reading skills to integrate with text information in order to construct a meaningful interpretation of the text at a high level of reading competency. Chi-square analysis resulted in significantly fewer responses when subjects read non-literary texts, specifically the social studies article. Pedagogical implications were suggested about the teaching of reading to ESL students in secondary schools as well as recommendations for more investigations of the relationship between second-language proficiency and higher-level comprehension skills in reading. ^

Subject Area

Language arts|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

Morano, Frances Antoinette, "The reading processes of twelve ESL high school seniors reading four texts: Two literary and two non-literary" (1993). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9412142.