Infanta-Bridging the Gap between Receptive and Productive Vocabulary Size through Extensive Reading

Yamamoto, Yuka. (2011). Bridging the Gap between Receptive and Productive Vocabulary Size through Extensive Reading. The Reading Matrix, 11 (3), pp. 226- 242. Retrieved from http://www.readingmatrix.com/articles/september_2011/yamamoto.pdf

(APA Style is used for citation)

This research paper investigates the extent to which extensive reading combined with writing tasks promotes productive vocabulary growth of Japanese university students. There is always a general assumption that extensive reading increases one’s vocabulary size. The researcher attempts to find the facts on the influence of extensive reading on the reader’s vocabulary. The researcher uses different tests proposed by applied linguistics theorists such as Waring, Takaki and Laufer in his research. To examine changes in vocabulary size, three tests are conducted: the Vocabulary Level Test, the Productive Vocabulary Test and the VocabProfile.

He presents counter arguments of other theorists and goes on to validate his argument. He very clearly distinguishes the characteristics of incidental learning and intentional learning. This clarity is reflected in the method of his research where he makes sure that his subjects of research read books in such a way that there is incidental learning of the vocabulary.

Contrary to expectations, no significant increase was shown in the amount of productive vocabulary size. However, the data suggested that one of the benefits of doing extensive reading with writing tasks is to retain receptive and productive vocabulary knowledge. The research thus implies that extensive reading practice might help students confirm the meaning and function of the words that are already stored in their memory systems making the connection stronger, which in turn may potentially develop into productive- vocabulary knowledge.

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