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Applied Linguistics reading list: Reading

This is a select bibliography, prepared with this particular course in mind, so the focus is largely on the theory/practice relationship. The brief notes accompanying the references are designed to help you make decisions about buying, borrowing, etc.

Key Texts

Bernhardt, E. 2005. Progress and procrastination in second language reading. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 25: 133-50.

An excellent overview of reading models with some useful brief comments on the relevance of such models. Well worth reading to get a sense of perspective on the place and history of reading models.

Hinkel, E. 2006. Current perspectives on teaching the four skills. TESOL Quarterly, 40(1): 109-31.

As the title suggests, this covers all four skills, so it provides the best general overview of issues covered on this course. The summaries are succinct and it highlights the debates that matter most, so you should find it very helpful.

Grabe, W. 2004. Research on teaching reading. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24: 44-69.

A very useful overview of current research and its implications. If you want a quick, up-to-date and well-informed introduction to some key issues, this is the best single resource. However, it is necessarily dense and isn’t really designed for the newcomer. One of the following might therefore be a better starting point.

Grabe, W. and Stoller, F.L. 2002. Teaching and Researching Reading. Harlow: Longman. Page 34.

An excellent introduction to this rich and sometimes very complex field. However, this is a book to be used and referred to rather than read from cover to cover, so if you’re the sort of person who likes to sit down and read a comprehensive introduction, the Urquhart and Weir might be a better option.

Nuttall, C. E. 1996. Teaching Reading Skills in a Foreign Language. Oxford: Heinemann.

There is probably no better practitioner’s book. If you’re really interested in reading, it’s essential to have this on your shelves.

Pang, J. 2008. Research on good and poor reader characteristics: Implications for L2 reading research in China. Reading in a Foreign Language, 20(1): 1-18.


This includes an excellent overview of research on the good reader and has useful sections on skills and strategies.

Urquhart, S. and Weir, C. 1998. Reading in a Second Language: Process, Product and Practice. London: Longman.

This is the introduction I’d choose. It’s not lightweight but it is readable, and I like the way it develops its arguments. Whatever else you do, you should certainly get a copy of this from the library and read Chapter 2. If you plan to get seriously involved in the subject of reading, then this book, together with Grabe & Stoller and Nuttall would provide an excellent core collection.

Other books

Koda, K. 2004. Insights into Second Language Reading. New York: Cambridge University Press.

The L1/L2 relationship which is at the core of this book makes it essential reading for anyone seriously interested in reading. It also explores key areas in a way that fits in well with the Urqhart and Weir book. The chapter on sentence processing, for example, will take you much further and deeper than my brief introduction.

Carrell, P., Devine, D. and Eskey, D. 1988. Interactive Approaches to Second Language Reading. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

In some ways this is a bit dated now, but for all that it’s still an excellent collection with some key papers. Most of the papers also make for very interesting reading.

Some papers

Green, C. 2005. Integrating extensive reading in the task-based curriculum. ELT Journal, 59(4): 306-11.

If you’re interested in extensive reading, this is a very useful brief critique of top-down approaches. Although it focuses on a particular scheme (the Hong Kong Extensive Reading Scheme), its discussion has much wider relevance.

Pani, S. 2004. Reading strategy instruction through mental modeling. ELT Journal, 58(4): 355-62.

So you thought my ‘Crash of ‘82’ analysis was just a bit off the wall? Well try this for size and see whether it changes your view. It’s an interesting idea and an example of how there’s always room for fresh thinking in the classroom.

Paran, A. 1996. Reading in EFL: facts and fictions. ELT Journal, 50(1): 25-34.

This is actually a bit of passionate Goodman-bashing and a case for bottom-up processing. If you want to read something that challenges the whole basis of the model I presented in the first lecture, this would be a good paper to read.

Kamhi-Stein, L.D. 2003. Reading in two languages: How attitudes toward home language and beliefs about reading affect the behaviors of ‘underprepared’ L2 college readers. TESOL Quarterly, 37(1): 35-72.

Qualitative research is relatively rare in this field, and this is a good example of it. If you’re interested in reading, you might also find that it suggests research that you could do in your dissertation.

Renandya, W. A. 2007. The power of extensive reading. RELC Journal, 38(2): 133-149.

This paper is an excellent blend of personal experience (as a learner and a teacher) and the findings of research. A useful complementary paper from 2008 is John Macalister’s ‘Implementing extensive reading in an EAP programme’ (ELT Journal, 6(3): 248-256).

Yamashita, J. 2007. The relationship of reading attitudes between L1 and L2: An investigation of adult EFL learners in Japan. TESOL Quarterly, 41(1): 81-105

A very technical paper, but the area is an interesting one and if you think you might be interested in exploring it you could begin by reading just the background and discussion.