The development of reading strategies: a longitudinal study on Chinese international Master's students
This longitudinal study explores how a Western university setting affects Chinese international students’ academic reading in terms of their strategy use during their master’s\ud study. In order to explore the multifaceted nature of academic reading, reading strategies in this study are categorised into three types: textbase strategies (TBS); situation model construction strategies (SMS); and comprehension monitoring strategies (CMS). Furthermore, the study applies the concepts of trait and state to distinguish two types of strategy status: Chinese students’ general perception of what they normally do in their\ud coursework reading (trait strategy use), and what they actually do in their on-line reading (state strategy use). Mixed methods were employed in data collection, which was carried out twice among the same participants in one academic year. The results of the questionnaires indicate that significant changes occurred in trait strategy use over time, in particular, in trait situation model construction strategies. Think-aloud was used to examine their cognitive processing in a task-provoked situation. Protocol analysis shows that there were no significant changes in their state strategy use between Time1 and Time2. Case studies and syntactic parsing analysis show that their TBS-oriented processing was mainly triggered by\ud their low competence in English language decoding. In addition, data analysis of focus groups and interviews suggests that their choice of TBS was closely related to the\ud socialisation they had in China. Socio-cultural factors seemed to have a strong impact on what strategies they used, and also on the frequency with which they used them. The unbalanced development between trait and state strategy use suggests that Chinese international students’ academic reading is dynamic and multidimensional. Findings in this\ud study offer us insightful information about the transition in Chinese international students’ reading from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’, and also about the scaffolding that this population needs in master’s study in the UK.
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