Chinese EFL Learners' Use of Online Reading Strategies

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Based on Afflerbach and Cho’s (2009) theoretical model of Constructively Responsive Reading on the Internet (CRRI model), this study aims to explore the patterns of reading strategies that 40 proficient, college-level, Chinese English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners use while reading online. It also seeks to identify the strategies’ relations to reading comprehension. This study utilized an exploratory research design. During the study, the participants were required to complete a 30-minute reading task on a pre-selected website, followed by a comprehension assessment with 20 multiple-choice questions. During the reading task, the participants were asked to verbalize their thinking process. Both their verbalization and online actions were recorded by Camtasia. These recordings served as the primary data and then were coded using Afflerbach and Cho’s (2009) four strategy categories as the coding scheme. Following this, the coded primary data were analyzed quantitatively. The results first indicated that participants’ meaning-making strategy use dominated the whole reading process. Both the self-monitoring and text location strategies served as a supporting role in this reading task; however, the information evaluation strategy was used least often. Additionally, based on the sequential patterns of the participants’ strategy use, three different types of readers were identified: uncertain readers, exploratory readers, and strategic readers. Lastly, the examination of the relationship between strategy use, reader types, and comprehension outcome revealed that both the meaning-making and self-monitoring strategies had a strong effect on the comprehension outcome. The results also showed that the comprehension outcome was significantly different among all three reader types. The comprehension outcomes of the strategic readers ranked highest, followed by the exploratory readers and the uncertain readers. This exploratory study not only provides a quantitative assessment of Afflerbach and Cho’s (2009) theoretical framework, but also extends our understanding of online reading to a different cultural context. The findings of the study have important implications for both practice and research.



Chinese EFL learners, Online reading strategies