The effects of authentic reading activities on the written production of novice college spanish students

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Many scholars have researched reading-to-writing relations, some of which found reading to be an effective enhancer of writing (Al-Jarf, 2004; Asenciór, 2006; Lee, 1986a; Lee & Riley, 1990; Pérez-Sotelo & González-Bueno, 2003; Shang, 2007). Similar beginner college student samples were used previously by Asenciór (2006), Pérez-Sotelo and González-Bueno (2003), and Lee and Riley (1990). However, the current study was the first one to examine the effects of authentic readings on the written production of novice college Spanish students, especially on content/vocabulary and text organization. The present research included an experimental group and a control group. There were six written assignments over a 4-month period. The pretest and the posttest compared the overall writing abilities of the participating groups. During the treatment proper, the experimental group was asked to review four different authentic reading texts before writing, whereas the control group completed the assignments without any prior reading activity. The gains of the combined dependent variables content/vocabulary and text organization were analyzed. First, the results of the analysis of variance (ANOVA) gains in overall writing scores from pretest (Writing Assignment 1) to posttest (Writing Assignment 6) showed that authentic reading comprehension activities did not improve their writing abilities. Second, the results of the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) performed on the gains from Writing Assignment 2 to Writing Assignment 5 in terms of content/vocabulary and text organization revealed that the experimental treatment did not have a statistically significant main effect on either one of the two dependent variables. However, group and gender had a statistically significant interactive effect on both dependent variables. Finally, the findings of the postexperimental survey administered to the participants in the experimental group revealed moderately positive attitudes toward the use of authentic readings prior to the writing assignments. The gender differences revealed by this investigation warrant further and more detailed research to determine possible underlying causes.

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