Effects of Training in Figures of Speech on EFL Learners’ Literary Reading Comprehension Ability
Keywords:Literary appreciation, Reading Comprehension, Formal Instruction, Figures of Speech
One of the major areas of interest in SLA research is the study of the ways in which expert and non-expert readers respond to L2 texts and the fundamental changes that can be brought about in their L2 reading processes through formal instruction. In line with this research tradition, the present quasi-experimental study investigated the effects of formal training in figures of speech on university EFL learners’ appreciation of an unseen literary text, Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” in the case of this study. Understanding literature requires knowledge of figures of speech.
An experimental group (n=29) and a control group (n=26) of intermediate 3rd year EFL learners, studying English for a B.A. degree at Kashan University, Iran, participated in the study. The participants were first pre-tested and matched for their level of proficiency in English and their initial reading comprehension ability. In addition to the normal curriculum content, the experimental group received instruction in figures of speech through a course called "Fonun va Sana'at" (Figures of Speech). The control group did not receive this instruction. Both groups were post-tested on their ability to read a literary passage and to appreciate it.
The results of t-test analysis of the resulting data revealed significant differences between the means of the two groups. The experimental group that had received instruction in figures of speech significantly outperformed the control group. The findings of the study have practical implications for material development, curriculum planning, teaching English through literature, and second language acquisition.