The role of working memory,anticipation of meaning and automatic information processing in enhancing young adults’ reading comprehension
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The current study seeks to investigate the importance of working memory, anticipation abilities and processing speed/ automaticity in university students’ reading comprehension. Therefore, the aim of this study is threefold. First, it sets out to investigate whether there is a strong correlation between the students’ working memory and their reading comprehension abilities by conducting a correlational study. Second, it measures the contribution of anticipation abilities in the growth of the students’ text processing abilities by carrying out an experimental study. Third, it examines the nature of the relationship between the participants’ processing speed/automaticity and written comprehension using both- a correlational and an experimental study. Thus, it is hypothesised that “high memory spans are better comprehenders of a text written in English as a foreign language than low spans.” The second hypothesis that is tested in this study suggests that “if the students anticipate what comes next in the text, their reading comprehension of a text written in English as a foreign language will be improved. The third hypothesis that directs this study states that “the more automatic the students’ information processing is, the better their reading comprehension of a print will be.” The participants are 100 third year English language students at the university of Frères Mentouri, Constantine, Algeria. The targeted cognitive capacities of these students are measured using different tasks. The participants’ reading comprehension is measured using multiple-choice-question exercises. Moreover, 2 working memory span tasks have been used to measure their reading comprehension. Besides, the participants’ word-automaticity is assessed using word-list viewing exercises. In addition to these measures, many texts and strategies are used in the treatment phases with the experimental group. The statistical analyses, using correlation coefficient ‘r’ and the t-test, reveal that working memory capacity correlates significantly with reading comprehension capacities. Furthermore, anticipation abilities have shown to contribute to the students’ understanding of the print. Moreover, processing speed is revealed as an important regulator of the readers’ processing of the written discourse.