Reading in a Second Language

William Grabe

in The Oxford Handbook of Applied Linguistics

Second edition

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780195384253
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Reading in a Second Language

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  • Linguistics
  • Language Acquisition



Reading in a second language is the essence of this article. The ability to read in a second language is one of the most important skills required of people in multilingual and international settings. It is also a skill that is one of the most difficult to develop to a high level of proficiency. This article highlights the different purposes of reading. People read for a variety of purposes, and many of these purposes require distinct combinations of skills in order to achieve the reader's purpose. Because of this variation, it is not easy to define second language reading as a single notion or a unitary ability. It is true that differing purposes draw on many of the same cognitive processes, but they do so to differing extents and sometimes in different ways. Reading can easily be defined simply as the ability to derive understanding from written text. This article also focuses on how reading as an individual process works.

Keywords: reading; second language; multilingual; cognitive processes

Article.  4823 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Language Acquisition

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