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Rob Waring's papers

Last modified: Monday October 03, 2011

This page has copies of some of Rob Waring's papers. Most are in html format. They are in date order with the most recent first.  I'll add a few more in over time. And tidy them up!

You can contact me at the following addresses.

Work: Notre Dame Seishin University, 2-16-9 Ifuku-cho, Okayama, Japan 700-7068



Cambridge Connections Oct 2011.  Right-click and 'save-as  to get the full experience.


The Extensive Reading Foundation  Guide to Extensive Reading Sept 2011

Click the image to get the file

JALT ER Sig Journal Article on Moodlereader 2.0 with Tom Robb, Sept 13, 2011

MoodleReader for Everyone

Extensive Reading in English Language Teaching  (forthcoming 2011)

In A Cirock (Ed.) Innovation and Creativity in EFL Methodology, Nova, New York

The inescapable case for Extensive Reading January 2009

In A Cirock (Ed.) Extensive Reading in English Language Teaching, Lincom Europe.

The missing piece of the puzzle. Abstract from the plenary and a powerpoint presentation on the same topic.

And an article on the same topic in Cambridge Connections 2008

This plenary will present the 'missing piece of the puzzle' for language teachers and students. The plenary starts by surveying what we know about language learning and teaching, and reviews the linguistic parameters under which this learning must take place. There will then be a review of the current state of EFL to show how we, as an industry, present language to students in a linear manner based on a 'teaching causes learning model' of language learning. Recent research into lexical analysis and vocabulary learning will highlight the relatively little recycling of vocabulary, the lack of attention to collocation, colligation and lexical phrases in general there is in typical EFL courses which vastly underestimate the amount of language students need to meet for acquisition to take place. It will also highlight the conditions under which vocabulary can be acquired. The final section of the plenary will show how teachers, students and curriculum designers can provide the missing massive amounts of exposure students need to consolidate their language knowledge to enable long term acquisition to take place.

Why Extensive Reading should be an indispensable part of all language programs

The Language Teacher, July 2006

Vocabulary Acquisition from Reading, Reading-while-Listening, and Listening to Stories 

 Ronan Brown, Rob Waring and Sangrawee Donkaewbua,

This learning-from-context study examined the rate at which vocabulary was acquired from the three different modes of reading, reading-while-listening, and listening to the 400-headword graded readers The Elephant Man, One-Way Ticket, and The Witches of Pendle. To determine whether words of different frequency-of-occurrence rates were more likely to be learned and retained, 84 (3 sets of 28) words within four bands of differing frequency (15 to 20 times to those appearing 2 to 3 times) were selected. The spelling of each test word was changed to ensure that each item was unknown to the 35 pre-intermediate level (or above) Japanese subjects. Three tests (word-form recognition, prompted-meaning recognition and unprompted-meaning recognition) were administered immediately after the reading and/or listening, one week later, and three months later. The results show that words can be learned incidentally in all three input modes, but that most of the words were not learned. Items occurring more frequently in the text were more likely to be learned and were more resistant to decay. The data suggest that, on average, when subjects are tested by unprompted recall, the meaning of only one of the 28 items met in either of the reading modes, and the meaning of none of the items met in the listening-only mode will be remembered after three months. Moreover, it is unlikely that items met fewer than eight times in both reading modes will be remembered three months later; while items met less than twenty times in the listening-only mode have little or no chance of being picked up. The data thus suggest that very little new vocabulary is retained from the limited exposure afforded by reading and/or listening to a single graded reader. It appears that if the aim is to acquire new words, volume is vital, involving exposure to great amounts of written text. It is suggested that the benefits of reading and/or listening to a graded reader should not be judged solely in terms of vocabulary gains and retention, but also by looking at how graded readers help consolidate sight vocabularies, enhance the ability to read in meaningful sense groups, and develop perceptual processing in reading and listening.

Second language reading and incidental vocabulary learning in "Angles" a book edited by Kirsten Haastrup and others.  Written with Paul Nation

An article that appeared in Language Magazine December 2003. Getting an Extensive Reading Program going. It's a Word file.

An article that appeared in Reading in Foreign Language October 2003. This is the pdf file. At what rate do learners learn and retain new vocabulary from reading a graded reader?

 Written with Misako Takaki.

An article that appeared in “Readings on ELT Materials' E.J. Mukundan (Ed.), Universiti Putra Malaysia Press. 2003. Graded Readers issues for authors

A paper in The Language Teacher: 26 (7): 11-13. 2002. It also appeared in News for Japan: Oxford University Press: Tokyo 6-7.

Basic Principles and Practice in Vocabulary Instruction

A paper about Scales of Vocabulary Knowledge in Second Language Vocabulary Assessment

Appeared in Kiyo, The occasional papers of Notre Dame Seishin University. March 2002

A small booklet on how to get your students to use their dictionary effectively. Published by Oxford University Press Japan.  This is an early pre-publication draft.  Please contact OUPJapan for a free copy.  Japanese version

A short interview on How should teachers incorporate vocabulary teaching into their classes?  ELT News 2001

March 2001 A shorter version of the ER Review published in my university's rag. Researching Extensive Reading

An article to appear in ELT news in April 2001 How should teachers incorporate vocabulary teaching into their classes?

This article suggests which words should be learned, and how. The article defend the importance of rote memorization and suggests how an initial start up vocabulary can be created using word cards.

February 2001 . Version 1  There is more detail on this in the main 'How to .. ' pages

A Review of 28 pieces of research relating the Extensive Reading in a Second Language.

October 2000 . Version 1. It is still a work in progress.......

Oxford University Press Japan have put my 'Guide to Graded Reading' on their website. It is a downloadable Adobe pdf file. It is also available in print - contact OUP directly.

The English version. December 2000
The Japanese version.

The 'State Rating Task' - an alternative method of assessing receptive and productive vocabulary is a much shorter version of the PHD. Published in my University's Kiyo.

Review of Coady J. and T. Huckin "Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition: a Rationale for Pedagogy." Cambridge University Press. Appeared in Modern language Journal Nov 1999

Tasks for Assessing Second Language Receptive and Productive Vocabulary (PhD Dissertation). July 1999

Standard vocabulary tasks such as multiple-choice tasks or cued recall tasks can contribute little to our understanding of the nature of Receptive and Productive vocabulary. The main reasons for this include difficulties with task construct definition and the difficulties in ascertaining which mental processes are needed for task completion. The State Rating Task (SRT), described in detail in this thesis, was developed as a plausible alternative to standard vocabulary tasks for assessing Receptive and Productive vocabulary. The SRT, which is based on Multi-State models of vocabulary acquisition, is designed to assess the interaction of Understanding (listening and reading) vocabulary and Use (speaking and writing) vocabulary in a self-report task. The task requires a subject to rate a word into one of five knowledge States. The SRT was tested in two experimental situations. In the first, the SRT was used to assess the types of tokens produced in a stem completion task, and in the second, the SRT was used to trace the developmental patterns of Understanding and Use vocabulary over time. The results from 7 experiments show that the SRT has a high degree of concurrent validity and reliability, and suggest that the SRT is a plausible alternative to standard vocabulary tests for assessing vocabulary development.

There is a paper I presented at JALT Hammamatsu on the building an early vocabulary. Spring 1998. There are useful word lists and so on, as well as s few tests for checking the 2000 most important words.

Review of Hunter Diack's book Wordpower

July 1998. Version 1

Review of Michael Lewis' book Implementing the Lexical Approach

1998 Version 1

Vocabulary size, text coverage and word lists.

Written with Paul Nation
In Schmitt, N. and M. McCarthy (Eds.): Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition and Pedagogy: Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. 6-19
Version: Sept 1997

This looks at the counting of words, how many words are known and are needed. It looks at some of the strengths and weaknesses of word lists and proposes some changes.

The negative effects of learning words in semantic sets: A replication
Status: System May 1997
Version: May 1997

Tinkham (1993) in two experiments found that learning words grouped in semantic sets interferes with the learning of words. Tinkham found that if learners are given words which share a common superordinate concept (such as words for clothes) in list form, they are learned slower than words which do not have a common superordinate concept. This finding suggests that we should not give wordlists to our learners which have words that come from the same semantic set, but should be asking them to learassesser.htmln words semantically unrelated to each other. The present study, a close replication of Tinkham's, used Japanese words paired with artificial words and found a main effect against learning semantically related words at the same time, replicating Tinkham's findings. It can be tentatively concluded from these two papers that presenting students with wordlists of new words in semantic clusters, rather than in unrelated word groups, can interfere with learning. Following a discussion of the research design and some of its limitations, there is some comment on current research methodology.

Graded and Extensive Reading - questions and answers
Status: The Language Teacher May 1997

This paper discusses what Graded Reading is, why it is necessary, where to find reading materials, and some hints for what do in the classroom. There is discussion of some of the oft-heard objections to Extensive Reading programs and some responses.

A Study of Receptive and Productive Vocabulary Learning from Word Cards.
Status: Draft An earlier version appeared in 'Kiyo, occasional papers of Notre Dame Seishin University', Mar 1997.

This study compared the learning of words for recognition against words learned for recall. This study focused on the comparative rates of learning, retention and decay of words learned for recognition versus words learned for recall. 60 Japanese learners of English were required to learn 15 words by testing their recall knowledge as they were learning and 15 words to be testing recognition. The words were learned from word cards with specific direction of learning indicated to force learning for recall or for recognition. For recognition was 'read the English and try to remember the meaning in Japanese'; and for recall was ' read the Japanese side and try to remember the English word. This was designed to focus the subjects on learning one way or another. Results show that learning for recognition is faster and suffers from less decay.

A Comparison of the Receptive and Productive Vocabulary Sizes of some Second Language Learners.
Status: Appeared in 'Immaculata, occasional papers of Notre Dame Seishin University', Mar 1997.
Version: Dec 96

In this study it was found that one's receptive vocabulary is always larger than the productive but by varying degrees. More basic words were more likely to be known both receptively and productively, but more infrequent words were more likely to be known receptively than productively.

Connectionism and Second Language Vocabulary.
Status: Temple University Japan Occasional papers (Osaka).
Date: 1996

In Part 1 I will explore the nature of connectionism and point out some of the ways it seems to account for aspects of second language vocabulary knowledge at a micro-cognitive level which is not subject to introspection. From there, I will look at some of the limitations of this view and will show the connection with higher cognitive functions. In Part 2 a model of lexical storage will be presented to show this relationship. There will be some discussion of the limitations of the model and some suggestions for directions for future research.

It still need some modification. I did this to find out more about the field. I'm not really happy with it now.

Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition, linguistic context and vocabulary task design
Status: Summary of a paper presented at The British Council Conference in St Andrews Scotland.
Version: Sept 95

Towards A Theoretical Construct For The Interface Between Input And Pre-Existing Knowledge In Second Language Acquisition.
Status: Kiyo Occasional papers of Notre Dame Seishin University.
Date: Mar 1995

This paper looks at how input may be added to existing information.

Contact Info:
Rob Waring
Notre Dame Seishin University, 2-16-9 Ifuku-cho, Okayama, Japan 700
Tel 086 252 1155 Fax 255 7663 Home 086 223 0341
Email waring_robert