This section presents seven major differences between L1 and L2 readers involving vocabulary, grammar, discourse, orthography, and metalinguistic and metacognitive issues, as well as the amount of exposure that readers have to the L2. The linguistic and processing issues inherent in these differences are actually the most widely studied aspects of reading development and quite a bit of research can help us understand these differences and their possible impact in reading comprehension abilities.

This is a seven part contained in this section :

a. Differing amounts of lexical, grammatical, and discourse knowledge
As first difference, most L1 students first learn to read after they have been learning their L1 orally for 4-6 years. They have learned most of the basic grammatical structures of their L1 as tacit knowledge. Further learning of the language structures commonly used in written texts will continue regularly through the age of 12, but most of the basic structure are already well learned. Estimates of the vocabulary knowledge of a six-year-old vary considerably, but commonly agreed upon range is 5,000 to 7,000 words.
Unlike the L1 student’s initial linguistic resource base, many L2 student’s begin to read simple sentences and passages almost at the sometime that they learn the language orally. Other L2 students, primarily in academic reading courses, are not even expected to increase their oral L2 abilities to keep up with their reading development.
The lack of tacit L2 grammatical knowledge and discourse knowledge also suggests that L2 students need some foundation of stuructural knowledge and text organization in the L2 for more effective reading comprehension.

b. Greater metalinguistic and metacognitive awareness
In the cases, students develop a greater metalinguistic awareness as a resource for reading. Greater involvement of metalinguistic analysis and control proccesses , makes task more difficult, and the difficulty result in behavior appearing to be increasingly metalinguistic. However, no specific boundary in the development of neither process signal a category shift into metalinguistic performance; its gradual transition into a continuously evolving domain.
Metacognitive knowledge is our knowledge of what we know. Simply, put this knowledge permits us to reflect on our planning, goal setting, processing of task, monitoring of progress, recognition of problem and repair of problem. This is represents a basic way to understand learning strategies and especially our explicit and conscious use of reading strategies.

c. Differing amounts of exposure
The differences between L1 and L2 reading situations are significant because L1 readers spend years building up the amount of exposure to print needed to develop fluency and automaticity.

d. Varying linguistic differences across any two language
Linguistic differences across any two language are likely to vary considerably, and these differences may influence L2 reading comprehension variably when students come from different L1 and are in the L2 classroom.

e. Varying L2 proficiencies as a foundation for L2
L2 proficiency plays a large role as foundation for L2 reading. The language threshold hypothesis argues that students must have a sufficient amount of L2 knowledge to make effective use skills and strategies that part of their L1 reading comprehension abilities.

f. Varying language transfer influences
An initial issue in discussing transfer, and one that sometimes downplayed, is that transfer L1 knowledge to L2 reading may support comprehension but it may also interfere with comprehension. Transfer as interference is typically assumed to influence beginning and intermediate levels of L2 reading.

g. Interacting influence of working with two language
The issue of two language working at the same time also reveals a range of non-linguistic factors that distinguish L1 and L2 reading comprehension; these factors are discussed in the next section of the chapter.


1. Differing levels of L1 reading abilities
As important the different is that L2 reading are influenced by their level of L1 reading abilities. In one respect, the point could have been made in the discussion of transfer above, students who are weak in L1 literacy abilities cannot be expected to transfer many supporting resource to L2 contexts.

2. Differing motivations for reading in the L2
When comparing L1 and L2 reading contexts, its likely that we will find different individual motivations for reading. As students progress through different levels of responses to reading.

3. Differing kinds of texts in L2 contexts
The experience that individual students have with differing kinds of texts in L1 and L2 contexts are additional potential sources of reading comprehension different experience with various text genres, they develop diverse approaches to the range of text that they encounter.

4. Differing language resources for L2 readers
Important L1-L2 differences centre on the use of bilingual dictionaries, glosses, translation and cultural background resources in L2 contexts, but not in L1 contexts. L2 students can reference specific L1 cultural knowledge and text resource for L2 reading tasks


Reading development and reading instructions are strongly influenced by parental community attitudes towards reading and uses of literacy.

This is a three part contained in this section:
1. Differing socio-cultural backgrounds of L2
A key differences between L1 and L2 reading setting, but one often overlooked, relates, to the L1 socializations to literacy practices that L2 students bring from their L2 cultural background.

2. Differing ways of organizing discourse and texts
• Additional factors related to text organization that may influence L2 reading comprehension includes differences in
• the way in the which texts express interpersonal relation with the reader
• expectations about the amounts of news information that is embedded in a text
• assumptions about how explicitly reader interpretation should be guided
These issue suggest the benefits of exploring the discourse organization of texts as part of instruction and raising students awareness.

3. Differing expectation of L2 educational institutions

The distinction between L1 and L2 reading is shaped by the different attitudes, resources and expectations of L1 and L2 educational structures. L2 shaped in their assumption and their performance by their previous L1 institutional experiences which could be in sharp contrast with L2 institutional setting in which they find themselves.

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