Authentic Reading Texts and Vocabulary Acquisition in EFL Students
Nowadays, English has dominated the context of foreign language learning and teaching. In Iran, Teaching English starts at the age of 11, first grade in junior high schools and continues up to university levels. In spite of studying English for a long period of time in schools it is observed that students are not able to communicate in English in the real context. As a result, it is necessary to study the reasons to investigate the reasons why, despite all the efforts, Iranian students are not as successful in learning English as they are expected. Results of different studies by teaching experts reveal that a number of interrelated factors play important roles in students’ success in learning English. Moreover, Language teachers realize that many differences in pronunciation, grammar and levels of politeness and honorifics can cause learning difficulties. One of the less discussed aspects of language learning is vocabulary acquisition. A proper knowledge of English vocabulary will definitely help the learner in better communication. Studies show that vocabulary knowledge leads to overall language success. Moreover, the remarkable role for vocabulary has not only been noted and supported by vocabulary specialists but also by English learners themselves. Most EFL and ESL learners feel the need to develop their vocabulary to begin their English acquisition process. Schmitt (2010) confirms that “learners carry around dictionaries and not grammar books”. During the last twenty years, research that deals with vocabulary development in the field of SL and/or FL acquisition has received great attention because of its importance in learning the language.
As long as building up sufficient vocabulary in a foreign language takes a long time, this research, while reviewing different models of teaching vocabulary, explores the way reading authentic texts can improve the acquisition of vocabulary in EFL students.
The impact of authentic reading texts, as original resources of language use, on the vocabulary acquisition of students is compared with the knowledge obtained from adapted texts.
The results and discussions of the study can be helpful for both students and teachers in order to use authentic and adaptive texts in their second language learning because this study proves that these texts can improve their vocabulary knowledge. Therefore, the ideas mentioned here will lead to more fruitful language teaching in different school levels.