The effects of read-aloud assistance on second language oral fluency in text summary speech
Focusing on text summary speaking tasks, the present study investigated the effects of the activation of phonological representations during text comprehension (operationalized by read-aloud assistance) on the subsequent retelling speech. A total of 24 Japanese learners of English completed text summary speaking tasks under two conditions: (a) reading without read-aloud assistance and (b) reading with read-aloud assistance. Their speech data were analyzed by lexical overlap indices (i.e. the ratio of characteristic single-words and multiword sequences) and by fluency measures capturing three major dimensions of fluency—speed, breakdown, and repair fluency. The results showed that read-aloud assistance directly facilitated lexical overlaps with source texts and indirectly improved speed and repair fluency. Furthermore, read-aloud assistance was found to affect the interrelationship between lexical overlaps and utterance fluency. The findings suggested that read-aloud assistance might help second language learners to store multiword sequences as a single unit (i.e. chunking) during text comprehension.