The Impact of Gloss Types on Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary Gain and Vocabulary Retention: A Comparative Study

Atefeh Elekaei, Sajad Faramarzi, Mansour Koosha


The significance and impact of vocabulary learning in reading comprehension and L2 language learning are apparent to teachers, researchers and language learners. Moreover, glosses are found as one of the most effective strategies regarding vocabulary retention. Therefore, the present study attempted to investigate the effect of different types of glosses on reading comprehension, vocabulary gain and vocabulary retention. To this end, 140 Iranian EFL learners learning English were selected and were divided into four groups (footnote gloss group, interlinear gloss group, marginal gloss group, and glossary group). They were required to read a text and answer four reading comprehension questions. In addition, one immediate vocabulary post-test and one delayed vocabulary post-test were taken in order to investigate learners' vocabulary gain and vocabulary retention. In order to analyze the data, one one-way ANOVA and one MANOVA were run. The results of one-way ANOVA revealed that participants who received interlinear glosses significantly outperformed the other groups regarding comprehending the text. Moreover, the immediate vocabulary post-test was conducted immediately after reading test and the delayed post-test was administered after four weeks. The results of MANOVA indicated that the group which received interlinear glosses outperformed the other groups in both vocabulary gain and vocabulary retention. The present study has implications for teachers and learners. Teachers can find better methods to teach new reading passages as well as vocabulary items. Also, glosses help learners to have a better comprehension of difficult passages and they facilitate learning. Moreover, learners can enhance their vocabulary knowledge with the help of glosses.

Keywords: footnote gloss, interlinear gloss, marginal gloss, glossary, Iranian EFL learners, reading comprehension, vocabulary gain, vocabulary retention

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