Word-attack skills in beginners’ Japanese reading comprehension
This paper advocates the promotion of teaching word-attack skills, among other reading skills, in a beginners’ Japanese program. The paper argues that even first-year students with limited knowledge of kanji (Chinese characters) can use such strategies successfully, and that formal training in such skills helps foster autonomous readers who approach reading tasks with a positive attitude. The feasibility of teaching word-attack skills to beginners is supported by the results obtained in an experiment conducted in the introductory Japanese course at the Australian National University (ANU). The paper takes a detailed look at various word-attack skills used by students in this experiment, in the light of universal reading strategies as well as strategies specific to reading in Japanese.