Hesitations in EFL Reading Among Advanced Students With and Without Dyslexia

Signe-Anita Lindgrén & Daniela Mattsson
English Language and Literature, Åbo Akademi University
signe-anita.lindgren _arvaa_ abo.fi

The role of reading in our society and the importance of fluent reading for successful reading comprehension have become indisputable. With regard to dyslexics (1), reading ability is known to improve over time, yet studies show that even high-performers with dyslexia read more slowly, are less fluent decoders, and make more errors than age matched and education matched controls (e.g. Lindgrén 2012).

Previous studies have highlighted hesitation phenomena in spontaneous speech. In our presentation, we explore hesitations and pausing in a reading-aloud task (cf. Wengelin 2002 on writing) and ask whether poorer decoding skills measured by e.g. reading chains are reflected in the placement of hesitations and pausing in EFL reading of advanced students with dyslexia. We consider the cognitive implications of hesitations and pauses, and the communicative relevance of their placement.

We thus compare L1 and EFL decoding skills, as well as hesitation phenomena and pausing in an EFL reading task of 15 Finland-Swedish university students with dyslexia and 15 controls. The latter analyses employ PRAAT and observe phrase boundaries. The data were drawn from a 5-hour test battery including reading and writing tasks in Swedish, Finnish, and English, as well as cognitive tasks relevant for dyslexia (Lindgrén 2012; Lindgrén & Laine 2011).

Our interactive poster presentation discusses the dyslexic language user and EFL reader of tomorrow, as well as implications for teaching and the work place.


Keywords: adults, dyslexia, EFL reading fluency, pauses



Lindgrén, S.-A. 2012. Mild Developmental Dyslexia in University Students: Diagnosis and Performance Features in L1, L2, and L3. English Department Publications 6. Turku, Åbo Akademi University.

Lindgrén, S.-A. & M. Laine 2011. Multilingual dyslexia in university students: Reading and writing patterns in three languages. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 25, 753-766.


(1) Developmental dyslexia is considered the most common handicap in the Western world (von Euler, 1996).


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