Reading in a Second Language

William Grabe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Reading in a second language is the essence of this article. The ability to read in a second language is one of the most important skills required of people in multilingual and international settings. It is also a skill that is one of the most difficult to develop to a high level of proficiency. This article highlights the different purposes of reading. People read for a variety of purposes, and many of these purposes require distinct combinations of skills in order to achieve the reader's purpose. Because of this variation, it is not easy to define second language reading as a single notion or a unitary ability. It is true that differing purposes draw on many of the same cognitive processes, but they do so to differing extents and sometimes in different ways. Reading can easily be defined simply as the ability to derive understanding from written text. This article also focuses on how reading as an individual process works.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Applied Linguistics, (2 Ed.)
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199940158
ISBN (Print)9780195384253
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012


  • Cognitive processes
  • Multilingual
  • Reading
  • Second language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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