The impact of topic congruence on second language reading comprehension

Marzieh Sadeghpour, Sayyed Mohammad Alavi

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The present study scrutinized the impact of congruent topics on the quality of L2 reading comprehension. 56 Iranian advanced-level students read 2 texts on a controversial topic, one on the advantages of child gender selection, and the other on disadvantages. Quality analysis of immediate and delayed recall tasks, defined as the amount of high and lowlevel information recalled correctly, was performed by analysis of variance. Results revealed that topic congruence affected immediate recall of both high and low-level information, and also delayed recall of low-level information. Findings showed that the effect of congruent topics on reading recall was detrimental; participants recalled less information from the passage with congruent topic than a passage with incongruent topic. Outcomes of the study suggest that controversial topics should be selected more cautiously, because they may not truly reflect L2 readers’ reading comprehension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-221
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Congruent topic
  • Delayed recall
  • Immediate recall
  • L2 reading
  • Readers’ attitude

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