French Science Students Reading in a Foreign Language: Constraint or Pleasure?

Nicole Décuré


French science students do not read much in English. Does this reflect their reading habits in their native language? A study in the form of online questionnaires was conducted at Toulouse university which compared their reading habits in French and in English. A further study examined the way one particular group of students conducted their prescribed reading task in English. Finally, a questionnaire was used to assess their reading in English after university. The results show that these students do a fair amount of reading in French and therefore can and should be encouraged to read in English. Extensive reading programmes proved useful at the incidental learning, fluency and enjoyment levels.


Extensive Reading, Foreign Language, Motivation, Incidental Learning, French Students, Short Stories

Full Text:



Aebersold, J. A., & Field, M. L. (1997). From reader to reading teacher. Issues and strategies for second language classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Blois, A., Décuré, N. & Lavinal, F. (2005). La motivation, vecteur indispensable dans l’apprentissage des langues. Passerelle, l, 195-212.

Blois, A., Décuré, N. & Lavinal, F. (2006). Impact d’une première année d’IUT sur la motivation des étudiant/es à apprendre l’anglais. Les Cahiers de l’APLIUT, 25(1), 73-90.

Béduwé, C., Fourcade, B., Giret, J.-F., & Moullet, S. (2007). Études scientifiques et marché du travail: éléments de réflexion sur la crise des formations en sciences. OSP. 36(4). 503-532.

Bodomo, A., Lam, M. L., & Lee, C. (2003). Some students still read books in the 21st century: a study of user preferences for print and electronic libraries. The Reading Matrix, 3(3), 34-48.

Brantmeier, C. (2005). Anxiety about L2 reading or L2 reading tasks? A study with advanced language learners. The Reading Matrix, 5(2), 67-84.

Candlin, C. (1984). Preface. In J. C. Alderson & A. H. Urquhart (Eds.), Reading in a foreign language (pp. ix-xiii). New York: Longman.

Carcella, R. C. & Oxford, R. L. (1992). The tapestry of language learning: the individual in the communicative classroom. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Cohen, A. D. (1990). Language learning. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Crow, J. T. (1986). Receptive vocabulary acquisition for reading comprehension. The Modern Language Journal, 70(3), 242-250.

Cumming, A. 2009. The Contribution of Studies of Foreign Language Writing to Research, Theories and Policies. In Rosa M. Manchón, (Ed.), Writing in foreign language contexts (pp. 209-231). Bristol, Buffalo, Toronto: Multilingual Matters,

Davis, C. (1995). Extensive reading: an expensive extravagance? ELT Journal, 49(4), 329-335.

Day, R. & Bamford, J. (1998). Extensive reading in the second language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Day, R. & Bamford, J. (2002). Top ten principles for teaching extensive reading. Reading in a Foreign Language, 14(2), 136-141.

Elley, W. (1991). Acquiring literacy in a second language. The effect of book-based programmes. Language Learning, 41(3) 75-411.

Harbord, J. (1992). The use of the mother tongue in the classroom. ELT Journal, 46(4), 350-355.

Iwahori, U. (2008). Developing reading fluency: a study of extensive reading in EFL. Reading in a foreign language, 20(1), 70-91.

Kern, R. G. (1989). Second language reading strategy instruction: its effects on comprehension and word inference ability. The Modern Language Journal, 73(2), 135-149.

Krashen, S. (1993). The power of reading: insights from the research. Englewood, Co.: Libraries Unlimited.

Littlewood, W. (1984). Foreign and second language learning: language acquisition research and its implications for the classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Macalister, J. (2008). Implementing extensive reading in an EAP programme. ELT Journal, 62(3), 248-256.

Maley, A. (2005). Review of extensive reading activities for the second language classroom. ELT Journal, 59(4), 354-355.

Nuttall, C. (1982). Teaching reading skills in a foreign language. London: Heinemann.

Ponniah, J. (2011). Incidental acquisition of vocabulary by reading. The Reading Matrix, 11(2), 135-139.

Richards, J. C. & Schmidt, R. W. (Eds.). (2002). Longman dictionary of language teaching and applied linguistics. London: Longman.

Robb, T. & Kano, M. (2013). Effective extensive reading outside the classroom: a large-scale experiment. Reading in a Foreign Language, 25(2), 234-247.

Scarcella, R. & Oxford, R. 1992. The tapestry of language learning: the individual in the communicative classroom. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Williams, R. (1986). “Top ten” principles for teaching reading. ELT Journal, 40(1), 42-45.

Yamashita, J. (2004). Reading attitudes in L1 and L2, and their influence on L2 extensive reading. Reading in a Foreign Language, 16(1), 1-19.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.