Facilitating reading comprehension with multimedia

Dorothy M. Chun, Jan L. Plass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Based on recent theories of the L2 reading process that have focused on an interactive approach, i.e. the utilization of both top-down and bottom-up processing, this paper is concerned with the question of how reading comprehension can be facilitated with a multimedia application for language learning. On the macro level, the effect of a dynamic visual advance organizer is investigated. On the micro level, the effects of multimedia annotations for single vocabulary items are studied. In addition, the relationship between vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension is examined. To test our hypotheses three studies with a total of 160 students were conducted using the multimedia application Cyber Buch. The results indicate that a dynamic visual advance organizer does aid in overall comprehension and that annotations of individual vocabulary items consisting of both visual and verbal information help more than verbal information only. Also, a moderate correlation between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension was found. These results support the dual coding theory and its extension to multimedia learning and underline the importance of visual information in addition to verbal information to support both top-down and bottom-up processing in reading in a foreign language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-519
Number of pages17
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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