The Role of Gender, Embedded Questions, and Domain Specific Readings with Learners of Spanish


The present study utilizes readings taken from texts in social psychology to examine the effects by gender of embedded “what” questions and elaborative “why” questions on reading comprehension. During regular class time, 97 advanced second language (L2) learners of Spanish read two different vignettes, either with or without the adjuncts, and then completed a written recall, multiple choice items, and a topic familiarity inventory. Results revealed significant effects of gender and question type for wriftten recall with passage one, which was about first impressions and schemas. Females outscored males with the inserted “why” questions and males outscored females with the inserted “what” questions. No significant effects by gender and embedded questions were found with recall for passage two, concerning implicit personality theory and attribution theory. Additionally, no gender differences were found for the interaction of gender and embedded question type for multiple choice items across both passages. Results are discussed in light of previous research that reports females outperform males on recall tasks for L2 reading. Instructional implications along with suggestions for more research of this nature are offered.