English L2 Reading: Getting to the Bottom, 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover

English L2 Reading

Getting to the Bottom, 3rd Edition

By Barbara M. Birch


228 pages

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pub: 2014-09-04
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English L2 Reading, Third Edition offers teachers research-based insights into bottom-up skills in reading English as a second language and a solid foundation on which to build reading instruction. Core linguistic and psycholinguistic concepts are presented within the context of their application to teaching. The goal is to balance or supplement (not replace) top-down approaches and methodologies with effective low-level options for teaching English reading.

The text’s pedagogical features— Questions, Study Guide Questions. Discussion Questions, Spotlight on Teaching sections— engage readers of the text in moving easily from linguistic details and psycholinguistic data and theory to practical explanations and suggestions for teaching. Two Appendices provide tables that list the graphemes or the phonemes of English.

Changes in the Third Edition

  • Shift in focus from criticism of whole language methodologies to a more neutral stance —times have changed and the study of lower-level reading strategies is now mainstream
  • Greater focus on linguistic form, along with function and meaning
  • Updated information about reading strategies at each level of the reading process
  • More Spotlight on Teaching sections, one for each chapter
  • New chapter on spelling development


"English L2 Reading refocuses attention on the often forgotten, bottom-up skills in reading English as a second language. It strikes a good balance between theory and practice."

Paul Abraham, Simmons College, USA

"…provides an effective review of key linguistic points and ties them to reading and writing. This text offers a perfect balance between theory and practice, consistently providing concrete illustrations of research on second language literacy."

Sarah Dietrich, Salem State University, USA

"This is a book that really gets to ‘the bottom’. It unpacks what is meant by the term and demonstrates explicitly why bottom up knowledge is important and what its components are. It’s a book I’d been seeking for a long while. English L2 Reading provides us with specific information on how to teach L2 learners through showing us how language awareness is critical for teaching L2 English reading."

Vanessa Wenzell, California State University Dominguez Hills, USA

Table of Contents



1. The Expert Decision-Maker

2. Writing Systems

3. Low-level Transfer of Reading Strategies

4. Listening Skills in Reading

5. Processing Letters

6. The English Spelling System

7. Approaches to Phonics

8. English Morphophonemic Spelling

9. Spelling Development

10. Vocabulary Acquisition

11. Getting to the Bottom of English L2 Fluency

Appendix A: English graphemes

Appendix B: English Phonemes and their Principal Spellings



About the Author

Barbara M. Birch is Professor in the Department of Linguistics at California State University - Fresno, USA.

About the Series

ESL & Applied Linguistics Professional Series

This series provides essential texts on teaching English as a second language and applied linguistics. It includes authored and edited volumes to be used as primary or supplementary texts in graduate-level and teacher training courses to enhance students’ and practicing teachers’ professional qualifications and knowledge. Each text is designed to promote the current and growing body of knowledge in applied linguistics and second language teaching, including advances in teacher education and the study of language.

Specifically, the series includes, but is not limited to, current uses of applied linguistics research in teaching a variety of second language skills, such as reading, writing, speaking and listening; materials and curriculum design; literacy; English for academic purposes; and research methods.

The texts also deal with broad domains of professional preparation related to socio-cultural perspectives and current issues/topics in teaching and learning a second language.

Books in the series benefit not only students, but experienced teachers, curriculum developers, teacher trainers, program administrators, and other second and foreign language professionals seeking to advance and update their knowledge and expertise.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Bilingual Education
FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDY / English as a Second Language