The Relative Effectiveness of Gap Filling, Summary Writing and Sentence Making in EFL Vocabulary Acquisition

Involvement Load Hypothesis, Vocabulary acquisition, Reading task, English as a foreign language (EFL)


  • jie li
    Nanjing Normal University of International College for Chinese Studies, Nanjing 210024, China
February 25, 2023


This study investigates whether reading task type affects English as a foreign language (EFL) learners’ vocabulary acquisition or not. 68 EFL learners are divided into three groups at random, assigned to one of three reading tasks of learning 15 target words of meaning and part of speech. The tasks are designed based on the Involvement Load Hypothesis (ILH), which induces need (N), search (S), and evaluation (E) as components of involvement. The three tasks involve the same or different components: gap filling (+N, -S, +E), summary writing (+N, -S, +E) and sentence making (+N, -S, ++E). The findings are summarized as follows: the higher involvement loads a reading task induces, the more word meaning and part-of-speech knowledge EFL learners can acquire; the effects of tasks with equal involvement loads are identical on EFL learners’ acquisition of word meaning and part-of-speech knowledge. The results support the ILH and have some implications for English teaching.