Faculty of Arts - Cultures, Languages and Linguistics

Associate Professor John Read

MA(Hons) (Victoria), PhD (New Mexico)

Postgraduate Adviser

Associate Professor John Read

Cultures, Languages and Linguistics, Applied Language Studies and Linguistics

Email: ja.read@auckland.ac.nz

Extension: 87673 (ph + 64 9 373 7599)

Arts 1 Building
14a Symonds St
Level Level 4
Room 458

Research interests

Second language vocabulary acquisition and assessment; testing English for academic and professional purposes; diagnostic language assessment; the development of academic literacy.


Current research

  • The design of tasks for the assessment of academic vocabulary knowledge and use, particularly the Yes/No format as a measure of vocabulary size
  • The use of lexical and other measures for diagnostic assessment
  • The design of specific-purpose English tests in aviation and the health sciences
  • The effectiveness of language enhancement programmes for undergraduate students

Associate Professor John Read's Research

Postgraduate supervision

Recently completed doctoral theses (as main supervisor, unless stated otherwise)

Colleen Bright (2013). The role of academic writing in the study experience of undergraduate Business students.

Rachel Lee (2012).Writing as literacy development for low achievers: The case of a neighbourhood school in Singapore.

Dana Gablasova (2012). Learning and expressing technical vocabulary through the medium of L1 and L2 by Slovak-English bilingual high-school students.

Dawn Booth (2012). Exploring the washback of the TOEIC in South Korea: A sociocultural perspective on student test activity. [Second supervisor] [Winner, ALANZ Best PhD Thesis Competition, 2012]

Ian Wilson (2012). Academic literacy and self-efficacy in adult students preparing for tertiary study. [EdD, co-supervisor]

Jeannet Stephen (2012). English loanwords in the Malay print media and their implications for English vocabulary acquisition.

Sophie Reissner-Roubicek (2010). Communication strategies in behavioural job interviews:The influence of discourse norms on graduate recruitment.

Andrea Hellman (2008). The limits of eventual lexical attainment in adult-onset second language acquisition. [EdD, Boston University, USA, member of the dissertation committee] [Winner of the Christopher Brumfit Ph.D./Ed.D. Award for 2008, from Cambridge University Press]

Associate Professor John Read's Postgraduate Supervision

Recent publications


Read, J. (2000). Assessing vocabulary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Edited work

Read, J., & Knoch, U. (Eds.) (2009). Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 32 (3). Special issue on Aviation English.

Journal articles

Read, J. (forthcoming). Issues in post-entry language assessment in English-medium universities. Language Teaching. Available on Cambridge Journals Online 2013 doi:10.1017/S0261444813000190

Read, J., & von Randow, J. (2013).A university post-entry English language assessment: Charting the changes. International Journal of English Studies, 13 (2), 89-110.

Erlam, R., von Randow, J., & Read, J. (2013). Investigating an online rater training program: Product and process. Papers in Language Testing and Assessment, 2(1), 1-29.

Chang, A. C-S., & Read, J. (2013). Investigating the effects of multiple-choice listening test items in the oral versus written mode on L2 listeners’ performance and perceptions. System, 41, 575-586.

Read, J. (2013). Research timeline: Second language vocabulary assessment. Language Teaching, 46 (1), 41-52.

Read, J. (2010). The interface between language policy and assessment in international aviation. English Language Assessment, 4, 1-13.

Read, J., & Knoch, U. (2009). Clearing the air: Applied linguistic perspectives on aviation communication. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 32 (3), 1-11.

Read, J. (2008). Identifying academic language needs through diagnostic assessment. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 7 (2), 180-190.

Chang, A. C-S., & Read, J. (2008). Reducing listening test anxiety through various forms of listening support.  TESL-EJ, 12 (1), 1-25.

Chang, A. C-S., & Read, J. (2007). Support for foreign language listeners: Its effectiveness and limitations. RELC Journal, 38, 375-394.

Read, J. (2007). Second language vocabulary assessment: Current practices and new directions. International Journal of English Studies, 7 (2), 105-125.

Read, J. (2007). Towards a new collaboration: Research in SLA and language testing. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics, 13, 22-35.

Read, J.,& Hirsh, D. (2007). Moderating assessment standards in Foundation Studies programmes. TESOLANZ Journal, 15, 1-15.

Knoch, U., Read, J., & von Randow, J. (2007). Re-training writing raters online: How does it compare with face-to-face training? Assessing Writing 12, 26-43.

Chang, A. C-S., & Read, J. (2006). The effects of listening support on the listening performance of EFL learners. TESOL Quarterly, 40, 375-397.

Read, J. (2004). Research in teaching vocabulary. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24, 146-161.

Read, J. (2002). The use of interactive input in EAP listening assessment. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 1, 105-119.

Read, J., & Chapelle, C.A. (2001). A framework for second language vocabulary assessment. Language Testing, 18, 1-32.

Book chapters

Read, J. (2012). Conventional methods of assessing vocabulary. In C.A. Chapelle (Ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Read, J. (2012). Assessment of vocabulary. In C.A. Chapelle (Ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Read, J. (2012). Piloting vocabulary tests. In G. Fulcher & F. Davidson (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of language testing (pp. 287-299). London: Routledge.

Read, J. (2012). Assessing vocabulary. In C. Coombe, P. Davidson, B. O'Sullivan, & S. Stoynoff (Eds.), The Cambridge guide to language assessment (pp. 257-263). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Read, J., & Roe, L. (2011). Designing the assessment of a university ESOL course. In J. Macalister & I.S.P. Nation (Eds.), Case studies in language curriculum design; Concepts and approaches in action around the world (pp. 101-113). New York: Routledge

Read, J. (2010). Researching language testing and assessment. In B.Paltridge & A. Phakiti (Eds.), Continuum companion to research methods in applied linguistics (pp. 287-300). London: Continuum.

Read J., & Nation, P. (2009). Introduction: Meara's contribution to research in L2 lexical processing. In T. Fitzpatrick & A. Barfield (eds.), Lexical processing in second language learners (pp. 1-12). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Read, J., & Wette, R.J. (2009). Achieving English proficiency for professional registration: The experience of overseas-qualified health professionals in the New Zealand context. In J. Osborne (Ed.), IELTS research reports Volume 10 (pp. 181-222). Canberra: IELTS Australia and British Council.

Read, J, & Nation, P. (2006). An investigation of the lexical dimension of the IELTS speaking test. In P. McGovern & S. Walsh (Eds.), IELTS research reports Volume 6 (pp 207-231). Canberra: IELTS Australia.

Read, J. (2004). Plumbing the depths: How should the construct of vocabulary knowledge be defined? In P. Bogaards & B. Laufer (Eds.), Vocabulary in a second language: Selection, acquisition and testing (pp. 209-227). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Read, J., & Nation, P. (2004). Measurement of formulaic sequences. In N. Schmitt (Ed.), Formulaic sequences: Acquisition, processing and use (pp 23-35). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Hayes, B., & Read, J. (2004). IELTS test preparation in New Zealand: Preparing students for the IELTS Academic Module. In L. Cheng & Y. J. Watanabe, with A. Curtis (Eds.), Washback in language testing: Research contexts and methods (pp 97-111). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Read, J., & Hayes, B. (2003). The impact of IELTS on preparation for academic study in New Zealand. In R. Tulloh (Ed.), IELTS research reports 2003, Volume 4 (pp 153-205). Canberra: IELTS Australia.


Read, J. (2012). Review of B. O’Sullivan (Ed.), Language testing: Theories and practices. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics, 18, 82-83.

Read, J. (2011). Review of G. Fulcher, Practical language testing. Language Testing, 28, 302-304.

Read, J. (2011). Review of P. Meara, Connected words: Word associations and second language vocabulary acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition,30, 130-131.

Read, J. (2007).  Review of P. Nation & P. Gu, Focus on vocabulary. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics, 13, 101-103.

Read, J. (2007). Review of E.H. Hiebert & M.L. Kamil (Eds.), Teaching and learning vocabulary: Bringing research into practice. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 29, 128-129.


Other Items

Read, J. (2011). Vocabulary testing. Video and podcast available online at www.languagetesting.info.

Dunkley, D. (2011). An interview with John Read. The Language Teacher, 35 (1), 35-38. 

Associate Professor John Read's Recent Publications

Career history

John Read joined the Department in July 2005 and was Head of Department from 2007 to 2010. He previously taught applied linguistics, TESOL and EAP at Victoria University of Wellington, the SEAMEO Regional Language Centre in Singapore, the University of Texas El Paso, and Indiana University. He has also held visiting research appointments at the University of Malaya, Birkbeck College London, Lancaster University, the University of Birmingham, the University of Michigan and the University of Melbourne.

His main area of specialisation is language testing and assessment, with a particular focus on vocabulary assessment and the testing of English for academic and professional purposes. He has been extensively involved with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as a researcher, consultant and test administrator, and has directed three IELTS-funded research projects on various aspects of the test. He has been a consultant to Aviation Services Ltd and Air New Zealand on the design of English language assessments for pilots and air traffic controllers. At the University of Auckland, he is Academic Coordinator of the Diagnostic English Language Needs Assessment (DELNA), which assesses the academic language needs of students entering the university.

John has served the International Language Testing Association (ILTA) as President (2011-12), Vice-President (2009-10) and a member of the Executive Board (1992-93, 2000-01). He currently has a four-year appointment (2011-15) as a member of the Committee of Examiners (COE) for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), as well as chairing the COE Research Sub-Committee. He was co-editor of the international research journal Language Testing from 2002 to 2006.

John’s doctoral research was a study of language maintenance on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana, USA and its implications for bilingual education. He has continuing interests in language maintenance and shift, language policy in education and other ways in which the social context influences language learning.

Current teaching

Language Teaching and Learning
Course Title Availability in 2014
LANGTCHG 716 Vocabulary Learning and Teaching Semester 2
LANGTCHG 740 Language Analysis for Teachers Not offered in 2014.
LANGTCHG 742 Language Assessment Semester 1, repeated Semester 2

Associate Professor John Read's Teaching

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