The present study aimed at exploring the joint effects of reading motivation and reading anxiety on English reading comprehension in the Taiwanese English as a foreign language (EFL) context. To this end, a total of 140 (26 males, 114 females) EFL freshmen from required General English I courses at a university in southern Taiwan satisfactorily completed the English Reading Comprehension Test, the Motivation for Reading Questionnaire, and the Foreign Language Reading Anxiety Scale. The results revealed that reading anxiety was found to be the best predictor of reading comprehension, followed by extrinsic reading motivation, while intrinsic reading motivation failed to predict reading comprehension directly. Intrinsic reading motivation had an indirect effect on reading comprehension through the mediation of extrinsic reading motivation. Moreover, EFL learners having high reading motivation (intrinsic and extrinsic motivation together) and low reading anxiety were more likely to receive the best reading results, while EFL learners having low reading motivation and high reading anxiety tended to receive the worst reading results. Finally, for successful reading, high reading motivation tended to compensate for the reading ineffectiveness caused by high reading anxiety, and low reading anxiety had a tendency to compensate for the reading ineffectiveness caused by low reading motivation. To help EFL learners effectively cope with their reading difficulties, EFL instructors should adopt an appropriate teaching methodology to enhance learners’ reading motivation and to alleviate their reading anxiety while delivering reading instruction.
Key Words: reading motivation, reading anxiety, English reading comprehension