With the fast increasing number of second language (L2) learners in universities, the ability to read L2 academic texts has become one of the most important skills that L2 college students need to acquire. However, L2 learners still face various problems and difficulties in their L2 reading and past literature suggests that reading strategies have proven to be effective in enhancing L2 reading. Therefore, it is of great significance to examine the factors influencing L2 reading strategies use. Among factors influencing L2 reading strategy use, L1 reading strategies have been identified as a significant influence. However, few studies in this regard have looked into college students in mainland China which has a large number of L2 learners. This study aimed to seek the connection between first language (L1) and L2 metacognitive reading strategies by comparing and contrasting mainland China college students’ metacognitive strategy patterns in their L1 and L2 academic reading. The study also explored factors influencing Chinese college students’ L2 reading strategy use. The study conducted a survey on reading strategies (SORS), think aloud protocol (TAP) and stimulated recall interviews (SRI) to explore the research issues. The study found that Chinese college students employed strategies on a more frequent basis in their L2 academic reading as compared to their L1 academic reading. Two factors, namely, limited L2 proficiency (LLP) and test-oriented reading approach (TORA) were identified as the major factors influencing the L2 metacognitive strategy patterns of Chinese college students. The present study adds to the existing knowledge on the relationship between L1 and L2 reading strategy patterns for Chinese college students and examines factors shaping their L2 reading strategy use. This study assists English language teachers to identify factors influencing Chinese college students’ reading strategies patterns while taking into consideration of the factors influencing their L2 strategy use.
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