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Extensive Reading Essay

In everyday life, we read many kinds of materials without being conscious whether we use any strategies to read effectively. In general terms, reading is not different from other learned human abilities such as driving, cooking, playing golf, or riding a bicycle: the more you do it, the more fluent and skillful you become. Usually, teachers are concerned with the developing in their students the ability to read, but how much attention do teachers pay to develop a habit or love of reading in their students? There are some questioned raised from time to time in my class.

“Teacher, what does it mean? ”, “I can understand nothing from the top to the bottom? ”, “What do they ask us to do? ”, or even worse “I am getting fed up with reading”. As a teacher, how can you deal with these questions and also avoid meeting them again. Extensive reading has long become an essential part in reading and it has proven to be successful in enhancing learners’ love and interest in reading. Therefore, can extensive reading helps students erase the worries, and create pleasure through reading? Can extensive reading bring development towards students’ reading skill?

This essay aims to discuss extensive reading and this essay focuses on some main factors: first, introduction; second, literature review; third, application, and finally, conclusion. II. LITERATURE REVIEW To start with, I wish to present a brief discussion about what extensive reading is. The term “extensive reading” was originally coined by Palmer (1917, quoted by Day and Bamford, 1997) to distinguish it from “intensive reading” – the careful reading of short, complex texts for detailed understanding and skills practice.

It has since acquired many other names: Mikulecky (1990, cited in Day and Bamford, 1997) calls it “pleasure reading” Grabe (1991) and others use the term “sustained silent reading”, while Mason and Krashen (in press) call it simply “free reading”. And now, we take a look at the difference between extensive reading and intensive reading. Intensive reading often refers to the careful reading (or translation) of shorter, more difficult foreign language texts with the goal of complete and detailed understanding. Intensive reading is also associated with the teaching of reading in terms of its component skills.

Texts are studied intensively in order to introduce and practice reading skills such as distinguishing the main idea of a text from the detail, finding pronoun referents, or guessing the meaning of unknown words. Extensive reading, in contrast, is generally associated with reading large amounts with the aim of getting an overall understanding of the material. Readers are more concerned with the meaning of the text than the meaning of individual words or sentences. 1. Characteristics ER can be defined as the independent reading of a large quantity of material for information or pleasure.

The primary aim of ER programmes, according to Day and Bamford, is “to get students reading in the second language and liking it” (p. 6). The book lists the following as key characteristics of a successful ER program (p. 7-8): (1) Students read as much as possible, perhaps in and definitely out of the classroom. (2) A variety of materials on a wide range of topics is available so as to encourage reading for different reasons and in different ways.. (3) Students select what they want to read and have the freedom to stop reading material that fails to interest them.

(4) The purposes of reading are usually related to pleasure, information and general understanding. These purposes are determined by the nature of the material and the interests of the student. (5) Reading is its own reward. There are few or no follow-up exercises to be completed after reading. (6) Reading materials are well within the linguistic competence of the students in terms of vocabulary and grammar. Dictionaries are rarely used while reading because the constant stopping to look up words makes fluent reading difficult.

(7) Reading is individual and silent, at the student’s own pace, and, outside class, done when and where the student chooses. (8) Reading speed is usually faster rather than slower as students read books and other material that they find easily understandable. (9) Teachers orient students to the goals of the program, explain the methodology, keep track of what each student reads, and guide students in getting the most out of the program. (10) The teacher is a role model of a reader for students — an active member of the classroom reading community, demonstrating what it means to be a reader and the rewards of being a reader.

2. Benefits of extensive reading In “extensive reading: Why? and how? of Timothy Bell – Kuwait University, he proposed ten benefits of extensive reading: 1. It can provide ‘comprehensible input’ 2. It can enhance learners’ general language competence 3. It increases the students’ exposure to the language 4. It can increase knowledge of vocabulary 5. It can lead to improvement in writing . 6. It can motivate learners to read 7. It can consolidate previously learned language 8. It helps to build confidence with extended texts 9. It encourages the exploitation of textual redundancy 10.

It facilitates the development of prediction skills 3. Practical Advice on Running Extensive Reading Programs Also, in Extensive Reading: Why? and How? of Timothy Bell, he gives us some practical advice in running Extensive Reading Programs 1. Maximize Learner Involvement A number of logistical hurdles have to be overcome in order to make an extensive reading program effective. Books need to be transported, displayed and collected at the end of each reading session. Considerable paperwork is required to document the card file system, reading records, inventories, book reports and in maintaining and updating lists of titles.

Students should therefore be encouraged to take an active role in the management and administration of the reading program. In the Yemen program, students gained a strong sense of ownership through running the reading resources in an efficient, coordinated and organized manner. 2. The Reader Interview Regular conferencing between teacher and student played a key role in motivating students in the Yemen to read the books. This enabled effective monitoring of individual progress and provided opportunities for the teacher to encourage students to read widely, show interest in the books being read, and to guide students in their choice of titles.

By demonstrating commitment in their own reading, teachers can foster positive attitudes to reading, in which it is no longer viewed as tedious, demanding, hard work, but as a pleasurable part of their learning. 3. Read Aloud to the Class In the Yemen study, reader interviews conducted with students revealed the popularity of occasions when the teacher read aloud to the class. The model of pronunciation provided acted as a great motivator, encouraging many students to participate in classroom reading.

Students gained confidence in silent reading because they were able to verbalize sounds they previously could could not recognize. This resulted in wider reading by some of the weaker readers in the class. Often thought of as bad practice, reading aloud should play a full part in motivating the emerging reader to overcome the fear of decoding words in an unfamiliar script. 4. Student Presentations Short presentations on books read played an absolutely crucial role in the program and students frequently commented on the value of oral work in class for exchanging information about the books.

The reader interviews revealed that most of the book choices made by students resulted from recommendations made by friends and not by the teacher. This demonstrates that given the right preparation, encouragement, sense of ownership and belonging, an extensive reading program will achieve a direction and momentum governed by the learners themselves; a large step in the promotion of student independence and autonomy. 5. Written Work Based on the Reading Effective reading will lead to the shaping of the reader’s thoughts, which naturally leads many learners to respond in writing with varying degrees of fluency.

Elementary level students can be asked simply to write short phrases expressing what they most enjoyed about a book they read, or to record questions they wish to ask the teacher or other students in class. With intermediate students, book reports may be used, with sections for questions, new vocabulary, and for recording the main characters and events. At this level, summary writing is also a valuable practice because it allows learners to assert full control, both of the main factual or fictional content of a book, and of the grammar and vocabulary used to express it.

Advanced students can be asked to write compositions, which, by definition, are linguistically more demanding written responses to the reading material. 6. Use Audio Material in the Reading Program The use of audio recordings of books read aloud and of graded readers on cassette proved very popular with the students in Yemen, and is advocated for wide application. Listening material provided the learners with a model of correct pronunciation which aided word recognition, and exposed students to different accents, speech rhythms and cadences.

Student confidence in their ability to produce natural speech patterns and to read along with the voice of a recorded speaker is central to maintaining their motivation to master the language as a medium for talking about their reading. 7. Avoid the Use of Tests Extensive reading programs should be “without the pressures of testing or marks” (Davis 1995:329). The use of tests runs contrary to the objective of creating stress-free conditions for pleasure reading because it invokes images of rote learning, vocabulary lists, memorization and homework.

Extensive reading done at home should be under the learner’s control and not an obligation imposed by the teacher. By their very nature, tests impose a rigor on the learning process, which the average student will never equate with pleasure. 8. Discourage the Over-Use of Dictionaries While dictionaries certainly have a place in the teaching of reading, it is probably best located in intensive reading lessons, where detailed study of the lexical content of texts is appropriate. If learners turn to the dictionary every time they come across an unfamiliar word, they will focus only on the language itself, and not on the message conveyed.

This habit will result in slow, inefficient reading and destroy the pleasure that reading novels and other literature are intended to provide. Summarizing comments on the extensive reading done by his subjects, Pickard (1996:155) notes that “Use of the dictionary was sparing, with the main focus on meaning”. 9. Monitor the Students’ Reading In order to run an extensive reading program successfully, effective monitoring is required, both to administer the resources efficiently, and to trace students’ developing reading habits and interests.

In the Yemen program, a card file system was used to record titles and the dates the books were borrowed and returned. Input from the monitoring process helps us to record students’ progress, maintain and update an inventory of titles, and locate and select new titles for the class library. It therefore serves both the individual needs of the reader and the logistical task of managing the reading resources. 10. Maintain the Entertainment This is perhaps the most important aspect of the program to emphasize.

Teachers need to invest time and energy in entertaining the participants by making use of multimedia sources to promote the books (e.g. video, audio, CD ROM, film, etc. ). They should also exploit the power of anecdote by telling the students about interesting titles, taking them out to see plays based on books, exploiting posters, leaflets, library resources, and even inviting visiting speakers to give a talk in class on a book they have read recently. In these ways, teachers can maintain student motivation to read and secure their full engagement in the enjoyment the program provides. III. APPLICATION Intensive reading and extensive reading serve different purposes. Therefore, a balance is required.

Extensive reading complements a curriculum because it not only helps the program achieve its objectives of teaching students to read and pass the examination, but also improves students’ attitude toward reading. Extensive reading can be included in the curriculum as part of an existing course or an extracurricular activity. That is done by adding a requirement that the students read a certain number on books per week or per semester by explaining the benefits (students will enjoy reading, their reading will improve, they will increase the size of vocabulary and so on) and how to do it.

It is important for teachers to orient their students to the goals and methodology of extensive reading program. Since class time is limited, most or all of the extensive reading would be done as homework. So far, we have a deep understanding about what is extensive reading, characteristics, benefits, practical advices in running its program. And now, I will discuss how to apply that reading into reality. 1. I myself as a reader. In fact, I am a reader and knows how pleasurable and useful reading can be.

And the best way to introduce students to the pleasures of reading is to interact with them as a reader as well as a teacher. And also, when possible, I will read aloud to the students a paragraph from a book, a poem, a newspaper article. I can also stick these things on the walls and ask students do the same. The more students read and the more likely it is that they will become students who both can and do read in English. 2. Students’ reading is carefully monitored. First, I require the learner to write a short report about the reading, thus extending the reading into speaking and writing, integrating the learning.

Research has shown that written language use improves the amount of reading done (Tsang, 1996). After reading, I provide them follow-up activities such as writing summary, answering questions, retelling, presenting the new ideas but I always keep in mind that these activities just like a reward but not a kind of burden in their shoulder. However, Yu (1993) states that postreading tasks may not be needed for students who are already good readers, but for most of our students who have not developed good reading habits, short postreading activities can become a very useful tool for teachers and students to monitor progress.

3. In addition, to be less boring, I combine speaking and reading to give students an opportunity to practice their speaking skills in a meaningful and purposeful way. Students carry on a meaningful conversation among themselves with least or without pressure. Furthermore, this kind of activity may increase students’ motivation in reading. I have students play role according to the content of some reading passages. Playing roles seems to be very interesting and it can also help students to be creative thanks to their performance.

Finally, doing this activity enables me to get some information on what students read and how much they understand. 4. Also, I ask students to write requirements at the beginning of the course and reflexion at the end of the course to plan and to think again what happened with them throughout a procedure. 5. Moreover, I help my students practice the skills of either guessing the meaning of the unknown words or ignoring them. Extensive reading will help students to process words faster and they will be better able to read intensively. They will also learn to learn from reading.

As students read they are constantly practising the “guessing from context” skill, so vital for work with the difficult texts that appear on tests. As a teacher, I encourage my students to read newspapers, magazines, books regularly to raise their reading speed, not let them give up the habit of reading hard materials and read word-by-word and know overall ideas are the expecting outcomes of the reading process and do not let them use dictionaries. If learners turn to the dictionary every time they come across an unfamiliar word, they will focus only on the language itself, and not on the message conveyed.

This habit will result in slow, inefficient reading and destroy the pleasure that reading novels and other literature are intended to provide. 6. Last but not least, that is timing. Susser and Robb (1990) quote suggestions ranging from an hour per evening (Krashen 1985) to at least two books a week (Carroll 1972). Whatever goal is set, the basic goal of extensive reading is to get students to read as much as can be reasonably expected and, hopefully, to enjoy doing so.

( Choosing reading materialsI, at the same time, have to select the materials base on students interest and reading ability. Easy and interesting are two adjectives used most to describe the reading materials. “Easy” means materials with vocabulary and grammar well within the students’ linguistic competence, usually not more than five new words per page is appropriate. If reading materials are in the students’ fields of interest, comprehension is made easier because students have background knowledge of the subject they interest.

I also help students to find materials by many ways like search in library, share with friends in their class and other classes. I will tell them interesting titles, help them take advantages of library resources. In these ways, I can maintain my students’ motivation to read and secure their full engagement in the enjoyment the program provided. If a book is boring or too hard, I can tell them to stop reading and find another book. Students can produce their own reading materials. They can write on the topics of interest to them.

According to Thompson (1996, 13), most importantly, instead of an inflexible curriculum saddling students with texts they neither enjoy nor understand, with extensive reading the material is generally chosen by the students themselves, who can thereby enjoy some small measure of responsibility for decisions affecting their learning, a basic tenet of communicative teaching. Therefore, I will let me students choose their own reading materials. ( Running a real class First, I help my students to know what extensive reading is how beneficial it brings to us. Then, I explain them how to choose materials and how to read at home.

In class, I organize class in several groups and each member shares what they have read. One student claims that he or she has read a particular book or any kind of materials. The other students listen to and ask questions. Students take turn to retell and ask questions. Students not only share the materials, contents, but also new words and good structures. If I have time, I call students to have presentation in front of the class to present what we have read for the week before, take note vocabularies and structures on the board. I and other students can ask questions if we need some explanation..

After the vote, the group who was questioned reveals which one of them read the story. Then another group comes in front of the class and the whole procedure is repeated. After asking questions for about seven to ten minutes, the students vote on who they think told the truth — who read the book. After the vote, the group who was questioned reveals which one of them read the story. Then another group comes in front of the class and the whole procedure is repeated. To encourage students to ask questions, groups can earn a point for each question asked by a member.

The teacher can keep a record on the blackboard and at the end give an award to the group who asked the most questions. IV. CONCLUSION Extensive reading is not necessarily the entire answer to the teaching of reading. Some students will need special help with certain reading subskills; others will need extra encouragement to read, and assistance in choosing enjoyable books at a suitable linguistic level. Some students have particular goals, for example, academic reading proficiency for which skills such as notetaking and skimming must also be practiced.

Creating an extensive reading environment involves more time, work and resources than teaching from a reading textbook. The view that people learn to read by reading is shared by a growing number of applied linguists. Eskey (1986: 21, cited on p. 4), for example, says that “Reading … must be developed, and can only be developed, by means of extensive and continual practice. People learn to read, and to read better, by reading. ” The benefits of ER, however, extend beyond the acquisition of reading fluency.

After reviewing literally hundreds of research studies in both first and second language learning contexts, Krashen (1993: 23, cited on p. 38) has this to say: Reading is good for you. The research supports a stronger conclusion, however. Reading is the only way, the only way we become good readers, develop a good writing style, an adequate vocabulary, advance grammar, and the only way we become good spellers. Last but not least, through the course, students have many materials for reading and they can also have a collection of short stories.

By the way, I also know some permanent skills needed for seeking and choosing materials especially the on – line source. V. REFERENCES Day, R. R. , & Bamford, J. (forthcoming). Extensive reading in the second language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Grabe, W. (1991) ‘Current Developments in Second Language Research’ TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 25: 375-406 Mason, B. and Krashen, S (in press) ‘Can We Increase the Power of Reading by Adding More Output and/or Correction? ‘ Available: Krashen, S. (1993). The power of reading: Insights from the research.

Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited. Mikulecky, B. (1990). A short course in teaching reading skills. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Palmer, H. E. (1921). Principles of language-study. London: Harrap. (Reissued in 1964 by Oxford University Press). Palmer, H. E. (1917). The scientific study and teaching of languages. London: Harrap. (Reissued in 1968 by Oxford University Press). TABLE OF CONTENT Page I. INTRODUCTION…………………………… 1 II. LITERATURE REVIEW……………………… 1 III. APPICATION IN TEACHING ………………. 10 IV. CONCLUSION …………………………………. 13 V. REFERENCES…………………………………… 14.

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