At Anadolu University, School of Foreign Languages, we got a training on extensive reading forthree days. This training is given by Bill Bowler in the name of Oxford University Teaching Academy. In this post series, I’m planning to share my notes with you 😉
In the first day Bill made an introduction to extensive reading by defining it and the key features. First we started our session by talking about the differences of intensive and extensive reading.
Intensive reading: It’s a class practice in which students study a short and a challenging text with the aim of understanding it to the tiniest detail. In this king of reading, teacher is the person who present strategies to the students to make the passage more meaningful clear.
Extensive Reading: This type of reading is done outside the classroom and it gives the students the opportunity to read for pleasure. Unlike the intensive reading, students’ aim is just to grasp the meaning in the story not every detail of it. The most suitable kind of text for ER is stories-narrative driven texts.
Although the extensive reading is the reward itself and it should be without assessment, in practise; teachers feel that they need a scaffolding- a frame by which they can support their learners. Students are free within this frame and the thickness of the frame-the dergree of scaffolding differs from teacher to teacher. This frame can be in the form of a pre-reading task (prediction activities), while-reading task (write-in or multiple choice comphrehension questions), post-reading task (a short book quiz or project or a discussion), vocabulary support (working on a list of key words), cultural support (clarifying geographical and historical setting of the story), visual support (illustrations of the characters or the setting) or audio support (audio recording of the story to make it more meaningful and easy to remember).
Benefits of Extensive Reading:
As teachers of English we all know the benefits of extensive reading. The first benefit is about reading itself-they can improve their reading ability. Because they read a lot, they will read faster and grasp the meaning well at the same time. By using their thinking cap 🙂 they can make deductions of key terms and this will help them in being better readers.
Moreover, extensive reading not only helps students improve their reading skill but also helps them improve other skill such as grammar, vocabulary, writing, listening-with audio books and speaking with pre/while and post-readng activities. Their mastery of grammar forms can be improved by seeing the correct examples while reading.
And the last benefit is motivation. Upon seeing her success in understanding the book and transferring what s/he learned from the book to what s/he is learning now help the student feel much more positive about English. As in written in our training notes by Bill Bowler, this is not only a benefit for the student to be motivated, but also it is for their teachers.
The Approaches of Extensive Reading
The last thing we talked on the first day of the training is the classical approaches of ER . There are three approaches:
- Class Reader: In this approach students read the same book at the same rate. The teacher gives support whenever it is needed. The book is chosen by the teacher 😦 but this is done to create an easy-to-control activity and definitely it is a nice way to enrich vocabulary and classroom discussion. Although students don’t choose the book, they can talk about the book easily and share ideas about it in an atmosphere where the teacher stands there as a supporter and motivator.
- Reading Circles: In this approach students read the books outside the class and get together in the classroom to talk about the books they have read. Among the options the students have the chance to choose the book they will read which is a motivating factor. In this approach the teacher is the facilitator.
- Reader’s Library: We can call this approach the purest ER. It is because the students are free in choice and they can be supported with some follow-up activities in class. The students can read whatever they want- but here a guiding by the teacher can be helpful in terms of level and taste 😉 Also in this approach students are highly motivated. Just to remember, we definitely need autonomous learners to reach that level 😉
To conclude, these are my notes from the first day of training 😉 Next post will be on pre/while reading activities with some examples and mixed-ability groups and solutions for them .