By Tarun Patel
Alan says, “In this, the first of two articles for TeachingEnglish, Alan Maley considers the benefits extensive reading can bring to English language learners and teachers.
What is Extensive Reading (ER)?
Extensive Reading is often referred to but it is worth checking on what it actually involves. Richard Day has provided a list of key characteristics of ER (Day 2002). This is complemented by Philip Prowse (2002). Maley (2008) deals with ER comprehensively. The following is a digest of the two lists of factors or principles for successful ER:
- Students read a lot and read often.
- There is a wide variety of text types and topics to choose from.
- The texts are not just interesting: they are engaging/ compelling.
- Students choose what to read.
- Reading purposes focus on: pleasure, information and general understanding.
- Reading is its own reward.
- There are no tests, no exercises, no questions and no dictionaries.
- Materials are within the language competence of the students.
- Reading is individual, and silent.
- Speed is faster, not deliberate and slow.
- The teacher explains the goals and procedures clearly, then monitors and guides the students.
- The teacher is a role model…a reader, who participates along with the students.
The model is very much like that for L1 reading proposed by Atwell (2006). It has been variously described as Free Voluntary Reading (FEVER), Uninterrupted Silent Reading (USR), Sustained Silent Reading (SSR), Drop Everything and Read (DEAR), or Positive Outcomes While Enjoying Reading (POWER).”