Do you belong to a book club? My mother-daughter book club is nearing its fourth anniversary! We started it as a way to encourage reading in our daughters, and four years later, not only do we have voracious young readers, but we have also built a neighbourhood community.
I started to wonder if this concept could be applied to my teaching context. I teach LINC online with LINC Home Study. I had attended a few webinars online regarding extensive reading and decided to try it out.
Navigating the Library
I have 12 online students, all of whom have individual classes with me via Skype. The learners range from CLB 4-7. I decided to start with my learners who had a CLB 5 and up in reading. Many had library cards but used the library only for their kids. We did an orientation to their local library website and did some skill building exercises navigating the site to find out what tools and services were on offer. This was an eye opener. Homework tasks included the following:
- Find three services/tools that your family could use. Give reasons why and instructions on how to access these.
- How can you search for a book online? How can you request it? How can you cancel the request? What happens if you forget to pick it up? How can you renew a book online?
Finally, they were ready to sign out a book. This was done as a homework assignment. I directed them to the young adult section, although some were happy to select books from a Grade 4-7 level. They could choose fiction or nonfiction. I encouraged them to bring the whole family.
The students progressed at their own pace. My only requirement was that they read SOMETHING every week. Some students took notes to summarize for me every week. Others kept a vocabulary notebook. Some just read. Some needed to re-read each chapter. Everyone had their own path, but I insisted that they just keep reading, reading, reading.
A few chose books that had been made into a movie. That was exciting! Homework assignment: watch the movie. What was left out? Which was better – the movie or the book? Everyone always chose the book.
Happy Unexpected Results
- About a month ago, I welcomed a new student, Sally, who lives in the same town as Anna. Anna is on her third book. Sally decided to read a book Anna had already read and they meet weekly to discuss it. Bonus!
- Another student has noticed that when she reads, her young children are copying her by sitting with her with their own book.
- A third student has discovered that she can access a free online course on QuickBooks via her local library while she is on maternity leave.
Putting It All Together
All of my students complete a Google Form book report when they are done, which goes into their portfolio. I have recently added a reflection form for them to notice their improvement in speed/comprehension/spelling/pleasure as well as think about what strategies work best for them. This could be something as basic as the genre they prefer, e-book versus paper book or vocabulary/comprehension strategies that have worked for them.
I realize that most teachers have a traditional classroom. If I had that scenario, I would definitely include a book club potluck once a term complete with fun book club activities. To learn more about extensive reading and classroom applications, you can check out the following two Tutela webinar recordings or read a previous blog post Facebook Book Clubs.
To learn more about Day and Bamford’s ten principles for promoting second-language (L2) extensive reading, check out the Tutela webinar Case Study: Day and Bamford’s Principles for Extensive Reading and Self-Determination Theory, delivered by Gonul Turkdogan.
For an overview of practical applications of extensive reading in the classroom, you can review the Tutela webinar Reading in the Real World, delivered by Bonnie Nicholas (@EALStories ) and Stacy Norrbom (@StacyNorrbom ) (**Repeat of their ATESL 2018 session).
Diane Ramanathan has been a LINC Home Study instructor with The Centre for Education and Training since Feb 2014. She is also a part-time professor for the TESL program at Algonquin College.