In 2014, I posted on the TESL Ontario blog “Encourage Extensive Reading with MReader.” Since then, I have been integrating extensive reading with language learners in different contexts. I have learned a great deal using extensive reading in face-to-face situations. However, as COVID has forced us all online, the new challenge is facilitating extensive reading in a fully online mode.
In late 2021, Sepideh Alavi, a member of the Extensive Reading Foundation Board of Directors and Avenue mentor, and I started an extensive reading research project on the Avenue system. A critical part of this study is a pilot test of extensive reading with literacy-level classes.
At this time, the Avenue extensive reading research project embodies the following characteristics:
- using only Canadian authored content,
- focusing on LINC literacy learners,
- only using fully online distribution,
- providing instant quiz feedback,
- and using the Xreading.com tool.
Extensive and Intensive Reading
As teachers, we know that reading is important for everyone. It helps us to understand, learn, and grow. We use reading as a means of helping our learners discover language structures, patterns, word associations, vocabulary and real-world concepts. Most of us teach reading using the intensive reading method to involve learners reading for detail with determined tasks and specific learning goals.
Extensive reading is an alternate method that can add more contact time with the target language. Extensive reading differs from intensive reading by:
- giving learners the choice of reading materials,
- setting the reading level to an easier level,
- allowing the students to control the pace of the reading,
- allowing the students to control the scheduling of the reading, and
- allowing the students to control the frequency and quantity of the reading.
The result is an independent reading facet for your course with the aims of enhancing learner language acquisition and fostering a personal reading habit.
Implementing Extensive Reading
Extensive reading can be facilitated in face-to-face, blended, or fully online modes. Establishing an extensive reading feature in your course usually involves attaining permission from your SPO’s management. As extensive reading is not a common practice for Canadian LINC and ESL providers, you should prepare a case for your motivation to add extensive reading to your course. Hopefully, our research will provide you with some data points and exemplars to assist your persuasion. The following lists share our perspective on the steps to integrate extensive reading into your SPO’s or individual course’s offerings.
Setting up extensive reading at your SPO:
- Determine the mode or modes of delivery
- Identify sources for reading materials
- Ensure that student and teacher access to technology and materials is reliable and continuous.
- Trial the ER process with your technology and materials to identify possible issues.
- Establish reading levels.
- Facilitate a teacher/staff student orientation to the ER process.
- Share feedback and FAQ resources on your LMS.
Setting up ER on your course:
- Ensure that the technology and materials source are ready by trying a few books out yourself.
- Facilitate a reading placement test to establish student levels.
- Facilitate a student orientation to the process.
- Facilitate a complete ER book cycle with the learners to ensure their ER competence. The teacher uses one book for this session.
- Facilitate a book selection session. This may involve a visit to a learning resources centre or an online database search.
- Schedule silent reading sessions to allow students to read in class time.
- Oversee students’ comprehension assessments.
- With the results, review different results and provide feedback and strategies for students to use ER moving forward.
- Set a reasonable target for number of books per set interval. This could be per week, per month or term.
- Possibly, establish a rewards system for participation in this scheme.
- Allow the student to start their ER.
Extensive Reading Benefits
Adding an extensive reading segment to your courses may help the students realize the following benefits. Extensive reading:
- promotes a reading habit in the target language,
- expands second language vocabulary,
- helps learners recognize language patterns in context,
- increases reading speed,
- and improves L2 fluency.
We are moving forward with our research pilot program and hope to share our finding late in 2022. As a part of our community responsibilities, we are facilitating extensive reading webinars sessions. If you are eligible, please attend one of the following or watch the archived video.
Tutela Webinar: Introduction to Extensive Reading for Language Instructors, February 21 at 20:00 ET
TESL Niagara Conference Series: Introduction to Online & Blended Extensive Reading, March 16 at 19:00 ET
Introduction to Extensive Reading Part 1 (Avenue webinar)
Extensive Reading Part 2 (Avenue webinar)
Extensive Reading Foundation http://erfoundation.org/wordpress
Encourage Extensive Reading with MReader http://blog.teslontario.org/encourage-extensive-reading-with-mreader