Encourage Extensive Reading with MReader

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My multiple initiatives to kick-start an extensive reading program using the MReader resource at 4 different institutions flopped for a variety of reasons. My disbelief in these failed attempts led to another kick at the can.

Dozens of outreach attempts through email, voice messages, coffee break chats, and scheduled meetings resulted in the opportunity to run a formal presentation to appropriate stakeholders. At last, the concept of using MReader as a motivational measuring stick while promoting an extensive reading culture was accepted.

At the college where I teach, the extensive reading program, monitored by the MReader, has now completed its first pilot and will encompass additional students and instructors in the fall.  Why was I so persistent in promoting this package?

The MReader is affordable, accessible, motivational, supported, and can be integrated into a language learning curriculum. It leverages common graded readers that many English language-learning centers already own. If you do not think that there are any in your institution, have a good look around- you will be surprised!

MReader is a free, online resource developed in Japan to promote reading in and out of the classroom. It is accessible to students and staff of legitimate institutions, who are enrolled in the program via a simple electronic form.  Tom Robb, the program’s lead and creator, provides initial MReader administrative support and offers assistance as the MReader program matures in an institution.  There are several support resources through the MReader site including videos, manuals, and exemplars.

Reading is a very important focus at institutions with a large second language population. The Extensive Reading Foundation’s concept of natural reading both inside and outside of class for the pleasure of reading can be integrated into ESL and EFL curricula with the use of the MReader as a motivational tool. The MReader provides a means of tracking student progress as the term passes, and also makes existing graded readers more relevant to the learning process.

The MReader has a very simple interface that students can use immediately.  Students locate a matching quiz from the MReader resource.  After taking the quiz, the student can either collect a digital stamp indicating that they have passed the book quiz,or reread the book and retake the quiz.

Since the MReader is an online offering, it can be reused for new students with minimal technical effort at the teacher’s end.  The number of graded readers that the MReader services grows every month.  If you are inclined, you can even participate and add quizzes to the database.

Do you think that the MReader would be a good fit for your class or centre?  See the links below.

Links found in this post:

Extensive Reading Foundation   http://erfoundation.org/wordpress
Tom Robb’s professional page    http://tomrobb.com/tomspage

Hi—I'm John Allan. I am an educator who works in the technology enhanced language learning field. I create online learning opportunities and mentor instructors on the Avenue project. I have experience teaching ESL and EFL in Canada and the Middle East. I hold an MSC in Computer Assisted Language learning, a M.Ed. in Distance Education, TESL B. Ed., a B.Ed. (OCT), and a variety of TESL relevant certifications from TESL Canada, TESL Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Education. For more articles, learning objects, projects and blog links see https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnharoldallan


7 thoughts on “Encourage Extensive Reading with MReader”

  1. I am not sure that “taking a quiz” is a “motivational tool” for everyone. Maybe for some. It would not have been for myself and my kids! This mreader (read Moodle) is presented as a way of increasing natural reading inside and outside the classroom for the pleasure of reading. I remember being shocked by the titles at my son’s school Book Fair – until the librarian explained that what was important was to develop a love of reading for reading’s sake (and getting knowledge for knowledge’s sake) and that my preconceived idea of what was appropriate (or suitable) was very limited and limiting.

    Especially for second language learners it is important to help the start “reading for readings’s sake” (and not a test)

    If the class is reading a book together to discuss various angles and to ensure that students have the tools to learn about structure,
    plot development, vocabulary, etc. – that’s different….

    I tried to find a quiz from a book that I am familiar with (Christmas Carol) but could not get the quiz – so I’ll reserve judgement until I see what sort of quiz it is (drag and drop Match the definitions? Fill in the blanks? Usual Moodle format?)
    I looked over the list of books – impressive indeed – Famous Five is still alive!!! – but I didn’t find Brave New World – did I miss it? Such a classic (and indispensable book imo – see there I go again imposing my idea of what “they” should read!!!)

  2. Claudie, I agree that “taking a quiz” is not a “motivational tool” for everyone. We have found that what is really important is to motivate the students to read as much as possible. It is hoped that this extra reading will bolster their language skills both inside and outside of the classroom. The basic ten item quizzes, which are drawn from a question pool of 30 items, serve as evidence that the student has read the graded reader. These assessment structures are as you guessed basic Moodle type questions, which are mostly true and false, sequence, multiple choice or cloze. Instructors may expand on this assessment in their own classroom by creating generic assessments that ask general questions or set constructivist activities that can draw from the reading experience.

    I see now from your comments that I should have included a few more targeted links. On to the MReader site itself (http://mreader.org/) and the search (http://bit.ly/1ulzpPO) for which graded readers are included in the MReader system. As well, a link to the student guide to using the MReader from Robert Lantin (http://bit.ly/1tS7NzT) and a screen-cast of how to make and take an MReader quiz (http://bit.ly/1t670Ge) could have also been added. In this video you can see someone actually taking an MReader quiz.

      1. Lynn, you might want to share this with your LRC staff or the International ESL folks to see if they can make better use of their graded readers. Thanks for the thanks!

        1. This is just an update on my experience with M-reader. This term we have been given a green light to move forward with a grassroots launch of the M-reader at our college. With cooperation from the library services, a small team of volunteers and I, are offering M-reader resource through a word of mouth and modest poster campaign. The team includes a student, two library staff and two ESL Help Centre staff. We will sign up students who request our services through conversation or through the email and QR code displayed on our poster. I hope it works.

  3. A little over four years later, I can finally say that I have successfully completed a term with a class that embraced the extensive reading challenging using the M-Reader tool!

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