Extensive reading in foreign language development


Navigation Links:

Images for ID mini-course page.png

Overview and Purpose

The topic of this mini-course is to provide educators with insights and strategies of extensive reading(ER) in foreign language acquisition.

Questions that would be covered:

  • What is ER?
  • What are the benefits of ER in foreign language acquisition?
  • What roles can teachers play?
  • What books should learners read?
  • When and how should learners start ER?

Needs Assessment

Instructional problem:

Extensive reading (ER) is also called “Tadoku (=extensive reading in Japanese),” “pleasure reading (Mikulecky,1990),” “free voluntary reading (Krashen, 1993) ,” “Sustained Silent Reading (SSR),” and the like, and is a major recommended method of learning languages. Many researchers also agree that “the more you do it, the more fluent and skillful you become” and that learners need rich, healthy exposure to the target language. Regardless, intensive and careful reading with summary assignments or comprehension check questions has been widely used and more emphasized in many Japanese language classes in reality. One of the reasons for this is educators’ lack of understanding of ER, its benefits for foreign language learners (from the beginning level), and teaching principles to implement ER effectively. According to an inquiry among teachers worldwide taken by Maley, the answers to the question, “why teachers don’t use ER more often” were like the followings: a) Insufficient time. b) Too costly. c) Reading materials not available. d) ER not linked to the syllabus and the examination. e) Lack of understanding of ER and its benefits. f) Downward pressure on teachers to conform to syllabi and textbooks. g) Resistance from teachers, who find it impossible to stop teaching and to allow learning to take place.

This course will provide educators with opportunities to gain a better understanding of the benefits and some strategies of extensive reading in foreign language learning. The nature of what is to be learned: The target audience will learn about extensive reading and some strategies on how to start it for their teaching/learning approach effectively.

About the learners:

The main target audience is Japanese language instructors in the USA, whose students have limited opportunities to be exposed to the target language. The backgrounds of adult language learners in the USA are diverse from different countries across the world.

Generate goals:

The goals for this course are for the target audience to gain a better understanding of ER and strategies on how to start ER for their learners or for their own language learning experience. By the end of the course, the target audience will be able to evaluate strategies and choose some techniques to incorporate ER into their individual needs.

Performance Objectives

State the course-level objectives here. Sometimes, when the course objectives actually map onto the unit objectives, it is fine to combine the objectives with the following unit structure to state the objective(s) of each unit.

Course Units

This mini-course includes the following units. Click the title of a unit to go to its page.

Unit 1: What is ER?

  • Theory and background of ER
  • IR and ER
  • Characteristics of ER
  • Educational practice of ER

Unit 2: What is the value of ER in foreign language learning?

Brief Overview

Unit 3: How to implement ER well to support foreign language learning

Brief Overview ...

Extended Resources