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Friday, April 16, 2010

Extensive reading

Extensive reading is believed to have considerable benefits for learners both in terms of learning gains and motivation and seems to be becoming ever more popular in the ELT world.
The idea behind extensive reading is that a lot of reading of interesting material that is slightly below, at, or barely above the full comprehension level of the reader will foster improved language skills. Graded readers are often used. For foreign-language learners, some researchers have found that the use of glosses for “difficult” words is advantageous to vocabulary acquisition.

What are the benefits of Extensive Reading?

* It improves language fluency as learners develop active and passive (sight) vocabulary proficiency
* It can enhance learners’ general language competence
* It leads to improvement in writing
* It teaches learners about the culture of the target language users, which will allow learners to more easily join the L2 speech community
* It can consolidate previously learned language
* It helps to build confidence with extended texts
* It facilitates the development of prediction skills
*It allows learners to follow their interests in choosing what to read and thus increase their motivation for learning
*It provides the opportunity for learning to occur outside the classroom

BUT using extensive reading in a classroom is, by nature, a difficult thing to do.

And teacher's role is to explain the idea and methodology to students, keep track of what each student reads , and guide students in getting the most out of reading in general and set extra tasks based on reading.

Extensive Reading Activities

Some sample ideas for semi-extensive and extensive reading activities

Drawing and designing:

· Design a new cover for your book.

· Draw a series of pictures illustrating the story or main events of the story.

· Draw a map showing where the story takes place.

· Design a movie poster for your book

· Make a time line of major events in the book

  • Create a bingo game which includes words like names of characters, places and items from the story.

· Design an advertisement for T.V., radio or newspaper, trying to sell the book.

· Make up a “wanted” poster for one of the characters.


· Write a letter to one of the characters.

· Write a diary for one of the characters.

· Make up a different ending for the story.

· Make up a different beginning for the story.

· Have an interview with one of the characters.


  1. I guess it's worth launching Extensive Reading Programme at school next school year 2010/2011. What do you think?

  2. Well, at least the idea is worth discussing at one of the sessions:) I think if we work out the "plan" :) how to introduce it, then it will be great!