Imagine someone makes you read two to three books a year for the next twelve years; books which you cannot choose for yourself, might not like or even understand, and which you absolutely have to finish. And, throughout, you have to answer questions or write essays. How would you feel? How would you feel about books? And yet, this is what most schools do with their students throughout their whole school lives. It's insane as well as ineffective. And we wonder why students don't like reading!
'Oh, but we can't change it', I hear so many say. 'That's school, isn't it?', 'We have to teach to the exam and students don't have time to read for pleasure. And 'We don't have a reading culture', etc. The excuses go on. But read the paragraph above once more. Things. Must. Change.
And, teachers, you can change it because, if you don't, who will? History shows that systems can change and do change. They change slowly, but they change if change is good. And what could be a better change than teaching young people that reading is not for tests and exams, and sending them into the world with a positive reading habit with its own rewards – with incredible resulting, proven language learning benefits!
Please do not leave this for other schools and teachers to change things. It has to be in your school, too. In your classes.
I'll help you and so will many others, because there is a way. It's called Extensive Reading (ER). You can start to get to know about it here and keep your mind open...
Reading has therefore been reduced to a one-size-one-text-fits-all approach, making it difficult for students, because the emphasis is on translation and comprehension. As a result, most teens leave school believing that reading is boring. So let’s fix this by looking at - and implementing - proven ways to get students reading much more for pleasure, with lasting results as language students and lifelong learners.
Very few schools around the world teach reading for pleasure, despite evidence that students who are part of a program of regular, non-tested, easy reading, show dramatic improvements in their language learning.
Teachers who have not tried Extensive Reading – in other words, integrated easy, self-selected reading into their syllabus – often believe it is a waste of ‘real’ teaching time and that the teacher must teach. If I do not teach them they cannot learn. But we know that we our brains our wired for autonomous learning. And that habits and motivation come from positive feelings about the activity.
Read a summary on Extensive Reading in a chapter from Teaching English Today.
Useful links on Extensive Reading
Bringing Extensive Reading into the Classroom (Richard Day – another ER expert)
Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydj-UaRjhXQ
Part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMKS4I7BHuE
Part 3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZMUMjBh_FQ&t=14s
If you are on Facebook, search “extensive reading” and you will find various teacher groups.
How and Why Graded Readers Boost Language Learning and Results
Activities to Develop Language and Skills using Graded Readers
Food for thought... (more here)
“We do not learn a word from one meeting. Research tells us that it takes between 5-16 meetings (or more) to ‘learn’ an average word.” PAUL NATION
“We do not have enough time to teach everything about a word so students have to become independent word learners.”
“Teaching a word does not mean the students learned it. Teaching and learning do not go lockstep, hand in hand, from the easy to the difficult. It is too easy to forget that teaching does not cause learning, and to forget that because students have finished a unit does not mean they have mastered all the words in it.” ROB WARING
Readers allow students to see words and stuctures over and over again. See example below from Gulliver' Travels at A1 levels