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Extensive Reading Activities In Teaching Reading For Foreign Language

Dani Safitri
(danisafitri.ds@gmail.com)
Graduate Program in English Language Teaching
State University of Malang

Leo Candra Wahyu Utami


(Leocandrawahyu@gmail.com)
Graduate Program in English Language Teaching
State University of Malang

ABSTRACT

Many researchers agree upon the fact that extensive reading able to engage reader into text and improve
students’ various aspects of proficiency. This article tries to explore the advantages and benefits of
extensive reading in an EFL classroom. The purpose is to further understand of reading in a foreign
language and the implementation of extensive reading program for particular teaching context. It also
focuses on particular challenges, issues and questions thatmust resolve before the implementation of
extensive reading, the practical integration to the curriculum, establishing library, and selecting reading
material. Further it also tries to discuss what type of activities which believe able to enhance extensive
reading experiences among learners.

Keywords: Extensive reading, Reading Material, EFL context.

Biographical notes:

Dani Safitri was born on January 26th, 1990 in Sidoarjo. She obtained her undergraduate degree from
STKIP PGRI Padang in English Language Teaching Program. She is interested in Advance Reading,
Second Language Acquisition and Cultural Studies.

Leo Candra Wahyu Utami was born on August 9th, 1991 in Malang. She obtained her undergraduate
degree from Maulana Malik Ibrahim Malang in English Language and Literature Program. She is
interested in discourse analysis, genre studies, and cultural studies.

INTRODUCTION

In Indonesia, the educational teacher has wrestled with task of teaching reading.
Many factors can affect the effectiveness of teaching reading. Reading literature is an
excellent way for students to make progress in English language learning; it exposes them
to exiting plots, interesting characters, and authentic dialogues. As Stephen Krashen (2004)
points out that the more people read, the more their reading comprehension will improve
and the more capable they will be of reading from variety of genres, including academic
context text. Extensive reading motivates learners to read a large number of texts on wide
range of topics because the students themselves select the reading material based upon its
relevance to their interests, knowledge, and experience. Extensive reading allows students
to find pleasure in reading as they gain general understanding of literacy ideas, learn
reading strategies, acquire new vocabulary, and increase their English proficiency. Since
students read a large amount of material both inside and outside of the classroom, it is
important for teacher to make the objectives clear and properly monitor the students’
progress.

As known also that Indonesia is one of the most multicultural countries. Many
students from different province went to the same school. Recognized to build a nation with
diverse customs and culture, educators need a strategy and effort.
EFL READING

Discussion on the EFL reading pedagogy has been began since the language teaching
method widely recognized. The first language teaching method the Grammar Translation
Method (GTM), also called the reading approach. This method focused on the rule grammar
(the structure of sentence). However, the emphasis of teaching was on word knowledge, which
is, matching words in the foreign language text with meanings (Dubin & Bycina, 1991). Since
this method have some disadvantages; such cannot develop students’ communicative
competence and it did not give pattern practice teachers leave this method and move to another
method that able to develop students’ communicative competence. Then Audio-lingual Method
(ALM) was introduced, pronunciation was given more attention in this method. It gives more
attention to students’ speech.

In recent years, educators in Indonesia have been playing increasing attention to identify
the needs of their students. This attention brings them to seek other techniques that could fulfill
this demand. The demand that is the students should be able to read independently. To reach
this goal the material should in level that permits students to gain understanding of what they
read without outside help (Jacob& Gallo, 2002). The reading materials should provide large
amounts of comprehensible input in students ‘new language (Krashen, 1982). The progress not
only benefits reading proficiency but overall language proficiency. These can be support by
using extensive reading in teaching reading.

EXTENSIVE READING

The demands in identifying students need take cultural difference as one of


attention.Several writers study the relation of culture to EFL reading comprehension. As Kweldju
(1996) found that students are not willing to read their reading textbooks although they realised
their usefulness. This is due to the lack of inadequate prior knowledge and the inability to
comprehend the reading text.Reading literature is an excellent way for students to make
improvement in English language learning. When Reading improved, it found to have practical
contribution to integrate the other skills: students speak and listen when they discuss the texts is
group discussion, they also able to improve their writing, when they perform pre-, during-, and
post-reading activities. One approach to teach reading which goal is to get students reading in
English and EFL can enjoy it is extensive reading (Day et al, 2016). This approach allows
student to read, read, and read.

Extensive reading is defined as a means of giving students time, encouragement, and


materials to read pleasurably, at their own level, as many books as they can (Davis, 1995).
Extensive Reading focuses on reading for pleasure inside or outside the classroom without aid
of the teacher. In extensive reading teachers play an important role in encouraging students to
choose what they want to read (Harmer, 2001). Extensive reading provides opportunities for
students to develop their understanding on complex forms of structures. By inferring meaning
through the context, it allows them to comprehend various kind of vocabulary. To make a
successful, ER Day & Bamford (1998) determine the nature of successful ER programs. Their
top 10 principle were:

1. Learners read as much as possible. Time is something crucial in EFL reading, there is
not much time provide by the school for students to enjoy reading books. Teacher
should able to make target reading for learner, for the benefits of extensive reading to
take effect, a book a week is an appropriate goal.

2. Learners choose what they want to read. This is what learners enjoy about extensive
reading. Learner can select text which they expect they will understand and enjoy
learning from.
3. A variety of material on a wide range of topics is available. To encourage students to
read, the book/text provide should be as varied as the learners to read them. As girls
and boys have different interest in reading, boy tends to be non-fiction reader and girls
tend to read less nonfiction book (Sullivan, 2003). And they also read for different reason
(e.g., entertainment, information, and passing time).

4. The reading material is easy. It is important for learners that they should not struggle too
much in reading, when they are not successful in their first reading they will not continue
to read. Hu & Nation (2000) suggest at least students must know 98% of the words.

5. The purpose of reading is usually related to pleasure, information and general


understanding. In extensive reading any particular objective level of comprehension is
not a goal. Learners are encourage to read for their own goal, that is sufficient
understanding to fulfil particular reading purpose, such, obtaining information, enjoy a
story and passing time.

6. Reading is individual and silent. Extensive reading means learners reading at their own
pace. It allows students to understand that reading is a personal interaction with text.
Students read out of the classroom, in their own time, when and where they choose.

7. Reading is its own reward. Extensive reading is not usually followed by comprehension
questions. However teachers may ask students to complete follow-up activities after
reading. It is not for checking students’ comprehension, but to find out what students
understood and experienced, to monitor students attitude, to track how much students
read, to share experience, and also to link reading to other aspect of curriculum (Day &
Bamford, 2002). Students can be asked to write their favourite characters, or write their
favourite part of their reading.

8. Reading speed is usually faster rather than slower. Because of the fact that material is
easily understandable for students their reading is fluent. Students are discouraged from
using dictionaries as this interrupts reading and makes fluency impossible. Instead,
learners are encouraged to ignore or guess the meaning of a few unknown items they
may encounter from context.

9. The teacher orients and guides the students. In applying extensive reading programme
students have to be familiarized what it is, why they are doing it, what benefits it will
bring them and how are they going to proceed. Teacher also introduces students to the
reading material provided in library, how to choose they reading based on their level.
Then teacher can keep track on what and how much each students read.

10. The teacher is a role model of a reader. Teacher should serve as models in extensive
reading. Classroom teachers can promote positive reading attitudes in students by giving
example as a reader.

In order to receive maximum benefit an approach, a teacher should familiarize


themselves with the characteristic. Knowing these principles help teacher to create
successful ER activity.

THE BENEFIT OF EXTENSIVE READING

Extensive reading has been discussed by researchers over last decades and it has been
approved to give benefits in teaching reading. Bamford& day (2003) state that students who
read more will not only become better and more confident readers. By reading students will also
improve their reading writing, listening and speaking abilities and also improving their
vocabularies. Numerous of studies (Pigada & Schmitt, 2006; Takashe, 2003; Iwahori, 2008)
have shown Extensive reading can improve students’ vocabularies, increase students’
motivation in reading, increase reading rate and general language proficiency.

In their study Pigada & Schmitt (2006) examined France learner whether one moth
extensive reading able to enhanced knowledge of 133 target words’. The result showed that
knowledge of 65% target words was enhanced. Moreover, meaning and grammatical
knowledge were also enhanced. The study indicated that more vocabulary acquisition is
possible from extensive reading. In line a research of Tirayaki & Tütüniş (2012) revealed that
extensive reading affects positively EFL learners’ development and it ensures more word
leaning even though the subject were reluctant to learn English at school. This researcher show
that benefit not only achieved by learners who willing to read, but also learner that have
negative feeling toward reading especially English.

Motivation to read is important factor for a learner to engage in reading activity. ER


showed to give significant improvement on students’ motivation to read English (Takase, 2003).
In his study it also revealed that there are some factors that hindered learners from reading
extensively 1) Time consuming 2) Lack of easy book 3) Lack of reading time outside of class.
Then she started removing these factors then using ER showed great impact on motivating
students to reading in quantity.

Iwahory (2008) in his study examined the effectiveness of ER on reading rates of high
school students in Japan using comic books as reading material, to make reading enjoyable for
students. Pretest and post test of reading rate and language proficiency were administered.
Even the Japanese learner whose English proficiency was at a beginning level the result
showed that ER improves reading fluency and general language proficiency.
Extensive Reading emphasizes reading in the broader context for learners to practice their
reading skills without realize that they are learning.

THE IMPLEMENTATION OF EXTENSIVE READING IN CLASSROOM

In establishing an Extensive Reading activities teachers not only need to have interest
and enthusiasm but also need preparation, such planning and corporation with their
students.As teacher hold important role in the successfulness of the extensive reading
activities. Teacher should aware of some aspect in the implementation of ER;

Extensive reading activities need well timed preparation; teacher needs to prepare
him/herself in coordinating the steps of activities that will be done.

a) Teacher should familiarize him with the rational of extensive reading and its
organization.
b) Teacher should aware of students reading level, know what they like and their
cultural background. This is useful for teacher to make a list of material that will be
given for students in teaching.

The next is the teacher should consider the curriculum. How to fit Extensive reading with
time provided. Teacher should consider the application of extensive reading, inside or outside
the classroom. The teacher should create a detailed design of the activity teaching plan. It is
also important that the school, parents and students understand the activity, its aim, goals and
objectives, thus they aware of it benefit and corporate with the teacher to be able to make the
ER successful.

Beside of the curriculum teacher also should consider the facility in supporting the
effectiveness on the Extensive reading application. Many effort teachers can do to fulfill these
needs, such teacher, school together with local donors can contribute book from their personal
library to lend books. Then students can pay fee for borrowing a book. It is also give benefit to
expand the library and organize it. Teacher can effort new book. In choosing the new book
teacher should decide the type of books, the most important factors is whether the books will
be interesting for their students. It is important for teacher to make a class research about
students’ preferences. Beside, teacher is also able to guide students in finding their own
reading material, by visiting local library or searching on the internet. Nuttall (1982) suggest four
basic criteria for choosing extensive reading materials

a. Appealing.
The books must appeal to readers; the topics should be interesting and suitable for the
students. In some studies was proved that it is better if books are attractive in appearance,
well printed and with good coloured illustrations.
b. Easy.
Reading material should be easy in order to be read extensively. The first book students
read should be well below their competence and they should find their comfort reading zone
after they start reading.
c. Short.
With lower intermediate students the books should be fairly short so that the students do
not feel intimidated by the length of the book.
d. Varied.
Students should be offered a variety of genres and topics to suit their needs

Library is needed in offering students with variety of reading material.In organizing the
library for extensive reading, teacher or together with the students can classify the books based
on its subject, genre and reading level. Books can be separated into boxes. This is very useful
for students to make them easier to find book that meet their interest and to make sure the
books do not mixed.

In conducting extensive reading activities, reading target also should be give attention to
by the teacher. How much reading will be done by the students in a week? It is all depends on
the students’ level. The reading target is benefit in giving students something to work towards,
thus they will make their own goal in reading. If the teacher do not make target for the students,
they might not finish their reading.

CHALLENGE, ISSUE IN ER APPLICATION

Teaching reading in Indonesia has faced many problems, such time allocation, reading
material, syllabus, and sub-activity that should be taken into account in the implementation of
ER. These aspects should be considered in planning ER activity because the time is relative
short for English lesson in EFL context. Then reading materials which are chosen by students
for their reading should suit and fulfill the syllabus still the need for students to read for
enjoyment must be considered. The availability of various kind of reading material are needed
to fulfill this needs, library and the use of online materials can be used. And the last sub-
activities are needed, because ER activity should be followed by interesting sub-activities to
maintain students’ interest in reading.

PROVIDING ER ACTIVITIES FOR LEARNERS

In implementation ER in or out classroom is not as difficult as before, today there are


many researchers have develop various kinds of activities for ESL/EFL learners. Teacher will
be able to choose the most appropriate activities that match students’ needs and interest. Day
and Bamford (2004) in their books provide 100 classroom activities that allows teacher to utilize
fully the language learning potential of ER. Related to the explanations before the writers
conclude that the most important thing is how to begin ER activity.

First, teacher should introduce the extensive reading to students. After the teacher
prepared themselves, teacher needs to introduce Extensive reading itself to their students and
also its aims and benefits.Teacher should emphasize to the students that there will be no test
after reading, there is only some question on their personal experiences of what they read.
Then teacher should help students to choose books. To make students comfortable and want
to continue their reading they should find book that they read really easy and able to finish them
quickly. If they find difficulties in their first reading, there are big possibilities that they do not
want to continue reading.

The last task that teacher must do in applying ER is they need to encourage students to
read. As the teacher familiar with the tittles in ER library, he/she can talk with their students
about their reading and recommend tittles according students’ interest. It also suggested that
teacher demonstrate the importance of reading by doing reading in class. By making reading
schedule in class regularly, such at the beginning of class period, teacher can give example by
reading on his/her own, enjoy the reading and make use of reading material. This is important
to encourage students to read. “Students follow the example of people their respect.

In the class activities, the most basic activity is a reading log, which students are asked
about their personal experiences of what they read, whether the material enjoyable or
interesting. Teacher also can ask whether the reading was easy or difficult for them. This
reading log also give benefit in order monitor students reading. Teacher may use one-to-one
interview to check whether students are reading.

CONCLUSION

The aim of this paper was to introduce Extensive reading approach as alternatives in
teaching reading, especially in Indonesia. As ER has proved to improved students vocabulary,
motivation, fluency as well as language proficiency.

Even in the implementation of extensive reading is not an easy task in EFL context, there is
no losing if this activity reaches it success. Not only learners’ academic purpose will be gained
but also students reading habit will improve, as they enjoy doing reading. Implementing
extensive reading into teaching will give opportunity and encouragement to reading.

As note for teacher, to find out students interest, teacher need conduct a research of
students’ attitude and past experience in reading. Reading attitude assessment and interview
are ways to find out students feeling and belief toward their reading. Teacher will able to know
the level of students reading. It will help teacher to provide the most appropriate material for
students reading. When reading sees as fun activity students will have desire to continue and
love reading.

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