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TABLE OF CONTENTS pages 1. Introduction. 2. Literature review. 2.1. Definition of extensive reading............................................................ 2.2. Characteristics of extensive reading. 2.3.

Teachers role in extensive reading.. 2.4. Materials for extensive reading 2.5. The benefits and limitations of extensive reading 2.6. Principles and ideas to put ER into practice in language classrooms. 2.7. Combination of intensive reading and extensive reading.. 2.8. Learners responses and perception on extensive reading. 3. EFL Classroom implications .. 3.1. Establishing a positive reading environment. 3.2. Promoting teachers role in ER programme.. 3.3. Supports from educators and administrators.. 2 3 3 3 4 5 6 9 10 11 12 12 12 12

3.4. Students strategies for ER.. 12 3.5. Integration of IR and ER 3.6. Integrating ER with other language skills.. 3.7. Balancing ER activities in class and at home. 13 13 13

4. Conclusion. 14 References


In recent years, there have been many studies, both experimental and quasiexperimental, that have revealed the effectiveness of extensive reading (ER). These studies have also provided support for the implementation of ER in English as a second language (ESL) and English as a foreign language (FSL) classroom settings. However, ER hasnt been widely accepted and hasnt been put into practice in Vietnamese language schools although English learning and teaching have developed strongly in Vietnam recently. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to examine the theory and practice of ER in ESL and EFL learning and relate them to the particular context of English teaching and learning in Vietnamese high schools. This paper begins with a review of the recent literature on ER, exploring characteristics, purposes, principles, benefits and limitations of ER, combination of extensive and intensive reading, and learners responses and perception on ER. It then goes on to suggest some ideal pedagogical implications for teachers and students to use ER in their teaching and learning English.

2. LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1. Definition of extensive reading Extensive reading is a form of reading instruction. Its definition and purposes are expressed as follows: Extensive reading means reading in quantity and in order to gain a general understanding of what is read. It is intended to develop good reading habits, to build up knowledge of vocabulary and structure, and to encourage a liking for reading (Richards and Schmidt, 2002, cited in Richard R. Day, 2009). Extensive reading is a language teaching procedure where learners are supposed to read large quantities of material and long texts for global understanding, the principle goal being obtaining pleasure from the text (Bamford, Extensive Reading Activities 1, cited in Mria Kredtusov, 2007). The term Extensive reading was originally coined by Palmer (1968, cited in Powell, 2005) to distinguish it from intensive reading- the careful reading of short, complex texts for detailed understanding and skills practice. Intensive reading has traditionally played a key role in English teaching. Extensive reading, however, involves the reading of large amounts of longer, easy-to-understand material, usually done outside the classroom and at each students own pace and level. There are few, if any, follow-up exercises, because the aim if for overall understanding rather than detailed analysis, as can be seen from the two definitions above. 2.2. Characteristics of extensive reading In terms of characteristics of ER, a number of researchers have provided various lists. However, this paper has chosen and analyzed the list synthesized by Alan Maley (2009). Alan Maley (2009) deals with ER comprehensively. The following is his digest of the two lists of factors or principles for successful ER: One is a list of key characteristics of ER by Richard R. Day (2002). The other is a complemented list by Philip Prowse (2002). 1. Students read a lot and read often. 2. There is a wide variety of text types and topics to choose from. 3. The texts are not just interesting: they are engaging/ compelling. 4. Students choose what to read.
5. Reading purposes focus on: pleasure, information and general understanding.

6. Reading is its own reward.


7. There are no tests, no exercises, no questions and no dictionaries. 8. Materials are within the language competence of the students. 9. Reading is individual, and silent. 10. Speed is faster, not deliberate and slow.
11. The teacher explains the goals and procedures clearly, then monitors and

guides the students. 12. The teacher is a role modela reader, who participates along with the students. 2.3. Teachers role in extensive reading One of the most important factors that brings the effectiveness of ER in language classrooms is the role of teachers. Teachers play a vital part in helping students practice extensive reading. Teachers conduct extensive reading activities, keep these activities going on, and motivate their students. In their basic principles of ER approach, Julian Bamford and Richard R. Day present the last two principles that relate to teachers role. The teacher orients and guides the students and the teacher is a role model of a reader ( Bamford, Extensive Reading Activities 12-3, cited in Mria Kredtusov, 2007). In her research, Mria Kredtusov also proposes the roles of the teacher in establishing an ER programme in ESL classrooms. To begin with, because ER programme involves thorough planning and a welltimed preparation, teachers should prepare themselves for the work of teaching ER : First, teachers should familiarize themselves with the rationale of ER and its organization. Next, teachers should borrow and read graded readers to know what they are like, to get themselves acquainted with levels offered by different publishers, and to make a list of titles that they would like to buy (Hill 2, cited in Mria Kredtusov, 2007). Secondly, after having prepared themselves for teaching ER, teachers task is to introduce ER programme to their students and to familiarize students with its aims and benefits. Teachers should also know how to read extensively. Teachers have to note that dictionaries should be avoided and there will be no test after reading. Thirdly, teachers should help students to choose books. Teachers may assist in selecting appropriate reading material that will be interesting, easy, comfortable and suitable for students levels.

The fourth role of teacher is to encourage students to read. To do this, as mentioned above, teachers must be an example. Teachers should be familiar with the titles so that they can talk with students about their reading and recommend titles according to students needs with knowledge and enthusiasm. The fifth role of teacher is to organize in class activities to ask students to engage in follow-up activities after reading in order to (a) discover what students understood or experienced from reading, (b) to keep track of what students read, (c) to monitor their attitude toward reading and (d) to link reading with other aspects of the curriculum. The sixth role of the teacher is to monitor students reading. There are several ways how teachers may do this. For example, students fill in Instant Book Records and present their reading during classes. Teachers may also use one-to-one interview to check sensitively whether students are reading. Another role of the teacher is to offer rewards. Students are not given grades for reading but everybody who reaches the target number of books is rewarded. 2.4. Materials for extensive reading Many researchers who support the implementation of ER in ESL and EFL classroom settings have suggested a great variety of materials used for ER in language classrooms. Many of the TESOL specialists who recommend ER do so on the assumption that students will be reading graded readers. It has been agreed that reading can be studied more effectively and enjoyably when students use easy material that they can understand and enjoy, instead of being forced to decode and translate texts hopelessly beyond their abilities. According to Christine Nuttall (Nuttall 172-3, cited in Mria Kredtusov, 2007), four basic criteria for choosing ER materials are: a) Appealing The books must appeal to readers; the topics should be interesting and suitable for the students. Moreover, it was proved that it is better if books are attractive in appearance, well printed and with good colored 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 afraid by the length of the book and do not feel strained or get bored. d) Varied Students should be offered a variety of genres and topics to suit their needs. Mria Kredtusov (2007) also proposes some types of reading materials. For lower-intermediate students, graders, magazines written for language learners, and childrens literature are advisable. Teachers need to be careful when choosing childrens literature because some of the titles may contain fairly difficult authentic vocabulary. For high-intermediate learners, young adult literature can offer a bridge to upgraded reading materials. Advanced learners will be able to read books, magazines and newspapers written for native speakers of English. Graded readers with European Framework of Reference are widely offered on the Net. Therefore, teacher can conveniently check their students level. However beneficial graded readers are, some authors claim that graded readers lack authenticity, are simple in their use of sentence structure and also the vocabulary is limited and therefore do not provide the real life reading experience. Consequently, if teachers are able to find unabridged material at right level, it is vitally important to add it into their ER library. 2.5. The benefits and limitations of extensive reading 2.5.1. Benefits of extensive reading. According to Richard R. Day (2009), there is a robust literature in scholarly journals that reports the results of investigation into the impact of ER on learning English in both ESL and EFL contexts. The studies have been conducted to discover the effectiveness of ER on both language learning and the affective dimension of language learning, primarily attitude and motivation. Firstly, in doing research on the benefits of ER, Alan Maley (2009) states that ER can add up to these seven good points:

- ER develops learner autonomy - ER offers comprehensive input - ER enhances general language competence - ER helps develop general world knowledge - ER extends, consolidates and sustains vocabulary growth - ER helps improve writing - ER creates and sustains motivation to read more. In addition to these, Alan Maley also mentions some benefits that ER brings to teachers: - ER helps teachers to be better informed both about their profession and about the world. - ER helps teachers to keep their own use of English fresh. In other words, it helps teachers to keep updated with English. - ER makes teachers models for their students. So, it is believed that ER is beneficial to both students and teachers. Richard R. Day (2009) also draws out some benefits of ER : - Learners who engage in ER will become better readers in the target language. - Students who read extensively learn reading strategies and increase their reading rates. - In terms of attitude and motivation, ER helps students to develop positive attitudes toward reading in English. - In addition to gains in affect ( attitude and motivation), ER also helps students to make gains in overall language proficiency. - Writing proficiency is also impacted by reading extensively. - ER increases students vocabulary knowledge. Krashen (1982, cited in Steven Powell, 2005) argues that students can acquire language on their own provided that (a) they receive enough exposure to comprehensible language and (b) it is done in relaxing, stress-free atmosphere. ER satisfies both these conditions. Hill (1997, cited in Steve Powell, 2005) also asserts that extensive reading outside school provides students with the opportunity to improve their lexical syntactical knowledge and language processing skills in a pressure-free environment. Bamford ( Extensive Reading Activities 1, cited in Mria Kredtusov, 2007) states that students who read more will not only become better and more confident

readers, but they will also improve their reading, writing, listening and speaking abilities, and their vocabulary will get richer. Bamford also praises the motivation aspect of ER, seeing its primary benefit in developing positive attitudes toward the foreign language and increasing motivation to study this language. 2.5.2. Limitations of extensive reading Although ER brings more benefits to both learners and teachers, it faces some limitations that must be paid special attention when it is implemented in language classrooms. This paper reviews a few prominent inconveniences of ER. This is a point of major concern to many researchers and teachers who support ER and ask themselves why ER is not being readily adopted by language education institutions. It is also thought that these weak points are some of the reasons why so few of us using ER. Alan Maley (2009) lists out some limitations. This is an inquiry conducted among teachers worldwide by him. The answers come down to these. - Insufficient time - Too costly - Reading materials not available - ER not linked to the syllabus and the examination - Lack of understanding of ER and its benefits - Downward pressure on teachers to conform to syllabi and textbooks - Resistance from teachers who find it impossible to stop teaching and to allow learning to take place. ER is typically not promoted in L2 reading courses. Teachers sometimes do not feel that they are teaching when students are reading silently in class; they think that ER is something that should only be done at home. Sometimes there are limited resources for good class or school libraries. In some cases, schools have resources but they do not include books that interest students or they do not allow students to check out books to be read at home. There are some cases in which teachers do not believe that reading large amounts of level-appropriate text is an appropriate goal for academic-reading development. Some teachers would like to involve their students in ER but do not know how to incorporate it into their lessons. To overcome these difficulties, some researchers have suggested principles and ideal ideas to implement ER in language classrooms. 2.6. Principles and ideas to put ER into practice in language classrooms.

To make sure ER can be applied into language classrooms especially in Vietnamese language classrooms, this paper chooses to make a review of recent studies so as to discover and make some useful suggestions for implications afterwards. W. Grabe & F.L Stoller (2001, Reading for Academic Purposes: 198,199) proposes the following ideal conditions for ER. - Provide time for extended silent reading in every class session, even if it only involves reading from the textbooks. - Create opportunities for all types of reading - Find out what students like to read and why - Make interesting, attractive, and level-appropriate reading materials available - Build a well-stocked, diverse class library with clear indications of topic and level difficulty for each text - Allow students to takes books and magazines home to read, and hold students accountable for at-home reading in some simple way - Create incentives for students to read at home - Have students share and recommend reading materials to classmates - Keep records of the amounts of extensive reading completed by students - Seek out class sets of texts (or at least group sets) that everyone can read and discuss - Make use of graded readers, provided that they interest students, are attractive, create sufficient challenge, and offer a good amount of extensive reading practice - Read interesting materials aloud to students on a consistent basis - Visit the school library regularly and set aside time for browsing and reading - Create a reading lab and designate time for lab activities. Some pedagogical ideas of how to implement, manage or run an ER programme will be reviewed. There are many helpful and detailed ideas to be found, but for the purpose of this paper, the writer has chosen to review a summary of ten ideas supplied by Bell (1998, cited in Darrell Wilkinson, 2010) Maximize Learner Involvement The Reader Interview Read Aloud to the Class Student Presentations Written Work Based on the Reading

Use Audio Material in the Reading Program Avoid the Use of Tests Discourage the Over-Use of Dictionaries Monitor the Students' Reading Maintain the Entertainment 2.7. Combination of intensive reading (IR)and extensive reading (ER) To make clear that how much IR and ER can be combined and implemented in language classrooms, this paper first distinguish IR and ER, then comes to a conclusion that how language teachers can put ER in their reading sessions in classrooms. The following table by Welsh ( qtd. in Waring, Getting An ER Program Going 3, cited in Mria Kredtusov, 2007) shows the differences between IR and ER. Intensive Reading Analysis of the language Usually difficult Little teacher selects All learners study the same material In class Checked by specific questions LINGUISTIC FOCUS DIFFICULTY AMOUNT SELECTION WHAT MATERIAL WHERE COMPREHENSION Extensive Reading Fluency, skill forming Very easy A book a week Learner selects All learners read different things (something interesting to them) Mostly at home Checked by reports / summaries

John P. Loucky ( 2005) states that IR and ER have been used for developing reading skills. Both approaches play important part in helping learners to gain fluency first in the critical area of vocabulary and word recognition and then in developing better reading comprehension skills, and he suggests the combining advantages of IR and ER. 2.8. Learners responses and perception on extensive reading In order to examine how much learners perceive and respond to ER, many studies have been conducted. This paper reviews those of Nell Fernander de Morgado (2009) and Ming-yueh Shen (2008) The results of Shens study show that the learners perceptions on the factors influencing an ER programme and their preferences concerning the classroom activities. In general, material selection was ranked as the top one factor and S-S cooperative learning as the most favorite activity. However, the results further show that no single factor was chosen by the students and there was a discrepancy between

learners with different proficiency levels and learning backgrounds. The study empirically supports the individuality of learning and also argues that ER is never a panacea for all reading problems and the local educational environment ( i.e. Asian culture) might be an influential factor to be considered for a successful implementation of ER programme. The results of this study also imply that guided reading from teachers is necessary for some EFL low proficient readers. Nevertheless, the results of this study should be taken as suggestive rather than definitive due to its limitations. In addition to Shens study, Morgados research on students performance and perception of ER reveals that the students perception of ER is very positive. Besides being enjoyable, the students feel it helps them build vocabulary, reading comprehension, reading skills and confidence. Although these studies still exist some limitations, they provide a holistic understanding of EFL learners and fruitful insights for reading instruction to teachers who support ER and would like to implement ER in their language classrooms.


3. EFL CLASSROOM IMPLICATIONS From the literature review, and from the writers own experience of teaching reading, some pedagogical implications can be drawn out as follows: 3.1. Establishing a positive reading environment. I myself also agree with the statement by Greancy (1996, cited in Chitchon Pratontep & Apasara Chinwonno, 2008) that a positive reading environment plays a significant role in promoting students reading comprehension. The lack of appropriate reading material or space may cause poor reading comprehension and also have an influence students motivation toward reading. Therefore, a positive reading environment should be created: a variety of interesting reading material and suitable space for reading should be made available. A school library needs to include material that can cater students different interests and reading levels. Teachers and family need to be model readers and ready to offer help when needed. 3.2. Promoting teachers role in ER programme As reviewed in the literature, teachers play an important role in ER programme. Therefore teachers role should be paid much attention to make sure ER goes on effectively. Teachers should work as model readers, facilitators, observers, monitors, and organizers. 3.3. Supports from educators and administrators EFL reading and administrators of education should support ER. Since EFL students have limited exposure to reading materials outside of class, especially in Vietnamese high school settings, ER should be integrated into every EFL class. ER should be shared some periods in the curriculum. 3.4. Students strategies for ER. In addition to students motivation and attitudes toward ER, students strategies for ER should also be taken much care so that ER can take better effect. Students need more time and practice to learn strategies before they start the programme. They should be taught how to read extensive, how to use school library, how to choose suitable reading material, how to report their extensive reading , how to keep journals, Moreover, students should know the benefits of ER and they should be motivated regularly as well because motivation is one of the keys to successful reading. 3.5. Integration of IR and ER

In Vietnamese high school contexts, ER should be integrated into IR under some conditions to reduce the limitations of ER and enhance the benefits of ER. Consequently, ER should be done in such a way that it can support IR. In other words, ER helps IR to promote its strengths. To do this, teachers should conduct ER at the beginning of each reading lesson so as to guide, to motivate, to do a model, to check whether students are reading. 3.6. Integrating ER with other language skills. Teachers should provide some time for extended silent reading in every class section even if it only involves reading from the textbook. Teachers can integrate ER into oral skills (e.g. Expressing opinions about reading, presentations, talking about what was read), writing skills (e.g. reporting about what was read) 3.7. Balancing ER activities in class and at home ER at school should be coupled with ER at home, with as much reading as students can be persuaded to do. At a minimum, the books and magazines read at home should be discussed in class with recommendations made to other students. With my own experience of teaching reading, I often integrate ER into IR session of my reading classes. After each reading lesson, I ask my students to browse the website I orient and guide them to read the texts coupled with the reading texts in their textbooks and do some short exercises voluntarily; or I ask them to write a report ( a summary) of what they have read; or I make a one-to-one interview to check their reading. All this can be done at the beginning of each lesson ( 5-7 minutes) and no grades is given because my aim is to go for overall and further understanding of the lessons in class and for enjoyment.



In conclusion, it is clear that extensive reading offers numerous benefits to learners and therefore necessary if not very important to our students reading development. It brings to our students many educational and social benefits such as increased reading confidence and fluency, increased enjoyment and motivation, high level of comprehensible input, increased learner autonomy, increased vocabulary retention, and improved fluency and proficiency in areas of language skills such as speaking and writing. Despite this, teachers also face a few difficulties when implementing ER in their classes such as time, reading material, educators and administrators and even some teachers denial of ER, finance, etc. This paper has been to clarify what extensive reading is and how it might be used in ESL/EFL reading instruction. As a result, some ideal conditions and basic principles for ER have been suggested with the expectation that ER will be little by little possibly placed in the position of importance that it deserves.


REFERENCES - Day, Richard R. (2009).The Benefits of Extensive Reading (ER). Oup-Bookworms. com, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2009. /successful_reading/er_article.pdf - Grabe, W. & Stoller , F.L. (2001). Reading for academic purposes: Guidelines for the ESL/EFL teacher. In M. Celce_Murcia (Ed.) Teaching English as a second or foreign language (3rd ed.) Boston Heinle (pp 187-203) - Kredtusov, M. (2007). The benefits of extensive reading in EFL. Online - Loucky , J. P. ( 2005). Combining beneficial strategies from both intensive and extensive reading approaches for more effective and enjoyable language learning. JALT 2004 Conference Proceedings. Tokyo JALT - Maley, A. (2009). Extensive reading : Why it is good for our studentsand for us. The Internet Journal, IV:12 - Morgado, N. F. (2009). Extensive reading : Students performance and perception, The Reading Matrix, volume 9, No. 1, April 2009 - Powell, S., (2005). Extensive reading and its role in Japanese high schools, The Reading Matrix Vol. 5, No. 2, September 2005 - Pratontep, Ch. & Chinwonno, A. (2008). Self-regulated learning by Thai university students in an EFL extensive reading program. MANUSYA: Journal of Humanities 11.2,2008. - Shen, M.Y. (2008). EFL learners responses to extensive rReading : Survey and pedagogical applications, The Reading Matrix, volume 8, No. 2, September 2008 - Wilkinson, D.(2010). Extensive reading: What is it and why should we be doing it ? ESL/EFL article available at