June 8th, 2008 - Extensive Reading for Everybody

posted Jan 11, 2012, 7:58 PM by Hamamatsu JALT

Extensive Reading for Everybody

Atsuko Takase

Extensive Reading means reading a lot of books that are not too difficult in order to develop familiarity with and confidence in understanding English. Ms. Takase told us how she had been working for ten years trying to convince the high school and universities she taught at, to put an abundance of easy English books in their school libraries. Little by little people began listening to her. At the high school there are now three thousand English books! She guides Japanese students to try and read English so that they can understand the meaning directly, without translating back to Japanese. Even at the university level, children’s picture books are appropriate for this purpose. She says that students need in-class Sustained Silent Reading time – even just ten minutes, but sometimes a full class period. For classes that did extensive reading in comparison to ones that did not, there was a significantly higher rise in scores on the SLEP (Secondary Level English Preparatory) test – showing that reading a lot improves students’ understanding.