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7 Quick Ideas To Encourage Extensive Reading

Reading is becoming a lost art. A student’s entire lifestyle can be enhanced by picking up a novel now and then.

But, unfortunately, many students are struggling with learning how to read, haven’t had exposure to interesting reading material, or simply don’t have examples of reading for understanding and leisure.

Many students are stuck with ill-equipped school libraries created decades ago. These small collections of antiquated materials are unable to meet the needs of today’s students.

Students need to be encouraged to read extensively all the time.

Extensive reading is a way to improve students’ language skills by encouraging them to read a lot in the target language. It is different from intensive reading.

What is extensive reading? How is it different from intensive reading? What are the benefits of it and why should you consider doing it with your students?

What Is Extensive Reading?

Extensive Reading (ER) is the process of reading longer easier texts for an extended period of time without a breakdown of comprehension, feeling overwhelmed, or the need to take breaks.

Extensive reading stands in contrast to intensive or academic reading.

How Is Extensive Reading Different from Intensive Reading?

Intensive or academic reading is mainly focused on a close reading of dense shorter texts, typically not read for pleasure.

Unlike extensive reading, intensive reading involves close analysis of texts and requires active engagement with the reading material. 

What Are the Benefits of Extensive Reading?

  • With extensive reading, you can choose materials that are interesting to you and read them at your own pace.
  • Extensive reading involves the choice of materials and a relaxed pace.
  • Choosing reading materials that are interesting to your students makes reading an enjoyable and relaxing activity for them.
  • When reading becomes more relaxing and enjoyable, it will have a big impact on your students’ language and life skills.

Stories are the most suitable reading materials for students to read extensively. They are usually suitable for the age and language level of the students. This encourages students to read for pleasure.

The stories offer extensive reading in a challenging form and new context for the language and vocabulary that they have met in the school syllabi as well as teaching them moral values. 

Eight Steps To Follow When Teaching Stories

  1. Introduce the story by going over any of the pre-reading activities found in the storybook with the students as a whole class, or by a brief discussion following the introduction of any new vocabulary.
  2. Have students try to guess what the story could be about and make any predictions of possible outcomes.
  3. Choose parts of the stories and play their audio file (if available) or read it aloud as a whole in the classroom for students to enjoy listening to the target language.
  4. Highlight certain elements or scenes of the story and have some of the students act out
  5. Ask questions about what students have read or heard of the story.
  6. Then students are to work individually or in pairs to do some comprehension activities related to the story. This checks students’ understanding of the stories.
  7. After that, students are guided to share in a discussion about elements of the story such as things they liked, favourite characters, the theme, moral, plot, different endings and alternative titles.
  8. Finally, ask students to summarize the story in class or at home.

7 Quick Ideas To Encourage Extensive Reading

Reading should be natural and fun. Try one or all of these seven quick ideas to encourage students to get used to extensive reading:

1. Be an example

Let students see you as a positive example of reading. Reading together is a powerful tool in motivating your students to read. Always take time to read to your students in class.

2. Start a lending library

Set up and offer to let students borrow the books in your class library. You may want to keep track of your books and give students a chance to check out your “library catalogue”.

3. Give books as gifts

Instead of giving toys or tokens which may be forgotten, consider giving books to the students. Holidays, birthdays, graduations, and other celebrations are opportune times to promote reading.

4. Give out bonuses

Hand out coupons (which you can make) to students who have read extra stories,  they can hand in the coupons in exchange for less homework, extra grades or bonuses for field trips…etc.

5. Vary reading materials

Reading material comes in many different shapes and sizes, some of which may be more accessible to a new reader. Video games, magazines, and comic books all provide opportunities for reading practice.

6. Keep it fun, for everyone

If students are going to enjoy reading, the experience has to be enjoyable. As you read with your students, keep them involved by asking questions about the story, and let them fill in the blanks. You can also create activities related to the stories you’re reading in your class (projects)

7. “Look at what I did!”

Another successful approach to motivating your students to read is to use some sort of visible record of achievement. A chart or graph that marks the number of books a student has read gives him or her a sense of accomplishment.

Final Word

Reading doesn’t have to stop when students put the story down. Talk to them about the texts they’ve read, and what they enjoy reading. Point out similarities between everyday events and stories they have recently read and talk about a current story and its original form.

Thanks For Reading

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