The How and Why of Extensive Reading Dr. Rob Waring Notre Dame Seishin University Okayama Nagoya University of Foreign Studies Ongoing Workshop for Japanese Teachers of English Dec 10, 2011
The goals of language teaching Ensure they can read, write, speak and listen Build pragmatic, cultural as well as linguistic knowledge Develop learning strategies Develop independence Develop a sense of ownership of the language Build confidence and a ‘can do’ attitude
What do learners need to know? Learners need 7000-8000 word families to read native novels easily About 2000 everyday words occur in all types of English. Learners need ‘specialist words’ as well. There are two stages in word learning. 1. The form-meaning relationship (its pronunciation, spelling and meaning) 2. The deeper word knowledge • its different meanings • Its derivations (useful, useless, uselessness, etc.) • if it’s typically spoken, or written • if it’s useful or rare, polite or rude • the topic are we usually find it in (e.g. science, music, biology) • its collocations and colligations
What’s a collocation? Collocations are words which often appear together. We sayWe don’t (usually) say beautiful girl handsome girl blonde hair yellow hair big surprise large surprise black and white white and black go to work go to job catch fire do fire / go fire high cost expensive cost demand a response ask a response make a mistake do a mistake
What’s a colligation? Colligations are words which often appear together grammatically We sayWe don’t (usually) say depend on someone depend of someone be good at something be good on something ask for something ask on something give something to someone give something someone
What else do they need to know? III Lexical phrases and chunks of language How’s things? I’d rather not … If it were up to me, I’d … So, what do you think? We got a quick bite to eat. What’s the matter? What do you mean by that? Well, what do you know? Look what the cat just dragged in Plus THOUSANDS more
What else do they need to know? IV The grammar systems (e.g. the present perfect tense) A government committee has been created to … He hasn’t seen her for a while, has he? No, he hasn’t. Why haven’t you been doing your homework? There’s been a big accident in Market Street. Have you ever seen a ghost? It’s very hard to see the patterns – there are many forms: Statement, negative, yes/no and wh- question forms, Simple or continuous Active or passive Short answers and questions tags (Yes, I have. …… hasn’t he?) Regular and irregular - has vs. havewalked vs. bought Present perfect for ‘announcing news’, PP for ‘experiences’, etc. etc.
How long will it take to teach them? An average word needs 30-50 meetings for it to be learnt receptively from reading (more for productive use) An average word’s meaning takes 10-15 meetings to learn from word cards or word lists To learn the collocations and ‘deeper’ aspects of language learning takes MUCH longer. There’s little research into the rate learning of collocation, colligation or lexical phrases from reading We know nothing at all about how long it takes to master a particular grammatical form e.g. a tense, the comparatives, relative clauses
How well are our courses presenting the language students need? Research suggests an average language course: • does not systematically recycle the grammatical forms outside the presentation unit / lesson • has an almost random vocabulary selection without much regard to frequency or usefulness (mostly based on topic) • rarely, if ever, recycles taught words either later in the unit, the book, or the series • provide little additional practice in review units or workbooks • has an overwhelming focus on new material in each lesson
The number of words a learner will probably learn from course work (225,000 words over 3 years) Data from Sequences, Foundations, Page Turners and Footprints by Heinle Cengage 225,000 60,800 570,000 174,000 (=1,029,000)
Why can’t Japanese students read, listen, speak and write well? Their language knowledge is often abstract, separated, discrete and very fragile to forgetting There’s too much work on “the pieces-of-language” and not enough comprehensible, meaningful discourse They haven’t met the words and grammar enough times to feel comfortable using it They CANNOT speak until they feel comfortable using their knowledge Not enough exposure. To acquire a 7000 word vocabulary requires them to meet about 10-15,000,000 words. A typical Junior high 3-year course book series has 250,000 words. They haven’t developed a ‘sense’ of language yet
How are we going to teach what? Register, Genre … Pragmatic knowledge Restrictions on use Most collocations and collocations A ‘sense’ of a word’s meaning and use A ‘sense’ of how grammar fits with lexis - the tenses, articles etc. Discourse level awareness Individual words Important lexical phrases False friends Loanwords Important collocations and colligations Basic grammatical patterns Important phrasal verbs, idioms etc. Word, phrase and sentence level awareness Incidental learning e.g extensive reading Intentional learning e.g word cards Selection issues – what do we teach? Sequence issues – in what order? Scaffolding issues – how do we consolidate previous learning? Presentation issues – what method? Rough grading Ensuring recycling Engaging text Matching input text to intentionally learnt materials
The Balanced Curriculum Build language knowledge and get control over it Develop learning strategies Develop a sense of how the language works Build autonomy Build pragmatic and cultural knowledge
Balance in Language Teaching • - provides new knowledge about language features • -raises awareness of how the language works • - raises awareness of learning strategies • -gives practice in checking • whether something is known • - allows learners to actively • construct language • - focuses on accurate control over language features • - Learners get a feel for how the language works • - consolidates the discretely learned language features • - allows learners to meet huge amounts of text • - gives real time opportunities to experiment with language use • - gives feedback on the success of language use • - builds fluency of language production
The Balanced Curriculum Box 1 - Formal Learning Building knowledge about the language Awareness raising Box 2 - “Getting Control” Linking knowledge Accuracy focus Box 3 - Fluency Input Networking knowledge Comprehending input fluently Box 4 - Fluency Output Experimenting with language Developing fluency
How does learning happen? “Then they saw an ancient temple …” Understand and add to our knowledge Get feedback Correct use Notice something Try it out Incorrect use We don’t understand Get more input
The Cycle of Learning Notice something Add to our knowledge Get more input (feedback) Try it out
The Balanced Curriculum and the Cycle of Learning Notice things Add to your knowledge Get more input Try it out (controlled) Notice things Add to your knowledge Get more input Try it out (free production)
What happens if they don’t do these things? - Fewer chances to notice new things - Hard to add new knowledge - Can’t check the accuracy of what they learnt - Not enough input - Few chances to develop automatic processing - Can’t develop fluent eye movements - Can’t experiment with their knowledge fluently
Making them fluent Give opportunities for fluency…. Fast and efficient reading and listening practice L ink their practice to real tasks Understanding is primary Encourage speed development work Nurture confidence and motivation Try extensive reading and listening
True or false? The balanced curriculum tells us what needs to be done. The balanced curriculum suggests activities be done in the order, Box 1, 2, 3 and then 4. The balanced curriculum should replace your curriculum. Students can easily understand the balanced curriculum. TBC is an ideational framework for teachers planning curriculums and lessons.
Short texts Many exercises A Typical Reading Text Many difficult words Definitions given
How are students typically taught to read? From textbooks with short difficult texts Doing lots of exercises to practice the grammar and vocab, reading skills and strategies Teacher leads the students All students read the same teacher-selected material All students read at the same pace All students read at the same difficulty level The text may or may not interest all learners It’s hard to develop fluent eye movements – fluency and reading speed – too many ‘reading speed bumps’ This is called INTENSIVE READING
Intensive Reading Provides good opportunities for the teaching of discrete language points (e.g. vocabulary and grammar) Few chances for the development of fluent eye movements Few chances to learn the patterns in the language because the student doesn't read much Little allowance for student interest in what is read Little allowance for reading at their own ability level Often difficult for students to add new language to the existing store of language because the material is too difficult
Typical Japanese reading texts In Junior High School -teaches the first 1000 words quite well - readability seems adequate – short passages, easy vocabulary, picture support In Senior High School - radical change to low frequency vocabulary - hundreds of the most important 2,000 words aren’t met
Lexical coverage of some reading texts Source: Browne, C. ECAP Conference, 2008
Lexical coverage of some exams Source: Browne, C. ECAP Conference, 2008
How many words do Japanese students meet in JH/ SH? A total of approximately 55,000 running words will be met (not counting juku and self-study). A generous estimate is 100,000 words and about 3,500 types over 6 years. Listening input would be approximately 10% of this.
The number of words a learner will probably learn from course work plus graded readers Data from Sequences, Foundations, Page Turners and Footprints by Heinle Cengage 225,000 60,800 570,000 174,000 (=1,029,000)
Uptake rates When learning only from a course book over (3 years): Only 962 words will be learnt well (29.4%) A further 1,052 will be partially known (32.1% ) 1,261 words are likely to be forgotten (38.5%) Adding one graded reader per week: 1,556 words (40.0%) will be learnt well, plus 1,109 words (27.8%) will be partially known and only 33.2% unknown. Adding two graded readers per week: They will know 2,119 words well, plus partially know another 1,571 words
Notes: 40 function words (in, of, the, by etc.) accounted for 41.2% of the total words in the series Typically one’s productive vocabulary is 20-25% of the receptive This does not include the learning of collocations, colligations, idioms, phrases, multiple meanings, lexical chunks, sentence heads… etc.
Why build reading speed? Natives read at 250-300 words per minute Many non-natives read at less than 100 words per minute If they can read faster, they will -read more naturally -process the language more effectively and efficiently -understand more -remember more -read more text -be able to finish tests faster
How well does that course present the language students need? Research suggests an average language course: -does not systematically recycle the grammatical forms outside the presentation unit / lesson -has an almost random vocabulary selection without much regard to frequency or usefulness (mostly based on topic) -rarely, if ever, recycles taught words either later in the unit, the book, or the series -provides minimal additional practice in review units or workbooks has an overwhelming focus on new material in each lesson
A linear structure to our syllabuses Each unit has something new Little focus on the recycling of vocabulary, grammar and so on The theory is “We’ve done that, they have learnt it, so we can move on.” i.e. teaching causes learning Unit 3 Present continuous Sporting activities Unit 1 Be verb Simple adjectives Unit 2 Simple present Daily routines Unit 4 can Abilities Unit 5 …. …..
What happens to things we learn? We forget them over time unless they are recycled and memories of them strengthened Our brains are designed to forget most of what we meet - not to remember it Knowledge The Forgetting Curve Time
What will naturally happen to the learning? Unit 3 Present continuous Sporting activities Unit 1 Be verb Simple adjectives Unit 2 Simple present Daily routines Unit 4 can Abilities Unit 5 …. …..
What does this all imply? A linear course structure -is focused on introducing new words and grammatical features -does not fight against the forgetting curve -by its very design cannot provide enough repetitions of words and grammar features for long-term acquisition to take place -is not focused on deepening and consolidating older knowledge because the focus is always on new things This is NOT a criticism of course books. They can’t do everything even though we might expect them to. Course books are only part of what students need.
What is Extensive Reading? Fast, fluent reading of story books with high levels of comprehension Focus on comprehension and enjoyment, not language learning Aim is to deepen already met language through massive exposure Typically this is done with ‘graded readers’ or ‘leveled readers’ Extensive reading (ER) and Intensive reading (IR) are two sides of the same coin. Intensive Reading builds language, Extensive Reading practices it. IR and ER work TOGETHER, they are NOT opposites
What are graded readers? Graded readers are story books written for learners of English written at various difficulty levels Level 1 books have very few words and only the simplest grammar Level 2 books have slightly harder vocabulary and grammar Level 3 increases the difficulty … and so on The students progress through the levels reading books that mirror what they learnt in their course work
Graded readers are GRADED Native books Phonics Easy vocab More difficult vocab Easy grammar More difficult grammar
Course work and Graded Readers work together Consolidating and deepening language knowledge Extensive Reading Unit 1 Be verb Unit 2 Simple present Unit 3 Present continuous Unit 4 can Unit 5 …. Introducing language
Features of Extensive Reading All the students read different books Student selected material Wide variety of material (genres) The reading will probably interest the student Longer texts Very few difficult words Reading at the student's fluent reading ability level Mostly out-of class reading Emphasis on the skill of reading All reading is in the second language – no Japanese needed New words are often met in later chapters Emphasis on reading for comprehension / enjoyment Provides input for speaking and writing
When reading extensively, students should READ It is CRUCIAL that learners read at the RIGHT level Read something quickly and Enjoyably with Adequate comprehension so they Don’t need a dictionary If they need a dictionary, it’s too hard and they will read slowly, get tired and stop Their aim is fluency and speed, not learning new language Typically students read at home or out of class- it doesn’t take much class time for HUGE benefits We add the reading to our existing program, we don’t replace it.
Fluency Reading class READING PAIN does NOT equal READING GAIN Choose reading materials where they can read quickly Have a wide variety of books – something interesting for everyone Have a wide variety of difficulty levels – easy to difficult Most of their time should be reading -not translating -not answering questions -not doing reports Reading should be pleasurable Reading should be motivating Reading should be inspiring Reading is more than language practice
Summary of Extensive Reading Massive language exposure at the student's level of understanding Excellent chances for the development of fluent eye movements (fluent reading) because the text is easy leading to faster reading Excellent chances to learn the patterns in the language because the student is reading a lot High probability the student is interested in what is read and that she will become a more confident reader
How do Intensive and Extensive Reading fit together? Intensive reading (Instructional level, can learn new words and grammar) Speed reading practice (very fast, fluent, high comprehension, natural reading, enjoyable) Reading Pain (too hard, poor comprehension, high effort, de-motivating) Extensive reading (fast, fluent, adequate comprehension, enjoyable) 90% 98% 100% Low % of known vocabulary Slow High Reading speed Low High Comprehension
How do I start? • Find out about Extensive Reading • Make a plan • Get funding • Get everyone involved • Build a library • Build a book recording system • Make decisions about which books, which students, how much reading, how to assess etc. • Introduce the program • Evaluate it