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Extensive Reading and Listening

Massive language practice

November 15, 2010

ER World Congress

Hello everyone, This is an announcement of the First World Congress in Extensive Reading to be held in September 2011 The Extensive Reading Foundation announces the First Extensive Reading World Congress, to be held on the campus of Kyoto Sangyo University, Kyoto, Japan from 3-6 September 2011. The World Congress represents the first time for all those involved with the extensive reading approach -- teachers, scholars, writers and publishers -- to gather under one roof for a conference dedicated purely to extensive reading. For more information go to

January 07, 2010

Types of ER

Happy New Year to you all.

On my travels, I often hear people apologize for not doing Extensive Reading (ER) ‘properly’. They say things like, ‘Well, I only have all my students to read the same book …’, or ‘I do lots of follow up questions, I know it’s not what I should be doing …’ (my italics), and so forth.

Let’s be clear, Extensive Reading is not just one thing. Extensive Reading is about building reading speed and fluency so the students can build a sense of how the language works while enjoying their reading (or listening). In order for this fast fluent reading to happen, there are some minimum conditions that need to be met. The students have to READ:

Read quickly and …
Enjoyably knowing …
Almost all the language so they …
Don’t need a dictionary.

If one of these is missing, then the students might be reading slowly because the text is too hard which means they stop reading for communication (i.e. understanding the message), but read to understand the language itself – the words the grammar and so forth. In other words they are ‘study reading’ not READing.

The following four versions all require the students to READ the material for them to be labeled types of ER. All of which are legitimate forms of ER.

‘Purist ER’
This version of ER involves the students only in READing massive amounts of self-selected comprehensible input at their own pace with no tests, and little if any follow-up work.

‘Integrated ER’
This flavor of ER exists as part of an existing class or curriculum whereby students would probably READ their self-selected materials but may follow this up with discussions, reports or do other follow up class work all with the aim of building the four skills.

“Class reader ER’
In this mode, all the students READ the same book and work though it slowly, often over a period of weeks stopping to predict, check comprehension and discuss the story. Often there is some language work developing vocabulary, reading skills and grammar.

‘ER as literature’
Here, students READ the same book usually slowly and treat it as a work of literature examining the plot, character and various literary aspects of the book.

Thus we can see there is no one type of ER provided that the 4 READ conditions are met when they actually are reading. If we wish to see ER grow, then it’s important to understand that not all curriculums have the same focus, the same amount of time, or the same commitment to ER. And that’s fine. There may be curricula, resource, staffing, or budgetary constraints which only allow for a limited ER program.

Moreover, not all programs wish to adopt ER across all their classes but prefer to provide different types of ER to meet various student needs. Therefore, it behooves us to be aware of these types so we can select the most appropriate flavor of ER which would best suit our program’s needs, or those of others.

I’ve seen many times practitioners suggest ER to others only within their own view of ER and incorrectly assuming that type is the one or only type of ER. However, if this type doesn’t match the needs of the program where it might be adopted, then it is doomed to low use, or even failure. Therefore, when helping others develop an ER program, we have to be aware of the program’s needs, their budget, their long term aims, the amount of time available, the program size, their library facilities and so on. Knowing these things can help people select the right flavor of Extensive Reading that suits their program.

November 29, 2009

The Extensive Reading Foundation Graded Reader Scale

The Extensive Reading Foundation has just released its Graded Readers Scale for use by teachers and publishers.

The annual Language Learner Literature Awards use this scale.

More details of how to use the scale can be found here.


November 19, 2009

Extensive Reading SIG at JALT

The Extensive Reading Colloquium: Reflections on ER Saturday 4:00 PM - 5:40 PM; Room 1001-1
Daniel Stewart, Mark Brierley, Paul Collett, Bjorn Fuisting, Michael Furmanovsky, Paul Goldberg, Greg Rouault, Rube Redfield,

The Extensive Reading Colloquium is the main annual event of the ER SIG. This year, seven researchers will conduct ER presentations simultaneously in one room. Participants will be able to take part in two 25-minute sessions with handouts available for the others. Topics include setting up ER, integrating language tasks, and measurement. Also at the colloquium, the ERF Language Learner Literature awards are announced and there is a large book giveaway sponsored by the publishers.

September 08, 2009

New ER website

The following Facebook website devoted to ER has been set up

You'll need to be a Facebook member to read the pages



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