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Think Tank

This Month's Think Tank Panel

Topic: Self study -- six positions to get you thinking!

February 2010

Marc encourages his student to talk to themselves
Curtis asks about "the missing extensive"
Peter looks at the feasibility of complete self-study programs
Chris has is doubts about studying.
Rob reminds students not to forget their reading

Marc Helgesen

Talk to yourself - in English

There's a very simple technique. Everyone does it in their native language. It's easy. It's free. You can do it anywhere. And when students do it in English, it gives them extra practice. The technique: Talk to yourself- in English.

By "talk to yourself", I don't mean like the crazies we sometimes see mumbling and seemingly arguing with themselves and losing the argument. I'm talking about silently practicing English. It is really a kind of mental rehearsal. But, unlike rehearsal for a speech or a drama, you may or may not ever actually say these sentences out loud. It doesn't matter. Just spending time "mentally speaking" gives practice and a review of vocabulary and other part of language.

This isn't, of course, anything like a full "self-study course" which, (as Peter points out) are rarely actually used, anyway. It is a simple and easy technique that students can use to practice on their own.
The beauty of Talk to yourself in English is that students can do it at anywhere and any level.
The beauty of Talk to yourself in English is that students can do it anywhere and at any level of proficiency. Beginners might just name things they know how to say in English. Thats vocabulary review. At higher proficiency levels, they start to describe things and actions. Learners with more speaking ability can invent conversations, make up stories, etc. Many students spend a lot of time on trains and bus[s]es, and here is a great way to make use of that time - all they have to do is look out the window and narrate (to themselves, silently) what they want to say. Or the can look at the other people, describe them or imagine a conversation with them (still without vocalizing, doing it silently).

I usually introduce this in class with a video that has a lot of action. Any film with action and variety will work. I often use the opening sequence to Hitchcocks Rear Window, simply because there are lots of verbs and nouns, and they come at an easy to follow pace. And it is on which makes it easy to bring into my classroom. I model the activity once (narrate the action while we watch), then have the student try it on their own.

Once students understand the idea, I give them a list of practice ideas and examples. The ideas follow the syllabus of their textbook so it is a way to recycle and reinforce what they are doing in class. Here are some of those ideas. If you want to copy or email this list for your students, click here for a photocopyable version.

Talk to yourself in English

- practice ideas
Many students spend time on trains or busses every day. Here are some easy ways to practice English. Use these ideas. Talk to yourself silently in English.
Introductions Look around. Notice people in the bus/train or on the street. If you were meeting them, what would you ask? What would you say about yourself? ("Hi, I'm (name). I'm a student at (schools name)./ What do you do? …").
Describing people Look around. Notice the people in the bus/train or on the street. In your mind, describe their clothing, hair, etc. ("He's wearing a purple shirt, jeans and sunglasses. He has medium-length hair. He's cute! …").
Schedules and routines On the bus/train on the way home, think about your schedule today. Was it typical? ("I got up at 7:00. Thats what I usually do. Today I had a new partner in English class. I hardly every talk to her. ….").
Describing places Look out the window. In your mind, describe the buildings/places you see. ("That building is green. Actually, it is kind of ugly green. There's an old house with a blue roof. …").
Giving directions Imagine the bus is a taxi. In your mind, you are giving the taxi driver directions in English ("Turn right at the next corner. See that signal? Turn left there.").
The past On the bus/train on the way home, think about every thing you did today. How many different verbs can you use? ("I ate toast and drank coffee for breakfast. I took a shower and washed my hair….").
Jobs, abilities and interests Look at people in the train/bus or on the street. Or look at stores and businesses. What jobs do you imagine the people do? What abilities do they need? ("She's beautiful. She could be a model. A model has to be able to look good all the time. There is a doctors office. A doctor has to have a license…").
Invitations In your mind, think of all the ways you know to invite people. Then look around the bus/train. Imagine all the people are your friends. What would you like to invite each person to do? Think of what you would say in English. ("Hi. Would you like to play tennis this afternoon? How about going to a movie?").
The future Think about next weekend (or your next school vacation. What do you want to do? Use as many verbs as you can. ("I'm going to meet my friends Saturday night? Maybe well go to (place)..…").


Think about your life in 5, 10, 20 years into the future. What is your dream? Describe it in English. What little things can you do TODAY to help make that dream come true? ("Someday, I'll travel around the world. Having good English will help me. Today I am practicing by thinking of English sentences right now!…").
Shopping Look out the window. What kinds of stores do you see? When you see a store, how many things can you think of that they sell? ("There's a stationery store. They sell notebooks, pens, mechanical pencils, erasers,…").
Process (how to do things) Think of things you know how to do or foods you can make. In your mind, give the directions in English. ("This is how to make cup noodle. First, boil water. Then…").
Likes and dislikes Look out the window. What do you see that you like? What don't you like? ("That couple is holding hands. I like the feeling of love. Some guy is smoking. I dislike cigarette smoke. …")
Feelings/emotions Look at people in the bus/train or on the street. How do you think they feel? What are their emotions? Imagine the reasons. ("That man looks really bored. I'll be he had a hard day at work. That couple looks really happy. They are holding hands. I think they are in love. …").
Giving reasons Look around the bus/train. Notice things people have. Imagine the reasons they have them. ("She's wearing glasses. Maybe she needs them to read. He's using his mobile phone for texting (emailing). Maybe hes using it to write to his girlfriend. She's got a designer bag. Maybe…")
Instructions (imperatives) Look at people in the bus/train or on the street. What are they doing? Imagine they are robots. You are the robot master. What did you tell them to get them to do things? ("Stand up!. Hold on to that pole. Walk down the street. Push the "open" button. … ")
Music If you carry an iPod or other mp3 player, try listening to English songs. Really pay attention to the words. If you need extra help, you can usually find the words on the internet. Search for: (song title) lyrics. ("lyrics = songs words"). If you don't carry an iPod, think of a song in your first language. How would you explain it in English?
Happiness On the bus/train on the way home, think about your life. How many good things can you think of? ("The weather is nice today. My family loves me. I ate chocolate today. It was delicious. ….").
© 2010 Marc Helgesen
May be copied. (Download as PDF file)

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Curtis Kelly

Self Study - The Missing "Extensive"

Extensive reading is booming in Japan. Richard Day, Rob Waring (a Think Tank guest this month), Junko Yamamoto, and others have done much to promote it, and the number of schools adopting this approach have increased by the hundreds in the last seven years. Tomigaoka in Nara, the Super English High School I was advising put extensive reading at the center of their revolutionary program.

It probably all started with Stephen Krashen and his Input Hypothesis: that we acquire language through meaningful input, lots of it, and especially by reading. Despite the endemic criticism, he has probably changed language teaching more than anyone else in the last 20 years.

But something is missing. Extensive reading is so prominent that it has almost become an academic field of its own, but borrowing a phrase from more than one pundit, "why don't we have extensive listening too?" It makes sense that if we acquire language primarily through input, that extensive listening would be just as effective as extensive reading, maybe even more so.

After all, as Barry Sanders reminds us in "A is for Ox" only 78 of the 3000 or so world languages have writing systems, and only five or six of those writing systems reach across borders. Most of our past has been oral. It is not reading and writing that propelled us into humanhood, it is listening and speaking. Reading and writing is a much later aberration. So if our brains evolved to process oral input, it stands to reason that extensive listening might be more brain-compatible than extensive reading. But then, why hasnt it caught on? Or more accurately, why don't we even have this approach as a choice? As Rob Waring wrote on his site

"One of the most surprising things about language learning is the almost complete absence of information about Extensive Listening. This is a total mystery. Why has our field completely ignored the need for graded fluency listening input that is for pleasure, aimed at building listening recognition speed and automaticity?" So, why don't we have extensive listening?"

Part of the problem is that extensive reading has two solid advantages. The first is technological. Until recently, reading materials have been much easier to make and distribute, and vastly easier for users to peruse. The rise of the Internet, however, and some of its offspring - Audible , YouTube and podcast sites - show that aural entertainment is gaining popularity, even if just with native speakers.

I wouldnt be surprised, however, if in the next ten years, a solid, well-advertised system of extensive listening for language learners rises out of the broth. Many of the pieces are already in place. First, the number of ELT podcasters is increasing almost daily. Unfortunately, the vast majority use their sites to teach English, rather than provide meaningful content in English, but there are signs this is changing. Hopefully, it won't be long until we have EL podcasts with simple stories as interesting as those provided by "my favorite story podcast: WGBH Morning Stories". Second, and more likely to dominate EL listening in the future, almost every graded reader on the market has a CD version. These could easily be repackaged and marketed as an extensive listening program. Ive discussed this with the four major publishers and none of them seem ready to take advantage of this possibility. Granted, the discourse analysis folks tell us that oral book readings not very brain-friendly, but since these products are graded, they are the closest way of solving the single largest problem of extensive listening, that of level.

Level of difficulty. This is the biggest problem with extensive listening. It is not just a matter of grading; the other big advantage that extensive reading has over extensive listening is the accordion effect: You can adjust your reading speed and the amount of rereading to fit the complexity of the text. You cannot do this with recorded listening, which has only one speed set in linear delivery. For this reason, while extensive reading people say that learners should use readers at the i-1 level (slightly below the learners stage of linguistic competence), listening proponents, like Waring, say listening materials should be i-3.

Then again, our way of teaching of listening, because it might soon represent a historical anomaly. Natural listening involves seeing too, and the visual component makes the aural component much easier to understand. The only reason we conceive of listening as being a separate skill is because we live in an age where telephones, cassette tapes, radio, and other visually limiting devices have so far dominated. The next generation might not experience listening this way at all. With Youtube, Skype, and video podcasts, listening might move back to where it should be, as one half of two-channel input.

Dont be surprised if, someday in the future, your grandchildren wonder why you, the language teacher, ever taught reading at all, since in their world, listening and watching will be seen as the only effective and natural way to acquire language.

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Peter Viney

Self Study

In secondhand bookstores and charity shops youll easily find boxed Berlitz and Linguaphone self study language courses, consisting of multiple cassettes or CDs. There's one defining characteristic of these donated sets. They're pristine. Only cassette number one has had the shrink-wrap broken.

These huge self-study audio courses for language learning are in a specialist area. Its a publishing area where the late Robert Maxwell made his fortune. Maxwell published the sets of legal books that lawyers have to buy every year, recording all the cases and rulings of the year that affect case law. Every lawyer needs to keep an updated reference set, but 99.9% of the pages within any given set will never be scanned by the human eye. The Encylopedia Brittanica (for the younger reader, this was a heavy thirty-two volume set of books in the days before Wikipedia) worked on the same basis. You bought something to read less than 0.1% of it.

Self-study audio courses are a triumph of hope over reality. The adverts work. People subscribe, but most give up before they even finish the first cassette / CD. Recently, newspapers in Britain have been giving away "free" cover CDs of various "instant" language learning methods. They get them cheaply, they help to sell newspapers. But do they work?

I have met people who have successfully learned a language with Linguaphone or Berlitz audio courses. One learned Portuguese (or rather, enough Portuguese to cross the threshold into greater acquisition) very well. He already spoke Spanish fluently and French well before he started on Portuguese. He knew what he was doing, he had to learn it for his job (high motivation) and so it worked. Diplomats have praised these courses too. The unifying theme is that theyre experienced language learners embarking on at least their third or fourth foreign language, and are highly intelligent, and highly-motivated. They're using them as an entry point to further study when they get to the foreign country, and theyre most useful for learning those languages which have less international cover.

The newspaper free CDs we see in Britain are targeting beginners; the tourism market. Thats why (in Britain) Spanish is the most popular. Upmarket newspapers will go for Italian. Another market is "Brush up your (French)" for those who studied it years ago. Ive tried many of them, using Spanish or Italian as a test bed and they fail because the learning curve is far too steep, the syllabus far too crowded at the early level, the rush of vocabulary totally indigestible, and there is over-reliance on set phrases and mechanical activity, which is necessarily dull. They never get past the basic issue. Its easy to learn Can you tell me the way to the nearest (substituted words)? parrot-fashion. However, understanding the vast range of possible answers is the difficult bit. Lets be cruel and to the point. Anyone dumb enough to believe the slogan Learn Spanish in Eight Hours is going to be too dumb to do so.

Ive been involved with self-study, both intensively and peripherally for more than thirty years now. We organized a major self-study system as a supplement to the mainstream language teaching when I was teaching at Anglo-Continental in the 1970s. Students had access to hundreds of tapes: recorded graded readers, pronunciation exercises, listening activities, oral drills, songs with exercises. They could also borrow just about every graded reader published. They all received copies of the Access to English mainstream textbook course which we never used in class, but which was selected because every word in the book was recorded and tapes were in the self-access library in multiple copies. It greatly enriched learning and most students spent an hour or two a day in the listening centre. But note, it was a supplement.

Then when I started writing Streamline English, my editor at OUP was also working on a major full-colour self study course, which never saw the light of day. Over the years, Ive spent hours in meetings on self study. Excellent self-study versions were prepared of our early videos, especially Mystery Tour, but never published. We looked at a self-study CD-ROM version of the Grapevine videos, prepared in Turkey, but it was never followed up. Then there was a plan to do a full self-study course based on Grapevine / Main Street which foundered because it required programming twenty-seven different exercise types just for level one. The programmers announced that most ELT coursebooks could be covered in between five and seven exercise program types. We took that as a compliment. The idea for this scheme involved a subscription for online tuition. This would have involved teachers monitoring work, and the teachers would have been paid. There have been several ideas involving such tuition, but they fall foul of the general pre-conception people have about the internet. They want information free, and the plans came to nothing.

Most coursebooks now have numerous free online exercises prepared by publishers, and students can be directed to the various websites. The exercise types are repetitive. Multiple choice may be enlivened by hearing a nice Ping! when you get the right answer, and seeing graphs of your improving scores, but the novelty wears thin. Exercises include matching pairs of words (Pelmanism), and gap fill. Variations on Space Invaders and Frogger and Pac Man are also standard fare. Taken for a few minutes every day, these sorts of exercises tied to a textbook are useful in reinforcing vocabulary and structure. However, none of them are designed for initial presentation and teaching.

Three years ago we were approached over a major self-study project for Oxford University Press in Spain. The idea was to write some presentational video scripts initially, but after discussions they asked me to write the syllabus over ten levels. We were all concerned to present material in a logical, well-segmented, digestible way, in strict contrast to the self-study material we had examined from other sources. Karen and I ended up writing eighty x five-minute video scripts (eight per level) as lead-in presentation material. Its only available in Spanish, because theres necessarily an onscreen guide / narrator. You can see an online introduction at There are nine story strands with different sets of characters and we both think theyre some of the best and funniest videos weve written. They're taken at a slower pace than material designed for use with a teacher. The DVD cover pictures give an idea of the range, see The stories about England footballer Dallas and his supermodel wife Tania have had great feedback. We think it was a major jump, in that an ELT publisher with ELT teaching expertise and bilingual local expertise was forming the materials, and they were segmented carefully and logically. We didnt have any part in exploitation or exercises, but there was a thoroughly experienced team in place. There are a few video examples on YouTube as adverts as I write, though YouTube comes and goes. Search for My Oxford English, as our names arent on it.

More recently, weve discussed various other self-study programs. Ive been harrassed in shopping malls by people selling the Rosetta Stone multi DVD program with "dynamic immersion™" in Pashto, Tagalog, Irish, Welsh, and many other languages. £169 a level. With £50 off if you buy all five levels at once. And it has a six month guarantee! They're located in booths between the double-glazing salespeople and the stalls selling those transfers with temporary tattoos on them and Bob Marley posters. I had a look (at the leaflets, not the tattoos), not a thorough one, but a look. Their website shows various people clutching laptops and doing repetition. The Spanish example has Katelyn reading "na" and "da" then repeating "nada" getting a "ping" and saying "Hooray!". Right. Long way to go there, Katelyn. The photograph accompanying it is of a skydiver. So does the sky represent nothingness? Or maybe just sky? Or perhaps blue? Possibly light blue? Or is it skydiver? Or, this is early on, so maybe "man". Or falling? Or diving?

The question arises: Is it possible to learn a language entirely through self-study? People have done it, but the consensus is "not yet without a lot of tedious slog" but also, "maybe soon." Lots of people are trying. The interfaces are interesting but the intrinsic quality of the material lags. Twenty years ago, it was interesting enough that a boring gap-fill exercise was computerized on a primitive Amiga or Apple II or BBC platform and pinged and did stuff. Nowadays, that sort of activity means "nada" for students used to the complexity of video gaming. Computer learning breaks down over one problem; the unpredictability of human utterances. Every one of us, every day, creates unique sentences. Some of these sentences may never have been said before. Robert ONeill discussed this in an article thirty years ago, mentioning an utterance by a child. "My guinea pig died with its legs crossed." It may be that no other human had ever put that combination of words together in that order. It means that we need building blocks to create for ourselves rather than set phrases, however useful lexical chunks might be as building blocks in themselves. The unpredicability is one among many reasons why teachers are necessary, because we need to test what we create against a sounding board. Language is interaction, communication, so real time interaction with other learners is necessary too. Language classes are a social activity.

Correction and monitoring are also problems. Sophisticated learners may be able to monitor and compare their recorded spoken work with a recorded model. Many students cant do that. They will listen to a recording and say cheerfully "I tall and I have black hairs," listen to the correct model and fail to notice the "Im," or that "hair" is uncountable. Even if they do notice the errors, they may be discouraged, where a teacher in a free language stage of a lesson might happily accept the errors as not interfering with the message. A computer cant make that judgment. It also means that the many possible correct deviations from a model sentence in a given situation will be counted "wrong".

The message, in the end is "take lessons from real people with real people." On the other hand, we have been looking at ways around these issues recently. This months Think Tank on Self-Study isn't designed to examine the possibility of the full scale self-study course. Its designed to suggest ideas which students can utilise as an adjunct to their other studies.

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Chris Hunt

Self Study - Forget it!

Here's a question for the teacher inside us all. Which is preferable - that children spend time enjoying themselves, or that children spend time improving their English? One reason that I loathe to give children homework is that I think we adults demand and take too much of their time already. Locking children up in schools all day isn't enough for us - we force them to bring their schoolwork home with them. Moreover, much of it, at least the bits of it I have seen, seems to be busy-work which just robs the children of their time without stimulating them in any way. It's as if the real purpose of homework is to get children to accept that life should be boring or that adults have the right to bore them.

Still, I guess I am digressing from the get go, in that homework presumably can't be classified as self study. Surely, by definition, self study must be something chosen freely by the individual? At Wise Hat English, where I work, we only ever give catch-up homework. Sometimes students want to or have to be in a particular class (for example, because of schedule constraints) and need to make extra effort at home so as to be able to join in class activities equally and fully. I think this is one of the few cases where home study can be appropriate. I guess another is where the student is studying for a specific exam. Otherwise, though, I think studying should be knocked on the head and buried in an unmarked grave. Life is too short to be burdened with studying!

My belief is that study is the antithesis of play and that what children most want and need to do is to play. It is through play that children educate themselves. Children don't need teachers or schools as Professor Sugita Mitra's "hole in the wall" experiments demonstrate. Over a period of several years he set up computers complete with Internet access and simply turned them over to children living in poverty in different parts of India. He videoed the results. Very quickly children became computer literate learning how to use Paint, surf, and send email. In one case after three months the children were actually asking him for a better mouse and a faster processor. Not only were children teaching each other how to use the computer but they also learnt English and some acquired a vocabulary of around 100 words that they used both at the computer and also in day-to-day conversations. So, the children were able to teach each other something of a foreign language. They acquired English because they needed it to do what they wanted to do with the computer.

Analysing his research the professor noticed the importance of communal learning. The children were not segregated by age. Children of different ages have different interests. So this meant that they gravitated to different facets of the computer and this meant that there was strength in depth. Quite often younger children would be teaching older children their discoveries. Because of this communal aspect the children could learn more than their own individual time at the computer would have us believe. The sum of the parts was greater than the whole. I think this is always the case with communal learning.

But what does this mean for the teacher, especially for those of us meeting each child just once a week? In a way the hole in the wall experiments indicate that the interest of most children in learning language is probably limited. When children have an overwhelming passion for something then they will focus on it. So, the notion of how to get them to self study becomes moot. They will naturally and willingly spend time to pursue things they are interested in and they automatically learn from this. One could wonder about how to maximise learning by encouraging children to focus on specific activities in particular ways. But I think this is missing the point. It is putting the cart before the horse rather than doing what we need to do which is to let the horse run free. If we want to focus on anything then it should be on providing a pasture for the horse to graze in. By this I mean having a variety of materials available so that if by chance children do ask us for something to do outside class we can respond. A case in point - this week I introduced a worksheet to some classes that focused on "double letter" sounds. In one class one child found this interesting and requested a second sheet to do at home. I'm sorry to say that I hadn't anticipated this and didn't have one. At Wise Hat English we have books, DVDs, and CDs that children can borrow on request. The limitation of this kind of material is that it is essentially passive and individual in nature. It's fine as far as it goes but it is far from enough. We need to add material that children can and will want to use with their friends. Perhaps even material that children can use with their non-English learning (and speaking) friends. Currently I'm thinking about board games and card games but I think there must be more. The challenge is how to get English to become the medium in which children play. Then they will be enjoying themselves and improving English at the same time. And everyone will be happy!

Rob Waring

Build language independence through reading

A major distinction learners need to understand is the difference between 'reading as language study' (which is sometimes known as intensive reading) and 'reading as practice' (extensive reading). These two modes differ in the same way that driving lessons and actually driving on the road differ. When learners are doing intensive reading, they are reading the text to learn the language - the grammar, vocabulary, phrases and so forth. They are focusing on the details of the language. Thus intensive reading texts tend to have quite a bit of (not too much) unknown language for them to learn. Also typically, learners follow up the reading with grammar and/or vocabulary exercises and comprehension exercises. 

By contrast, the function of extensive reading is to actually practice the reading by having a main focus on the message in the text: i.e. reading for reading's sake. This is the way natives read - for enjoyment and to learn information about the text. Because they should be reading quickly the learners shouldn't need dictionaries, and nor do they need to be tested with comprehension questions.

The above distinction is hard for many learners to grasp - especially those that have been taught in teacher-centered classes. This is because they tend to believe that learning comes only from teachers and reading difficult textbooks in class, and that 'reading pain is reading gain'. They also tend to believe that the teacher (or textbook) knows best and their methods can't be questioned which can often create a feeling of passivity. Another common tendency is to believe that adding more knowledge piece by piece is all that is necessary when learning a language. But learning to read is more than that.

My own experience, and my reading of the research, suggests to me that when beginning language learning, it is generally accepted (if only because this is the standard way of doing things) that once the learners have spent some time learning the grammar and vocabulary, they can move on to reading for fluency and enjoyment. As proficiency increases, they are more able to see language as communication, rather than as a way to learn new pieces of language. They can also branch out and become more independent of classes and teachers.

All learners should grasp the chance to develop and strengthen their independence by reading or listening to things at or about their own reading level. Most teachers who understand this need, suggest their learners read graded readers which are books written at various difficulty levels from easy to difficult that suit a learner's level. The advantage of this kind of reading is that the learner can control what is read and the speed at which it is processed. This control over the input allows the learners to learn at their own pace as well as from whatever text that interests them which promotes independent learning.

This opportunity to self-select the reading material naturally leads to higher motivation. Indeed, the most impressive finding of hundreds of research papers in extensive reading show that there is most often an increase in general motivation when learners have control over what and how they read. These findings suggest that learners want to be independent and are motivated by using the language at the level they can, in order to interact with English in as a natural and communicative way as possible.

There is a veritable mountain of material learners can choose from. Nowadays there are some very easy reading materials - even for learners who only know a hundred words or so. Here is a table of some of the major graded reader series now available at every level. Some learners and teachers worry that the graded reader series may be childish and use over-simplified English. Reading simplified materials does not make the reading childish - the topic, tone, characters and the way they are written and illustrated make them childish. Several recent studies show strongly that these series reflect natural English extremely well even though they only use a limited vocabulary.

A major concern when selecting reading graded materials to read independently is that the learners select material at or about their ability level so they can read quickly and fluently as they would in their native language. For this fast fluent reading to happen, there are some minimum conditions that need to be met. The learners have to READ:
Read quickly and … Enjoyably knowing … Almost all the language so they … Dont need a dictionary.

'Reading quickly' means reading without pausing much, or at all. If one of these elements of READ is missing, then the learners might be reading slowly because the text is too hard. This in turn means they need to stop to look in a dictionary, or guess at the meaning of the unknown language and have shifted from a READing focus to a language focus. In other words they are 'study reading' not READing. If learners read materials which are too hard, it not only slows their reading, it will also not allow them to meet the words and grammar enough times so they can learn them deeply. Stopping occasionally is fine of course but if its done too often they won't be reading quickly and fluently which is one of the aims of extensive reading.

One of the great benefits of extensive reading is that it allows learners to read the language (vocabulary and grammar) they meet in course books in a natural (reading) environment which strengthens and consolidates what they know as well as allowing them to get a sense of collocations and learn new words and phrases.

One of the major ways natives learn their first language is by being exposed to massive amounts of language and given that most learners of English have limited contact with English, self-selected independent reading is a great way to fill that gap.

Chuck Sandy

Chuck Sandy's contribution will appear here later!



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