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Getting Smarter through Language

Extensive Reading for English-Language Learners | Page 1

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You have probably heard many times that you should read a lot. Reading helps you learn vocabulary and grammar. That’s you probably have to read in English all the time.

The Problem

The problem is that students often do not like reading in English because they are not interested in the topics in their language textbooks. If a passage in a textbook is about a topic they are not interested in, they associate reading with doing something unpleasant or boring. This ends up “confirming" to them that they do not like reading.

In many language classes, reading is a associated with reading stories; however, novels and short stories are not necessarily the first choice for many students. Again, if reading stories is not your favorite type of reading, you end up feeling forced to read stories as assignments and thinking that reading is unpleasant or boring.

The Solution

You do not need to wait for your language instructor to tell you what to read. You can take control of your own reading. Read what you want to read and what you might enjoy reading. You may then realize that reading is not all about “being forced to read because it’s an assignment.” Reading can be something you enjoy doing because you are interested in the world around you.

Intensive Reading and Extensive Reading

When you read for school, the materials help you learn specific skills, vocabulary, grammar, and so on. This type of reading is called intensive reading. Language teachers choose what you should read, or you read what is in the textbook.

When you read intensively, you know that you will probably have to answer comprehension questions. You need to learn the content because it may be on a test later.

Essentially, you are reading to study. However, intensive reading is only one type of reading.

Extensive Reading

Effective readers do a lot of extensive reading. They do not read only because they are taking a course or because it is an assignment. They read because they want to learn and stay informed about the world.

When you read extensively, you are in control. You choose what you want to read. You decide when you read and for how long.

In short, extensive reading is just reading. It reading because you enjoy learning on your own, without anyone telling you to do it.

How to Engage in Extensive Reading

Are you doing enough extensive reading? How engage in extensive reading when you are still learning the language? What if you do not have enough time to read?

Continue the lesson to see how you can engage in extensive reading effectively.