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Extensive Reading for English-Language Learners | Page 2

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How to Engage in Extensive Reading

To engage in extensive reading, you should simply read independently.

Self Motivation is Important

If you do not feel motivated, ask yourself why. Perhaps you did not have the opportunity to read independently when you learned how to read. Then you associate reading with “a school assignment" that is not always interesting. Perhaps you have not tried extensive reading enough, either.

Many times people tell themselves they do not have the time to read. Some people even believe that they cannot read very well, so they do not even try.

Barriers and Solutions

It is important to identify any barriers stopping you from reading extensively. Sometimes you do not even know that those barriers are there. Besides, you may be unsuccessful if you do not take care of them. When you know something is getting in the way, you can think about it and try to come up with a solution.

Sometimes all you need to do is change how you feel about reading; other times, you may need to put some effort into it at first.

”I’m too busy. I don’t have time to read.”

Perhaps that is true. We are all very busy people. Do you sometimes take a break? What do you do then?

Suggestions for Extensive Reading
  • Reading is something you can do to take a break, even if it is for a very short time.
  • Try making 10–20 minutes a day to “take a break and read for fun.”
  • Try not to see extensive reading as an assignment.
”My English is not good enough yet.”

That can be a problem, especially if you just started learning English.

Are you trying to read materials that are too difficult for you?

Are you trying to read very long passages?

Suggestions for Extensive Reading
  • Read materials that you are already familiar with in your own language. They will be easier to understand because you know what ideas to expect.
  • To get started, read shorter passages. Read short articles in blogs or magazines instead of a whole book.
”It takes too long to look up all the words I don’t know.”

You read to learn everything in the material when you are studying, but that is intensive reading! If you read to “study” the material, it becomes an assignment.

Suggestions for Extensive Reading
  • Do not expect to understand everything you read.
  • If you read something and you cannot understand anything, no problem! Read something else.
  • Do not look words up every new word in the dictionary. Most of the time, you can keep reading and still understand the material.
”I don’t know what to read. I don’t have any interests.”

Perhaps cannot identify all your interests, but everyone has interests. If you do not know what your interests are, it may be difficult to find topics to read on.

If you really believe that you have no interests, then you have a good reason to read extensively because it is a good way to find your them.

Suggestions for Extensive Reading

Think about interests you may not know you have. An interest does not have to be something “special.” It can be anything.

  • When you talk to your friends and family members, what do you talk about? Children? Restaurants? Your animals (pets)?
  • Read about those topics in blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and so on.

  • When you watch TV, what kind of programming do you like? Science fiction? Adventure movies? Nature or history documentaries?
  • You may be interested in reading about science and technology; travel and exploration; wildlife, the environment, and travel; history books and biographies.

  • What do you do when you have free time? Do you take care of your garden? Try old and new recipes? Look at photos online? Play board games or computer games? Get some exercise?
  • You may be interested in reading blogs or magazine articles about gardening; cooking and baking; games and computer gaming; diet, wellness, and fitness.

This is just a short list. Even when we think we “have no interests,” there are many things we do without thinking about it. Once you start doing some extensive reading, you will realize you already have many interests.

Two Important Elements for Extensive Reading Materials

Read Authentic Materials

For extensive reading, you should read authentic materials, not instructional reading materials. Instructional materials are usually designed to teach a specific topic or skill. For example, in language courses, you may read a passage that is mostly in the present simple tense. However, people do not write like that “in real life.”

When you read authentic materials, you have the opportunity to read materials the way people actually write.

Read Just above Your Reading Level

If you read materials that are too easy for you, you may find them boring. If you read materials that are too difficult, you may give up on reading.

Try to find materials that are just above your reading level. This way, you will be able to understand what you are reading and, at the same time,keep improving your reading skills.

Steps to Get Started on Extensive Reading

Now that you know the barriers and solutions, it is time to get started.

Here is a good plan to get started