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How to Engage in Extensive Reading
You should simply read independently, but here are some general guidelines.
Self Motivation is Important
If you do not feel motivated, ask yourself why and remove any possible barriers. Many times people tell themselves they do not have the time to read or even that they cannot read well enough to even try. We can find many “good reasons” not to do something, but let’s focus solutions rather than problems. Repeating “I’m not a reader” over and over will only reinforce the idea and demotivate you.
Later in the lesson, we will also go over some of the barriers to extensive reading and tips to get past them.
Read Authentic Materials
You should read a variety of authentic materials—not instructional reading materials. Instructional materials are usually designed to teach a specific topic in the language. For example, you may read a passage that is mostly in the past simple tense if learning this verb tense is its main purpose of the lesson.
However, writers do not write like that “in real life.” They do not write “to teach language learners vocabulary or verb tenses. The purpose of writing is to communicate ideas. Authentic materials do just that.
Reading authentic materials gives you the opportunity to experience the types of texts that are actually written in the language.
Read Just above Your Reading Level
Choosing materials that are at the right level for you is important. Many language learners think it is too difficult to read in a language they do not understand very well, so they never even try. Others are overly ambitious and choose materials that are too difficult for them. They end up giving up and often never try again.
Try to find materials that are not too easy and not too difficult. If you start with materials that are just above your reading level, you will have enough of a challenge to keep improving your reading and progressing to more difficult materials as your reading fluency improves. At the same time, you will be able to understand what you are reading, which makes the activity enjoyable.
Be in Control of Your Progress
Take take control of your own progress. You should gauge your skill as your reading fluency improves and make adjustments.
What to do as your reading fluency improves
- Read more challenging materials.
- Read new types of materials.
- Explore new topics.
- Increase the frequency and duration of your reading.
Up Next: Potential Barriers to Reading Extensively and Solutions
Continue the lesson to learn about potential barriers and how to overcome them.