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Extensive Reading for English-Language Learners | Page 3

How to Engage in Extensive Reading

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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 possible any barriers. Many times people tell themselves they do not have the time to read or even that they cannot read well enough. Later in the lesson, we will go over some of the barriers to extensive reading and tips to get started.

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 simple past tense if teaching this verb tense is its main purpose. However, people do not write like that (or ever for that purpose) “in real life.” Authentic materials give you the opportunity to read 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 say they think it is too difficult to read in a language they do not understand very well; as a result, they never even try.

Others do try reading, but they 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 either. 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.

You must take take control of your own progress. As your reading fluency improves

  • read more challenging materials,
  • read new types of materials,
  • explore new topics and sources,
  • increase how often and for how long you read.
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