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Reading
A Extensiveand intensivereading
To get maximum benefitfrom their reading,students needto be involvedin both extensive and intensivereading'whereas with the former, a teacher encourages studentsto choose for themselves what they readand to do so for pleasure and general language improvement, the latter is often (but not exclusively) teacher-chosen and directed.It is designed to enable students to develop specific receptive skillssuchasreading forgist(or general irnderstanding - often caTled skimming) , readingfor specific information (oft"n called, scanning) , reading for detailedcomprehension or readingfor inference (what is'behind'the words) and attitude.

A 1 Extensive reading
we havediscussed the importanceof extensive readingfor the development of our students, word recognition- and for their improvementas readers overall.But it is not enough to tell students to'read a lot'; we needto offer them a programme which includesupproi.iu," materials, guidance, tasksand facilities, suchaspermanentor portablelibrariesof books. o Extensivereadingmaterials: one of the fundamentalconditions of a successful extensive reading programme is that students shouldbereading material which theycanunderstand. If they are strugglingto understand everyword, they can hardly be readingfor pleasure - the main goalof this activity. This means that we needto providebookswhich eitheruy chance, or because theyhavebeenspecially written,ur" ,.uiily u.cessible to our studenrs. speciallywritten materialsfor extensive reading- what RichardDay and fulian Bamfordcall'language learner literature'(1998: 6r) - ur" ofte.rreferred to asgratlecl readers ot simplified readers. They cantakethe form of original fiction and non-fiction booksas well assimplifications of established works of literalure.such bookssucceed because the writersor adaptors work within specific listsof allowedwordsand grammar. This means that students at the appropriate levelcanreadthem with ease and confidence. At their best, despite thelimitationson language, suchbookscanspeak to thereader throughthecreation of atmosphere and/or compellingplot lines.consider,for example, the following short extractfrom the second chapter of a levelr (elementary) murder mystery for adults. In the first chapter, a man in a hospitalbed appears to be suffering from amnesia. In the second chapter, that sameman speaks to us directly:

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There is a man near my bed. His clothesare white. No. Someof his clothesarewhite. He has a white coat,but his trousersarebrown. He alsohasbrown hair. The man in the white coat says he'sa doctor. He sayshis name is Doctor Cox. He tells me to call him Philip. He sayshe is going to help me. But he'snot going to help me. They think I don't remember.They think I don,t know anything. They know nothing, the doctors.or the police. Nobody knows who I am. I sit in the bed and answerquestions.They ask lots of questions. 'Do you know what amnesiais, John?'Doctor Cox asksme.

Doctor Cox. Doctor Philip Cox. He thinks he'ssomebody.He's nobody. I knowwhat amnesiais. From lohn Doeby A Moses(CambridgeUniversitypress)

The language - in true murder-mystery is simpleand controlled, but the atmosphere style - is satisf ingly creepy. A studentwho enjoysthis kind of story,but whoselevelof Englishis fairly low, will enjoy it enormously. To encourage studentsto readthis kind of learnerliterature - or any other textswhich may be comprehensible in the sameway - we need to act in the following ways: o Settingup alibrary: in order to setup an extensive readingprogramme,we needto build up a library of suitablebooks.Although this may appearcostly, it will be moneywell spent. If necessary, we shouldpersuade our schools and institutions to providesuchfundsor raise moneythroughother sources. If possible' we shouldorganise staticlibrariesin the classroom or in someother parr of the school. If this is not possible, we needto work out someway of carryingthe books aroundwith us- in boxes or on trolleys. Once books havebeenpurchased, we should codethem for level and genreso that students caneasilyidentifywhatkind of bookstheyare.We shouldmakethestudents aware of what the library contains and explainour classification system to them. We need to devisesomeway of keepingtrack of the books in the library. A simple signing-out system shouldensure that our collection doesnot disappear overtime. All of these setting-up procedures taketime.But we canusestudents to helpusadminister the scheme. We can,if we arelucky,persuade the schooladministration to help us. If our studentstake part in extensive readingprogrammes,all the time we havespent on settingup a library will not havebeenwasted. The role of the teacher in extensivereading progr:unmes: most studentswill not do a lot of extensive readingby themselves unless they areencouraged to do soby their teachers. Clearly,then, our role is crucial.We needto promote readingand by our own espousal of readingasa valid occupation, persuade students of its benefits. Perhaps, for example, we can occasionally readaloud from bookswe like and show,by our manner of reading,how exciting bookscanbe. Having persuaded our students of the benefitsof extensive reading, we can organise readingprogrammeswhere we indicate to them how many books we expectthem to read over a given period. We can explainhow they can maketheir choiceof what to read, making it clearthat the choiceis theirs,but that they can consultother students'reviews and commentsto help them makethat choice. We can suggest that they look for books in

READING

fiction, etc.) that they enjoy,and that (be it crime fiction, romantic novels,science a genre part tutor We will act throughoutaspart organiser' levelchoices. they makeappropriate (see Chapter6, Br). their own reading studentsshouldbe allowedto choose Extensivereadingtasks: because they will not all be readingthe sametexts at texts,following their own likes and interests, - we should to keepreading - andbecause wewantto prompt students Forthisreason once. them to reportbackon their readingin a numberof ways. encourage One approachis to setasidea time at various points in a course sayeverytwo weeks aboutbooksthey have - at which students and/or tell their classmates can askquestions because if this is inappropriate awful.However, or noticeably enjoyable found particularly to say much have do not (or often they not all studentsreadat the samespeed because to keepa weeklyreading we canaskthem each aboutthebook in front of their colleagues), Chapter journal be writing (see may they diary,eitheron its own or aspart of anylearning end of At the noticeboard. for the class 4,p.3).studentscanalsowrite short book reviews canvoteon the mostpopularbook in the library'Other or ayear,they a month, a semester level, they recordtitle,publisher, recordcharts(where fill in reading havestudents teachers commentsabout leveland a good/fairlpooroverallrating),they ask start and end dates, theyrecordfactsandopinionsaboutthebooks notebook(where to keepa reading students in oral interviewsabout what they are students they havegonethrough) or they engage reading(Bamfordand Day zoo4:77-85). to write in, asthe following into thebooksfor students Wecanalsoput commentsheets shows: examplefor a book calledTheEarthquake Your comment andYour name Noua. haVpeno l'matraidearr'hquake thoko Greatl He is cool. is nice. Oabriel

Rating

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LanguageClassroom Readingin the Second From Extensive by R Day and J Bamford (CambridgeUniversityPress)

to perform,providedthat areasked students tasks It doesnot reallymatterwhich of these asmuch and asoften aspossible' to do helpsto keepthem reading whatthey areasked
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AE Intensive reading: the roles of the teacher


In order to get studentsto read enthusiastically in class, we needto work to createinterestin the topic and tasks'However,there are further roleswe need to adopt when askingstudents to read intensively: o Organiser: we needto tell studentsexactlywhat their readingpurposeis, give them clear instructions about how to achieveit and explainhow long they haveto do this. Once we havesaid Youhave four minutes that time unlessobservation for this,weshouldnot change (see below) suggests that it is necessary. Observer: when we ask studentsto read on their own, we need to give them space to do so.This meansrestraining ourselves from interrupting that reading,eventhough the temptationmaybe to add more informationor instructions. While studentsarereadingwe canobserve their progress sincethis will giveus valuable information about how well they are doing individually and collectively. it witt alsotell us whetherto givethem someextratime or, instead, moveto organising feedback more quickly than we had anticipated. Feedbackorganiser: when our studentshavecompletedthe task,we can lead a feedback session to checkthat they havecompletedit successfully. We may start by having them comparetheir answers in pairs and then askfor answers from the class in generalol. f.opairsin particular.Students often appreciate givingpairedanswers like this since, by sharing their knowledge, theyarealsosharingtheir responsibility for the answers. When we askstudentsto give answers, we should alwaysaskthem to saywhere in the text they found the relevantinformation. This provokesa detailedstudy of the text which will help them the next time they cometo a similar readingpassage. It alsotells us exactly what comprehension problemsthey haveif and when they get answers wrong. It is important to be supportivewhen organisingfeedback after readin! if we areto counterany negative feelingsstudentsmight haveabout the process, and if we wish to sustain their motivation. Prompter: when students havereada text,we canprompt them to noticelanguage features within it. We may also,ascontrollers, directthem to certainfeatures of text construction. clarif ing ambiguities and makingthem aware of issues of text structurewhich they had not comeacross previously.

A3 Intensive reading: the vocabulary question


A common paradoxin readinglessons is that while teachers areencouraging students to read for generalunderstanding, without worrying about the meaningof everysingleword, the students'on the other hand, are desperate to know what eachindividual word meanslGiven half a chance, many of them would rathertacklea readingpassage with a dictionary (electronic or otherwise) in one hand and a pen in the otherto write translations all overthe page! It is easyto be dismissive of suchstudentpreferences,yet asCarolWalkerpoint,o.rt,'It see-s contradictoryto insist that students "read for meaning"while simultaneously discouraging them from ttyingto understand the text at a deeper levelthan merelygist' e99,t: ryz).Cle"arly, we needto find someaccommodation between our desire to havestudents develop particular

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READTNG

reading skills (such as the ability to understand the general messagewithout understanding every detail) and their natural urge to understand the meaning of every single word' (see One way of reaching a compromise is to strike some kind of a bargain with a class Chapter 4, Bz) whereby they will do more or less what we ask of them provided that we do more or less what they ask of us. Thus we may encourage students to read for general understanding without understanding every word on a first or second read-through. But then, depending on what else is going to be done, we can give them a chanceto ask questions about individual words and/or give them a chance to look them up. That way both parties in the teaching-learning transaction have their needs met. A word of caution needs to be added here. If students ask for the meaning of all the words they do not know - and given some of the problems inherent in the explaining of different word meanings - the majority of a lesson may be taken up in this way. We need, therefore, to limit the amount of time spent on vocabulary checking in the following ways: o Time limit: we can give a time limit oi say,five minutes for vocabulary enquiry, whether or questions to the teacher. this involves dictionary use,languagecorpus searches Word/phrase limit: we can saythat we will only answer questions about five or eight words or phrases. Meaning consensus: we can get students to work together to search for and find word meanings.To start the procedure,individual studentswrite down three to five words from the text they most want to know the meaning of. When they have each done this, they share their list with another student and come up with a new joint list of only five words. This means they will probably have to discusswhich words to leaveout. Two pairs join to make new groups of four and once again they have to pool their lists and end up with only {ive words. Finally (perhaps after new groups of eight have been formed - it depends on the atmospherein the class),students can look for meanings of their words in dictionaries and/or we can answer questions about the words which the groups have decided on. This processworks for two reasons.In the first place,students may well be able to tell each other about some of the words which individual studentsdid not know. More importantly, perhaps,is the fact that by the time we are askedfor meanings,the students really do want to know them becausethe intervening processhas encouragedthem to invest some time in the meaning search.'Understanding every word'has been changed into a cooperative learning task in its own right. In responding to a natural hunger for vocabulary meaning, both teachers and students will have to compromise. It's unrealistic to expect only one-sided change, but there are ways of dealing with the problem which make a virtue out of what seems - to many teachers - a frustrating necessity.

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A4 Intensive reading: letting the students in


It is often the casethat the comprehension tasks we ask students to do are based on tasks in a coursebook. In other words, the students are responding to what someone else has asked them to find out. But students are far more likely to be engagedin a text if they bring their own feelings and knowledge to the task, rather than only responding to someone else'sideas
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of what they should find out. One of the most important questions we can ever get studentsto answeris Do you like (Kennedyzoooaand b). This questionis includedin the initial task in Examplez the text?. (below).The questionis important because if we only everaskstudents technicalquestions about language,we are denying them any affectiveresponseto the content of the text. By letting them give voice (if they wish) to their feelingsabout what they haveread,we are far more likely to provokethe 'cuddlefactor' (seepageS8)than if we just work through a series of exercises. Another way of letting the students in is to allow them to create their own comprehension task.A popular way of doing this - when the text is about people,eventsor topics which everyoneknows something about - is to discussthe subjectof the text with the classbefore they read.We can encourage them to completea chart (on the board) with thingsthey know or don't know (or would like to know) about the text,e.g. ThingsI/we know ThingsI/we arenot sure Things I/we would like of to know

This activity providesa perfectlead-in sincestudentswill be engaged, will activatetheir schemata, and will, finally,end up with a good reasonto read which they themselves have brought into being.Now they readthe text to checkoff all the items they haveput into the threecolumns.The text may not givethem all the answers, of course, nor may it confirm (or evenrefute)what they haveput in the left-handcolumn. Nevertheless, the chances are that they will readwith considerably more interestthan for somemore routine task. Another involving way of reading is to have studentsread different texts and then share the information they havegathered in order to piecetogetherthe whole story.This is called jigsawreading, and we will look at an extended versionof the technique in Example7.

Reading lesson sequences We useintensivereadingsequences in classfor a number of reasons. We may want to have students practisespecificskillssuch asskimminglreading for generalunderstanding or'gist' (usuallya Typer task- see pagez7o)or scanninglreading to extractspecific information (also often a Typer task).We may,on the other hand,get students to readtextsfor communicative (which mixesboth Typer and Typez tasks), purposes aspart of other activities, assources of information,or in order to identifii specific usesof language. Most reading sequences involve more than one reading skill. We may start by having studentsread for gist and then get them to readthe text againfor detailedcomprehension; they may start by identi$'ing the topic of a text before scanningthe text quickly to recover specificinformation; they may readfor specificinformation beforegoingbackto the text to identifi' features of text construction.

B 1 Examples of reading sequences


In the following examples, the reading activity is specified,the skills which are involved are detailedand the way that the text canbe usedwithin a lesson is explained.

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1; AKA Diaz Example

Focus: reading to confirm expectations neadingfor gist; readingfor Skills: pnedicting; detailed compnehension Age: adult Level: intermediate

In this example, students predict the content of a text not from a picture, but from a few tantalising clues they are given (in the form of phrasesfrom the passage they will read). The teacher gives each student in the classa letter from A to E. She tells all the students to close their eyes.She then asks all the students with the letter A to open their eyesand shows them the word lion, written large so that they can seeit. Then she makes them close their eyes again and this time shorvsthe B studentsthe phrase racial groups.She shows the C studentsthe phrasepaper aeroplanes, the D students the word tattoosand the E students the word guard. Shenow puts the studentsin groups of five, eachcomposedof studentsA-E. By discussing their words and phrases, eachgroup has to try to predict what the text is all about. The teacher can go round the groups encourarging them and, perhaps,feedingthem with new words like cage,the tensest nton or moral authority, etc. Finally, when the groups have made some predictions, the teacher asks ther-r-r whether tliey would like to hear the text that all the words came from, as a prelude to reading the follou'rng text alor-rd, ir-rvesting it with humour and drana, rnaking the reading clramatic and enjoyable.
is it,' Rick said,in a cheerfuivoice.Through the windowsof the classroorn I could seethe men.They werenot in their seats; insteadthey werecirclingthe room restlessly, like lionsin a cage. 'Is theregoing to be a guardin the room while I teach?'lasked. I realjzedthat this was somethingthat shouldhavebeenstraightened out earlier. Rick lookedat n.re with deepconcern.'l'll corneby a bit later,see that you,reOK,'he said. I walkedthrough the door i'to rhe classroom. My students barelykxrkedhuman.The desks werearranged in no special order,except that someof the men had got into racial groups.Many of them were smoking, and under the glareof the ligtrts I could seetheir tattoos.one man with a pointed beard and a long rnaneof blaci< hair circled behind me and around the other sideof the desk. He waseasily the tensest man I had everseen.I thought of telling him to sit down but wondered what I would clo if he refusedso I kept the suggestionto myself.I placedrny leatherbag on the cleskanclfaced the class. Nobody paid any attention to me. The conversationgrew louder. I wanted to cut out and run. I had volunteered for this? Everyteacherhas thesemolnents of panic.we worry about rebellion: our moral autholity lost,the students takingo'er. I had a teacher in high school,a Miss Hutchinson, who after taking ro11 would turn towards the board and be followed by an avalanche of paper aeroplanes and spitballs,sometimeseventhe bocliesof students flying forward, an imprompru rroi. I unpackedmy bag and beganthe roll. A few namesdown, I calredout'Diaz.' No answer.'Diaz,' I saidagain. Ain't my name,'a man in the front row volunteered. 'Why did you ansr,ver?'I asked. 'This

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