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Reading

In: English and Literature

Submitted By nurelly
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Extensive Reading: Why? and How?
Timothy Bell timothy [at] hsc.kuniv.edu.kw
Kuwait University
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Abstract
An extensive reading program was established for elementary level language learners at the British Council Language Center in Sanaa, Yemen. Research evidence for the use of such programs in EFL/ESL contexts is presented, emphasizing the benefits of this type of input for students' English language learning and skills development. Practical advice is then offered to teachers worldwide on ways to encourage learners to engage in a focused and motivating reading program with the potential to lead students along a path to independence and resourcefulness in their reading and language learning.
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Introduction: The Reading Program
An extensive reading program was established at the British Council Language Center in Sanaa, Yemen. An elementary level class of government employees (age range 17-42) was exposed to a regime of graded readers, which was integrated into normal classroom teaching. Students followed a class reader, had access to a class library of graded readers, and had classes in the British Council library, which gave them access to a collection of 2000 titles. Questionnaires were used to examine students' reading interests, habits and attitudes, both prior to, and following the program. The class library contained 141 titles in the published readers of some major publishers (see inventory of titles in Bell, 1994). Familiar titles (e.g. popular Arab folk tales) were selected for both the class readers and the class library, so as to motivate the students to read. These titles proved very popular, as did the practice of reading aloud to the class.
Students' reading was carefully monitored; formal and informal records being kept both by the researcher, and...

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