Extensive reading of picture books in primary EFL
Annika Kolb, Saturday 12.30-13.00

Storytelling is a widespread activity in the primary foreign language classroom. Usually it is the teacher who reads or tells the story to the children supporting their understanding of the story with pictures, mime and gestures.
While children mostly enjoy this activity, they are hardly ever given the chance to explore a picture book “on their own”. Many primary teachers still have reservations concerning the role of written language and underestimate their students´ ability to cope with unknown texts.
The presentation will give insights into a classroom research study on an extensive reading project in primary school. Both a Year 3 and a Year 4 class were given a selection of picture books together with a reading log to document their reading activities. Over the course of three weeks, the students worked independently with the material.
Based on student and teacher interviews and classroom video observation as well as self-assessment of the students´ reading competence the study explores the benefits of extensive reading for the primary EFL classroom. It looks into the students´ attitudes towards extensive reading and their reading competence. A special focus lies on the strategies the students develop to understand the unknown texts.

Annika Kolb is a trained primary school teacher and has worked in primary foreign language teaching in Germany and Spain for several years. She did her PhD research on the use of portfolios in primary EFL. She is now a junior professor at the University of Education in Freiburg/Germany.