Rewarding Reading
Joanna Smith, Friday 14.30-15.00

The main objectives of starting an extensive reading programme are to get students reading in English, getting pleasure from reading and becoming fluent readers. Reading should be a pleasurable activity for students helped by supportive teachers or parents encouraging them to become good readers.

Teachers can use graded readers or storybooks and setting up a class library in Japan proved to be a good way to bring reading to primary students. Students choose what they want to read based on their interests, they are encouraged to use the book jacket and title to make their selection and if they don´t enjoy it, because it may be too difficult, they can change their book, after all, this is reading for pleasure. This was done weekly and students completed a book review each time they read a book. These contained their opinions, usually in pictures and sometimes with words and with higher levels helped support and develop other skills.

The programme was very student centred and my MA Action Research question revolved around whether young children (8 and 9 years of age) using book reports helped the students to remember the stories and the words and I would like to present my findings at this conference and explain how to set up an extensive reading programme.

Setting up an extensive reading programme can be challenging and getting students (and teachers) interested and motivated is vital in ensuring success of an extensive reading programme. As mentioned earlier, the books should not be too difficult otherwise students will experience frustration and demotivation. Being organised and clear in your goal is vital. You hope that the experience will be rich and rewarding for your students nourishing the desire to keep on reading, not only in the EFL classroom, but beyond.

I have been teaching and training with the British Council and International House for 20 years in Britain, Hong Kong, Spain, Dubai, Japan and now in Lisbon, Portugal where I am a Senior Teacher. I recently gained an MA in Teaching English to Young Learners. I have a keen interest in the power of reading, particularly with young learners.