WHO IS THIS VIDEO FOR?
This is video is meant for language teachers or language learners. English learners will need to be upper intermediate in order to follow comfortably.
WHAT IS EXTENSIVE READING? WHAT IS IN THE VIDEO?
This is the second video in a series on how to balance a language learning course so that you (or your students) benefit from learning opportunities in the Four Strands: Meaning Focused Input, Meaning Focused Output, Language Focused Learning, and Fluency Development.
This video is about an activity to use with reading in the Meaning Focused Input Strand. Extensive reading is the most important activity that you could add to any language course. If there is no time already spent in a language course on extensive reading, it would be better to add this activity and give up time spent elsewhere.
I will cover what this activity is and how to choose appropriate reading (mainly for you as a language learner) for the activity.
WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT EXTENSIVE READING?
There is a book for teachers called “What Should Every EFL Teacher Know,” written by Paul Nation. He says: “Adding an extensive reading program to a language course is the most important improvement that a teacher can make, and if this was the only improvement made, the teacher could still feel very satisfied about that.” In fact, he gives a list of 5 improvements ranked in order of importance for teachers to make to a language course and it turns out that the fifth most important improvement was concerning training using word cards: the only Language Focused Learning activity in the list of top 5 improvements. Furthermore, this activity is not teacher-led, and involves the students learning vocabulary on their own.
At this point in my teaching career I feel that it is not so important the skills that a teacher has for deliberate teaching (teaching grammar, vocabulary, or pronunciation). What is more important, in my opinion, is that the teacher understands how language learning/acquisition happens. And it happens best when we are receiving messages (reading or listening to messages) or producing messages (writing or speaking to someone who will receive the message).
WHY CONTINUE LEARNING ABOUT THE FOUR STRANDS?
There will be 5 hours of videos by the time all 20 are out. Exposure will start changing how you approach to learning and teaching languages. These videos are by no means short and “to the point” but of the activities for the Four Strands really deserve some attention.
For a brief overview about the Four Strands, read: “What every language learner and teacher should know: the Four Strands.”