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Extensive reading as a breakthrough in a traditional EFL curriculum: experimental research in junior high schools in Taiwan

By Ping-Huang Sheu

Abstract

The main focus of this research was to examine the effects of extensive reading on junior high school students' language proficiency and learning attitude development, compared with those who received the current reading IR (grammar/translation-based) instruction. The potential of graded readers and books for native English speaking children in English learning was also investigated. The research aimed at finding evidence to support the adoption of extensive reading in the school syllabus in Taiwan, and to raise the awareness of educational authorities about the desirability of adopting ER in the school curriculum.\ud \ud The results of the study consistently showed that extensive reading is more effective on improving all the variables mentioned than the current IR instruction. While the positive outcomes stand in line with the results of previous studies, this study also gave insight into the use of the materials, the amount of reading time and accompanying activities. The findings indicated significantly the strength of the graded readers (GR) approach on students' language learning in all circumstances. The effects of reading books for native EngRsh speaking children (BNESC) proved positive only when the amount of time per week given to ER was doubled. Moreover, the results appeared to be contrary to the widely held belief that reading interesting books is alone sufficient to improve student attitudes. In fact, with this level and type of learners, without accompanying activities ER appeared to take away their enthusiasm. Once collaborative activities were introduced, ER showed great potential for improving language, proficiency, reading ability and attitudes toward reading.\ud \ud The findings demonstrate the potential of ER for improving students' language proficiency and learning attitudes. Thus, they provide support for integrating ER into the English curriculum for improving current learning and teaching approaches. Moreover, the findings indicate the desirability of investing in ER as paving the way for students' long-term development. Implications of this study can be deduced in several aspects: the adoption of ER, the need of book provision, the need of reading strategy training, the use of authentic reading materials, the amount of reading time and the use of accompanying activities

Topics: LB1603, PE
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:2500

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