A Thank You to Rocky

This semester I am undertaking to teach a twenty week course in Extensive reading. I am working under the mentoring of professor Rocky Nelson who has over fifteen years experience in both implementing and running Extensive Reading courses. Unfortunately Rocky will retire in December this year leaving a void at my university.

This blog is intended for me to keep a record for not only myself in the future but also any other teachers or students interested in developing or partaking in a solidly designed Extensive Reading course, especially for those in Korea. I will try to provide a weekly plan synopsis as I teach the classes and provide links to materials and other supplements.

I hope this site is useful for those that visit.

Extensive Reading Central -The New Extensive Reading Portal

I want to put at the top of this blog the new main Portal for Extensive Reading developed by Dr Robert Waring. Please click the link below.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Third Week

This week we allowed the students to have two hours of Sustained Silent Reading Reading to allow us to complete the one on one conferencing. I found that the conferencing is really important so students get to talk about what they are reading or if they are having any difficulties. The conferencing also allows the teacher to pick up on students that might be 'studying' the books instead of reading them, completing books they are not enjoying or simply are not reading as per the course requirement. The other two hours were split between a video presentation by Dr Richard Day and introducing Timed Repeated Reading through discussion of Dr Paul Nation's book Teaching ESL/EFL Reading and Writing, Chapter 5, Reading Faster.

Part 1: Dr Day's Video

Dr Richard Day: From Intensive Reading to Extensive Reading

We show the above video to students stopping occasionally to reinforce certain points in the video. Also, the person who shot the video didn't actually capture the Dr Day Power Point very well so follow the link. The points reinforced in the video are:
Showing the video and talking about principles in it really helped the students understand concepts about Extensive Reading when talking to them during the conferencing. It is recommended viewing for anyone teaching or using extensive reading. Video done, it is time for Silent Sustained Reading and conferencing. 

Part 2: Dr Nations Text

Expanding the sight words list concept introduced to students in the second week we discuss the actually processes involved in reading. We do NOT read letter by letter but rather by recognizing whole words by sight. To illustrate the point we use this 'fi yuo cna raed tihs' handout. I also discuss why comics are often harder to read for second language learners of English because they are in capital letters giving no tall/tail letter patterns that the mind uses to recognize words. Then we move to the text from Dr Paul Nation. 

Knowing that we recognize whole words rather than letters we discuss the three eye movement processes listed in book:
  • fixations
  • saccadic jumps
  • regressions
Slower readers have longer fixations, shorter saccades and more regressions. Hence fluency activities aim to decrease the time of fixations, increase the length of saccades to an appropriate level and reduce the number of regressions. Good readers therefore read at 250-300 words per minute. If people are reading faster it is termed 'expeditious reading' which is like skimming or scanning. 

Then we discuss the four properties of a fluency activities as discussed by Dr Nation namely:
  1. Fluency activities have a Focus on Meaning,
  2. Fluency activities use material that is EASY,
  3. Fluency activities have a 'time pressure' or an expectation of performing faster, and
  4. Fluency activities must have a 'quantity of practice' 
There are many activities that Dr Nation mentions in his book for increasing reading rate and his 'Asia and Pacific Speed Reading for ESL Learners', available from his website, is shown to students as an example. We use material similar to this in an optional extension course that we run. 

Finally we run a Timed Repeated Reading as described by Dr Day however we use this Timed Repeated Reading Record Form. After the Timed Repeated Reading it is once again time for Silent Sustained Reading and conferencing. 

1 comment:

  1. The link of the laminated handout is here in week 3. It appears so well that don't bother to give me the file. I hope you can restore all your files from the BLOODY virus. I like the way you and other Australian professors use non-American vocabulary and accent. I'm not sure about other trainees, but I'd like to be exposed more to differnt accent. A couple years ago, when I took a TOEIC test in which several L/C questions were recorded with British accent, my mind literally went blank.