Lesley Speer & Jose Lara
Introducing an Extensive Listening/Reading Program

The benefits of Extensive Reading have been well documented; however, there is also a strong case for blending it with Extensive Listening to further improve students’ language skills. Teachers often focus on these skills separately but in an increasingly digital world, students are more likely to be engaged in a program which combines the two receptive skills. There is considerable evidence that ‘listening while reading’ will achieve substantially better outcomes for students, while giving them greater power to make their own decisions and control their own learning. Following the successful introduction of the ‘Book Club Café’ Extensive Reading project at the Macquarie University English Language Centre in Sydney, the presenters have implemented an Extensive Listening/Reading program which provides students with the freedom to choose from a wide selection of online texts. Students utilise online resources to practice the reading and listening sub-skills which have been developed in class. Follow-up activities are provided during in-class sessions, primarily to motivate students but also to enable teachers to monitor progress. A successful Extensive Listening/Reading program requires a number of factors, yet it can be surprisingly easy to implement on a long-term basis. The presenters will share their three-part model (simplicity, flexibility and motivation) for a successful Extensive Listening/Reading program. The audience will take away a practical model with a selection of ideas they can use in their own classes.

Jose has a Master of Applied Linguistics (TESOL) and a Master in Translation and Interpreting, while Lesley has an MA, DipEd and Post–graduate diploma in TESOL. Jose and Lesley have presented at a number of conferences, including IATEFL (UK), UECA (Sydney), CAMTESOL (Cambodia) and BrazTESOL (Brazil). They won the TOEFL Award for Innovation and Pearson Award for Professional Practice at the English Australia Conference in 2015 for their Book Club Café project.