Jose Lara and Lesley Speer, Macquarie University English Language Centre
Extensive Reading: the key to Language Fluency

The results of research by Paul Nation (2007, 2015) and John Macalister (2010, 2015) indicate that for critical learning to take place, there needs to be a shift away from a concentration on the teaching of the four skills, and teachers should place a much stronger emphasis on developing language through a meaning-focused approach. Specifically, they propose a four-strand model: meaning- focused input, meaning- focused output, fluency development and language- focused learning. For teachers of English to implement this, an Extensive Reading program is essential. Reading micro-skills can be taught in a classroom though Intensive Reading exercises, however fluency, and a deep understanding of the target language, can only be developed through Extensive Reading, which constitutes meaning- focused input. This is primarily because, without repeated and regular exposure to specific vocabulary, learners cannot internalize and retain enough new words to become fluent readers.

The presenters will define Extensive Reading and will demonstrate the transformative effect that reading extensively can have on language learners. Most Extensive Reading programs are modelled primarily on the ten principles of Bamford and Day (2002) and the Book Club Café is one such program, however other models will also be provided. The presenters will discuss the practicality of introducing Extensive Reading to students and will provide tips to sustain students’ motivation as they embark on a journey which will empower them and will enable them to reach a much higher level of proficiency.

Jose Lara is a teacher and coordinator at the Macquarie University English Language Centre in Sydney. He holds a Master in Translating and Interpreting and a Master of Applied Linguistics (TESOL) and he is particularly interested in Extensive Reading and the use of technology in the classroom.

Lesley Speer is a teacher and coordinator at the Macquarie University English Language Centre in Sydney. She has a Master of Arts, a Diploma of Education and a Postgraduate Diploma in TESOL, She is particularly interested in Extensive Reading and motivation.