Extensive reading: why it is good for our students… and for us.
Submitted by admin on October 12, 2010 - 4:52pm
So what does it all add up to?
ER helps teachers to be better informed, both about their profession and about the world. This makes them more interesting to be around – and students generally like their teachers to be interesting people. For our own sanity we need to read outside the language teaching ghetto. For the sake of our students too.
It also helps teachers to keep their own use of English fresh. As we saw, the research on language learner reading shows how extensive reading feeds into improvements in all areas of language competence. (Krashen 2004) If this is true for learners, how much more true for teachers, who risk infection by exposure to so much restricted and error - laden English or who only read professional literature? Regular wide reading can add zest and pleasure to our own use of the language.
Furthermore, the books we read outside our narrow professional field can have an unpredictable effect on our practice within it. So much of what we learn is learned sub-consciously. Its effects spread more by infection than by direct injection. And it is highly individual. Individuals form associative networks among the books they read. This results in a kind of personal intertextuality, where the patterns form and re-form as we read more different books. This gives us a rich mental yeast which we can use to interact with others, while still retaining our individual take on the texts and the world.
So Extensive Reading has a lot to offer - both for our students and ourselves Read on!.