Do your language learners read enough? Do they even like to read? How can you get them to read more in English or another target language? An all too common problem in foreign language and EFL learners is a lack of extensive reading in the target language. Extensive reading has numerous benefits for language learners. Some key benefits include:
o Development of vocabulary in context
o Extensive use of grammar in context
o Exposure to authentic language
o Exposure to idioms and expressions of the target language in context
o Continuing development of learner interest in a variety of topics
To avail themselves of these and other featured benefits derived from extensive reading however, learners must in fact read – and read a lot. But learners will rarely jump into a heavy schedule of reading unless they both understand its benefits and enjoy what they read. So, stimulating their interest first is paramount to success. Here’s what you can do.
Use Web Quests
One useful and fun way to stimulate or facilitate extensive reading is by using learner-centered web quests based on topics of interest to them. An online web quest is not unlike an electronic scavenger hunt. From a starting site or page learners go successively to additional pages to read and gather facts and information. There can be comprehension questions, charts, graphs, and / or exercises at each stage and a more comprehensive evaluation at the end of the web quest. Learner responses to exercises and evaluation activities are commonly sent to the teacher by e-mail. There are online sites that can be used to facilitate the process or a web quest can be set up using a word processing program like MS Word. Two useful teaching-oriented sites online for piloting web quests are:
o Blackboard.com at: http://www.blackboard.com/
o Quintessential Instructional Archives (QUIA) at: http://www.quia.com/
The online readings can be any of a broad spectrum of formats or topics:
o News and sports
o Articles and stories
o Occupational topics
o Special Interest
o Travel and culture
o Nature, geography or Animals
o Technology, Computers
Topics should be selected and included based on the needs and interests of the learners. With careful selection and a three to five station web quest, learners have both the opportunity and desire to do more extensive reading in English or another foreign language.
F*r*e*e Sample Available
For a sample web quest for you to try out for yourself or your learners, if you have questions or need help, e-mail the author using “web quest sample” in the subject heading. Good Luck. I look forward to hearing from you.