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ERIC Number: EJ1059733
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Apr
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-1539-0578
Viewing Extensive Reading from Different Vantage Points
Stoller, Fredricka L.
Reading in a Foreign Language, v27 n1 p152-159 Apr 2015
Some years ago (in about 2007), this author was asked by Professor Neil J. Anderson, known for his expertise in second language (L2) reading, to identify his top-five priorities for teachers of L2 reading. As it turns out, it was an interesting intellectual exercise to narrow down key issues in teaching L2 reading to a grand total of five. To arrive at his top-five priorities, he found himself thinking about the complex nature of reading itself in addition to the roles of working memory and the lower- and higher-level processes required for reading comprehension. He reviewed the varied purposes for reading and the skills and strategies needed to achieve reading goals. He thought about what it takes to become a fluent reader, a strategic reader, and an efficient reader. He contemplated the role of automaticity, the influence of motivation, the relationship between reading fluency and reading comprehension, the importance of morphological awareness, the impact of discourse organization on reading, and the all-important role of vocabulary. And, of course, he reflected on the varied realities of reading classrooms, in second and foreign language settings, and how much teachers have to achieve in a relatively short amount of time to help their students become more skilled, strategic, confident, and motivated readers. But there was even more to consider. He reflected on the instructional practices that he had witnessed in diverse settings, where teachers strive to achieve curricular goals and meet students' (sometimes pressing) reading needs; some of those practices are particularly effective, while others are quite ineffective. After all that contemplation, he arrived at his top-five priorities for busy practicing reading teachers: (1) The best way to help students learn to read and improve their reading skills is through reading itself; (2) Giving students choices in what they read can empower students and lead to more student engagement in reading; (3) One of the best ways to inspire students to read and to demonstrate the excitement that is often associated with reading is for teachers to lead by example; (4) One of the best ways to promote reading fluency and meaningful reading is through rereading; and (5) Students most often rise or fall to the level of expectation of their teachers. Thus, teachers should set high expectations for all learners and assist them in achieving those expectations. Now, years after formulating this list of the top-five priorities for reading teachers, he finds himself contemplating a similar, though not identical, question: What is extensive reading? To explore this question, posed by Dr. Richard R. Day, known worldwide for his expertise in extensive reading, this author begins by examining his top-five priorities for L2 reading teachers from an extensive reading perspective. He states that he believes that four of those five priorities have direct relevance to extensive reading. One of these five priorities, however, is not particularly relevant to discussions of extensive reading. He explains why and replaces it with a new "priority" that can guide teachers who integrate extensive reading into their L2 instruction.
Reading in a Foreign Language. National Foreign Language Resource Center, 1859 East-West Road #106, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A