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Types of Reading

Today we will discuss about types of reading. Actually there are many types of reading,  but today we will discuss about extensive and intensive reading.
1.      Extensive Reading
There have been conflicting definitions of the term “extensive reading.” (Hedge, 2003, p. 202) Some use it to refer to describe “skimming and scanning activities,” others associate it to quantity of material. Hafiz and Tudor state that:
the pedagogical value attributed to extensive reading is based on the assumption that exposing learners to large quantities of meaningful and interesting L2 material will, in the long run, produce a beneficial effect on the learners’ command of the L2. (1989, p. 5)
 Inspired by Krashen’s Input Hypothesis, researchers have shown renewed interest in  extensive reading in recent years. This is seen most clearly in various trends adopted by ELT institutions. Students are urged to read independently by using the resources within their reach (Hedge, 2003, p. 200-201). Besides, there has been a growing interest in researching the value of extensive reading. Hafiz and Tudor (1989) conducted a three-month extensive reading programme as an extra activity. The subjects were Pakistani ESL learners in a UK school and  146 their parents were manual workers with limited formal education. The results showed a marked improvement in the performance of the experimental subjects, especially in terms of their writing skills. The subjects’ progress in writing skills may be due in part to “exposure to a range of lexical, syntactic, and textual features in the reading materials” as well as the nature of “the pleasure-oriented extensive reading.” (Hafiz & Tudor, p. 8)
Hedge believes that extensive reading varies according to students’ motivation and school resources. A well-motivated and trained teacher will be able to choose suitable handouts or activities books for the students. The Reading Teacher journal, for example, publishes a list (Appendix A) every November of over 300 newly published books for children and adolescents that have been reviewed and recommended by teachers.
Hedge (2003) also states that since extensive reading helps in developing reading ability, it should be built into an EFL/ESL programmes provided the selected texts are “authentic” – i.e. “not written for language learners and published in the original language” (p. 218)- and “graded”. Teachers with EFL/ESL learners at low levels can either use “pedagogic” or “adapted” texts. Moreover, extensive reading enables learners to achieve their independency by reading either in class or at home, through sustained silent reading (SSR). Carrell and Eisterhold (1983) argue that SSR activity can be effective in helping learners become self-directed agents seeking meaning provided an SSR program is “based on student-selected texts so that the students will be interested in what they are reading. Students select their own reading texts with respect to content, level of difficulty, and length.” (p. 567)

2.      Intensive Reading
In intensive (or creative) reading, students usually read a page to explore the meaning and to be acquainted with writing mechanisms. Hedge argues that it is “only through more extensive reading that learners can gain substantial practice in operating these strategies more independently on a range of materials.” (ibid, p. 202) These strategies can be either text-related or learner-related: the former includes an awareness of text organization, while the latter includes strategies like linguistic, schematic, and metacognitive strategies. Hafiz and Tudor (1989) differentiate between extensive and intensive reading:
In intensive reading activities learners are in the main exposed to relatively short texts which are used either to exemplify specific aspects of the lexical, syntactic or discoursal system of the L2, or to provide the basis for targeted reading strategy practice; the goal of extensive reading, on the other hand, is to ‘flood’ learners with large quantities of L2 input with few or possibly no specific tasks to perform on this material. (p. 5)

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