Can Reading Enhance L2 Proficiency?
National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Numerous studies have shown that students who do a great deal of self-selected pleasure reading develop more positive attitudes towards reading, have wider vocabulary and more sophisticated grammar, and become better readers and writers. Despite these remarkable language learning benefits, extensive reading (also known as pleasure or recreational reading) continues to receive little attention in the second language classroom. Many continue to believe that intensive reading alone is enough to facilitate L2 students’ reading and language development. In my presentation, I will discuss some of the fundamental differences between intensive and extensive reading and argue that because these two approaches are based on different theoretical orientations, their contribution to student learning is also different. While intensive reading can help students become skilled and strategic readers, extensive reading can help students become more fluent and enthusiastic readers. What is even more amazing is that extensive reading can also enhance students’ overall English language proficiency, i.e., their speaking, listening and writing skills improve in tandem with their increased reading proficiency.
Dr. Willy A Renandya is a language teacher educator with extensive teaching experience in Asia. He currently teaches applied linguistics courses at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He has given numerous plenary presentations at regional and international conferences, and published extensively in the area of second language education. His latest publications include Motivation in the language classroom (2014, TESOL International), Simple, powerful strategies for Student Centered Learning with George Jacobs and Michael Power (2016, Springer International), and English language teaching today: Linking theory and practice with Handoyo P. Widodo (2016, Springer International). He maintains an active language teacher professional development forum called Teacher Voices: https://www.facebook.com/groups/teachervoices/.