Featured Speakers

Jiraporn Dhanarattigannon

Kasetsart University

Effects of Additive Extensive Reading on Struggling EFL Tertiary Learners

Extensive reading (ER) with graded readers has gained attention in education, particularly in teaching reading in Thailand because many studies have proved that it is an approach which helps learners including ESL/EFL students improve their reading performance. However, only a few studies have examined additive ER focusing on struggling EFL learners with other types of reading materials and post tasks. This study explored the effects of two different ER activities, namely Science and Research Association Reading Laboratory (SRA) and Reading Reflective Journals (RRJ), as additive ER on struggling EFL tertiary students’ English reading performance. A comparative mixed-method approach was used to collect the data. The participants were two intact groups enrolled in a reading course taught by the researcher at a Thai public university over 15 weeks. The instruments included English reading pre- and post-tests, an open-ended questionnaire and students’ reflective journals. The results from quantitative and qualitative data revealed that SRA and RRJ had positive impacts on students’ English reading skills, their attitude towards English and English reading, and vocabulary building. However, since SRA and RRJ are based on different theories, RRJ readers tend to improve more on reading skills while SRA enhances the students’ reading comprehension. This suggests that features of SRA and RRJ should be combined to achieve the students’ reading improvement. Finally, when implementing any types of ER, the teachers should take the factors affecting its use into consideration.

Jiraporn Dhanarattigannon (Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instructions, University of Florida, USA) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages at Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand. Her areas of interest include EFL writing (the process-based approach), Extensive Reading, writing and reading assessments, self-assessment, teaching and learning development, and corpus-based research. Email: jiraporndh2000@yahoo.com

Todd Beuckens

Ristumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan

Simple Solutions to Getting High-Quality ER Materials

ER programs often face two significant obstacles, regardless of their budget, resources, dedication, or expertise. The first challenge is obtaining high-quality graded reading materials that are suitable for their target audience. The second hurdle is acquiring reading materials that both captivate their students' interest and align with the curriculum or academic goals of their university or school.

Critics of ER often argue that extensive reading, particularly with novels, is not a productive use of students' time, especially for business, engineering, and science students. This presentation will explore two straightforward solutions to obtain an abundance of graded reading materials suitable for any level, topic, or audience.

The presentation will initially delve into using extemporaneous speech and transcripts to generate an endless supply of graded readers for various topics. Graded readers often emphasize fiction-based content, primarily novels, but many young adults prefer to read non-fiction, which is often not as readily available in ER libraries. The presentation will demonstrate how tools like Loom make it easy to create engaging materials by recording videos and converting the content into readable transcripts.

Additionally, the presentation will examine how to leverage AI tools like ChatGPT to create engaging, graded, and level-appropriate non-fiction reading materials related to science, business, and culture. Presenters will also learn how to utilize social networks to effortlessly produce high-quality content using various free online tools.

Todd Beuckens is a part-time lecturer at Ristumeikan Asia Pacific University in Beppu, Japan. He is also the creator of elllo.org, which stands for English Listening Lesson Library Online. ELLLO has the world’s largest library of free extensive listening and reading lessons featuring speakers from over 100 countries. He has an M.A. in Education with a focus on Learning, Design, and Technology from San Diego State University.

Paul Goldberg


Strategies for a Successful Extensive Reading Program

Twenty years on since Richard Day and Julian Bamford first came out with their 10 Principles of Extensive Reading. This seminal list, and the many papers and studies on the topic that came afterwards have greatly increased awareness of extensive reading in the ESL/EFL community. It is now widely accepted that extensive reading, which provides large amounts of comprehensible input and increases reading fluency, is as an important factor in the acquisition of a second language. However, just because a teacher fully understands the main principles of extensive reading, and believes in its benefits, this does not guarantee the success of an extensive reading program. Similarly, providing students with a large library of graded readers, whether physical books or digital, also does not ensure they will actually do any reading. At least initially, students need to be extrinsically motivated to read, and that can be accomplished with a well-planned and implemented program. The presenter of this workshop has advised dozens of universities and high schools on their extensive reading programs, and from this experience has come up with certain elements that when present will significantly increase the likelihood of a program’s overall success, including students doing considerably greater amounts of reading.

Paul Goldberg has an M.S. in Secondary Education from Dowling College in New York, an M.A. in TESOL from Long Island University, and completed the coursework (ABD) for an Ed.D in TESOL at Temple University. He has taught English as a foreign language in Venezuela, Spain, Korea, the US, and most recently at Kwansei Gakuin University in Osaka, Japan. His main areas of interest are extensive reading and extensive listening. Finally, Paul is the founder of Xreading, which he developed because of his desire to make graded readers more accessible for students, and extensive reading programs easier for teachers to manage. Email: paul@xreading.com.

Hitoshi NIshizawa

Visiting professor, KOSEN-KMITL, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang

The Effect of a Long-term ER Program on Japanese EFL Learners

In this featured talk, I talk about a long-term ER program conducted on Japanese engineering students and its effect on improving their English proficiency measured by a standardized TOEIC test. The subjects joined the ER program at 15 years old after receiving three years of English education in junior high school. They continued regular English lessons worth 20 credits during their stay in college. 5-7 credits of ER lessons have been added since 2004, which are sustained silent reading of 45 minutes, 30 weeks a year (1 credit) for five years (some of them for two additional two years) when they graduate from college.

All the students started reading from picture books such as Oxford English Trees and Foundation Reading Libraries. They proceeded to Graded readers (GR) of the starter level until the end of the first year. Average students read 2nd level of GR in the fifth year and 3rd to 4th levels in the seventh year. In the seventh-year reading comprehension test, students must read a fresh 9,000-word text of 4th GR level in 90 minutes and answer the questions. They become less afraid of speaking English for three minutes or more without scripts, which never happened before ER. Average TOEIC scores of the 7th-year students also increased from around 350 without ER to 600 with ER.

The features of the ER program are starting from picture books and the program's long duration, which might be the requirements of ER programs for Japanese EFL learners.

Hitoshi Nishizawa is a professor of Electrical and Electronic (E&E) Engineering who conducted the long-term ER program for the students of the E&E Engineering department at a Japanese KOSEN (National Institute of Technology) for 18 years. It resolved the once severe weakness of KOSEN graduates, who were supposed to work internationally. On the way, he confirmed the effect of starting from picture books to protect the students from their stubborn habit of translating every English word to Japanese when they read. He also recognized the necessity of longer duration for Japanese EFL learners. He extended the method for lifelong learning of English based on public libraries in Japan. More than 30 public libraries in the Tokai area have special English ER shelves and support adult EFL learners in starting ER via introduction lessons and peer support groups.

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