Five Factors to Consider in Implementing
a University Extensive Reading Program

Ken Schmidt—Tohoku Fukushi University, Sendai

On-line Companion Materials

In preparation for an article in The Language Teacher (citation below), I had the great pleasure of interviewing eight experienced practictioners about their work with extensive reading. While trying to summarize some major themes in the short article, I couldn't adequately represent the wealth of viewpoints and experiences these colleagues had shared. I hope that the substantial interview exerpts presented below will go a ways toward correcting that situation and will be as thought-provoking and helpful for you as they have been for me.

Click on the links below to access any of the interviews.

I've also included a longer version of the TLT article (here), with some expanded discussion, notes and appendices that couldn't be included in the published version.

Schmidt, K. (2007). Five factors to consider in implementing a university extensive reading program.
The Language Teacher, 31(5), 11-14.
Among the many factors affecting the shape and success of an extensive reading (ER) program, five featured prominently in interviews with eight ER practitioners at universities in Japan: 1) Convictions regarding language learning, especially in regards to amounts of comprehended input needed and the role of independent reading (and listening) in relation to other learning activities. 2) Defining desired learning and attitudinal outcomes and setting reading targets and tasks appropriately. 3) Adapting the approach to ER for student attitudes, interests, abilities, and goals. 4) Effective introduction of an easily understood ER program, with ongoing support and personal follow-up. 5) Developing reading communities, in- and out-of-class.
In Julian Bamford's How to learn a language seminar for fourth year students in the Information Systems Deptartment at Bunkyo University, Shonan, students read and discuss books each week. He also directs interested students in other courses to his office-based ER library.
Tracy Cramer employs ER and reading circles in his twice weekly reading/writing course for 1st year English majors at Kansai University of Foreign Languages (Kansai Gaidai), Osaka.

Graded reading and listening played an important part in Tina Ferrato’s courses for non-English majors at Tokai University, Shonan. She was also the driving force behind the development of large-scale graded reading resources and teacher training in the Foreign Language Center.

Marc Helgesen makes ER a large part of his reading courses for first and second year students in the Department of Intercultural Studies at Miyagi Gakuin Women's University, Sendai.
Clive Lovelock teaches ER-based reading courses and coordinates a faculty-wide ER program for liberal arts students at Tezukayama Gakuin University.
Beniko Mason turned a conversation course for future pres-school teachers at Shitennoji International Buddhist University, Osaka into a course centered on massive comprehensible input through reading and listening. (Interview not yet available.)

Kunihide Sakai’s courses for electronics majors at Denki-Tshusin University, Tokyo consist almost entirely of free, graded reading in English.

Mathew White uses graded readers and reading circles as key components of his reading courses for first and second year students.