ER in Korea 10 years.

Extensive Reading in Korea: 10 Years
Going From Strength to Strength
Dr. Rob Waring
Recent history
Traditionally ER not practiced in Korean EFL
Strong adherence to the traditional Confucian role of the teacher
Students are taught to overanalyze texts and read only a few
lines each lesson
Focus on intensive difficult texts as exam preparation
A few isolated schools (mostly small scale focusing on kids with
L1 materials) started ER a few years back
Opinion articles are coming out almost weekly
Korea Association of English Reading Education in 2008
Increase in awareness
Increased awareness among educators but ER has not really
filtered into schools, especially High Schools (Hye 2009)
However, intrinsic motivation of English is low amid intense
stress and competition.
There are several sources of this raising of awareness
Changes in publishing in Korea
!0 years ago
Almost no home-grown graded
Most ER materials were imports
All major Korean publisher have
or are making series
Most K publishers have 1-2 series
Some foreign publishers didn't
bring their readers to display!
No ER Guides or dedicated
Readers brochures
Everyone has them now
Only shelf-space at major
No readers in publisher's bags
Some stores have ER displays
Many 'Readers' brochures
A few, brochure
Many sales staff didn't even know Sadly still too many don't, or
what ER was
don't understand it
Started in 2007 by Scott Miles and Aaron Jolly
Regular ER meetings at Chapters around Korea
Hold an annual Colloquium (this afternoon 3:30 to 5:20 in C601)
An affiliate of the Extensive Reading Foundation
The Korean English Extensive Reading
Started at KOTESOL October 2010
Will host the Second World Congress on Extensive Reading, Sept
Published a Guide to Extensive Reading
Supported (but not funded by publishers)
KEERA Graded Reader review competition
Yahoogroups discussion list
Facebook page
Extensive Reading
Foundation and
KEERA Second
World Congress in
Extensive Reading
Recent ER research in Korea
Kweon, Kim (2008) found that 12 Korean learners gained in
vocabulary after ER and retained most of their gains over time
Jeon (2008) -> 17 Korean Airforce subjects who did ER showed
an increase in interest in ER, and growth in reading confidence
over 22 controls who didn't. Suggested formal evaluation was
Cha (2009) compared 10 Ss with ER and 10 without. ER group
improved significantly in speed and attitude, but not vocab.
Reaffirmed reading at the right level and the need for explicit
and incidental vocab instruction
Recent ER papers in Korea II
Hye (2009) suggests ER be strongly integrated into the
curriculum to complement IR and provide the missing massive
language input
Yang (2010) showed improvements in grammar, vocab, reading
speed and attitude for 3 groups doing ER (120 Korean subjects)
O (2011) showed ER was helpful for developing reading skills and
ER can be implemented in formal Korean settings
What actually is Extensive Reading?
Read at +1 (or i-minus 1) ?
Reading short texts to discuss?
Read only for pleasure?
Start with simple stories?
Reading followed by comprehension questions?
Speed reading?
Pleasure reading only?
Reading L1 materials?
Day and Bamford's 10 “necessary for success”
principles of ER
The reading material is easy
A variety of reading material on a wide range of topics
Learners choose what they want to read
Learners read as much as possible
The purpose of reading is usually related to pleasure,
information and general understanding
6. Reading is its own reward
7. Reading speed is usually faster rather than slower
8. Reading is individual and silent
9. Teachers orient and guide their students
10. The teacher is a role model of a reader.
What about …..?
Assessment and evaluation
Buddy reading
Reading while listening
Follow-up exercises
Reading speed focus
Limited time
Limited resources
Low motivation
Necessity to read things you
don't want to
The teacher doesn't read much
Asian values and norms
Teacher selected materials
Desire to read something
Desire for having one's
performance monitored
Desire to share their reading
Extensive listening
Reading Circles?
A uni-dimensional 'necessity for
success' view of ER
From Day and Bamford's viewpoint to be doing ER, students
… choose their own texts
… read for pleasure not as part of a course
… read without assessment
… experience ER as a solo activity
Graded vs Extensive reading
Graded Reading
Extensive Reading
Material at one's level
Read a lot
Read quickly
Simplified materials
Not essential if
high level
'Big Tent ' ER
We need to accept that many Asian students are not brought up
to be responsible for their learning
Encouragement to self-directed learning are often ignored in
favour of clubs, social life, part-time jobs or pleasure time.
Students can't start with a home-run book, therefore we have to
require reading so they can find it.
Finding an hour of pleasure reading is hard for many students
Massive choice can overwhelm
Class reading is a valid form of ER
ER is more than just graded readers
When reading extensively, students should READ
It is CRUCIAL that learners read at the RIGHT level
Read something quickly and
Enjoyably with
Adequate comprehension so they
Don’t need a dictionary
If they need a dictionary, it’s too hard and they will read slowly,
get tired and stop
Their aim is fluency and speed, not learning new language
Typically students read at home or out of class- it doesn’t take
much class time for HUGE benefits
We add the reading to our existing program, we don’t replace it.
Aspects of ER
The definition should consider
a) the process of reading at the right level
ER is a way of processing texts and isn’t just the reading of
graded readers – magazines, emails, webpages all are part
of ER if they are READ
b) the pedagogy of ER – the selection of materials, follow-up
activities, library management
How do Intensive and Extensive Reading fit
(too hard, poor
high effort,
level, can
learn new
words and
Speed reading
(very fast,
fluent, high
natural reading,
% of known vocabulary
Reading speed
(fast, fluent,
ER Program types
Purist ER program
Lots of self-selected reading at home with no / little
assessment or follow up. Often is a stand-alone class.
Integrated ER program
Lots of self-selected reading at home and in class. Follow up
exercises / reports which aim to build the 4 skills.
Class reading - study
Students read the same book and work through it slowly.
Lots of follow up / comprehension work and exercises.
ER as 'literature'
Students read the same book and discuss it as if it were a
work of literature.
ER / EL program types overview
Purist ER
Integrated ER
Class Reading
ER as literature
Amount of
Language focus
Follow up
Class sets
Class sets
Skill work
3-4 skills
3-4 skills /
1-3 skills
Class time
ER program types - summary
Many different types of ER program
Different aims
Different levels of involvement for teachers / students
Some programs may adopt two or more types at the same time
Some programs can start more easily than others
Each type is scalable – from a single class to a whole school
No 'best' type for all programs
Moving forward – promoting ER
Several stages of adoption
No knowledge
Lack of awareness of the need for ER
Initial resistance
Have heard of ER, but resist claiming curriculum, time,
resources, exams as excuses
Early adopters
A few leading lights shine the way, others take notice
Initial acceptance
Most educators have heard of it but still not doing it
Most programs are doing ER
Integrated adoption
National, State level programs built into curriculums
Moving forward – promoting ER
Meet the teachers and students where they are
We need to lessen their fear of change and newness
We can promote ER in several ways
-peer experience
-with research data
-showing how it fits
Korean EFL teachers' perspectives about their
participation in an ER program
Byun (2010) Interviewed 100 Korean school teachers on their
participation in an ER program (1000 graded readers).
a) teachers' attitude to ER changed after they tried it
despite initial skepticism
b) teachers recommended gradual introduction of
extra-curricular reading to supplement the testfocused Korean curriculum
c) Main problems to implementing ER include
evaluation issues, motivating students, reluctant and
struggling students and teachers' conflicting role in
ER class
d) Teachers did not display foreign language anxiety
either before or after the program
Ways to promote ER - Mathematical
Learners need 8-9000 words to read native texts at 98%
coverage (i.e. with high levels of comprehension)
Learners need about 2000 words to be intermediate level
It takes 20-30 meetings with a word to learn it receptively (even
more for production)
Graded readers recycle the vocabulary systematically by
frequency and usefulness to aid DEPTH of knowledge and
allow learners to meet collocations, phrases and so on they
won't meet in course books
Ways to promote ER - Emotional
Reading makes you smart
learn about the human condition
learn about other cultures / places / people etc.
Reading is enjoyable
it enriches your life and can open worlds
Reading is good language practice
it's the only realistic language skill most students may need
allows them to read web pages, magazines etc.
Ways to promote ER - Logical
Course books only can introduce language elements
Course books can't teach everything – too much to learn / do
Vocabulary selection in courses tends to be topical and not
systematically selected
Course books are mostly linear in design
Typically, course books repeat the average word only 2-3 times in
the whole series
Course books don't teach more than a few collocations, sentence
patterns and multi-word phrases
Promoting ER – the data
Furukawa (2009)
2 years of ER gives 2nd grade JH students an equivalent
reading level of 3rd grade HS students (even taking into
account time on task and extra time studying English)
Mogi (2008)
“from the view point of neuroscience, the best way to make
progress in learning English is … to read as many English
sentences as possible.”
Promoting ER – Showing how ER fits
Course books and graded readers are two sides of the same coin
– they help each other
Course books introduce language
Graded readers help deepen / strengthen this knowledge
Graded reading should be integrated into our courses. It should
not be an option
Choose books at the right level for your students (so they can
read fluently with high levels of understanding and without a
Students need to learn to listen fluently too
Dealing with objections
“The books are too easy and childish. They are not learning
-> easy is good - so they can build reading speed. Choose
books are at the student's fluent reading level
-> Native materials are too hard, demotivating, inappropriate
-> 'intermediate' learners can't read intermediate graded
“I'm not teaching so they aren't learning”
-> our job is not to 'teach' but to help people learn, build
independence, reading speed, fluency etc. etc.
“I don't know how to do it, or where to get information”
-> I'll help
Dealing with objections II
“Nice idea but I have no time in my course”
-> If you don't have graded reading where will your students get
the massive exposure they need?
-> How else will they get the 'sense of language' they need?
“We don't have the money for this”
-> Ask your schools to reallocate funds so this reading is done; ask
for donations; get some free samples etc.
“We have to go through our set curriculum”
-> Speak with your course designers to build in graded reading.
Re-allocate resources and re-set class hours
“We have to prepare the students for tests”
-> Research shows students perform better on tests if they have a
general sense of language, not a deconstructed 'bitty' one.
Why do ER programs fail?
ER is optional. If it's optional:
…students will opt out
…the message is 'do the reading if you have time, it's not as
important as other things'
…the administrators don't see it as valuable
…it becomes a target to be cut out completely
Thus ER should be REQUIRED. Requiring ER means:
…the teachers value this reading, so we want you to do it.
…it's part of the full course work – and you'll be graded on it.
…the students see it as 'natural' and 'normal' not an 'option'
Why do ER programs fail II?
Curriculum changes
Change to 'test' / speaking / CLT ….. focus
ER enthusiast leaves the school
Inappropriate materials
Reading is too difficult
Age inappropriate
Books don't get replaced when lost
Starting badly
Too fast, Too high, Too much to read too soon
Students don't understand why they need ER
Promoting / adopting ER
Work within the system – don't expect miracles
Understand where teachers / institutions are coming from – find
out their aims
What is at stake for them / what would prevent them from
adopting ER? Solve those problems first.
If they mistake the meaning of ER, then used the term 'graded
Introducing ER to newbies
Demonstrate with an intensive reading book to show the differences
between ER and IR
Leave publisher catalogs and ER booklets with them
Offer to speak to their staff and students – set up workshops
Show them what you do, your library, your methods etc.
Be a contact point for their questions
Direct them to websites (Japanese and English)
Things to recommend to newbies
Start small – their own class and then expand later
Go slowly at first – new things take time
Look for potential problems when expanding and think what
they can do about them. Help them with ideas
Experiment with different styles of ER to see what suits them
and their learners
Set aims for the students, the program and themselves
Be aware that things don't always go well – so they need your
We should not give the impression ER should replace current
instruction, rather enhance it.
Extensive Reading Central is:
• a brand new website developed for the ER
• completely free
• still building the site, so bear with us as we
add content.
Site features
Hundreds of articles and links to info on ER
Blogs and comments
Online Discussions (coming soon)
Online Graded Text Editor
Information for researchers, authors
ER and EL Videos
Publisher's Corner
ER/EL Calendar
Student materials on the way
How can you help?
Tell us about ER events
Share your resources and knowledge
Advise others about research
Get students to write book reviews
Start a section for your region
Tell us about your ER program
Join us on Facebook or Twitter
Post on the blogs or in chat rooms
Tell us about ER links and articles
Submit your handouts and worksheets
Translate pages into Korean
Thanks for your time

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