New Challenges to Motivate Remedial EFL Students to Read Extensively

Atsuko Takase, Kyoko Otsuki

extensive reading, motivation, remedial education, implicit learning


Although one of the keys to improving language ability lies in the continuous and prolonged exposure to the target language, providing learners with the opportunities in the EFL environment is not easy. For Japanese learners of English, in fact, the amount of input of English is severely limited. Additionally, it is hard for them to keep motivating themselves to study English as the use of the language is often not requisite in the society. This paper explains that extensive reading (ER) is an effective method for learners with low proficiency and poor motivation to learn English, provided that Start with Simple Stories (SSS) and Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) methods are guaranteed (Takase 2008). SSS requires learners to read books written in easily comprehensible English, and SSR secures learners certain amount of time to read in class under the guidance of instructors. The paper shows the improvement of ER students’ English ability after three-months of ER courses, where SSS and SSR were employed, and how they started to be motivated to read extensively during the courses. The participants of the study are eighty-one Japanese EFL students, who had failed to pass an English course in the previous year mainly due to their low English proficiency. They kept reading relatively easy books extensively for eighty minutes once a week over one academic semester. Statistical analysis of the results of pre- and post-tests demonstrates that their English proficiency significantly improved.

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