Posts Tagged ‘Extensive reading’

Extensive Reading as a way to improve students’ English Ability in Shipbuilding Polytechnic

Lusia Eni Puspandari,

Surabaya Shipbuilding Institute of Polytechnic


Reading is one of skills that must be mastered by people in understanding English. A good reading competence will influence the people’s ability in English. From the reality that many students feel difficult in understanding some meaning in English, another way is found out in order to improve the students’ English proficiency by using and extensive reading. Extensive reading involves students in reading large quantities of books at the level appropriate for them; only one to two words per page should be unknown to a reader. The primary goal of Extensive reading is reading in order to gain information and to enjoy texts. Extensive reading (ER) has been seen as an indispensable means of developing learners’ reading ability and enriching their knowledge of the language and the world. Considering that the students of Shipbuilding Polytechnic has limited time in learning English, the Extensive Reading program is one solution for them in improving their English proficiency.


Keywords: Extensive reading, Reading competence, self-regulated reading, graded reader, reading motivation


Learning English cannot be separated from the process of reading, because by reading the learners’ ability in using the English is develop. Among the four skill (reading, listening, speaking, writing), reading is one of important skill to acquire for overall language proficiency. It also said that reading is a source of learning and a source of enjoyment (Nation, 2005). In foreign language situation, a good reading competence is a necessity for those studying English for academic and occupational purposes and many curricula therefore devote large amounts of time to reading lessons in order to achieve such competence. One process of reading which influence the learners’ language acquisition is reading what they want and what they like in frequent time which is called as extensive reading. Of course, there are a number of possible reasons for this, but this is partly due to the way reading is

Reading is an important skill to acquire for overall language proficiency. Sustained reading skill improvement and reading motivation are needed to become a fluent reader and to develop a positive reading identity. Students are better able to maintain ongoing reading development by becoming autonomous and self-regulated readers. This paper explains the benefits of developing self-regulated readers through an extensive reading program, where students read many interesting books at an appropriate level of difficulty. Students and teachers made use of an extensive reading module for an open-source audience response system. Using this system provides autonomous learning conditions that enable students to read books extensively by choosing books, monitoring, and reflecting on books read. Teachers can monitor students through summaries of the number of books read by each student, estimates of book difficulty, and popularity ratings of the books.

It can be seen that the result of applying Extensive reading (ER) in Shipbuilding Polytechnic can improve the students’ reading ability and enriching their knowledge of the language and the world. Moreover, such an approach also allows students to practise strategies they learn in skill-based instruction and to experience authentic reading they will encounter in their daily lives. It is supported by Lake and Holster (2013) presents how extensive reading leads to gains in reading speed, reading motivation, and a positive reading identity.

Literature Review

Extensive reading

Extensive reading involves students reading many stories or informative texts at an appropriate level of difficulty that the readers choose themselves. As Davis (1995) explains, “pupils are given the time, encouragement, and materials to read pleasurably, at their own level, as many books as they can, without the pressures of testing or marks” (p. 320). Studies have shown that extensive reading can lead to improvements in vocabulary, writing, motivation, reading identity, speaking, listening, spelling, grammar, and, of course, reading abilities (Bamford & Day, 2004; Cirocki, 2009; Day & Bamford, 1998; Day et al., 2011; Grabe & Stoller, 2011; Iwahori, 2008; Lake, 2014; Nation, 2009). Often extensive reading is contrasted with intensive reading where students are reading short, difficult passages from a text chosen by the teacher (Waring, 2011). Even in an academic reading program with typical reading textbooks, it is important to develop reading fluency. The “best way to develop reading fluency is through extensive reading” (Seymour & Walsh, 2006, p. 39). Therefore, it is important to incorporate an extensive reading component into the program.

In an extensive reading program, students choose books that are meaningful and interesting to them. The successful reading of many books develops positive competence beliefs about reading that leads to higher levels of reading motivation (Guthrie, Wigfield, & Perencevich, 2004; Schiefele et al., 2012). The large amount of input over time increases implicit knowledge of vocabulary and reading that also helps to develop other language skills contributing to overall improvement in language proficiency (Hunt & Beglar, 2005). In two different studies, Lake and Holster (2012) and Lake (2014) show how an extensive reading program led to student improvement in reading identity, reading motivation, and reading speed.


Fluency has to do with reading with automaticity and comprehension (Grabe, 2009; Grabe & Stoller, 2011). Automaticity in reading involves the rapid processing of text without conscious awareness. Comprehension comes from the rapid recognition of word parts, words, and greater lengths of text. There needs to be a certain degree of speed to allow complete units to be processed in working memory so that meaning can be extracted. For example, letters need to be recognized so that words and phrases can form and give meaning, and words and phrases need to be recognized so that sentences can form and provide meaning. Reading with fluency can lead to greater comprehension because it contributes to understanding of larger units of text and more cognitive resources can be employed for strategies or text interpretation (Grabe, 2009; Grabe & Stoller, 2011).

Graded readers

Extensive reading programs typically make use of graded readers. These are books that are graded or leveled based on text complexity. Editors and publishers usually work with some formula that controls for vocabulary range and type of grammar allowed. Lower level graded readers will have higher frequency vocabulary with a close range of words and grammar, while higher level readers will have less frequent words in a greater range and more complex grammar.


Self-regulated learning involves taking active control of learning and is often divided into phases of forethought, performance, and self-reflection (Zimmerman & Schunk, 2011). Activities in the forethought phase include actions such as forming goals, planning, and building motivation. In the performance phase, activities include actions such as monitoring learning and interest, and metacognitive monitoring of learning. Activities in the self-reflection phase include such actions as self-evaluation, causal attributions of success or failure, and reflecting on positive feelings of liking or enjoying the activity.

Self-regulated reading carries over these pre-activity, during activity, and post-activity phases into the domain of reading (Guthrie et al., 2004; Schunk & Zimmerman, 1997; Tonks & Taboada, 2011). Activities in the forethought phase include such actions as gauging reading ability, gauging text complexity, gauging self-efficacy, matching personal interests with texts, setting number of books per week goals, and setting time per week or scheduling goals. In the performance phase, activities include such actions as going to the library to check out books; monitoring books for difficulty—abandon if too high, continue if not; monitoring books for interest—abandon if too low, continue if not; and monitoring for understanding. Activities in the self-reflection phase include such actions as reflecting on the difficulty, understanding, fluency, enjoyment and impressions of the book.

Problems with Monitoring ER

Ideally, students in an extensive reading program read many interesting books that they choose themselves and develop intrinsic motivation and an identity as a reader (Lake, 2014). Tests, quizzes, book reports, and other types of monitoring methods by teachers that are focused on specific details, if used with extensive reading, can lead to intensive reading and extrinsic motivation. Strict monitoring of specific details and narrow performance goals leads to problems associated with extrinsic motivation such as avoidance strategies, anxiety, and demotivation (Assor & Kaplan, 2001; Ryan & Connell, 1989; Ryan & La Guardia, 1999; Stefanou, Perencevich, DiCinto, & Turner, 2004). Strict formal assessments may make the students focus more on the assessment than reading. Formal assessments can contribute to a shift from student autonomy, choices, self-regulation and intrinsic reading motivation to teacher-regulation and extrinsic motivation (Krashen, 2004, 2011).

If students shift their intrinsic motivation to extrinsic motivation, then extensive reading may be abandoned as soon as the external regulation is removed. If intrinsic motivation can be maintained it may lead to the development of a positive L2 reading self and an even more general positive L2 self (Lake, 2013, 2014). As pointed out in first language contexts, “the real purpose of reading instruction is the development of individuals who will engage in personal reading for pursuit of their interests, needs, recreation, practical and academic purposes, and for just pure pleasure” (Flippo, 2005, p. 21). To put it simply, in the context of second language reading, “our long-term goal is to have students who do not stop reading when the reading class is over” (Hudson, 2007, p. 29).



Participants consist of 90 students of Shipbuilding Polytechnic from different study program who have differences TOEIC scores. All students are in the first semester and they get English subject until 4 semester. The process of monitoring the progress of the participants were done during the class meeting and outside the class meeting.

All the participants have got the TOEIC Test before actively involve in academic year. The first group consists of 30 students with TOEIC score more than 500 (Intermediate). The second group consists of 30 students with TOEIC score around 400-495 (Pre Intermediate), and the third group was consists of 30 students with TOEIC score under 400 (Elementary) . Each group was given the same story book but the time to finish the book are various based on their level of proficiency.


Students were prepared to read certain books (graded readers) and they were asked to read 5 titles of books in different time, in campus or outside the campus. Each students who had finished reading one title of book must report it by signing book report. The book report consists of questions related to the book that they have read.

After finishing one title of book, the students get the second book and read it in certain time that can be done any time inside or outside the campus. Then they must report it to the teacher to get the signature and feedback about the book. The teacher can ask students to fill out a short record form indicating the name of the book they have just read, its level, how long it took to read, and a brief comment on the quality of the book.

It will continue until 5 book titles and the teacher give the feedback individually. The process of monitoring the students progress is controlled regularly

The process of monitoring students’ progress can be done directly using book report and also using on-line system in the web site. With the web site system, students can use phones or other mobile devices or regular computers to take quizzes or surveys; in this case, it was the graded reader survey. Teachers can then give feedback to individual students or classes about how many books they have read. For example, after the second week of classes a teacher could give individual feedback that a student has read “X number of books” and that “most students in class have read over 5 books” to provide students with a normative sense of where they are in relation to the group. Alternatively, a teacher could give more aspirational feedback such as “some students have read more than 5 books” to show what some students have found possible.



The discussion of the study show that the students’ reading achievement are different from some factors. The first is the difficulties in understanding new vocabulary often cause problem that influence the intension to read. The second is the lack of interest from students in reading English book that cause the unsatisfied result. The third is the low motivation of students in reading English book influence the students’ English proficiency.

Title of Book: The Umbrella (300 words)

Elementary Poor 1 hour
Pre Intermediate Average 50 minutes
Intermediate Good 30 minutes


Tittle of Book: The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn (600 words)

Elementary Poor 1,5 hours
Pre Intermediate Average 1 hours
Intermediat Good 50 minute

Title of Book: The Lost World (1100 words)

Elementary Poor 2 hours
Pre Intermediate Average 1,5 hours
Intermediate Good 1 hour


Title of Book: Gandhi(1400 words)

Elementary Poor 2,5 hours
Pre Intermediate Average 2 hours
Intermediate Good 1,5 hour

Title of Book: Jurrasic Park (1600 words)

Elementary Poor 3 hours
Pre Intermediate Average 2,5 hours
Intermediate Good 2 hours


The process of comprehending the book were various based on the level of English Proficiency. The easiest book could be finished by Intermediate level students not more than 30 minutes, while the Elementary level students must finish it around 1 hour. And the speed of each level are various depend on the number of vocabulary in each book.

Overall, the table show that the students motivation and intension in reading keep running well until they finish to the highest level of vocabulary. It can be concluded that the extensive reading program can increase students motivation and improve the students English proficiency.


As part of a work-in-progress, and from previous studies (Lake, 2014; Lake & Holster, 2012), we found that autonomous learning conditions can help students develop as self-regulated readers. Through the use of graded readers in an extensive reading program, students gained in reading speed, developed a more positive L2 reading self, and increased L2 reading motivation. Students’ L2 reading anxiety showed a negative relationship to a positive L2 reading self, L2 reading motivation, and reading speed. If students are to be able to read outside the classroom, they will need to be autonomous self-regulated readers, and this study shows that a foundation to develop as such can be built in an extensive reading program. This has the potential to help students in the future as they read for personal and academic interests, and far into the future as lifelong readers.


Assor, A., & Kaplan, H. (2001). Mapping the domain of autonomy support: Five important ways to enhance or undermine students’ experience of autonomy in learning. In A. Efklides, J. Kuhl, & R. M. Sorrentino (Eds.), Trends and prospects in motivation research (pp. 101-120). Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic.

Bamford, J., & Day, R. R. (Eds.). (2004). Extensive reading activities for teaching language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Cirocki, A. (Ed.). (2009). Extensive reading in English language teaching. Munich, Germany: Lincom.

Davis, C. (1995). ER: An expensive extravagance? ELT Journal 49(4), 329-336. doi:10.1093/elt/49.4.329

Day, R. R., & Bamford, J. (1998). Extensive reading in the second language classroom. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Day, R. R., Bassett, J., Bowler, B., Parminter, S., Bullard, N., Furr, M, … Robb, T. (2011). Bringing extensive reading into the classroom. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Flippo, R. F. (2005). Personal reading: How to match children to books. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Grabe, W. (2009). Reading in a second language: Moving from theory to practice. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Grabe, W., & Stoller, F. L. (2011). Teaching and researching reading. (2nd ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson.

Guthrie, J. T., Wigfield, A., & Perencevich, K. C. (Eds.). (2004). Motivating reading comprehension: Concept-oriented reading instruction. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Hall, L. A. (2012). The role of reading identities and reading abilities in students’ discussions about texts and comprehension strategies. Journal of Literacy Research, 44(3), 239-272. doi:10.1177/1086296X12445370

Hudson, T. (2007). Teaching second language reading. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Iwahori, Y. (2008). Developing reading fluency: A study of extensive reading in EFL. Reading in a Foreign Language, 20, 70–91.

Hunt, A., & Beglar, D. (2005). A framework for developing EFL reading vocabulary. Reading in a Foreign Language, 17(1). 23-59.

Krashen, S. (2004). The power of reading (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Krashen, S. (2011). Free voluntary reading. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

Lake, J. (2013). Positive L2 self: Linking positive psychology with L2 motivation. In M. Apple, D. Da Silva, & T. Fellner (Eds.), Language learning motivation in Japan (pp. 225-244). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Lake, J. (2014). Curious readers and interesting reads: Developing a positive L2 reading self and motivation through extensive reading. Journal of Extensive Reading, 2, 13-27.

Lake, J., & Holster, T. A. (2012). Increasing reading fluency, motivation and comprehension through extensive reading. Bungei to Shisou: The Bulletin of Fukuoka Women’s University International College of Arts and Sciences, 76, 47-68.





Title of the book : _____________________________________________________

Task 1. The Facts

The Setting

  1. When does the story take place?
  2. Where does it take place?

The Characters

  1. Who are they?
  2. What are they like?

The Action

  1. What happened?


Task 2. Personal Response

Your impressions

  1. What did you like best (or least)?
  2. What would you change in the story?

Your feelings and experiences

  1. Have you ever experienced something similar to what happens in the story?
  2. Do you identify with any of the characters?
  3. Did you find any interesting cultural information?
  4. What did you learn from the reading?



Reading Record Form

Book Title Publisher Reading Level Start Date Finish Date Reading Time (hours) Level:

Too easy

Good level

Too difficult