Mobile Extensive Reading
Mobile Reading – a comprehensive guide!
What is Extensive Reading?
They say there’s no such thing as learning too much, and plenty wrong with learning too little. Extensive reading is the ultimate proof of that. This popular method of reading has found its home in language learning classrooms around the globe. Students are drawn to it because of its accessibility and simplicity. When we take in copious amounts of information, our brain soaks it up like a sponge. The brain never runs out of room for knowledge -it is ever-growing. So what is extensive reading, and where do we start?
Extensive reading is the direct opposite of intensive reading. Intensive reading requires the student to spend a short portion of their reading time understanding small, complex reading passages. Extensive reading requires a long process full of topics the student wants to read. This is important, as it appeals to the curiosity of students. In the simplest form, extensive reading is:
- Easy reading material
- Something you can read quickly over a long period of time
- Something you find extremely interesting
Inputs of information are key to a student’s learning. Classrooms only offer a small sliver of the material required to learn a full language. In order to fully harness a language, we must take the work home with us. According to Bamford and Day, “Good things happen to students who read a great deal in the foreign language. Research studies show they become better and more confident readers, they write better, their listening and speaking abilities improve, and their vocabularies become richer. In addition, they develop positive attitudes toward and increased motivation to study the new language”. In this blog, we will explore this reader-based motivation, and the many ways it can benefit our language learning.
Why Should You Try it?
Through reading regularly, you will be exposed to a wide array of words and phrases. Through repetition, you will gradually begin to retain these words. This is the clearest and most proven benefit of extensive mobile reading.
Speaking and Listening
By increasing your knowledge of vocabulary and phrases, you will greatly impact other facets of your learning. The knowledge you learn from extensive reading will trickle down into speaking and listening to others.
The more a student is exposed to repetitive words within their context, the easier they will remember them. This is a gradual consolidation of the student’s knowledge without the limits of class time. In fact, this method is more effective than language classes, because it gives you repetition you wouldn’t find in a classroom environment
Aside from the language learning aspect, students will acquire a better understanding of fascinating topics. As the saying goes: “in order to be interesting, you must first be interested”. Learning a variety of topics at once can only enhance a person. You will always have new things to discuss with others, and you will do excellent on trivia nights.
The more you read, the more you want to read. Many students refer to their first book as their “first home run”. Once you experience the sense of pride from completing the reading material, you will want to keep up that momentum. Language learning is notoriously known for being hard to stay motivated. You can save yourself this headache with extensive mobile reading.
When students feel like they can gain knowledge without help, they feel more capable in their learning. This boost in confidence is possibly the most important benefit of all. Engagement in learning is key, and confidence fuels engagement.
How to Extensively Read
Now we have outlined the what and the why of Extensive reading, we need to know the “how“. Below is a list of tips for the most effective Extensive Reading. By following this guide, you will find yourself learning English – and loving it!
Read a lot, read often, and read fast
Harnessing the “extensive” aspect of this is key. It’s important that you make time for this every single day. The suggested starting time is about 20-30 minutes, but this can be elevated depending on the student. You have complete control over how much ground you want to cover. However, keep in mind that this is meant to be a fast-paced, immersive experience. Keeping up momentum is important for success.
Read at your own reading level
Don’t read complex material. Keep it light, separated into brief sentences and paragraphs. This method of reading will allow you to fully absorb what you are reading without having to frequently stop. You want to feel like the master of your own reading. You won’t feel this way if you’re straining yourself with dense vocabulary.
Make use of Graded Readers
Expanding on our previous point, there are many resources out there for simple reading. While a lot of easy, mobile reading can come in the form of articles online, manuals, menus, receipts, social media, etc – there are also many books. Simply do a quick google search for “graded readers” and you will find various publishing houses. These books are designed for young learners, covering all topics under the sun.
Read for fun
It should be enjoyable and compelling. If you find yourself a few chapters into your book and are not interested, put it down and find another. This goes for all reading for all purposes. When we read for fun, we can find ourselves stuck on one chapter. Sometimes we have such a grueling time getting through a book that it takes away our enthusiasm for reading altogether. Find that book that makes you fall in love with reading again. Don’t settle for something only mildly interesting.
No tests, exercises, or dictionaries
This is not made to be contemplative, conscious learning. The purpose of extensive reading is to engage the reader in something that interests them. Once you have this engagement, your brain will subconsciously begin to absorb the words. This, in partnership with the repetitive nature of traditional reading material. If you were to stop and test yourself along the way, you would slow down the process and take in less information.
Choose what you want to read
This method of reading relies heavily on the readers’ interest. Luckily, in this age of information, there are various ways you can find interesting material. For example, if you’re interested in food, you can try reading cookbooks, menus, chef’s biographies, tourism books on restaurants. All of these can be easy mobile reading for someone who is interested in food.
Read a wide variety of genres and topics. Try making a list of everything you’ve enjoyed on TV in the last month, and fashion it into various reading materials. For example, this list could consist of home and renovation, travel, steam-engine trains, romantic comedies, and a detective story. The more diverse your range is, the wider your vocabulary will become. This will allow you to speak on a variety of topics later. If students only learned their language from one book, they would have a very limited source for conversation. Keep it diverse and keep it interesting!
Read silently and alone
This is meant to be a solitary activity. Unlike many other language learning exercises, it does not benefit you to do this in a group setting. Keep yourself isolated from distractions and focus on the reading. As previously mentioned, you don’t need to test yourself or others. You don’t even need a dictionary. Students absorb the content much better when they are alone and focused. Save the group activities for other language learning experiences.
You are the Boss
Your teacher has no role in your mobile reading. They can monitor your success, but ultimately you will be in charge of what you read and when you read. In fact, your teacher should be setting the example by immersing themselves in their own reading. The key to extensive reading is engaging the student’s autonomy instead of a traditional curriculum-based approach. In a world with more and more information available to us, self-teaching is easy and empowering.
Diversify your sources
Don’t want to carry books around all the time? Try investing in eReaders or reading off of your phone/tablet. The beauty of reading in the 21st century is accessibility. You’ll find this is also much more cost-effective, as eBooks typically cost as little as 20% of the typical paperback value. Taking your extensive reading mobile can be more convenient, and a lot easier on the wallet.
How to Take it Mobile
As you can see, this method requires a lot of mobile reading material. Most of which comes in the form of cumbersome books of all shapes and sizes. Luckily, with the rise of eBooks, we can save ourselves the back pain and still keep up with our reading. This is where our App LillyPad comes in handy.
As a reading app specifically designed for English learners, we have our own built-in eReader. This allows you to extensively read from anywhere. It could be a local cafe, a classroom, your office, or even a park bench! Extensive reading needs to be easily accessed every day. If you find yourself constantly on the go, an app like this can be a lifesaver. Especially when you are trying to fit reading time in between work, lunch, socializing, exercising, and resting.
Frequently Asked Questions
While there are many benefits to extensive reading, its main purpose is to develop language fluency. This type of reading involves sustained, uninterrupted reading of texts that are relatively easy to understand. The goal is to read for pleasure, meaning that readers should not stop to look up words or decipher complex sentence structures. Instead, they should let the flow of the story carry them along.
While extensive reading is often used synonymously with free voluntary reading, there are some important differences between the two approaches. Free voluntary reading refers to any self-selected reading material, regardless of length or difficulty level. In contrast, extensive reading texts are typically shorter and simpler, making them more accessible for language learners. As a result, extensive reading is often seen as a more structured and controlled approach to free voluntary reading.
Pleasure, increased fluency and comprehension, grammar structures and new vocabulary. These are a few benefits reaped from extensive reading according to academic research. But what exactly is extensive reading? Extensive reading is defined simply as “reading for pleasure” (Elley, 1991). This means that readers choose their books to read on their own time outside of class with no specific goals in mind except enjoyment. While this definition may sound like common sense – and indeed it should be – it has only been in recent decades that educators have begun to fully understand the value of encouraging students to read extensively. Simply put, when students read for pleasure they gain all sorts of benefits that help them develop as language learners.
Intensive reading is a more focused type of reading in which the reader pays close attention to the text and extracts specific information from it. This can be done for purposes such as scanning a document for key information or critically evaluating an argument. In contrast, extensive reading is a less demanding form of reading in which the reader tries to gain a general understanding of the text. This type of reading is often used for pleasure or for developing fluency in a foreign language.
When you do extensive reading, you can improve your overall understanding of a language, develop your vocabulary, and learn about new topics. In order to find appropriate materials, it is important to use a variety of resources, such as online databases, libraries, and bookstores. It is also helpful to set a goal for yourself, such as reading for 30 minutes each day or finishing one book per month. With some effort and perseverance, you can develop your reading skills and improve your language ability.
First, it exposes learners to a greater variety of language than they would encounter in everyday life or in most classrooms. Second, it helps learners develop strategies for dealing with unfamiliar words and structures. Finally, it provides opportunities for learners to practice their reading skills in a low-stress environment. As a result, extensive reading should be seen as an important part of any language learning program.
Extensive reading is a valuable activity for language learners of all levels. By reading extensively, learners are exposed to a greater variety of language than they would be in more traditional, focused language learning activities. This increased exposure can lead to improved grammar and vocabulary knowledge, as well as improved pronunciation.
Learn from History – Follow the Science – Listen to the Experts
What’s the one thing that makes LillyPad so special? Lilly! She is an artificially intelligent English tutor, and has people talking all over the world! Lilly makes improving mobile reading easy. With Lilly, you can read in four different ways, and you can read just about anything you love. And learning with Lilly, well that’s what you call liberating!
For learners of all ages striving to improve their English, LillyPad combines the most scientifically studied and recommended path to achieving English fluency and proficiency with today’s most brilliant technologies!
Additionally, the platform incorporates goal-setting capabilities, essential tracking & reporting, gamification, anywhere-anytime convenience, and significant cost savings in comparison to traditional tutoring methodologies.
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Bethany MacDonald has contributed articles LillyPad.ai since 2020. As their Blog Lead, she specialises in informative pieces on culture, education, and language learning