All You Ever Wanted to Know About ER
A joint Nara Chapter-ER SIG Event
DATE: Sunday, June 18th
VENUE: Yamato Conference Hall
TIME: 10.00 a.m. — 4.30 p.m.
(1) Ann Mayeda
Integrating ER into the Curriculum
(2) Paul Goldberg
The benefits of doing extensive reading online with Xreading
(3) Mark Brierley
How to persuade them to read
(4) Ann Flanagan
ER: Building a better foundation for language learning
(Click on the presenter’s name to jump to the abstract and bio.)
9.30 Doors open.
10.00 – 10.50: Ann Mayeda
11.00 – 11.50: Paul Goldberg
11.50 – 12.50: Lunch
12.50 – 13.40: Mark Brierley
13.50 – 14.40: Ann Flanagan
14.40 – 15.10: Tea Break
15.10 – 15.40: Panel Discussion
15.40 – 16.10: Closing / Announcements / etc.
Abstracts and Bios
(1) Integrating ER into the Curriculum
Ann will talk about the extensive reading program in place at Konan Women’s University. She will outline its framework and then share some of issues and challenges faced by the department in gradually implementing the ER component in the two-year core English program. She will also delve into some of the reasons why teacher uptake may well be just as, or even more important than learner uptake.
Ann Mayeda is a lecturer and teacher educator at Konan Women’s University. Her research interest focuses on learner development and issues surrounding autonomy as it applies to young learners and young adult learners. She is currently involved in a research project to implement extensive reading programs in schools in Nepal.
(2) The benefits of doing extensive reading online with Xreading
Most educators understand that to successfully learn a language, students need comprehensible input, the kind of input that extensive reading provides. However, implementing an extensive reading program can be challenging. Obtaining enough graded readers, and making sure students are actually reading them are among the many challenges. An online extensive reading system can provide an effective solution. However, it is important to understand that online extensive reading means much more than students being able to read graded readers on their computers or smartphones. It can put powerful tools like an interactive dictionary, character lists, audio-on-demand, and book ratings, right at their fingertips. Another, benefit is students can read whenever and wherever they want, not just while at school or at the library.
Additionally, online extensive reading also provides benefits to educators. It allows teachers to monitor and track their students’ reading progress with greater accuracy. Teachers can know which books their students have selected, how many words they read, and even their reading speed which is useful since reading fluency is a key aspect of extensive reading. Finally, because of all of the rich reading data that can be collected, online extensive reading is ideal for academics interested in doing research on extensive reading. In this presentation, the speaker, who developed the extensive reading website, Xreading, will explain how teachers can get the most out of using online extensive reading with their classes, and give a demonstration of the Xreading system.
Paul Goldberg has taught EFL in Venezuela, Spain, Korea, the US, and is currently at Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo, Japan. His main areas of interest include extensive reading and extensive listening. He is also the founder of Xreading, which he developed because of his desire to make extensive reading more accessible for students and easier for teachers.
(3) How to persuade them to read
There is plenty of evidence that ER is effective for language acquisition but conclusive evidence is difficult to find, and we often hear that more research is needed. Meanwhile, ER advocates are often convinced that this an optimum activity for the learner, and all that is needed is more reading. However, ER will not work if students do not believe in reading, and teacher beliefs are critical to the success of institutional ER programmes. It is therefore essential to persuade students, and sometimes teachers, of the reasons for reading. It is helpful to have a variety of reasons to meet the variety of values within the audience, and to periodically remind them why they are reading. This presentation will look at seven different reasons: input, vocabulary, collocation, fluency, narratives, literacy and learner autonomy. While linguistic research strives to be more scientific, language teaching may actually be more like a religion.
Mark Brierley teaches English at Shinshu University in Matsumoto, Nagano prefecture. He edits the JALT ER SIG newsletter and works on the Extensive Reading Foundation Placement Test. As well as Extensive Reading he is interested in Low Energy Building.
(4) ER: Building a better foundation for language learning
Our second language learners are constantly being challenged to achieve higher scores on English proficiency tests like TOEFL, TOEIC and EIKEN to name a few, but fail to hit the mark due to slow reading, and a limited range of vocabulary and knowledge. This also can be a contributing factor to demotivation in the language classroom. As Richard Day states in Extensive Reading – Into the Classroom, “Using authentic texts that are too difficult for most language learners, is a little like learning to play the piano. Learners start with easy pieces. Teachers do not ask their pupils to move straight on to music by Beethoven, Mozart or Liszt. In order to reach that goal, beginners start at the beginning by learning to play music written for beginners.” Not only does ER give students a better foundation in reading skills, but it also transfers to other areas of language learning such as grammar, listening, speaking and writing. ER provides students with an additional support structure to be more proficient in language acquisition. Furthermore, it provides students a tool for lifelong learning and enjoyment. In today’s workshop, the presenter will share her journey both the joys and tears as an ER Coordinator in a private secondary school in Kyoto.
Ann Flanagan has been teaching at Ritsumeikan Junior and Senior High School in Nagaokakyo, Japan for the past 19 years. She has an MA in TESOL from the School for International Training. Her research interests include extensive reading, teacher training and curriculum development.