The theoretical and methodological aspects of establishing an extensive reading programme for advanced students of English at Põltsamaa Co-Educational Gymnasium
Extensive reading, or reading large quantities of interesting and easily understandable text, has been promoted for many decades by now (Day and Bamford 1998, Grabe 2009). Empirical findings consistently show positive benefit in various aspects of language (Nakanishi 2015, Jeon and Day 2016). Still, adopting this method in foreign language courses has not been as prevalent as many proponents would hope. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the evidence that supports extensive reading programmes and the specific qualities of these, and to use this knowledge in designing a better, more evidence-based reading programme, which would be compatible with the Estonian national curriculum for upper secondary schools and suit the students in advanced English groups at Põltsamaa Co-Educational Gymnasium. The introduction of this thesis gives an overview of the purposes and structure of the paper; in addition, it gives the definition of extensive reading as it is used in this thesis and its main characteristics, and a short overview of how the method emerged. It also describes the possible meeting points of extensive reading principles and the expectations for teaching English in Estonia. The first chapter provides a literature review on extensive reading, which focuses on the most widely studied benefits, possible limitations and practical characteristics, such as where and how much to read. The second chapter establishes reading goals in terms of the number of words to be read, and describes the methodology, results, limitations and implications of a study into existing reading materials at Põltsamaa Co-Educational Gymnasium. It also includes a set of tasks designed to supplement the extensive reading that the students would do. The conclusion summarises the findings.
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