Tweaking Extensive Reading

Here is my presentation from the Extensive Reading SIG Forum at JALT 2010. It was a five-minute description of a seemingly cosmetic change I made to my ER class that resulted in hugely improved results. I encouraged everyone to play with how they ran their programs, as the next breakthrough could be just around the corner.

101120_tweaking ER_shearon

Got some great advice from Eleanor K. who suggested a topic for me to present at the pan-SIG conference next year.

Thanks Eleanor, I’ll be taking that idea and running with it!

Sorry I missed your presentation at JALT. I arrived to the SIG forum a bit late, and missed out. I just downloaded your PDF to see what I missed, but I am still wondering… I like your simple slides (Garr Reynolds would be proud), but when presented without context they left my curiosity unsated. Can you add some bullet points to this post to outline the changes you made?
In the meantime, I will just take a walk down the hallway and ask Eleanor, as I am sure that she can bring me up to speed.

Hi Steve

Thanks for coming by! I know what you mean about the slides. I actually wondered if it was worth putting them up, but I figured they could: a) remind people of what I said, and b) act as ‘teasers’ to persuade people to come and see me next time I am presenting! 🙂

I’m planning to video all my presentations from now on, so hopefully can put those videos up to make up for my inadequate slides…

I made two changes to my ER program: 1) I measured the number of words students read, rather than the number of books, and 2) I made all students start with the easiest books and level up. These simple changes resulted in my students this year reading three or four times as much as the ones last year, and seeming to enjoy it more too. I’ll be presenting on this in more depth at the Pan-SIG in May (as Eleanor suggested).

Hi Ben.

I googled you to see you if you had a website with your wonderful slides. I am teaching a reading class next week and thought I would pinch some of your nice images. So if you could see fit to post your slides, teachers like me could then reproduce them and have students coo at the pretty pictures. Steve’s comment seems to suggest that I can find them somewhere. JALT site?

I am glad that you are going to talk about starting everyone at the most basic level. I worked out that I would need about 2500 of that level for 500 students to be able to do ER at the same time. So it’s not for a large programme, unless you have considerable funds. Otherwise, I would really like to have adopted that idea. I hope I can get to Nagano to see you present.

Did you ever see my email about Barrington Stoke readers in reply to your post on the Yahoo Extensive Reading list. Basically, it was just a suggestion to buy them in addition to graded readers with a few provisos: adult themes and lots of slang.


Hey Eleanor

Thanks for stopping by! I won’t be posting my slides, I don’t think, but I’d be happy to send them to you (I’ll see how big the file is). Thanks also for the suggestion to present on starting everyone on easy -I am increasingly thinking it is essential for normal Japanese post-high school students.

I did get your email -thanks!- but had already sent the library my Xmas list. I will check them out and perhaps order them myself.

Have a great Xmas and New Year, and hope to see you soon!


Oops, I just saw the link at the top of the page. Sorry.


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