17 Feb 2013, 1:17pm



Thank you for your lecture in Osaka.
I also think “Extensive Reading” is the suitable way to learn English for Japanese students.
The lecture about “What are some common problems?” helps me to sort out the ways to handle these kinds of problems.
Thank you again.

Hi Tomoko
Thank you very much for the kind words! I had a great time in Osaka and hope to be back again soon 🙂

19 Feb 2013, 8:33pm
by Trevor Lawless


Hello Ben,

When you teach young learners, how much of your “overall program” is the “reading program” you outline in these slides? What other components if any do you have in your overall program/curriculum for young learners.
Unfortunately I checked your blog a day too late and missed your presentation in Fukuoka.

Thanks again.

Hi Trevor

Great question. For us, the reading program varies in terms of the weight it takes up in our overall curriculum.

For kindy classes (3-6 years old: pre-elementary school), it is fairly minor, being mainly phonemic awareness-building and teaching the phonic anchor words and sounds.

Once students enter elementary school we start doing about 5-10 minutes of phonics/reading activities per class, plus a story book (which helps develop meta-skills such as thinking about the story, relating to the story, predicting, and so on.

Once students can read phonic readers, they start taking them home as homework, so this increases the time spent on reading to 10-15 minutes per class (students continue learning systematic phonics).

After a couple of years of phonic readers we move them on to leveled and graded readers, at which point the amount of class time spent on reading goes down again. Homework, however, increases as we expect them to do free reading and reading of set books.

Apart from reading, we also have vocabulary, songs, question-response, intensive reading (textbooks), and grammar (textbooks) strands in the curriculum.

Hope that helps!

Hello Ben,

I’m teaching mon – fri,40 minute lessons for kids who attend every day. These kids are ages 3 and up with a 15-20 class size. Do you have any recommended materials to use in a curriculum for an everyday English class? We are currently using the BIG ORT books but are also being leased a pricey English program I would like to get dropped.

Personally I find ORT better as far as the everyday daily language used,l and storytelling goes is better suited for our current situation.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Mark

Thanks for stopping by! I had a look at your blog and you seem to be doing great.

I really like the Follifoot Farm series for phonics decoding work for slightly older children (8-9+). ORT is wonderful, as you mentioned. General story/picture books (from Maruzen, Amazon, or abroad) are wonderful to use in class.

Online, Starfall and Raz-kids are good if you have access to individual computer stations or ipads (we cycle students through these as the others check homework).

Hope that helps!

20 Feb 2013, 7:10pm
by Trevor Lawless


It does. Thanks.


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