Saturday, June 28, 2014

Missing from the debate: Pleasure reading in English

Sent to the South Chine Morning Post, June 28, 2014.
I have participated in the Great Native Speaker Teacher debate in the South China Morning Post (letters by Vaughen Rapatahana, June 11, Michael Shaw, June 17, my letter, June 23, Regina Ip, June 27).
Missing from all of these letters, including mine, is any mention of the biggest factor in helping students develop to high levels of English proficiency: self-selected pleasure reading. Those who read more develop higher levels of reading ability, writing ability, grammar, vocabulary and spelling, and studies consistently show that the amount of pleasure reading done in English is the best predictor of advanced English proficiency (eg. TEOFL).
What every English teacher should do, whether native or not, is help students develop a pleasure reading habit in English. This can be done by allowing students some time for reading in school, beginning with easy readers and moving on to comprehensible authentic reading, and by introducing students to genuinely interesting reading material.
What Hong Kong needs to do is make sure that interesting reading material is easily available in school and public libraries. This will not only make English classes more effective but will also ensure that growth in English will continue after students finish school.

Stephen Krashen

Some Sources:
Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Heinemann Publishing Company and Libraries Unlimited.
Krashen, S. 2011. Free Voluntary Reading. Westport: Libraries Unlimited.

No comments:

Post a Comment