Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Effects of an Extensive Reading Program on Improving English as Foreign Language Proficiency in University Level Education

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Effects of an Extensive Reading Program on Improving English as Foreign Language Proficiency in University Level Education

Article excerpt


This study aimed at investigating the impact of extensive reading on improving reading proficiency. The study tried to find the effect of ER on EFL student's reading, vocabulary and grammar. The researcher designed two instruments; a program based on the extensive reading strategy and general test. Forty-one university students who study English was purposefully chosen from several universities in the academic year 2012 and the study continued for three semesters. To establish the validity for the instruments, the method of content validity was used; the instruments were given to a jury of specialists. In addition, the reliability of the test was established. Before carrying out the experiment, a pre-test for the general reading comprehension was administrated. By the end of the experiment, the researcher administrated the general reading comprehension post-test. The researcher used the t-test to detect any significant differences between the pre-test and post-test on the reading, grammar, and vocabulary. The findings show that ER improves university EFL students' reading, vocabulary and grammar achievement. Finally, the researcher suggested several recommendations.

Keywords: extensive reading, reading proficiency, writing, grammar accuracy, vocabulary

1. Introduction

Reading comprehension, reading speed, grammar, and vocabulary knowledge are the basic criteria often used to judge Jordanian university students' proficiency. A student who reads without comprehension is not really reading. However, comprehension will become valueless if reading efficiency does not take into account reading speed, which is usually measured in the number of words read per minute.

One series problem in reading comprehension is that among students are used to comprehending a passage on sentence level rather than on discourse level. This frailer causes some students to be dependent on understanding every single sentence in a text, even when this is not necessary to fulfill their reading purpose, with the result they tend to rend all texts at the same speed. In addition, the student heavily relies on dictionaries to get the meanings of some new words.

The intensive reading approach refers to Grammar Translation Method. Teachers adopts the intensive reading approach usually focus their attention on knowledge of English, not on the use of English. In class, they spend most of the time on sentence translation and grammar explanation. Most of the students' time is spent in translation sentences from Arabic into English, or vice versa, and in doing grammar exercise. Therefore, students fail to get as much comprehensible input in their learning process. In addition, grammar is taught deductively by using the intensive method so students have not learnt grammar meaningfully. However, extensive reading has been much neglected or it is applied in wrong way.

Hafiz and Tudor (1989) define ER as "the reading of large amounts of material in the second language over time for personal pleasure or interest, and without the addition of productive tasks or follow up language work". Grabe (1991) uses the term "sustained silent reading", while Mason and Krashen (1997) call it "free reading". In the past decades, some studies were conducted on the significance of extensive reading to foreign language or second language learning. Many of the studies show that extensive reading can effectively improve students' reading proficiency in foreign language or second language learning (Anderson, et al., 1988).

Due to these problems caused by the difficulties of intensive reading in Jordan and based on the benefits reported by many researchers about using extensive reading, it is essential to examine whether extensive reading might be more effective than the conventional method traditionally used in EFL classroom context at Jordanian universities' levels.

In the researcher opinion, students read without any particular strategies for remembering new words, getting the main ideas, getting the meaning by the context, recognizing and applying grammar or reading in discourse level. …

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