Extended Readings

I got this question:

Ben – I understood that you don’t think it is a good idea to give extended readings to students at the very beginning (novice low, 1). Can you explain further the reasons why?

I responded:

The reason, and this is only my viewpoint, is that kids read at different speeds and so when they are all told to read together in the same room at the same time then things like comparing their speed of reading to others happens. This taps into children’s fears that they might not be good enough.

Krashen’s research to my knowledge was not done on kids in classrooms. Kids are ALWAYS COMPARING THEMSELVES AND THIS CREATES LOSERS. The affective/self image part of learning a language is FAR MORE IMPACTFUL than I believe people know or care about.

Also, why should they read things that they can’t read, when they can read things that they can read (the tableaux and stories that they created themselves because they weren’t wasting time reading those boring novels too early in level 1). Of course I know that reading is never a waste of time, but might it indeed be if unleashed on certain (slower-processing) kids too early? 

In general, kids need more than a few months in level 1 to prepare for extended readings. It’s so obvious. The kids in my view at the bare minimum need at least an entire year to prepare and then in level 2 maybe we can say that extended readings are advisable, but only for certain students. But not the damaged ones who are always being compared to those five that run the class and bond with the teacher at the expense of the others.

Our primary goal in our instruction should be to guarantee our students’ success.

I do not understand why we make little kids read so early. 

They’re really not ready, in my opinion. How can they be ready when they haven’t had enough comprehensible input in the form of listening? Why do teachers assume they HAVE had enough listening first? They haven’t.

My opinion is based on what the research says and on my own years in the classroom, watching over half of my classes really struggle to read without effort (Krashen). In my view, because of the effortless part and the Natural Order of Acquisition Hypothesis, the research implies that auditory CI should cover a much longer period, years really, before the other skills happen,.

The big problem in my view is the way we have scheduled their acquisition and divided it up into graded chunks and randomly targeted certain kinds of tasks to be learned after a certain period of time. Doing that does not jive with the spirit of the Natural Order of Acquisition, so why are we trying to get them to do tasks too early? They can’t do them. Only the few. It’s always about the few in schools, whereas I am seeing in my own heart a future where all kids succeed.



2 thoughts on “Extended Readings”

  1. Its always about the few in schools. Yep. The few who raise mutiny, the few who lap up our words of wisdom, and the vast majority who are there for the social scene. It is a false world created.

    I am excited for the parents who are taking education into their own hands creating pods of home schooled sheltered neighborhoods. The giant school factory model does need to change.

    And to teach a language you really need fluent speakers pumping out real life language. What is happening in the moment. That immersion is the best. Creating our own stories is next best in my mind.

  2. Kate said:

    the giant school factory model does need to change

    In my view it is full collapse right now, so much so that it isn’t about change as much as it is about total destruction. Only then will the phoenix rise.

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