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[ExtensiveReading] Assessment Criteria for teaching extensive reading

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  • Julian Bamford
    [Anita wrote: I grade my students based on the number of pages they have read....I sometimes find that some students only read the first part and the last part
    Message 1 of 18 , Sep 1, 2006
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      [Anita wrote: I grade my students based on the number of pages they
      have read....I sometimes find that some students only read the first
      part and the last part of the book only, or only listen to their
      friend's story or copy other's report instead of reading the book
      themselves because they only want to fulfill the course requirement.]

      Bill Pellowe has come up with a way to check if students have read what
      they say they've read. (see "Extensive Reading Activities for Teaching
      Language" [Cambridge] pp. 82-4 which--full disclosure--I co-edited)
      Briefly, when a student says she's finished a book, the teacher
      photocopies two pages from the middle of a chapter in the second half
      of the book, including a picture if possible. The student has to write
      what happens before and what happens after the photocopied part of the
      book--giving details that place the scene in the story, rather than
      broad plot strokes.

      To look at this from a wider perspective, it *is* a problem when
      students go through the motions rather than engage with what they are
      reading. I'm not sure moving through print just to get a grade should
      even be called reading. Beniko's idea--telling students that in order
      to pass the test, they need to improve their reading skills by
      reading--neatly solves this by giving students a task or purpose (i.e.,
      improving their skills) beyond simply consuming print (or faking same).

      If students are expected to do something with what they read, it leads
      to them properly engaging with their reading. The follow-up task has
      to be something they see as useful or pleasant--otherwise they'll just
      try to find ways to cheat, as when they copy someone else's book report
      or the answers to comprehension questions. The interface of reading
      and other tasks is where extensive reading can link with the rest of
      the curriculum. To give just two examples (also taken from "Extensive
      Reading Activities"), students can write a new ending to a story (a
      writing activity), or can make a video news bulletin based on
      non-fiction reading (a writing and speaking activity).

      If you don't want to take the focus away from reading, the follow-up
      activities can be very short--writing a one-sentence summary of a book,
      or drawing an original picture, or writing a haiku poem about one
      character. If students are reading books in common, the above can be
      displayed and compared, with students choosing the one(s) that best
      capture the book in question.

      --Julian
    • dk
      But isn t testing extensive reasoning raising the affective filter? It just seems to me that the real value of extensive reading does not lend itself to
      Message 2 of 18 , Sep 1, 2006
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        But isn't testing extensive reasoning raising the affective filter?

        It just seems to me that the real value of extensive reading does not
        lend itself to artificial monitoring or measurement. In other words, if
        you put a measure on it you will lose it and we're back to square one.

        If the students are doing extensive reading knowing that they will
        receive a test and a score then they won't be able to read for pleasure.
        The test corrupts the training, again.

        This is the dilemma of extensive reading for pleasure and learning. If
        you don't test it then you can't measure it or score it. If you do test
        it then you corrupt the effects.

        Dave Kees

        ===========================================================
        davekees@... - Guangzhou, China - skype: davekees
      • Pat Barrett
        I thought the meaure was the reading they do. What s to test? Or is this for some administrative goal ? PBarrett@cox.net Pat Barrett ... From: dk To:
        Message 3 of 18 , Sep 1, 2006
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          I thought the meaure was the reading they do. What's to test? Or is this for some administrative "goal"?
          PBarrett@...  Pat Barrett
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: dk
          Sent: Friday, September 01, 2006 4:25 PM
          Subject: RE: [ExtensiveReading] Assessment Criteria for teaching extensive reading

          But isn't testing extensive reasoning raising the affective filter?

          It just seems to me that the real value of extensive reading does not
          lend itself to artificial monitoring or measurement. In other words, if
          you put a measure on it you will lose it and we're back to square one.

          If the students are doing extensive reading knowing that they will
          receive a test and a score then they won't be able to read for pleasure.
          The test corrupts the training, again.

          This is the dilemma of extensive reading for pleasure and learning. If
          you don't test it then you can't measure it or score it. If you do test
          it then you corrupt the effects.

          Dave Kees

          ============ ========= ========= ========= ========= ========= ==
          davekees@davekees. com - Guangzhou, China - skype: davekees

        • chris binch
          Hi Pat, I agree that the measure should be the amount of reading completed. But, unfortunately most teachers and administrators want proof of reading, and
          Message 4 of 18 , Sep 4, 2006
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            Hi Pat,

            I agree that the measure should be the amount of reading completed. But, unfortunately most teachers and administrators
            want proof of reading, and waiting till an end of year examination to find out that some students quite clearly haven't
            been reading is unsatisfactory for most, and will (in my school at least) reflect very badly on the teacher. Some sort of
            on-going "check" therefore is needed. Admittedly, many teachers will see this checking as a form of testing and contrary
            to the principles of ER, after all L1 pleasure readers are rarely, if ever, tested. Therefore, many of us have to resign
            ourselves to the fact that we are guilty of corrupting ER to an extent and as a result our students may not reap all the
            rewards ER has to offer. However, if you have complete confidence in your students (and in ER) and your students and
            administrators have trust in you, then you are lucky and should have no need to test.

            Best wishes,

            Chris Binch

            cbinch@...-u.ac.jp



            In message "Re: [ExtensiveReading] Assessment Criteria for teaching extensive reading",
            Pat Barrett wrote...
            >I thought the meaure was the reading they do. What's to test? Or is this for some administrative "goal"?
            >PBarrett@... Pat Barrett
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: dk
            > To: ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com
            > Sent: Friday, September 01, 2006 4:25 PM
            > Subject: RE: [ExtensiveReading] Assessment Criteria for teaching extensive reading
            >
            >
            > But isn't testing extensive reasoning raising the affective filter?
            >
            > It just seems to me that the real value of extensive reading does not
            > lend itself to artificial monitoring or measurement. In other words, if
            > you put a measure on it you will lose it and we're back to square one.
            >
            > If the students are doing extensive reading knowing that they will
            > receive a test and a score then they won't be able to read for pleasure.
            > The test corrupts the training, again.
            >
            > This is the dilemma of extensive reading for pleasure and learning. If
            > you don't test it then you can't measure it or score it. If you do test
            > it then you corrupt the effects.
            >
            > Dave Kees
            >
            > ===========================================================
            > davekees@... - Guangzhou, China - skype: davekees
            >
            >
            >
            >

            ----
            chris binch cbinch@...-u.ac.jp
          • Scott Miles
            This has been an interesting conversation on evaluation and checking to make sure the reading has been done. In any class that gives grades, I agree that
            Message 5 of 18 , Sep 4, 2006
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              This has been an interesting conversation on evaluation and checking to make sure the reading has been done. In any class that gives grades, I agree that something has to be done to make sure students are actually doing the reading.

              I agree with a lot that has already been said before, such as post-reading activities that can sort out the 'have reads' from the 'have nots' and I think this is ideal for smaller classes where the teacher can at least listen in on each group while they do the activity.

              My classes are a little too large for this, and I also have my students in my reading class read about 7 graded readers over the semester. I tried oral interviews, in which we just chat about the book but this is not easy to do with a lot of students reading a lot of books. It also demands a certain level of oral proficiency to allow students to speak at length and in detail about the books they read enough for me to feel satisfied.

              Lately, I've had students keep a running journal (I use a Moodle site which easily allows this) of the books they read. After each chapter they read, they give a very brief summary of what they read (I strictly limit it to 4 sentences) and then they can give any response they like about that chapter (things they thought were most interesting or strange, feelings about what might happen next, what they would have done if they were in the story, etc.).

              To keep this from being too much of a burden, I give the option of having them write in their first language (Korean). It gives me a little extensive reading of my own which generally I find interesting, by the way. Many chose to do in English anyway.

              This has given me the most assurance that they have actually read the book. I do worry about it being too burdensome, but the kind of information I ask for is usually quite interesting and my impression is that it adds to the reading experience, giving them a chance to share their impressions with someone as they read.

              Another possible weakness is that if they write something, I feel obliged to reply and this can become quite time consuming. I let the students know that though I do read all their entries, I can't reply to all of them all the time. I try to just make one reply per book.

              Scott



              chris binch <cbinch@...-u.ac.jp> wrote:
              Hi Pat,

              I agree that the measure should be the amount of reading completed. But, unfortunately most teachers and administrators
              want proof of reading, and waiting till an end of year examination to find out that some students quite clearly haven't
              been reading is unsatisfactory for most, and will (in my school at least) reflect very badly on the teacher. Some sort of
              on-going "check" therefore is needed. Admittedly, many teachers will see this checking as a form of testing and contrary
              to the principles of ER, after all L1 pleasure readers are rarely, if ever, tested. Therefore, many of us have to resign
              ourselves to the fact that we are guilty of corrupting ER to an extent and as a result our students may not reap all the
              rewards ER has to offer. However, if you have complete confidence in your students (and in ER) and your students and
              administrators have trust in you, then you are lucky and should have no need to test.

              Best wishes,

              Chris Binch

              cbinch@...- u.ac.jp

              In message "Re: [ExtensiveReading] Assessment Criteria for teaching extensive reading",
              Pat Barrett wrote...
              >I thought the meaure was the reading they do. What's to test? Or is this for some administrative "goal"?
              >PBarrett@cox. net Pat Barrett
              > ----- Original Message -----
              > From: dk
              > To: ExtensiveReading@ yahoogroups. com
              > Sent: Friday, September 01, 2006 4:25 PM
              > Subject: RE: [ExtensiveReading] Assessment Criteria for teaching extensive reading
              >
              >
              > But isn't testing extensive reasoning raising the affective filter?
              >
              > It just seems to me that the real value of extensive reading does not
              > lend itself to artificial monitoring or measurement. In other words, if
              > you put a measure on it you will lose it and we're back to square one.
              >
              > If the students are doing extensive reading knowing that they will
              > receive a test and a score then they won't be able to read for pleasure.
              > The test corrupts the training, again.
              >
              > This is the dilemma of extensive reading for pleasure and learning. If
              > you don't test it then you can't measure it or score it. If you do test
              > it then you corrupt the effects.
              >
              > Dave Kees
              >
              > ============ ========= ========= ========= ========= ========= ==
              > davekees@davekees. com - Guangzhou, China - skype: davekees
              >
              >
              >
              >

              ----
              chris binch cbinch@...- u.ac.jp


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            • dk
              Therefore, many of us have to resign ourselves to the fact that we are guilty of corrupting ER... And that is the crux of the problem, isn t it? ER as a way
              Message 6 of 18 , Sep 5, 2006
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                "Therefore, many of us have to resign ourselves to the fact that we are
                guilty of corrupting ER..."


                And that is the crux of the problem, isn't it? ER as a way to learn
                English through pleasurable reading, a completely natural approach, is
                completely inconsistent with any artificial controls that are put on it.

                To do it right you cannot test it. If you test it you are not doing it
                right. It sounds like the original interpretation of Heisenberg's
                Uncertainty Principle. If you measured it then it is not there.

                I don't have the solution for this sort of zero pressure pleasurable
                extensive reading in an academic setting (ie: school) dilemma either. So
                perhaps all we can do is to try to make the testing as pleasurable as
                possible.

                I have been having my students listen to VOA Special English. I ask them
                to choose one of the thousands of stories that interests them. They then
                put it into their mp3 and listen to it a few times during the day.
                Afterwards they read the story and then they can check any words from
                the story that they haven't been able to figure out in the dictionary.
                After all of that they call me and tell me about the story. I sometimes
                look the story up if I'm online and see how much they are reading or
                paraphrasing or adlibbing. Basically, the exercise is Listen 3 times,
                Read 2 times, Talk 1 time.

                They are often quite excited about the story and say they really enjoyed
                it. In describing the story they are often caught up in the moral
                dilemma (AMERICAN STORIES - A Horseman in the Sky) or the social urgency
                of a problem (DEVELOPMENT REPORT - Poor Nutrition in the Developing
                World), not if they are performing well in the test or not. On a scale
                of 1-5, one is not interesting and five is very interesting, all stories
                have been between three and five. They often have a lot of enthusiasm in
                their voice when talking about the story. I don't detect any burdensome
                feelings about this sort of review.

                I give them full credit for doing this "speaking homework" if they do it
                no matter how well they do it. Some of my lower level students have a
                tough time doing any more than reading the story and some are so good I
                have moved them off Special English and onto NPR (National Public
                Radio).

                Of course, this is only 22 (soon to be 32) corporate students from two
                (soon to be three) different companies. I'll soon be starting with my
                160 college kids and won't be able to do it with them.

                Dave
              • Warren Ediger
                Dave, Excellent use of VOA! Thanks! You just filled in a gap I was trying to fill with my own students. Warren dk wrote: Therefore, many
                Message 7 of 18 , Sep 5, 2006
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                  Dave,
                   
                  Excellent use of VOA! Thanks! You just filled in a gap I was trying to fill with my own students.
                   
                  Warren

                  dk <davekees1@...> wrote:
                  "Therefore, many of us have to resign ourselves to the fact that we are
                  guilty of corrupting ER..."

                  And that is the crux of the problem, isn't it? ER as a way to learn
                  English through pleasurable reading, a completely natural approach, is
                  completely inconsistent with any artificial controls that are put on it.

                  To do it right you cannot test it. If you test it you are not doing it
                  right. It sounds like the original interpretation of Heisenberg's
                  Uncertainty Principle. If you measured it then it is not there.

                  I don't have the solution for this sort of zero pressure pleasurable
                  extensive reading in an academic setting (ie: school) dilemma either. So
                  perhaps all we can do is to try to make the testing as pleasurable as
                  possible.

                  I have been having my students listen to VOA Special English. I ask them
                  to choose one of the thousands of stories that interests them. They then
                  put it into their mp3 and listen to it a few times during the day.
                  Afterwards they read the story and then they can check any words from
                  the story that they haven't been able to figure out in the dictionary.
                  After all of that they call me and tell me about the story. I sometimes
                  look the story up if I'm online and see how much they are reading or
                  paraphrasing or adlibbing. Basically, the exercise is Listen 3 times,
                  Read 2 times, Talk 1 time.

                  They are often quite excited about the story and say they really enjoyed
                  it. In describing the story they are often caught up in the moral
                  dilemma (AMERICAN STORIES - A Horseman in the Sky) or the social urgency
                  of a problem (DEVELOPMENT REPORT - Poor Nutrition in the Developing
                  World), not if they are performing well in the test or not. On a scale
                  of 1-5, one is not interesting and five is very interesting, all stories
                  have been between three and five. They often have a lot of enthusiasm in
                  their voice when talking about the story. I don't detect any burdensome
                  feelings about this sort of review.

                  I give them full credit for doing this "speaking homework" if they do it
                  no matter how well they do it. Some of my lower level students have a
                  tough time doing any more than reading the story and some are so good I
                  have moved them off Special English and onto NPR (National Public
                  Radio).

                  Of course, this is only 22 (soon to be 32) corporate students from two
                  (soon to be three) different companies. I'll soon be starting with my
                  160 college kids and won't be able to do it with them.

                  Dave



                  All-new Yahoo! Mail - Fire up a more powerful email and get things done faster.

                • tom mccarthy
                  I m looking for some research papers, based in Japan --and in japanese-- comparing ER with other teaching methods. Dr. Mason? cheers, tom mccarthy
                  Message 8 of 18 , Oct 29, 2007
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                    I'm looking for some research papers, based in Japan --and in
                    japanese-- comparing ER with other teaching methods.
                    Dr. Mason?

                    cheers,
                    tom mccarthy
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