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Re: [ExtensiveReading] word count help

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  • Glen Hill
    Here s a question for those of you who set word counts for ER students. How do you determine the number of words for the students target? Glenski
    Message 1 of 22 , Sep 10, 2010
      Here's a question for those of you who set word counts for ER students.

      How do you determine the number of words for the students' target?

      Glenski

      On Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 3:36 PM, Akio FURUKAWA <fakio@...> wrote:
       


      > The Purse - teen stories

      > Mr. Jealous - teen stories
      1800
      > Mystery Girl - teen stories
      1900
      > Blackmail - teen stories
      1200
      > Smile Please
      1000
      > Two Boyfriends- teen stories
      1900
      > The Plan - teen stories
      1900

      You can use

      http://www.seg.co.jp/sss_review/jsp/frm_a_100.jsp

      to look up the word count.

      BFN

      FURUKAWA
      SSS

    • Akio FURUKAWA
      Dear Glenski, We set the targets for twelve month ER as follows: For 7th graders who start studying English from middle school 100,000 words in a year. For
      Message 2 of 22 , Sep 10, 2010
        Dear Glenski,

        We set the targets  for twelve month ER as follows:

        For 7th graders who start studying English from middle school
           100,000 words in a year.
        For 7th graders who have already learn English at the elementary shool
           200,000 words in a year.
        For 8th graders and higher
           300,000 words in a year.

        About 80% of our students reach the targets in a year.
        The average is about twice the words above.
         
        I determined the number of words as the half of the average words the students
        actually read last year.


        Akio FURUKAWA
        SEG



        (2010/09/10 19:59), Glen Hill wrote:


        Here's a question for those of you who set word counts for ER students.

        How do you determine the number of words for the students' target?

        Glenski

        On Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 3:36 PM, Akio FURUKAWA <fakio@...> wrote:
         

        -- 
        --------------------------------
        古川 昭夫  fakio@...
        --------------------------------
      • Glen Hill
        Thanks, Akio. But if one has no history on how many words students have read from a previous year or semester, how does one determine a target? And in my
        Message 3 of 22 , Sep 10, 2010
          Thanks, Akio.  But if one has no history on how many words students have read from a previous year or semester, how does one determine a target? And in my case, students are in university, which would make it a little hard to determine when they started reading in the earlier years.
          Glenski

          On Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 8:47 PM, Akio FURUKAWA <fakio@...> wrote:
           

          Dear Glenski,

          We set the targets  for twelve month ER as follows:

          For 7th graders who start studying English from middle school
             100,000 words in a year.
          For 7th graders who have already learn English at the elementary shool
             200,000 words in a year.
          For 8th graders and higher
             300,000 words in a year.

          About 80% of our students reach the targets in a year.
          The average is about twice the words above.
           
          I determined the number of words as the half of the average words the students
          actually read last year.


          Akio FURUKAWA
          SEG





          (2010/09/10 19:59), Glen Hill wrote:


          Here's a question for those of you who set word counts for ER students.

          How do you determine the number of words for the students' target?

          Glenski

          On Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 3:36 PM, Akio FURUKAWA <fakio@...> wrote:
           

          -- 
          --------------------------------
          古川 昭夫  fakio@...
          --------------------------------

        • Akio FURUKAWA
          Dear all, Our experience at Toyota Technical College and SEG juku suggests that students should read more than 300,000 words to improve their English level. So
          Message 4 of 22 , Sep 10, 2010
            Dear all,

            Our experience at Toyota Technical College and SEG juku suggests that
            students should read more than 300,000 words to improve their English level.
            So we strongly advise you to set the target 300,000 words reading in a year
            and make a plan to have your students be able to read 300,000 words in a year.

            Most Japanese university students can read 100 words per minute after some ER training.
            It means they can read 6000 words per hour and it takes 50 hours for reading 300,000 words.
            If you can spent 25 hours in class reading then your students should spent 25 hours for reading
            at home
              
            Akio


            (2010/09/11 7:49), Glen Hill wrote:


            Thanks, Akio.  But if one has no history on how many words students have read from a previous year or semester, how does one determine a target? And in my case, students are in university, which would make it a little hard to determine when they started reading in the earlier years.
            Glenski

            On Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 8:47 PM, Akio FURUKAWA <fakio@...> wrote:
             

            Dear Glenski,

            We set the targets  for twelve month ER as follows:

            For 7th graders who start studying English from middle school
               100,000 words in a year.
            For 7th graders who have already learn English at the elementary shool
               200,000 words in a year.
            For 8th graders and higher
               300,000 words in a year.

            About 80% of our students reach the targets in a year.
            The average is about twice the words above.
             
            I determined the number of words as the half of the average words the students
            actually read last year.


            Akio FURUKAWA
            SEG


            -- 
            --------------------------------
            古川 昭夫  fakio@...
            --------------------------------
          • リチャード・レマー
            A colleague and I have decided on a way to make the change from number of pages to word counts by this procedure. We plan to have each student in the class
            Message 5 of 22 , Sep 10, 2010
              A colleague and I have decided on a way to make the change from number of pages to word counts by this procedure. We plan to have each student in the class (one high and one low level) get a graded reader at their level (already known from last semester) and then do a reading speed check. We will take the average from each class and then come up with a total target number that add up to roughly 90 minutes of outside reading time per week. We expect many students to exceed the required amount as this has always happened when we required 500 pages per semester. Does this seem reasonable? The classes are Oral Communication ones and ER is an adjunct with some activities in class, but reading done as homework.

              Richard

              > ---------------- multipart message ----------------
              > Dear all,
              >
              > Our experience at Toyota Technical College and SEG juku suggests that
              > students should read more than 300,000 words to improve their English level.
              > So we strongly advise you to set the target 300,000 words reading in a year
              > and make a plan to have your students be able to read 300,000 words in a
              > year.
            • Mark Brierley
              Hi Glen, I ve found targets are often inappropriate and usually arbitrary, especially if set from above. If you set targets, students try to hit them, or try
              Message 6 of 22 , Sep 11, 2010
                Hi Glen,

                I've found targets are often inappropriate and usually arbitrary, especially if set from above.  If you set targets, students try to hit them, or try to appear to hit them.  The intention may be to set a minimum amount of reading, but this will become a maximum in most cases.

                Either the target will be too much or too little. If the targets are too high, students will think it's impossible, become demoralised and read nothing, and/or cheat and lie. If the targets are too low, students will pace themselves and read much less than they could have read. They may reach the target and stop. What I believe we're trying to do is get students into a reading habit, so we're not really interested in how much they have read, but how much they are reading. Not the distance they have covered, but how they are moving.

                Students should read a lot, but for a student who has never read a whole book in English, one book will be a lot. For a more experienced reader, one slim reader per week may be a lot, but people who read a lot in their native language will read a few full-length books every week. At the beginning of my first year, students who have read two books in English have read a lot. Any one who has read a lot in Japanese has read hundreds of books.

                The best thing I've found is to let students set their own targets. For example, each month they decide how much they will read by the next month, either in number of books, number of words or number of pages, then they see whether they've met their targets.

                For their assessment I use their word counts, but I evade the question of how much they are supposed to read, except that if they read more, they will get a higher grade. I also show amounts other students have read in previous years, and compare with the amount they read in Junior High and High School (which is equivalent to about two or three graded readers, probably between levels 2 and 36!)

                The problem is that you do want them to read a lot, but you don't want to tell them exactly what you mean by a lot.

                Mark

                On 10 September 2010 19:59, Glen Hill <glenahill@...> wrote:
                 

                Here's a question for those of you who set word counts for ER students.

                How do you determine the number of words for the students' target?

                Glenski


                On Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 3:36 PM, Akio FURUKAWA <fakio@...> wrote:
                 


                > The Purse - teen stories

                > Mr. Jealous - teen stories
                1800
                > Mystery Girl - teen stories
                1900
                > Blackmail - teen stories
                1200
                > Smile Please
                1000
                > Two Boyfriends- teen stories
                1900
                > The Plan - teen stories
                1900

                You can use

                http://www.seg.co.jp/sss_review/jsp/frm_a_100.jsp

                to look up the word count.

                BFN

                FURUKAWA
                SSS




                --
                Mark Brierley
                School of General Education
                Shinshu University
                Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan
                +81 263 37-2923
                mobile 090 4464 6391
              • Ben Shearon
                Hi Mark and Glenski I have been trying a new system where students need to hit word targets in order to move up to new reading levels, but have a course goal
                Message 7 of 22 , Sep 11, 2010
                  Hi Mark and Glenski

                  I have been trying a new system where students need to hit word targets in order to move up to new reading levels, but have a course goal of 'read as much as you can'. It's been working really well and I'll be talking about it at the ER session at JALT national in November. Hope to see you and others there!

                  cheers

                  ben

                  On 12 September 2010 06:43, Mark Brierley <mark2@...> wrote:
                   

                  Hi Glen,

                  I've found targets are often inappropriate and usually arbitrary, especially if set from above.  If you set targets, students try to hit them, or try to appear to hit them.  The intention may be to set a minimum amount of reading, but this will become a maximum in most cases. 

                • Akio FURUKAWA
                  Dear all, We had summer class for extensive reading and 1592 students from 7th grade to 12th grade joined our class. At the end of the class, each student
                  Message 8 of 22 , Sep 12, 2010
                    Dear all,

                    We had summer class  for extensive reading and
                    1592 students from 7th grade to 12th grade joined our class.

                    At the end of the class, each student voted a book title
                    or a series title which he/she thought best from the books
                    he/she read in the class.

                    There were 1234  votes, and here is the list for best 54.

                    I recommend all of you  Charo from NHK and Egmont Teen's Reader
                    from Easy Reader.

                    FURUKAWA Akio
                    SEG

                      Series Title or AuthorVotes
                    1OBWOxford Bookworms122
                    2ORTOxford Reading Tree103
                    3MMRMacmillan Readers75
                    4PGRPenguin Readers74
                    5FRLFoundations Reading Library60
                    6CGCurious George50
                    7CERCambridge English Readers44
                    8CharoLittle Charo 1-3 (NHK)40
                    9OsborneMagic Tree House Series34
                    10ODMOxford Dominoes33
                    11SCEScholastic ELT Readers33
                    12PARPenguin Active Reading25
                    13ICRI Can Read Books24
                    14UYRUsborne Young Reading24
                    15DisneyDisney Read Along21
                    16DahlRoald Dahl21
                    17Picture BookWinnie the Witch Series 20
                    18ETREgmont Teen's Reader15
                    19PCRPrimary Classic Readers15
                    20SharmatNate the Great Series13
                    21CDRCambridge Discovery Readers11
                    22I am ReadingI am Reading11
                    23WilsonJacquline Wilson (Sleepovers)11
                    24Picture BookClifford Series10
                    25BBLBuilding Blocks Library9
                    26ShanDarren Shan8
                    27PilkeyDav Pilkey (Ricky Ricotta)7
                    28RowlingHarry Potter Series7
                    29RoyRoy (A to Z Mysteries)7
                    30CabotMeg Cabot (Princess Diaries)6
                    31GannettMy Father's Dragon6
                    32MeadowsRainbow Magic6
                    33Walker StartersWalker Starter/Stories6
                    34Wolf HillWolf Hill Series6
                    35RoddaDeltora Quest (Emily Rodda)5
                    36Picture BookElla the Elegant Elephant5
                    37LLLLongman Literacy Land5
                    38SCRScholastic Readers5
                    39BGABlack Cat Green Apple4
                    40RylantCynthia Rylant4
                    41Picture BookFive Little Monkeys4
                    42StiltonGeronimo Stilton Series4
                    43KayeGifted (Kaye)4
                    44Picture BookGiving Tree4
                    45RTRReady-to-Read (Henry & Mudge)4
                    46Picture BookSlugs4
                    47Picture BookTadpole's Promise4
                    48Greenburg Zack Files4
                    49HorowitzAlex Rider Series3
                    50BentonFranny K.Stein Mad Scientist3
                    51HopkinsMates Dates (Hopkins)3
                    52GutmanMy Weird School Series3
                    53Japan TimesSakamoto Ryoma (Japan Times)3
                    54LadderYohan Ladder3

                  • Glen Hill
                    Thanks to all on this nagging question. Akio, Just how did you arrive at 300,000 words per year? Mark, I agree with with you wrote about setting a minimum
                    Message 9 of 22 , Sep 12, 2010
                      Thanks to all on this nagging question.

                      Akio,
                      Just how did you arrive at 300,000 words per year?

                      Mark,
                      I agree with with you wrote about setting a minimum limit only to find that it ends up being a student's maximum. I'm not convinced yet that letting students read without any target at all is the way to go.

                      I am not comfortable at all with having students set their own limits. My students are all science majors, and they constantly complain that their science studies and club activities take up far too much of their time to just read, no matter how important I try to make reading sound. I have a new grad school course this year, and the students are probably about the same level as incoming freshmen because they have not studied any English for 3 or more years, yet they are told to read scientific journals for "seminar" (where they describe the English journal contents IN JAPANESE for 30 minutes). That takes up enough of their time to make them balk at reading any other English, even easy stuff (and certainly fiction), but I feel I have to try! I mean, they translate every 3rd or 4th word from the journals!

                      Showing a record of what other students have read is a good idea, but if it isn't tied to an improvement in ability, do you think students will even care, or will they simply think, "Oh, that's what someone else is capable of doing, not me"?

                      Ben,
                      How do you decide when it is time for a student to move up to the next level?

                      Glenski

                      On Sun, Sep 12, 2010 at 12:38 PM, Ben Shearon <sendaiben@...> wrote:
                       

                      Hi Mark and Glenski


                      I have been trying a new system where students need to hit word targets in order to move up to new reading levels, but have a course goal of 'read as much as you can'. It's been working really well and I'll be talking about it at the ER session at JALT national in November. Hope to see you and others there!

                      cheers

                      ben


                      On 12 September 2010 06:43, Mark Brierley <mark2@...> wrote:
                       

                      Hi Glen,

                      I've found targets are often inappropriate and usually arbitrary, especially if set from above.  If you set targets, students try to hit them, or try to appear to hit them.  The intention may be to set a minimum amount of reading, but this will become a maximum in most cases. 


                    • Ben Shearon
                      Hi Glenski I make all my students read a certain number of words to clear each level. The amount is arbitrary, but having the levels in place, starting
                      Message 10 of 22 , Sep 12, 2010
                        Hi Glenski

                        I make all my students read a certain number of words to 'clear' each level. The amount is arbitrary, but having the levels in place, starting everyone (even the extremely proficient Malaysian students) at the lowest level, and updating the class as to how many students are at each level at the end of the class had a very positive effect on the amount of reading everyone did.

                        Because students were unable to choose readers that were too difficult for them, I didn't have any of the usual 'take three months to read half a book' problems.

                        More in November!

                        All the best

                        ben

                        On 13 September 2010 09:34, Glen Hill <glenahill@...> wrote:
                         How do you decide when it is time for a student to move up to the next level?
                      • Glenski
                        ... Ben, How did you measure this positive effect? ... I had students take an EPER test to place them, and they were supposed to read books only in their EPER
                        Message 11 of 22 , Sep 12, 2010
                          --- In ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com, Ben Shearon <sendaiben@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Hi Glenski
                          >
                          > I make all my students read a certain number of words to 'clear' each level.
                          > The amount is arbitrary, but having the levels in place, starting everyone
                          > (even the extremely proficient Malaysian students) at the lowest level, and
                          > updating the class as to how many students are at each level at the end of
                          > the class had a very positive effect on the amount of reading everyone did.


                          Ben,
                          How did you measure this positive effect?


                          >
                          > Because students were unable to choose readers that were too difficult for
                          > them, I didn't have any of the usual 'take three months to read half a book'
                          > problems.


                          I had students take an EPER test to place them, and they were supposed to read books only in their EPER level, which I gave them on a handout.

                          Semester has been over since August 1st, and I still have 37 students who have books not returned for about 1-2 months. Next time, nobody gets a completed grade until the books are returned.

                          Glenski
                        • Ben Shearon
                          Again, it s subjective, but the class on average read more (books and words), the person that read the least read more, and the maximums were way higher. Of
                          Message 12 of 22 , Sep 12, 2010
                            Again, it's subjective, but the class on average read more (books and words), the person that read the least read more, and the maximums were way higher. Of course, this could just be a particularly good class, so I'll be trying the same approach again next semester and seeing how it goes.

                            I have tried advising students of their level in the past, and it hasn't worked very well. Making everyone clear each level worked better, as proficient readers can read an astounding amount of easy text in a short time if they want to and quickly get to an appropriate level. There should also be gains in reading speed and incidental vocabulary from reading way below level.

                            All the best

                            ben shearon
                            tohoku university
                            sendai, japan

                            On 13 September 2010 11:54, Glenski <glenahill@...> wrote:
                             

                            Ben,
                            How did you measure this positive effect?
                          • Mark Brierley
                            Hi Glen, Akio is calculating 25 hours in class and 25 hours out of class, with students reading 100 wpm. I think it s fair to assume students will read outside
                            Message 13 of 22 , Sep 13, 2010
                              Hi Glen,

                              Akio is calculating 25 hours in class and 25 hours out of class, with students reading 100 wpm.

                              I think it's fair to assume students will read outside class as much as they read inside class.  I give students around 30 minutes in class each week to read, (3,000 words) if they do the same out of class, after 15 weeks, that's 90,000 words.  If they are spending time, and reading properly 100,000 words is not difficult, and many of my students read that much.

                              One important point is that students need to be reading quickly, so some speed measurement is a good idea.  I do this every few weeks during their reading time.

                              After about ten minutes, when they should have got some pace up, I tell them to make a note of where they've got to.  If I'm really organised, I give out a post-it sticker to each student.  I then time ten minutes, and then tell them to stop. They need to estimate how many words they've read
                              (roughly= number of pages x number of lines per page x number of words per line divided by ten.)  Science students should be able to do this as maths if fundamental to all sciences.

                              They make a note of their reading speed and I warn them that anything below 60, and probably even under 100, means that either the book is too difficult, or they fell asleep. Either way, they should change it!

                              It's great if your students have to read for their other studies as it gives them an incentive. The great thing that extensive reading can do is speed up their non-extensive reading. It will help them skimming - trying to find the gist of a piece; it will help them scanning - trying to locate specific information in an article.

                              Another thing you could do is tell them something about word frequency, and show them the most frequent words in fiction and in academic writing, most of which are the same. This could also appeal to scientific minds.

                              Another completely different tack with science majors would be to get them to write stories.


                              Mark

                              --
                              Mark Brierley
                              School of General Education
                              Shinshu University
                              Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan
                              +81 263 37-2923
                              mobile 090 4464 6391
                            • Paul Evans
                              Hi Mark and all, I was interested in what Mark wrote about increasing students reading speed. I also think this can be a good thing, but I haven t really got
                              Message 14 of 22 , Sep 13, 2010
                                Hi Mark and all,

                                I was interested in what Mark wrote about increasing students' reading speed. I also think this can be a good thing, but I haven't really got a good method for doing so. What Mark describes is a way to measure how quickly they are reading. I've been using Nation's series of readings, which do basically that, and would like to continue, although I have a strong sense that my students would be more keen if I gave them more engaging content. (Not a comment on Nation's choices, just the reality of where my students' heads are at.)

                                But measuring only gives us a sense of how fast the students are already reading. It doesn't necessarily motivate them to try to read faster. Skimming and scanning exercises are potentially good tools for this, if the content is engaging, and the exercises well-designed.

                                Can anyone point me to resources (like the Nation series) of already existing skimming & scanning (or other) speed reading exercises that you recommend from your own experience? I'd really like to find something to try with this fall's classes.

                                Thanks much.

                                Paul Evans
                                Kyoto

                                On Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 9:19 AM, Mark Brierley <mark2@...> wrote:

                                One important point is that students need to be reading quickly, so some speed measurement is a good idea.  I do this every few weeks during their reading time.

                                After about ten minutes, when they should have got some pace up, I tell them to make a note of where they've got to.  If I'm really organised, I give out a post-it sticker to each student.  I then time ten minutes, and then tell them to stop. They need to estimate how many words they've read
                                (roughly= number of pages x number of lines per page x number of words per line divided by ten.)  Science students should be able to do this as maths if fundamental to all sciences.

                                They make a note of their reading speed and I warn them that anything below 60, and probably even under 100, means that either the book is too difficult, or they fell asleep. Either way, they should change it!

                                It's great if your students have to read for their other studies as it gives them an incentive. The great thing that extensive reading can do is speed up their non-extensive reading. It will help them skimming - trying to find the gist of a piece; it will help them scanning - trying to locate specific information in an article.

                              • Glen Hill
                                Hi again, Mark, I would *not* make the assumption that they read equally inside and outside class, based on my own students performance. Perhaps others
                                Message 15 of 22 , Sep 13, 2010
                                  Hi again, Mark,

                                  I would not make the assumption that they read equally inside and outside class, based on my own students' performance. Perhaps others' mileage is vastly different than mine.

                                  I do agree that about 100 wpm seems to be a very rough average for 1st-year students' reading speed, and that they definitely need to improve that. I explain such to students, telling them that native English speakers can generally (depending on the material) read 300-400 wpm, so that should give them a little nudge. We even practice reading that fast just so they know what it feels like.

                                  If students read 30 minutes in class once a week (like mine did last semester), they should be able to finish a graded reader in about 2 hours (depending on the size of the book).
                                  The problem is motivation and perceived importance of reading. They don't see far enough down the road to understand why reading in English is so important.  But this is an age-old rehash of a topic I won't get into.

                                  Thanks for describing some of the things you do with your students. I do similar things, but will try to modify my class again next spring.

                                  I am frustrated only because I have just one class in which to instill the necessary motivation in them to continue reading and at the same time pound some reading skills ability into them. It's an impossible task, really, and seeing any signs of progress is painfully slow.

                                  Glenski



                                  On Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 9:19 AM, Mark Brierley <mark2@...> wrote:
                                   

                                  Hi Glen,

                                  Akio is calculating 25 hours in class and 25 hours out of class, with students reading 100 wpm.

                                  I think it's fair to assume students will read outside class as much as they read inside class.  I give students around 30 minutes in class each week to read, (3,000 words) if they do the same out of class, after 15 weeks, that's 90,000 words.  If they are spending time, and reading properly 100,000 words is not difficult, and many of my students read that much.

                                  One important point is that students need to be reading quickly, so some speed measurement is a good idea.  I do this every few weeks during their reading time.

                                  After about ten minutes, when they should have got some pace up, I tell them to make a note of where they've got to.  If I'm really organised, I give out a post-it sticker to each student.  I then time ten minutes, and then tell them to stop. They need to estimate how many words they've read
                                  (roughly= number of pages x number of lines per page x number of words per line divided by ten.)  Science students should be able to do this as maths if fundamental to all sciences.

                                  They make a note of their reading speed and I warn them that anything below 60, and probably even under 100, means that either the book is too difficult, or they fell asleep. Either way, they should change it!

                                  It's great if your students have to read for their other studies as it gives them an incentive. The great thing that extensive reading can do is speed up their non-extensive reading. It will help them skimming - trying to find the gist of a piece; it will help them scanning - trying to locate specific information in an article.

                                  Another thing you could do is tell them something about word frequency, and show them the most frequent words in fiction and in academic writing, most of which are the same. This could also appeal to scientific minds.

                                  Another completely different tack with science majors would be to get them to write stories.


                                  Mark



                                  --
                                  Mark Brierley
                                  School of General Education
                                  Shinshu University
                                  Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan
                                  +81 263 37-2923
                                  mobile 090 4464 6391

                                • Glen Hill
                                  Paul, I have found that if you don t give students a time limit, they will take their sweet time in doing any work, especially skimming and scanning. So, #1
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Sep 13, 2010
                                    Paul,
                                    I have found that if you don't give students a time limit, they will take their sweet time in doing any work, especially skimming and scanning. So, #1 suggestion is to tell them how long you are allotting for an exercise. (You can be lenient if you see most are not able to meet that time limit. As the end approaches, stop the class and ask how many would like more time, then be a generous soul and give it to them. Just be careful how much you give or if this becomes a pattern.)

                                    Second, reading speed comes with fluency. If they don't know the word meanings or the grammar, they will have a tough time increasing speed no matter how interesting the topic is. For this reason, I advocate giving them something fairly easy to read with prescribed vocabulary (and sufficient time to look up the words before class).

                                    Third, reading speed and comprehension don't always go together. You can give them a reading speed improvement exercise (I do), but if they don't understand any more than at a lower speed, it won't count for much. They need to know that, too. So, if you provide them with speed training, take that into account.

                                    Scanning exercises can be done so that the questions ask for answers in the order they are found in the text.  (First questions are earlier in the text, for example.)  But, mix up the order sometimes.

                                    With scanning (and sometimes skimming), it might be helpful to point out headings or other types of markers on the page. It would save the time they might otherwise spend reading every single blessed word until they found the answer.

                                    If your students can be coaxed into a competition, good. Being pitted against even one opponent might be enough pressure to force them to read faster. I devised a Jeopardy game for a TOEIC course that worked fairly well, but I was lucky to have only 6 students (3 teams of 2). Larger classes might be tougher. I had a class of 25 once, so I created a "Hexagon" style quiz game (based on a Japanese quiz program of the same name), and even though 2 or 3 students at the front of the line had to slap the bell if they knew the answer, they could rely on the team behind them to help with the answers if they needed it.

                                    Just some ideas.
                                    Glenski

                                    On Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 9:49 AM, Paul Evans <lupa.avens@...> wrote:
                                     

                                    Hi Mark and all,

                                    I was interested in what Mark wrote about increasing students' reading speed. I also think this can be a good thing, but I haven't really got a good method for doing so. What Mark describes is a way to measure how quickly they are reading. I've been using Nation's series of readings, which do basically that, and would like to continue, although I have a strong sense that my students would be more keen if I gave them more engaging content. (Not a comment on Nation's choices, just the reality of where my students' heads are at.)

                                    But measuring only gives us a sense of how fast the students are already reading. It doesn't necessarily motivate them to try to read faster. Skimming and scanning exercises are potentially good tools for this, if the content is engaging, and the exercises well-designed.

                                    Can anyone point me to resources (like the Nation series) of already existing skimming & scanning (or other) speed reading exercises that you recommend from your own experience? I'd really like to find something to try with this fall's classes.

                                    Thanks much.

                                    Paul Evans
                                    Kyoto

                                    On Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 9:19 AM, Mark Brierley <mark2@...> wrote:

                                    One important point is that students need to be reading quickly, so some speed measurement is a good idea.  I do this every few weeks during their reading time.

                                    After about ten minutes, when they should have got some pace up, I tell them to make a note of where they've got to.  If I'm really organised, I give out a post-it sticker to each student.  I then time ten minutes, and then tell them to stop. They need to estimate how many words they've read
                                    (roughly= number of pages x number of lines per page x number of words per line divided by ten.)  Science students should be able to do this as maths if fundamental to all sciences.

                                    They make a note of their reading speed and I warn them that anything below 60, and probably even under 100, means that either the book is too difficult, or they fell asleep. Either way, they should change it!

                                    It's great if your students have to read for their other studies as it gives them an incentive. The great thing that extensive reading can do is speed up their non-extensive reading. It will help them skimming - trying to find the gist of a piece; it will help them scanning - trying to locate specific information in an article.


                                  • Mark Brierley
                                    Thanks Paul, There are two big advantages with doing timed reading activities on the books they are reading: First, it is something they have chosen to read,
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Sep 13, 2010
                                      Thanks Paul,

                                      There are two big advantages with doing timed reading activities on the books they are reading:
                                      First, it is something they have chosen to read, so they should be interested in (if not, this may be another opportunity to remind them). This is not an activity separate to ER, but something that can be done while they are doing ER. This time efficiency is useful for those of us who have to include writing, speaking, presentations and so on in the 90 minutes.

                                      Second, each student will be reading at a different level, hopefully an appropriate one. Reading speed depends both on the difficulty of the test and fluency of the reader, so if everyone gets the same text, it is likely to be too difficult or too easy for many people. In fact the chance of it being the right level and the right topic for any student is slim.

                                      There are of course disadvantages, including not knowing how much they understood.


                                      Whatever kind of reading speed measurement you do, it seems to me the main reason is to show students that they are getting faster. Once students have timed their reading a few times, they can (hopefully) see their own progress. They can see that in April they were reading a starter at 90 wpm, and in July they could read a level one book at 180 wpm, for example. For this reason it is important that the students keep these records, or that they are kept where the students can see them (I have one self-assessment sheet for each student each semester which I hand out at the beginning, and collect at the end of each lesson so the record is there for them to see during class, and for me to see later.)


                                      Mark


                                      On 14 September 2010 11:26, Glen Hill <glenahill@...> wrote:
                                       

                                      Paul,
                                      I have found that if you don't give students a time limit, they will take their sweet time in doing any work, especially skimming and scanning. So, #1 suggestion is to tell them how long you are allotting for an exercise. (You can be lenient if you see most are not able to meet that time limit. As the end approaches, stop the class and ask how many would like more time, then be a generous soul and give it to them. Just be careful how much you give or if this becomes a pattern.)

                                      Second, reading speed comes with fluency. If they don't know the word meanings or the grammar, they will have a tough time increasing speed no matter how interesting the topic is. For this reason, I advocate giving them something fairly easy to read with prescribed vocabulary (and sufficient time to look up the words before class).

                                      Third, reading speed and comprehension don't always go together. You can give them a reading speed improvement exercise (I do), but if they don't understand any more than at a lower speed, it won't count for much. They need to know that, too. So, if you provide them with speed training, take that into account.

                                      Scanning exercises can be done so that the questions ask for answers in the order they are found in the text.  (First questions are earlier in the text, for example.)  But, mix up the order sometimes.

                                      With scanning (and sometimes skimming), it might be helpful to point out headings or other types of markers on the page. It would save the time they might otherwise spend reading every single blessed word until they found the answer.

                                      If your students can be coaxed into a competition, good. Being pitted against even one opponent might be enough pressure to force them to read faster. I devised a Jeopardy game for a TOEIC course that worked fairly well, but I was lucky to have only 6 students (3 teams of 2). Larger classes might be tougher. I had a class of 25 once, so I created a "Hexagon" style quiz game (based on a Japanese quiz program of the same name), and even though 2 or 3 students at the front of the line had to slap the bell if they knew the answer, they could rely on the team behind them to help with the answers if they needed it.

                                      Just some ideas.
                                      Glenski



                                      On Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 9:49 AM, Paul Evans <lupa.avens@...> wrote:
                                       

                                      Hi Mark and all,

                                      I was interested in what Mark wrote about increasing students' reading speed. I also think this can be a good thing, but I haven't really got a good method for doing so. What Mark describes is a way to measure how quickly they are reading. I've been using Nation's series of readings, which do basically that, and would like to continue, although I have a strong sense that my students would be more keen if I gave them more engaging content. (Not a comment on Nation's choices, just the reality of where my students' heads are at.)

                                      But measuring only gives us a sense of how fast the students are already reading. It doesn't necessarily motivate them to try to read faster. Skimming and scanning exercises are potentially good tools for this, if the content is engaging, and the exercises well-designed.

                                      Can anyone point me to resources (like the Nation series) of already existing skimming & scanning (or other) speed reading exercises that you recommend from your own experience? I'd really like to find something to try with this fall's classes.

                                      Thanks much.

                                      Paul Evans
                                      Kyoto

                                      On Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 9:19 AM, Mark Brierley <mark2@...> wrote:

                                      One important point is that students need to be reading quickly, so some speed measurement is a good idea.  I do this every few weeks during their reading time.

                                      After about ten minutes, when they should have got some pace up, I tell them to make a note of where they've got to.  If I'm really organised, I give out a post-it sticker to each student.  I then time ten minutes, and then tell them to stop. They need to estimate how many words they've read
                                      (roughly= number of pages x number of lines per page x number of words per line divided by ten.)  Science students should be able to do this as maths if fundamental to all sciences.

                                      They make a note of their reading speed and I warn them that anything below 60, and probably even under 100, means that either the book is too difficult, or they fell asleep. Either way, they should change it!

                                      It's great if your students have to read for their other studies as it gives them an incentive. The great thing that extensive reading can do is speed up their non-extensive reading. It will help them skimming - trying to find the gist of a piece; it will help them scanning - trying to locate specific information in an article.





                                      --
                                      Mark Brierley
                                      School of General Education
                                      Shinshu University
                                      Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan
                                      +81 263 37-2923
                                      mobile 090 4464 6391
                                    • Akio FURUKAWA
                                      Dear Glen and all, ... 1) First, we select several very easy books for each student. For 7th graders who start studying English, We recommend Oxford Reading
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Sep 14, 2010
                                        Dear  Glen and all,
                                        Thanks to all on this nagging question.

                                        Akio,
                                        Just how did you arrive at 300,000 words per year?

                                        1) First, we select several very easy books for each student.
                                            For  7th graders who start studying English,
                                           We recommend Oxford Reading Tree stage 1.
                                            For 8th graders or higher,
                                           we recommend Foundations Reading Library or Building Block Library.
                                           Start with Simple Stories (SSS) is the basis of our method.

                                        2) Each students reads the given books and after they finish reading some of the books
                                          we asked the students
                                           if he/she feels the books comfortable to read.
                                           If the student  thinks the books are too easy, we give the student a little more difficult books.
                                           If the student thinks the books are too difficult, we give the student easier ones.
                                           If the students thinks the books are appropriate, we give the student books of the same level.
                                              
                                        3) After they finish 70 minutes extensive reading, we give each student  several books to read at home.
                                            Students can borrow some other books if they want to read more.

                                        4) Our 7th graders who started learning English this from April have read 166,104 words averagely
                                           in 5 months.
                                            Our 7th graders who had learned English a little at elementary school
                                           have read 199,177  words in 5 months .
                                           The averages of the total amount of word that our students from 7th graders to 11th graders
                                           read in a month are about from 28,000 (for 7th grade beginners)  to 74,000(for 11 th grade
                                           upper class).

                                        5) A key to have the students read a lot of books is to have them read  the easy books as many
                                           as possible.  Start with Simple Stories!
                                           
                                        There was a student who won the gold medal in International Geography Olympiad.
                                        In Japan, there are many gold medalists for International Mathematics Olympiad.
                                        But there is only one gold medalist in Japan for  IGO, because the test is given
                                        in English and the participants must write the article in English.
                                        (In IMO, all the problems are translated in Japanese, and the participants
                                         write answers in Japanese.)

                                        The only one IGO gold medalist had learned English through Extensive Reading
                                        at our juku from grade 7 to grade 11, and he had read 300,000 words in  5 years.

                                        Cheers.

                                        Akio
                                        SEG
                                         


                                           


                                         
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                                        古川 昭夫  fakio@...
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