Book-Talk: An Activity to Motivate Learners to Read Autonomously in a Foreign Language

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Abstract

In the last decade, extensive reading (ER) had been incorporated into English as a foreign language (EFL) education in various Japanese institutions. It restored the once broken balance of accuracy and fluency in traditional English education, and assisted reluctant EFL learners to start reading. However, ER required rather longer term for elementary learners to enjoy its benefits and the learners needed an extra encouragement to continue ER for the longer term. Book-talk was such an activity to encourage learners to read voluntary and to improve their language skills additionally. In a book-talk, several learners sat around a table, introduced the books they had read during the week, and accepted questions and comments from the others in turn. It also fitted well in lessons because 3-minute talks and 2-minute Q&A of six members took only 30 minutes. We will report how the activity motivated elder students, who had three or more years’ experience of ER, to continue their reading outside the class, and how it encouraged autonomous ER of adult EFL learners, who were reading English books borrowing from the college library. A combination of few talks and many readings worked well in EFL settings.

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