By Joseph Poulshock, PhD

“What?” said my friend. “Extensive reading? That’s too hard and boring. Students want to speak English — not read. Students don’t read, and they don’t like it. Reading is over and cancelled!”

Have you heard words like these? I have! But these strong words spread wrong ideas about reading. Just what is extensive reading? I call it “big, easy reading” or just “big reading” for short. And below I share the clearest picture* of big reading that you can find!

Big Reading is Not Study Reading

Let’s start with the biggest mistake. “It’s too hard and boring.” My friend thinks big reading works like study reading. Teachers call this “intensive reading.” But big reading does not work like study reading. Big reading is fun reading. It feels like play!

With study reading, you read hard texts. With hard texts, you can’t grow reading speed. You can’t easily read a lot of hard texts. And so, you can’t fill your brain with a lot of language. With study reading, all students read the same thing, which can’t match everyone?s interests and levels. With study reading, you spend more time answering questions than reading.

Big Reading is Enjoyable Reading

Big reading feels like play. You read stories at your own level. This helps you grow reading speed! You can read longer stories or many texts. You can fill your brain with a lot of language. You can choose what you read. Because you have a choice, you read what you like — at the right level. You don’t spend too much time answering questions. You spend more time reading for fun.