Selecting extensive reading materials

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reineke
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Re: Selecting extensive reading materials

Postby reineke » Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:34 pm

Serpent wrote:With Prof Argüelles we should keep the context in mind. His main goal is truly appreciating the literature in the original, including old works. He did say himself that he uses graded readers where he understands 80%, ie 4 words out of each 5. That's at the intermediate level or so. As far as I understand, the 98% figure is for a higher level, for when you actually learn all the nuances and whatnot. By appreciating literature he may well have meant academic or at least serious analysis, reading and understanding the footnotes etc. Many of us have a more hedonistic approach to books, I think, and that's totally fine :D



However, that would be Prof. Argüelles personal enhancement of Nation's 98% threshold which is all about comprehension and exiting the vicious cycle through hedonistic approach to books. Also, I doubt it would be easy to get to a level where a learner has 7-8 new words per page and has achieved depth everywhere else.
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Re: Selecting extensive reading materials

Postby AlexTG » Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:47 pm

Cavesa wrote:Ok, but those will be quite infrequent words (and harder to learn due not being encountered that often), do you really think you should wait and learn all the "normal" vocabulary first, before starting to read? That is my problem with the 98% theory: it makes people actively avoid the most direct way to improve their reading (and subsequently other skills). And I really can't see many ways to get to the 98% without reading, than dictionary memorisation.

Personally I think the 98% figure should only ever be used in reference to extensive reading. I use parallel texts and intensive dictionary-based reading to reach the 98% comprehension level where extensive reading becomes comfortable. Others can enjoy extensive reading at lower comprehension levels, but Nation's research shows that that's not the norm right?
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Re: Selecting extensive reading materials

Postby reineke » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:25 pm

Cavesa wrote:I agree with Reineke about the reinforcement, my point was not "reading with too good comprehension is useless for learning", it was "avoiding to read before the 98% is a useless complication and slowing of the learning process".


I never thought you meant to say that and what I'm about to write is not meant for anyone in particular. I would like to reemphasize that these thresholds are about "adequate comprehension."

The experience of pleasure is subjective. To state that science has come up with a threshold for pleasure or pleasurable reading would be a bit too much.

Normally you would see something like this:

Research note:

"Hirsch and Nation (1992) suggest that for ease of reading where reading could be a pleasurable activity, 98-99% coverage is desirable"

The subjects of these studies are not people who get all stirred up when they hear a foreign language. In the realm of language enthusiasts someone's "pleasure" might look like torture to someone else. Some of the "instruments of pleasure" I encounter here look very much like hooks and chains and people hanging from ceilings with plastic balls in their mouths. I'm not into that but I would only object to their implementation if they're being used "because they're good for you" or because it is "impossible"to learn a language any other way...
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Re: Selecting extensive reading materials

Postby reineke » Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:02 pm

rights-of-the-reader.jpg
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Re: Selecting extensive reading materials

Postby reineke » Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:09 pm

Jumping from the highest graded readers to ungraded novels: Four case studies
Jez Uden & Diane Schmitt

Abstract

This study follows a small group of learners in the UK to the end of a graded reading program using the Cambridge Readers and investigates whether this particular graded reading series provides a bridge to reading unsimplified novels for pleasure. The participants’ reading comprehension, reading rates, vocabulary text coverage, and overall affect were measured and used for comparison between two of the highest level Cambridge Readers and two ungraded novels. The four books were also analysed to investigate the potential ‘gap’ in vocabulary coverage between graded and ungraded fiction. The overall results revealed that learners can progress from a graded reading
program using the Cambridge Readers to reading unsimplified novels for pleasure, but are likely to experience a reduction in vocabulary coverage from over 98% to around 95%. It was also found that the gap between graded and unsimplified novels may not be as big as previously thought.

http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/rfl/April2014/articles/uden.pdf

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Re: Selecting extensive reading materials

Postby SophiaMerlin_II » Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:23 pm

I think it's important to remember that extensive reading is a TYPE of reading. I don't think anyone is argue "don't read if you don't know X% of the words". But when you fall below a certain level of comprehension, and you -need- (not want, but need) a dictionary or reference to understand the meaning of most sentences, what you are doing is not "extensive reading". But you are reading.

Of course, where the area between intensive reading and extensive reading is varies by a person's knowledge of cognates, root words, closely related languages, and tolerance for ambiguity.
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Re: Selecting extensive reading materials

Postby Serpent » Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:38 pm

Well, that's the difference between extensive and comprehensible input. If you don't have an adequate comprehension, it's still extensive, and you'll still make small improvements eventually.
Or do you mean that in its purest form extensive reading is about not *using* the dictionary? ie when you mentioned *needing* a dictionary, you implied that if one needs a dictionary to understand, they will use it? It's also okay to discard sentences that are above your level, they may occur in any text.
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Re: Selecting extensive reading materials

Postby SophiaMerlin_II » Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:47 am

When I say "need", I don't mean that 1 sentence becomes hopeless, and you just skip it (hell, I even do this in English sometimes), when I say "need" I mean that nearly every or every sentence is like this. When your vocabulary is so small that you don't know -most- of the verbs and nouns and so can't really peice together even a vague picture.

After you can get a vague picture of what's happening, even if you're missing most of it, I think it depends on the person, if it's extensive reading or not.

I think if you're forced to the dictionary every sentence, either by need (above) or by personality, then it's not extensive reading. But if you only need, or want, to use a dictionary for words that seem important in the context (repeated annoying words, or key verbs/nouns), or if you can muddle through a passage or chapter on your own but choose to look up the words afterwards, then I think it's still extensive reading, because you're focusing on the reading, and trying to make the connections yourself, then checking later to see if you're right, or for that troublesome word (like Guinea Pig, or electroplating).
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Re: Selecting extensive reading materials

Postby Serpent » Fri Jun 10, 2016 1:56 am

Well, that's very close to what my Swedish is like. Out of context, individual sentences would be often hopeless, and by your standards I think I "need" a dictionary at least once per line, but if you keep reading the picture does paint itself. I still have lots of words that I understand etymologically but need to come across several times to get some idea of the meaning.
I use parallel texts, books for kids/teens, poetry and guidebooks :)
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Re: Selecting extensive reading materials

Postby Zegpoddle » Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:25 am

Here is a site that estimates a "readability score" for any sample of text that you enter, but it only works for English-language text:

https://readability-score.com/text/

Does anyone know of similar sites that grade text samples in other languages? Knowing the grade level of a text will not tell you how close you are to the magical 98% threshold that Nation recommends, but you could try reading books at various grade levels, see how difficult they are for you, and eventually identify what your ideal grade level is in your target language. For pleasure reading, you obviously want a level that is easy for you to read. For language acquisition, Stephen Krashen claims that you want a level of "i+1," meaning just a bit beyond easy for you, i.e. with a word that is new to you every once in a while.

Graded reader series try to spare you the effort of figuring out a text's difficulty level by labeling it for you, sometimes not very precisely, and different publishers use different grading systems. You are right, unfortunately, that they tend to be very expensive for what they are. No one wants to pay US$7-20 (or more with shipping) for a slim book that they will probably read only once and then, as they advance in proficiency in that language, will not need or want to read ever again. However, there is a way around this. If your local library offers an Interlibrary Loan service, you can borrow many graded readers for free. This has already saved me hundreds of dollars. Most interlibrary loans require you to fill out a detailed request form, so you will need to have the publication information (title, author, ISBN number, etc.) at hand ahead of time, as well as the OCLC number, which you can get off of http://www.worldcat.org/ for almost any book. Not all libraries can acquire all titles, since it depends on availability and agreements between library systems, but I've had success in getting about two-thirds of the graded reader titles that I've requested. Once they located a book for me in Canberra, Australia and shipped it all the way to Phoenix, Arizona for me to borrow for just one month--and I didn't have to pay a cent! (Make sure you return everything on time in excellent condition, and be very nice to the library staff. Interlibrary Loan [ILL] is a privilege that can be rescinded from sloppy or negligent borrowers.)

Contact your library to see if they have this service. If you live in or near a big city, go to the main or central library, not to a branch in the system. Most large university libraries also have an ILL desk or department. You may as well avail yourself of this "free" service, since you have already paid for it in the form of taxes. It's the perfect solution for books that you want to read, but not buy or own (or write in).
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