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The Best Resources Documenting The Effectiveness of Free Voluntary Reading

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Extensive reading (also known as Sustained Silent Reading or Free Voluntary Reading), the idea of having students read text of their own choosing without necessarily having to do book reports, etc, is an important instructional strategy that many of use. Its academic benefit has been widely documented, especially by Stephen Krashen.

I thought it would be useful to pull together some of research that backs-up its effectiveness.

Feel free to offer additional suggestions.

You might also be interested in My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources Documenting The Effectiveness of Free Voluntary Reading:

81 Generalizations about Free Voluntary Reading is by Stephen Krashen.

The Benefits of Extensive Reading (ER) is by Richard R. Day.

Extensive reading: why it is good for our students… and for us, by Alan Maley, is from The British Council, and cites multiple studies.

Extensive Reading: Why? and How? is by Timothy Bell.

Extensive Reading: Why? and How? and is another study on extensive reading and ELL’s.

The Language Learning Benefits Of Extensive Reading by Paul Nation

What Is Extensive Reading? (some of the links are dead, but for those you can easily find the articles listed with a web search)

Another article titled “What Is Extensive Reading?”

Promoting Extensive Reading among ELT students is an ELT Chat Summary.

What Should Teachers Be Doing During Student “Free Voluntary Reading” Time?

Study: Reading For Pleasure Makes Your Brain Grow (Literally)

Another Study Shows The Benefits Of Reading For Pleasure

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

5 Comments

  1. Thanks for compiling this research for us! I love to allow my students to free read in my class, though I often have to cut it short since our class periods are only 45 minutes long. It is nice to know I don’t have to feel guilty for giving up instruction time for reading.

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  5. My inexperienced and very young principal refused to allow me to provide 10 minutes of silent reading time to my students during our 55 minute class. I had students who had never finished a book enthusiastically engaging in this activity…I teach 9th grade English in Houston, TX. Even though I advocated for my students, I received no support.

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