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.
Scholastic has unveiled a new website focused on the joy of reading. It includes a number of materials, including videos and a free downloadable book with contributions from educators about their own reading experiences.
In my mind, though, the most valuable part of it is a Reading Research Summary on the “Joy and Power of Reading.” I don’t think you’re going to find a better compilation anywhere.
American Educator, the quarterly magazine of the American Federation of Teachers, always has interesting and useful articles in it, and the Spring 2015 edition is no different.
The most useful one to teachers, though, is clearly the one by Daniel Willingham. For The Love Of Reading: Engaging Students in a Lifelong Pursuit is a must-read article for every educator. It’s adapted from his new book, Raising Kids Who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do.
— Jeremy Slagoski (@jdslagoski) August 27, 2016
Sustained Silent Reading: Effects are substantial, it works, & leads to more reading. Response to Shanahan (2016). https://t.co/JW6zJ1ofg8
— Stephen Krashen (@skrashen) October 11, 2016
Independent Reading: A Research Based Defense is from Russ on Reading, and provides a lot of “ammunition” for those of us who advocate for students reading books of their choice. It’s an excellent response to what I would characterize as a recent misguided critique of the practice by Tim Shanahan, who I think is usually on target (I’ve written positively about much of his work).
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You might also want to explore the over 600 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.