Setting Restrictions on Extensive Reading: A Preliminary Short-Term Investigation

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Takayuki Nakanishi, Dokkyo University

Although empirical studies support extensive reading (ER) as a method of reading instruction, instructors often let students choose what they want to read. Thus, instructors do not exercise any control over the difficulty level of students’ reading materials. The present study attempts to address this issue by setting restrictions on students’ choice of reading materials. Forty-two third-year Japanese university students participated in this one-semester study. The first group (free-reading group) was permitted to read books of any length, whereas the second group (restricted-reading group) had to choose books of at least 1,000 words in length. The findings revealed that both groups read a similar number of books over the same period of time. However, the restricted-reading group read more words than the free-reading group. Comments from the students revealed their positive attitudes toward and enjoyment of ER. Pedagogical implications are also considered in terms of the implementation of ER.