Can Extensive Reading Help Unmotivated Students of EFL Improve?
University level students of English as a Foreign Language in Japan, enrolled in a special class for students who had failed English, did a semester of extensive reading in place of the traditional curriculum. Their gains in reading comprehension were significantly greater than a comparison group of traditionally taught regular students, and they clearly enjoyed the class.
Despite the growing amount of research supporting the use of extensive reading for improving second language competence (e.g. Elley and Mangubhai, 1983; Tudor and Hafiz, 1989; Hafiz and Tudor, 1989; Elley, 1991; Pilgreen and Krashen, 1993; Cho and Krashen, 1994; (1995a); (1995b); Constantino, 1994), many teachers are still uncertain about how effective it is. Some maintain that extensive reading will only benefit more successful and more motivated students, and will not help those who are unmotivated and who have not done well in language classes. These poor students, it is argued, lack the grammatical knowledge and vocabulary that is necessary for reading comprehension and enjoyment.
In this study, we investigate whether so called "bad students" or failures in EFL could improve with an extensive reading treatment.