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Narrow Reading 2.0 Outline

Narrow Reading 2.0 Outline

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Published by Michael Stout
Handout from my workshop at TESOL Greece 2011
Handout from my workshop at TESOL Greece 2011

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Michael Stout on Mar 20, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Michael Stout, Toyo Gakuen University, Tokyo, Japan. michael.stout@tyg.jp
The term “Narrow Reading” was coined by Krashen (1981) to describe reading in only one genre, onesubject matter, or the work of a single author. Studies including Lamme (1975), Cho and Krashen (1994,1995), and Schmidt and Carter (2000) have shown that Narrow Reading is beneficial to second languagelearners. The term “Web 2.0.” refers to Internet based applications including blogs, wikis, social networksand various other applications that allow users to create and share content on the Internet. The interactivenature of Web 2.0 technologies and their close resemblance to a social-constructivist model of learning makethem attractive to English language teachers. Narrow Reading 2.0 is a teaching approach that combinesNarrow Reading and Web 2.0. In this workshop the presenter will show participants how he has integratedWeb 2.0 projects in a university EFL course focused on reading in the detective fiction genre. Then he willlead workshop participants through a series of tasks toward integrating Web 2.0 and Narrow Reading intotheir own classes. This workshop is aimed at teachers with a good understanding of current approaches toEFL reading instruction and a basic knowledge of computers and the Internet.
The term “Narrow Reading” was coined by Krashen (1981. TESOL Newsletter 15:23) to describe reading inonly one genre, one subject matter, or the work of a single author. Typically beginning level learners areexposed to a wide variety of topics, and only advanced learners are allowed to specialise by taking coursesin, for example, 20th century fiction, or even more narrowly, the works of William Shakespeare, or a surveyof science fiction. According to Krashen:
The case for narrow reading is based on the idea that the acquisition of both structure and vocabulary comes from many exposures in a comprehensible context, that is, we acquire newstructures and words when we understand messages, many messages, that they encode.
Krashen also points out an interesting characteristic of Narrow Reading that he calls the “first few pageseffect”. He says:
Intermediate foreign language students, reading a novel in the foreign language, often report that they find the first few pages of a new author's work tough going. After this initial difficulty,the rest of the book goes much easier. This is due to the fact that the context, the story, was new,and, in addition, the reader had not adjusted to the author's style.
Schmitt & Carter (2000) found that Narrow Reading texts had a lighter vocabulary learning load, makingthem more accessible to language learners. However, according to Gardner (2008) text collections written bya single author are more efficient than text collections written by multiple authors in recycling vocabulary.
Web 2.0 refers to online applications that resemble the software found on personal computers. The design,“...is based on an architecture of participation, a structure encouraging users to contribute, interact, and remixuser-owned data (mash-ups). In general, the more users participate, the better the services become”. Web 2.0,“...closely resembles a
social constructivist 
model of learning, one where the subject holds the center of attention within groups of interactive learners”. (Talandis. 2008. p. 797, 799)
Narrow Reading 2.0 integrates Web 2.0 tools into a Narrow Reading programme of study. The text collectionthe group of learners read is the centre of attention within which they interact using online tools includingblogs, mind maps, slideshows, and so on.

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