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Classroom-based extensive reading: a review of recent research

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 February 2024

Thomas N. Robb*
Kyoto Sangyo University, Kyoto, Japan
Doreen Ewert
University of San Francisco, San Francisco, USA LCC International University, Klaipeda, Lithuania
Corresponding author: Thomas N. Robb; Email:


This survey of recent research on extensive reading (ER) for language learners focuses on ER in the classroom. While early adopters of ER imagined the quick emergence of an intrinsically motivated independent reader, the reality of much classroom-based language learning is that without considerable teacher guidance and supportive transitional activities, students are not likely to reach self-motivated independent ER either in or out of the classroom. Many of the studies included here, mostly non-experimental and classroom-based, reflect this reality. These studies confirm previous research on the general efficacy of ER in promoting motivation, vocabulary, and fluency development, but they also provide evidence for a variety of ways to support reluctant and grade-focused students who are only willing to engage with the target language in the classroom. This review also considers the many impediments that restrict the implementation of ER with language learners in school contexts. Separate sections discuss ER motivation and attitudes, ER and vocabulary, the effects of ER on reading fluency, as well as speculation on the relationship between “time on task” and progress in the various reading subskills. Each major section concludes with a table summarizing the research that has been discussed and suggestions for future investigation.

Review of Recent Scholarship
Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press

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