Since this thesis is focused on using literature in a language classroom, I would like to start with some definitions of the literature and their meaning.
One of the definitions is: “Literature could be said to be a sort of disciplined technique forarousing certain emotion.”[[1]] It is supposed that literature provides wonderful source of materials for eliciting strong emotional responses from our students. It is definitely true that using literature in the classroom is a fruitful way of involving the learner as a whole person, and provides excellent opportunities for the learners to express their personal opinions, reactions and feelings.
It is believed that literary texts may have a powerful function in raising moral and ethical concerns in the classroom. The tasks and activities we devise to exploit these texts should encourage our students to explore these concerns and connect them with the struggle for a better society as another definition explains us:“Literature, fiction, poetry, whatever, makes justice in the world.”[[2]]

1.1     Why use literature in the language classroom?

In many countries around the world, literature is highly valued. It exposes students to complex themes and fresh, unexpected uses of language. Literature can involve students and it may elicit a powerful emotional response from students. Moreover, if the materials are carefully chosen, students will feel that what they do in the classroom is relevant and meaningful to their own lives.
I have examined the most important reasons for using literature in several books and I summarize them in the following chapters.

1.1.1   Motivating material

Students of English may experience a real sense of achievement at tackling literary materials in the classroom. Asking students to retell short stories from their own culture, for example, before getting them to read an authentic story in English on a similar theme, could be highly motivating. Furthermore, as Ellis[[3]] proves, “literature is a useful tool in linking fantasy and the imagination with the student’s real world. It provides a way of enabling children to make sense of their everyday life and forge links between home and school.”


1.1.2   Encouraging language acquisition

Literature may provide a particularly appropriate way of stimulating the acquisition, as it provides meaningful and memorable contexts for processing and interpreting new language. As Lazar[[4]]  mentioned the use of literary texts is often a particularly successful way of promoting activities where students need to share their feelings and opinions, such as discussions and groupwork. I supposed this is because literature is very rich in multiple levels of meaning. Focusing on a task, which demands that students express their own personal responses to these multiple levels of meaning, can only serve to accelerate the students’ acquisition of language.

1.1.3   Educating the whole person

As the practical partillustrates, literature may have a wide educational function in the classroom and it can help to stimulate the imagination of the students, to develop their critical abilities and to increase their emotional awareness. If we ask students to respond personally to the texts we give them, they will become increasingly confident about expressing their own ideas and emotions in English. Moreover, as Lazar[[5]] stated, “they will feel empowered by their ability to grapple with the text and its language, and to relate it to the values and traditions of their own society.”
Other reasons for using literature can be the fact that it helps students to understand another culture, it develops students’ interpretative abilities, it expands students’ language awareness, and it encourages students to talk about their opinions and feelings.

1.2     Possible approaches

There are descriptions of three possible approaches and their methodological principles as the specialists describe them[[6]]:


1.2.1   A language-based approach

Detailed analysis of thelanguage of the literary text will help students to make meaningful interpretations or informed evaluations of it. At the same time, students are encouraged to draw on their knowledge of English, so this approach may provide useful revision of grammar and vocabulary in new interesting contexts. Theadvantage is that students are provided with analytic tools and they reach their own interpretations. But on the other hand, the fact that this approach could become very mechanical cannot be contradicted, primarily if applied too rigidly and the analysis of the text is undertaken in purely linguistic terms with little chance for personal interpretation.

1.2.2   Literature as content

This is the most traditional approach, frequently used in tertiary education. Literature itself is the content of the course, which concentrates on areas such as the history and characteristics of literary movements; the social, political and historical background to a text; literary genres and rhetorical devices, etc. Students acquire English by focusing on the course content, particularly through reading set texts and literary criticism relating to them. In addition, students are exposed to a wide range of authentic material. Unfortunately, materials may be very difficult linguistically, and therefore demotivating for the average student. The teacher is recommended to paraphrase, clarify and explain the text but this may result in very little student participation.

1.2.3   Literature for personal enrichment

Literature is a usefultool for encouraging students to draw in their own personal experiences, feelings and opinions. It helps students to become more actively involved both intellectually and emotionally in learning English, and hence aids acquisition. It is also an excellent stimulus for groupwork. It is proved that involving learner as a whole person is potentially highly motivating.
Still, some drawbacks may occur. Some texts may be so remote from the students’ own experience that they are unable to respond meaningfully to them, or some students may dislike having to discuss personal feelings or reactions.


1.3     Reading

1.3.1   What is reading

Since the Diploma thesis deals with a reading programme, I feel a necessity of defining what a reading exactly is. Harmer[[7]] states that: “Reading is an exercise dominated by the eyes and the brain. The eyes receive messages and the brain then has to work out the significance of these messages.”
Unlike, for example, a listening text, a reading text moves at the speed of the reader. In other words it is up to the reader to decide how fast he wants to read a text, whereas a listener often has to do his best with a text whose speed is chosen by the speaker. The fact that reading texts are stationary is clearly a huge advantage.

1.3.2   Vocabulary

Vocabulary is a major component of reading ability with which language learners will experience difficulty, but as Hedge[[8]] asserts: “the degree of difficulty will vary with the demands of the text, the prior knowledge of the readers, any specialist lexical knowledge a student might have, and the learner’s first language. A major strategy in helping students to build vocabulary for reading is to encourage them to develop strategies for guessing word meanings from contextual clues and background knowledge.”
But as I have examined, most students, have had the experience of using a dictionary with a text containing a lot of new items and, after checking all the new words, they still have little idea of the meaning of the text as a whole.
Although it may be a good idea to leave students to guess the meaning of a few words from context, I agree with Lewis[[9]] who suggests, in order to do this they have first to be able to understand the majority of the text.
Nation and Coady[[10]] propose a five-step sequence to help learners when they are dealing with a text which they can follow with reasonable comprehension and to which they bring some background knowledge:
·         Finding the part of speech of the unknown word.
·         Looking at the immediate context of the unknown word and simplifying this context if necessary.
·         Looking at the wider context of the unknown word. This means looking at the relationship between the clause containing the unknown word and surrounding classes and sentences.
·         Guessing the meaning of the unknown word.
·         Checkingthat the guess is correct.

1.3.3   The goals for the reading

In the light of insights into the reading process and onto how successful readers interact with texts, Hedge[[11]] mentions a set of general learning goals for the reading component of an English language course could include:
·         to be able to read a range of texts in English
·         to adapt reading style according to range of purposes and apply different strategies (e.g. skimming, scanning) as appropriate
·         to build a knowledge of language (e.g. vocabulary, structure), which will facilitate development of greater reading ability
·         to build schematic knowledge in order to interpret texts meaningfully
·         to take a critical stance to the content of texts.
To achieve these goals, it is recommended by Hedge that teachers should help learners to motivate reading by selecting or creating appropriate texts, to design useful reading tasks, to set up effective classroom procedures, to encourage critical reading, and to create a supportive environment for practicing reading. Each learner will have different strengths to build on and different weaknesses to overcome.

1.3.4   Reading as a purposeful process

Pugh[[12]] and Lunzer and Gardner[[13]]  described various styles of reading, and their terminology for these has been taken into English language teaching methodology:
·         Receptive reading is undertaken, for example, when a reader wants to enjoy a short story, follow a line of argument in a newspaper editorial, or understand the main stages in a textbook description of a manufacturing process.
·         Reflective reading involves episodes of reading the text and then pausing to reflect and backtrack, for example, when a reader wants to check whether a new line of argument in a political text is consistent with opinions expressed earlier in the same article.
·         Skim reading is used to get a global impression of the content of a text. An example would be previewing a long magazine article by reading rapidly, skipping large chunks of information, and focusing in headings and first lines of paragraph.
·         Scanning involves searching rapidly through a text to find a specific point of information, for example, the relevant times on a timetable, items in a directory, or key points in an academic text.
It is now standard practice in English language teaching methodology to consider real purposes for reading outside the classroom and to build these into reading activities. Rivers and Temperley[[14]] for example, in an early discussion of reading pedagogy, make the point that: “reading activities, from the beginning, should have some purpose and we should concentrate on the normal purposes of reading”. Moreover, they list the following purposes: to get information; to respond to curiosity about a topic; to follow instructions to perform a tasks; for pleasure, amusement, and personal enjoyment; to keep in touch with friends and colleagues; to know what is happening in the world; and to find out when and where things are.
I have to assert that even where it is difficult to identify any needs, there may be strong motivational reasons for giving students a range of purposes for reading and, consequently, for presenting them with a variety of texts, for example, brochures, articles, schedules, poems, short stories, maps, and diagrams.
Traditionally, many textbook materials focus on intensive study of texts rather than encouraging the flexibility of style that learner would use when reading in their first language. Now it is common to find activities which encourage different speeds of reading, and different degrees of pre-reading and re-reading, and searching through the text.
More importantly, however, it is now recognized that one text may be read in a variety of styles and readers can apply the appropriate strategies[[15]].

1.3.5   Reading literature cross-culturally

It was pointed out that readers invariably interpret texts in the light of their own world-view and cultural experience. It was also mentioned that the relationship between a literary text and the culture in which it is produced is highly complex, since few texts are mere factual representations of their culture.
Lazar[[16]] made a list of some cultural aspects to consider when using literary texts with students.
·         “objects or products that exist in one society, but no in another (cucumber sandwiches)
·         proverbs, idioms, formulaic expressions which embody cultural values (Moon, may your face meeting mine…)
·         social structures, roles and relationships (role of women, hierarchies based on wealth or rank, relationships between parents and children)
·         customs, rituals, traditions, festivals (Thanksgiving day)
·         humour”

2. Extensive Reading Approach

Earlier, in the pre-communicative era, the student of a foreign language was the recipient of knowledge about grammar and vocabulary. More recent models of language teaching and learning have produced approaches to syllabus design and classroom practice which have taken account of real-world needs, and have tended increasingly to put the learner at the centre of the process. Literature, meanwhile, has either been exiled to a separate domain in the curriculum or has been marginalized in the language classroom.

 2.1    Distinguish between intensive and extensive reading

According to Lewis[[17]], intensive reading means that “students are expected to understand everything they read and to be able to answer detailed vocabulary and comprehension questions. Intensive reading activities in the classroom, on texts which are usually not more than a page or so in length, are intended to train students in the strategies needed for successful reading, such as using connectives for predicting content or guessing the meanings of unfamiliar words using clues in the surrounding text.” Teachers can train reading strategies in this way but, in my opinion, it is only through more extensive reading that learners can gain substantial practice in operating these strategies more independently on a range of material. 
Extensive reading means students have a general understanding of the text without necessarily understanding every word. In other words, intensive reading helps to improve extensive reading, but the latter also needs to be practiced in its own right, principally to give students confidence in dealing with authentic materials.            

2.2     Defining extensive reading

A key issue emerging from research studies has been that of defining exactly what is meant by the term “extensive reading”. As I have studied the literature, I have found out that there is a lack of consensus among writers on the subject. Some use the term confusingly to describe skimming and scanning activities on longer texts read during class time. Bright[[18]] relates it to “quantity of material”, for example, fifty books per year. Krashen[[19]] specifies time, for example “an hour per evening” or Hedge[[20]] regards it with “individual silent reading periods in class”.
Clearly the precise nature of extensive reading will vary with student motivation and institutional resources, but an ideal characterization might include the following:
·         reading large quantities of material, whether short stories and novels, newspaper and magazine articles, or professional reading
·         reading consistently over time on a frequent and regular basis
·         reading for general meaning, primarily for pleasure, curiosity, or professional interest
·         reading longer texts during class time but also engaging in individual, independent reading at home, ideally of self-selected material.[[21]]

2.2.1   Building a rationale for extensive reading

I think that the idea that learners can develop their language knowledge through extensive reading is attractive for several reasons. First, it allows learners to follow their interests in choosing what to read and thus increase their motivation for learning. Second, it provides the opportunity for learning to occur outside the classroom.
Perhaps the strongest argument is the role it plays in developing reading ability. Clearly authentic reading texts will provide an authentic reading challenge but graded material can also be useful. Further arguments can be added to this. Involving learners in programmes of extensive reading can be a highly productive step towards autonomous learning. If students have a chance to read at home or to read silently in school, they are engaging in an activity which will yield substantial possibilities for them to go on learning by themselves. Extensive reading offers the learner many ways of working independently.
The opportunities that extensive reading affords learners of all ages and levels of language proficiency make it a useful resource. Learners can build their language competence, they can progress in their reading ability, become more independent in their studies, acquire cultural knowledge, and develop confidence and motivation to carry on learning. With young learners there is a further value. Introducing children to books, whether in their first or a second language, contributes to the curriculum objective of encouraging critical thinking and positive attitudes towards imaginative experience.[[22]]

2.2.2   The Role of Extensive Reading in Language Learning

Krashen[[23]] argues that “extensive reading will lead to language acquisition, provided that certain preconditions are met. These include adequate exposure to the language, interesting material, and a relaxed, tension-free learning environment.”
  • It increases the students' exposure to the language
The quality of exposure to language that learners receive is seen as important to their potential to acquire new forms from the input. Elley[[24]] views provision of large quantities of reading material to children as fundamental to reducing the 'exposure gap' between L1 learners and L2 learners. He reviews a number of studies with children between six and twelve years of age, in which subjects showed rapid growth in language development compared with learners in regular language programs. There was a "spread of effect from reading competence to other language skills - writing, speaking and control over syntax."
  • It helps to build confidence with extended texts
As the practice shows, much classroom reading work has traditionally focused on the exploitation of shorts texts, either for presenting lexical and grammatical points or for providing students with limited practice in various reading skills and strategies. However, a large number of students require reading longer texts and books. Kembo[[25]] points to “the value of extensive reading in developing students’ confidence and ability in facing these longer texts.”

2.2.3   Extensive reading and class time

It is in the nature of extensive reading that most of it is done outside class, in the students’ own time. But a necessary part of the process of encouraging extensive reading is that initially the reading should be motivated and then regularly monitored, so that rhythms of reading are built up and class interaction on the reading developed. Reading strategies are also devised, applied and refined during the whole extensive reading process.
How much class time can be dedicated to extensive reading must depend on the teaching situation, curriculum requirements and, indeed, on individual teachers and classes.[[26]]

2.2.4   Preparing the learners

Preparing the learners for reading is considered one of the most important things. Most students need help on making the leap from teacher-guided, close study of short texts to individual reading of whole books. Ellis[[27]] determines three areas in which students will probably need preparation:
a)      psychological preparation – activities to encourage thinking about their approaches to reading and building confidence for reading independently.
b)      methodological preparation – training in some of the skills and strategies needed for effective reading.
c)      practice in self-direction – guidance on deciding what to read, how to read, and how to evaluate and monitor progress.

AD a)  Psychological preparation
Many students find reading in a foreign language difficult and laborious. Typical student reactions are: “There are too many new words I don’t understand!”, “It takes me too long and I give up”. It is important that students are helped to become aware of and to understand, the reasons for these attitudes. Ask them what sort of books they enjoy reading in their mother tongue and how they read them. Information gathered can enable students to choose appropriate books and identify their reading problems.

AD b)  Methodological preparation
The following suggestions can help students become aware of strategies such as previewing, predicting, guessing the meaning of unknown words and developing vocabulary.
-          previewing – involves looking at the title and the cover, reading information on the back cover about the story and its author, examining the list of contents or chapter headings, and glancing through the book to get an impression of layout.
-          predicting – when we read in our mother tongue we predict unconsciously but we do not often transfer this strategy when we read in a foreign language. The title, cover, illustrations and linguistic clues can help us predict vocabulary and the story-line.
-          guessing unknown words – it is recommended to ask or tell the students which clues they can use to guess the meaning of unknown words. For instance, visual support, the position of the word in the sentence, the context, the type of the word or words similar to words in the mother tongue are all useful clues.
-          using a dictionary – each student should have access to a monolingual dictionary. It is important to encourage students to use it for checking the meaning of a word only after they work it out for themselves.

AD c)  Practice self-direction
The students may not be accustomed to making decisions about aspects of their own learning. Initially, some may need guidance when choosing books. Try to find out about their interests so you can help them select a book they will enjoy. If they have difficulties in reading, it is suggested to try a book which contains visual support or something they may not have previously considered such as a book of puzzles or cartoons[[28]].

2.2.5   Motivating the student

It was already mentioned that students need to see a point to reading, particularly to reading extended texts. It is obvious that many school pupils have grown up in a world dominated by television, magazines, comics, and romantic or adventure stories. These media tend to provide immediate short-term satisfaction, they switch topic or scene rapidly and do not demand sustained concentration. Reading literary texts requires concentration over a period of time, it requires hard work from the reader (often the text will need to be read more than once), and it requires considerable patience. As the practice shows, many teachers rightly see the task of encouraging students to read literature as a difficult and demanding one.
I totally agree with Hedge[[29]] who says that “one important principle is that students will be motivated to read if the process of reading is related to them as individuals. In short, students’ motivation increases with their involvement into the subject. Students want to enjoy the subject, they want to succeed in it and they want to be involved in the learning process and, as far as possible, have a chance to influence what happens, and how it happens.”

2.2.6 Recommendations for the extensive reading

According to Alan Pulverness[[30]] (who is an associate trainer with the Norwich Institute for Language Education in UK) teachers should focus on getting learners to the point where they are ready to read. This can be achieved in a number of different ways: by exploring themes – finding out what students already know, activating appropriate schemata by speculating on titles, key words, opening sentences; anticipating and predicting so that in sense they are constructing alternative texts. In all these ways the mental work starts long before the students actually start reading. And when they do finally come to read the text, they read more receptively – and more intelligently – confirming or rejecting their hypotheses, making connections, having already established a mental framework within which they can begin to negotiate the potential meanings in the text.
Then, it is recommended to offer learners ways of interacting creatively in the texts they read. The idea that readers become co-writers of the texts they read is actualized in one chapter of Claire Kramsch’s[[31]] Context and Culture in Language Teaching, where she proposes a series of “variations” that learners can be invited to experiment with: varying medium or genre, varying point of view, varying text time, varying audience, varying the referential world of the text and what she calls teasing out the voices in the text. The main idea here is that the learner is placed in the position of the writer, facing all the same decisions and all the same choices.
In Textual Intervention, Rob Pope[[32]] bases “an entire methodology for teaching literature on the same principle: learners can be asked to change titles and openings, to provide alternative endings, to extend or expand texts by adding “prequels”, sequels and interludes, to intervene at a deeper level and to experiment with all kinds of options open to the writer – seeing, for example, how the effect of a text changes when the gender or identity of the narrator is altered, when speech roles are redistributed, when direct speech is rendered as indirect, or vice versa, when narrative “comments” are added or removed, or when the whole discourse frame is altered.”

2.3     Types of tasks helping to develop reading ability

As Williams[[33]] mentions in his book, “it is now standardpractice in the design of reading tasks to use a three-phrase procedure involving pre-, while-, and post-reading stages.” I suppose this intention is to ensure that reading is “taught” in the sense of helping readers develop increasing ability to tackle texts. This is in contrast to more traditional materials in which reading would be “tested” through a procedure in which learners would read a text with or without an introduction, possibly with some pre-teaching of vocabulary, and then would be required to answer comprehension questions.

2.3.1   Pre-reading

Pre-reading stage builds interest in and curiosity about characters, places, themes, and action. During the pre-reading phase, learners can be encouraged to do a number of things: become oriented to the context of the text; establish a reason for reading; express an attitude about the topic; activate existing cultural knowledge; and become familiar with some of the language in the text. Hedge[[34]] suggests that in this way the teacher can prepare the students in terms of both schematic and language knowledge, and ensure purposeful reading. The teachers can select or combine from a repertoire, for example: talking about pictures accompanying the text; predicting from the title; agreeing or disagreeing with a set of proposals about the topic; answering a set of questions or a quiz.
Interest in a reader cannot be assumed and the teacher should be aware of the negative effect a lengthy, foreign text can have on some students. As the practical part shows, games, humour, visuals, puzzles, role play and other unusual approaches can motivate students’ interest as well as providing opportunities for reflection and insight.
Greenwood[[35]] remarks an important point that “the pre-reading stage is important as it can provide a need to read to complete an activity or confirm an idea; and it can persuade the students that as far as perception or hypothesis is concerned there are no accurate or wrong answers, only different ones.”   

2.3.2   While reading

More recently, since the adoption of the idea of reading as an interactive process, while-reading activities have been used: these generally aim to encourage learners to be active as they read.
In recent years students have been encouraged to respond more subjectively to Readers. Unfortunately, as I have explored it, a large number of teachers still consider the Reader to be simply a longer text for comprehension questions or an opportunity to practice reading aloud. However, reading is not a passive skill. When we read we search for meaning, drawing upon the complex network of associations which native speakers have at their disposal. Students should be actively engaged in negotiation for meaning. I agree with Greenwood[[36]] who claims that “students must be taught how to read and respond to books and not simply to answer questions. During lessons students must be involved in activities which enable them to respond cognitively, emotionally and imaginatively to imaginative writing.”  
Students can be given activities which require them to do any of the following: follow the ideas in a text; react to the opinions expressed; understand the information it contains; ask themselves questions; make notes; confirm expectations or prior knowledge; or predict the next part of the text from various clues. Hedge[[37]] introduces “there are few research studies to show the effects of intervention, and their outcomes are contradictory. However, many students report positively on the usefulness of while-reading activities and many teachers therefore try to encourage activity, reflection, and response while reading.”

2.3.3   After reading

According to Hedge[[38]], “post-reading activities can be as varied as the texts they follow, but ideally will tie up with the reading purpose set, so that students check and discuss activities done while reading and make use of what they have read in a meaningful way, for example, by discussing their response to the writer’s opinions or by using notes for a writing activity.” After that, a wide range of activities focusing either on the content of the text can be undertaken, for example, debate, role-play, reading of contrasting texts, or focusing on its language.
Students can acquire confidence and flair with language of allowed explaining where their opinions originated. As Leland Roloff[[39]] mentions in his book: “The language of literature should enable a student to enter inner worlds which become real to the perceiver.” Students should be able to enter the “inner worlds” without the traditional teaching method of comprehension checks. Instead they could be more actively engaged in negotiation for potential meaning, both individually and with other students.

2.4     Selecting materials

2.4.1   Criteria for selecting texts

Theselection of an appropriate literary text seems to be crucial for the success of literary lessons. Access to an abundance of interesting texts is an ideal but unfortunately, not all teachers will be able to meet it. R. William[[40]] makes a key point relating to principles for the reading lesson: “in the absence of interesting texts, very little is possible”. With regard to the two questions “What kind of texts do we use in the classroom?” and “How do we create reading purposes for those texts?” teachers may have little flexibility in addressing the first, but every teacher will need to consider the second carefully, as this might be the key to motivating students to read texts which they would not normally find interesting. Purposes can be contrived to create interest.
However, some teachers are able to select texts which meet the specific needs of their learners. It is claimed that where there is some freedom of choice, interest will be a key criterion on selecting texts for learners. Hedge[[41]] stated that many teachers have experimented successfully in asking learners to find texts themselves which they think will interest the class. It is also possible to discover the reading interests of learners through a “Reading interest questionnaire” which asks learners about the genre they like to read in their first language, for example, non-fiction, thrillers, or romance.
Another factor to be considered is variety: of topic, of length of text, of rhetorical organization (for example, description, review, comparison), and of reading purpose. Further, Ellis[[42]] emphasizes the importance of visual support which contributes to the understanding of a text is emphasized and it is suggested that the text should allow the development of students' autonomy in learning and offer a concrete outcome e.g. dramatization or a poster-design.
When speaking about selecting materials for extensive reading, very important point is that the selected materials must be interesting and enjoyable. One reason is motivational; the more students are interested in and enjoy the reading they do, the less it seems like work and the more reading they are likely to do.
Therefore, it is probably fairly self-evident what is meant by criteria such as the age of students, their emotional and intellectual maturity and their interests and hobbies. The only difficulty when applying these categories to a whole class is that individual students within a group may vary considerably in their maturity and interests. Obviously, when selecting material it is needed to try to find texts that are suitable for the majority of students in the class. As Lazar[[43]] suggests “it is also possible to find that developing the facility for self-access is one way of personalizing learning so that you can cater for the range of student development and interests within a group. We may find, however, that consideration of criteria involving the students’ cultural background, linguistic proficiency and literary background is more complicated.
It is possible to:
-          give students a list of certain literary texts with a brief summary of their content, and ask them to select the ones they would like to study.
-          provide students with a questionnaire designed to find out what kinds of material they read in their own language and what they would like to read in English.
-          give students a list of twenty to thirty topics and ask them to choose five that they find interesting.
-          provide opportunities within the classroom for personalization, by letting students work individually on those tests which interest them the most.”
But as it was already stated some students may dislike having to discuss personal feelings or reactions. There may be all sorts of reasons why students are unwilling to give their personal opinions or reactions in the classroom and we should bare them in mind when selecting the materials. For instance, students may be individually sensitive to particular issues raised in a text. Therefore, it is recommended to get students working in small groups with some classes. In that case, students may feel less stressed than talking to the class as a whole. Alternatively, students could be asked to reveal their own reactions to a text only when writing a short paragraph or essay for homework to be read only by the teacher.

2.4.2   Authentic or simplified materials

In addition to this, it is necessary to decide whether authentic or simplified materials will be used. Unfortunately, many teachers are not sure about it. Some educators, for example Haverson[[44]], discourage the use of non-authentic texts, claiming “they are inferior as models of language and lack important cues for interpretation present in most authentic texts. Moreover, authentic texts can be a useful tool in language classes, even at lower levels, when text and task type allow readers to be successful (e.g., scanning a TV guide for show times, reading a newspaper article for gist).”
It is also proposed by Widdowson[[45]] to “use authentic material to hand for teachers of students with more advanced levels of language proficiency, especially those working with ESL learners in an English language environment.” However, for EFL teachers with learners at lower levels of language proficiency, the choice seems limited to pedagogic or adapted readers. In choosing such material, the teacher is following the same principle as when choosing a textbook of appropriate language level. Widdowson makes this analogy: “Simplification is the pedagogic analogue of the linguist’s idealization of data. The teacher simplifies by selecting and ordering the linguistic phenomenon he is to deal with so as to ease the task of learning.”
The issue for most EFL teachers, then, is how to choose readers from the many series available, so as to ensure an acceptable quality of material for their learners. It is possible to find readers for beginners in which stories are told in the present simple or present continuous, hardly a natural use of these tenses. Consequently, Hedge objected and another criticism which has been leveled, especially at lower levels of series, is that „stories read more like lists than stories, with simple sentences following one another disjointedly”[[46]]. I would dare to object at this point that even if students must feel some degree of challenge, primarily, they should feel comfortable when they read and just the simplified versions are very good for it, in my opinion.

3. Practical part

3.1     The introduction

In this part of my diploma thesis, I concentrate on the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th grade of the basic school and I suggest a book for each of these grades with a short explanation of my decision. Further, this part provides an example of the extensive reading programme which consists of a set of specially tailored activities which have been designed and realized with two classes.
The lesson plans are based on the methods such as pair work, group work, discussion, predictions etc. I will evaluate them and give a feedback from my pupils. 
Moreover, the practical part presents the results of the research of the effects of extensive reading programme on the learners' reading, speaking and writing abilities and their attitude to reading and language learning. 

3.2     The Extensive reading programme at the basic school


3.2.1   The background of the reading programme

I started an extensive reading programme in January 2009 and it was finished in March 2009. It became a part of general English lessons. The main aim of this reading programme was to give the students an opportunity to meet English language used in real situations and to show that children can enjoy learning, as well as to develop their positive attitudes towards reading and language learning. I have decided to use multiple copies of the parts of the book for all students. After students chose the topics that they were interested in by means of the pyramid discussion, I prepared the text both containing the most interesting parts from the diary and dealing with students’ preferred topics.
We read the texts mostly at school and we worked with them every English lesson for four weeks. I suppose that to read the text as a whole without any breaks is the best way how to do it because students do not loose touch with the reading and with the content of the book and, moreover, it is more natural. When people read a book, they do not read it only on one day in a week, they read it whenever they can and want.

3.2.2   Upper-primary Reading Scheme

3.2.3   Rationale for the chosen text

I have decided to do the extensive reading programme with Townsend’s “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾”.
This book is an unabashed glimpse into the troubled life of an adolescent. It focuses on the worries and regrets of a teenager who believes himself to be an intellectual. Adrian Albert Mole was born in 1967 and grew up with his parents in Leicester. Adrian is an only child until the age of 15. He is an average boy in many ways, not especially popular or sporty, but he does well enough at school and has friends.
The book is written in a diary style, it means there are discrete entries arranged by date reporting on what has happened over the course of a day or other period.
            When choosing the book, I was mindful of the fact that students' interest in the book is the most important factor. The life of Adrian Mole is very close to them. His happiness as well as his troubles are like their own. They pass through all the things that Adrian does. The story deals with values like love, family, friends, health, help to old people, so that is why it involves students and stimulates their interaction. Since the text challenges to one’s personification, pupils can express their own feelings and emotions.
             In addition, the text shows us also cross-cultural relations between the British and the Czechs (different values, cultural diversity, different school rules, etc.) The text can be easily read, though it is in the original format.

  • Rationale for other chosen texts
   The 6th grade: Both stories are connected with adventure and nature. Pupils can remember their holidays in a camp or imagine the adventure that they would like to experience.
   The 7th grade: The book of Treasure Island inspires for many adventurous activities from the voyage on the sea, survival on the island with the pirates to looking for the treasure. All these activities motivate pupils and they enjoy reading very much.
   The 8th grade: The Bottle Imp is a short story full of values and the perpetual contest between Good and Evil which can enrich pupils very much. The Hobbit is simply a book that pupils at this age love and they are keen on reading it.
   The 9th grade: Funny and serious story at the same time (The Curious Incident) and mysterious and interesting story (The Strange Case) are, in my opinion, very good choices to read and investigate in more details for the ninth-graders

3.2.4   Class Profile

Two classes were participating in the Reading programme. Both of them are the seventh graders. One of them is a class that I normally teach in (Class 1) and the other class is so called comparative class (Class 2). Class 1 consists of 15 boys and 3 girls and Class 2 consists of 11 boys and 6 girls. There are some differences between these two classes. Class 1 is a “special class”, which is specialized in math and physics. All pupils are very clever and many of them are talented. Moreover, they are very well motivated to learning. Class 2 is a normal class but they are good at English and their average mark in English is 1.2. 

3.2.5   Programme Methods

            The programme was realised in ten 45-minute lessons. In the first introductory lesson pupils completed an attitude questionnaire. Then eight lessons concerning pre-/while-/post-reading activities followed and the last lesson dealt with the finishing students’ posters, speaking about them and concluding the whole programme with the final questionnaire. After every lesson, students filled in the short questionnaire concerning the set goals, used techniques and students’ interests.
Sometimes students were assigned home reading. This was a base for the class activities. Sometimes we read the text together at school. The class activities were aimed at the achievement of the programme goals with the main emphasis on speaking and writing activities.

  • Programme Goals
   To develop positive attitudes towards reading and learning English.
   To motivate students to read in English for pleasure
   To develop fluent readers
   To improve students' reading, speaking and writing skills.
   To improve students' understanding of grammar and vocabulary

3.2.6   Assessment and Evaluation         

            The students were assessed on the base of two main questionnaires, their reports after every lesson, their performance in the class and their final assignment. The first questionnaire (Appendix No. 1) that students filled in before starting the reading programme contains questions about reading in general and questions about reading in English. Students expressed their attitude towards reading and their experience with reading in English or their worries of reading in English. Farther, to see how much the students improved and to show their progress, they were given the similar questionnaire after the reading programme (Appendix No. 2).
            Questionnairesthat were completed throughout the reading programme were other assessment tools. These questionnaires contain six questions, two of which deal with the set aims, another two questions focus on the used techniques and two questions deal with students’ interests. 
            After each lesson, students completed an Instant Book Report form (Appendix No. 3). These were termed instant reports because students were encouraged to spend no more than 5 minutes per report. Reports consisted chiefly of a two to three sentence summary and a two to three sentence free personal response. Although this was written in Czech, the summary gave students an opportunity to review the story mentally and demonstrate general understanding. The free response section called for students to go beyond simple comprehension and employ the understanding in further reflection.
            The students were instructed to involve the questionnaires and their reports into the language portfolios which they normally use in English lessons and in which they have a file for the reading programme. The assessment of their work in the reading programme was involved in the final grade.
            Since two classes participated in the reading programme, and both classes were given the same assessment tools, I have compared them and presented the results at the end of the practical part. (Appendix No. 4).


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