In his Stages Hypothesis, Stephen Krashen recommends:
2. Free Voluntary Reading
3. Specialized Reading (Academic Reading)
In 1. Stories and 2. FVR, students listen and read for just for fun. However with 3. Specialized Reading. Students not only read what they love: they read to solve problems and feel like experts.
Specialized Reading requires:
1. many years of FVR to develop autonomous reading habits and advanced reading ability, and 2. a high-interest non-fiction section in your classroom library or Free Voluntary Websurfing. Yet the real key to Specialized Reading is 3. student choice. Think: independent study.
Students choose when they are ready to move away from FVR …don’t push them too soon. If students test out of ESL before doing Specialized Reading, that’s okay.
Students choose when they have found a topic worth reading about. They decide when to abandon that topic and move on.
Students choose what books, blogs, articles, etc. to read. They may choose to skip any passages they don’t need and read only the passages that are interesting to them.
Students choose how to use the new knowledge they find in books. As with any reading, no tests, no comprehension questions. Students seek answers to questions they create. They respond to text in an autonomous, authentic way: usually with a product or project they decide on and feel passionate about. If they loved an article on photography, they may chose to pick up a camera. If they loved a book on fashion design, they may try out a few sketches.
All of these choices can be supported with teacher suggestions. Yet student choice ensures that text is compelling and comprehensible.
Krashen, S. (2018). Do Libraries and Teacher Librarians Have the Solution to the Long Term English Language Learner Problem? CSLA Journal, 41(2): 16-19. Available at: http://sdkrashen.com/content/articles/2018_krashen_long-term_ells.pdf
Krashen, S., Sy-Ying, L. & Lao, C. (2018). Comprehensible and Compelling: The Causes and Effects of Free Voluntary Reading. Libraries Unlimited: Westport, CT.