Category Archives: #AusELT ADG

Fluency Development through Extensive Reading – #AusELT/English Australia Journal Article Discussion – October 2016


Image from

Access the article here.

Access the transcripts of the discussion here.

(or search “fluency development” on the AusELT Facebook page)

Overview of the article

Paul Brigg and Alice Chik are reporting on a case study research project involving two English language learners, using two forms of extensive reading – 1) reading for language growth, and 2) reading for fluency development. While both forms of extensive reading are useful for second language literacy development, the authors argue that reading for fluency development is often overlooked in second language programs.

The primary purpose of reading is the competent construction of meaning from text, and fluency is a precondition for this. The development of fluency progresses from decoding words to extracting meaning and then on to the smooth and meaningful understanding of texts. Many international students read more slowly and with less confidence in English than in their first language. This is likely to restrict their ability to manage required academic reading and leads to a belief that they can gain more information and knowledge through their first language. (page 51)

In the literature review section, the authors report on exisiting research into the areas of extensive reading and fluency, shared book reading and read-alouds, and modifying books for fluency development. They then go on to outline the research design.

This project used case-study to investigate the possible fluency differences between participants undertaking two forms of ER in separate five-week courses, one participant reading for language growth (Ken), and the other for fluency development (Lin). After the completion of the courses, think-aloud interviews were used to investigate the mental processes of the participants as they read an extract based on their respective forms of ER. The interviews were conducted in a meeting room at their college, and the participants made their own recordings using their mobile phones – this facilitated follow-up discussions. (page 56)

The student participants were a 39 year old Vietnamese man who had recently arrived in Australia to study English, and a 25 year old Chinese woman who was also new to Australia. Both were keen readers in their native language. The findings of the research are presented in four sections:

  1. oral fluency levels (which is related to reading fluency)
  2. the think-aloud matrix (reporting on what strategies the students were using while reading)
  3. procedural development, (Which measures the length of the think-aloud utterances – an indication of fluency development), and
  4. error count comparison (which give an indication of reading difficulties).

Perhaps the significance of the findings is best summed up in the concluding remarks from the authors.

The present study has found significant evidence of fluency development from ER simplified to a 99–100% lexical coverage. Therefore, an enjoyable and relaxing period of easily understood ER will likely project most EAP students towards accomplishing fluency growth in English.

“Simplified to 99-100% lexical coverage” refers to modifications to the book so that readers can understand 99-100% of the words and phrases.

I hope this brief summary will encourage you to read the article and consider how it may inform your own teaching practices with respect to reading. Indeed, this will be the first question that we’ll discuss next week (w/c 17/10/16).

Question for discussion:

How might the findings reported on pages 60-65 lead to changes in how you approach the teaching of reading in your context(s)?

Article Discussion Group: Vote now for an article to discuss during w/c 17/10/16




Image courtesy of

The poll is closed. The article for discussion is Paul Brigg and Alice Chik’s “Fluency development through extensive reading: two case studies”. An introduction to the article will be posted tomorrow morning (Tuesday October 11).



Welcome to the voting page of the third Article Discussion Group. The idea is for us all to vote for our preferred article from the latest English Australia Journal, read it, and then join in a moderated discussion of the article. Authors will either join in on the discussion, or respond offline to points raised and questions asked, facilitated by the moderator. The discussion will take place on the #AusELT Facebook page and is scheduled as such: October 10-16 is reading time; October 17-23 is discussion time.

The articles are all relevant to many of the contexts in which AusELT folk practice. They are primary research articles, that is, the authors have devised and conducted their own research study and reported their findings. In addition, each article has been peer-reviewed, meaning that the editor has invited leading TESOL scholars to review and offer suggestions for improving earlier drafts. We have some excellent reviewers who, together with the authors, have ensured you receive the best quality research reports upon which you can make some decisions about your own teaching.

In order to assist those who are new to reading research articles, the moderator will orient you by providing a summary of the research design and the overall purpose of the research. The discussion will not only focus on how the article can inform your own teaching, but also on opportunities for further research in any form. It will hopefully spark ideas for improving the quality of life in many classrooms! Each article has an abstract for you to read; after all, just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a research article by its title. The complete articles are all open access, freely available online here (article 32.1 – available Friday Oct. 7) and can also be downloaded in pdf here. The chosen article will be made available as a pdf and available for download on this page.

Teacher motivational strategy practice and student motivation in tertiary ESL

Owen Wilson: King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Aek Phakiti: University of Sydney

This article reports on an empirical investigation of the process-oriented/ socio-dynamic phase of second language learning motivation theory. One hundred and sixty three students from 11 tertiary English as a second language classrooms took part in the study. They were taught by 11 different teachers at a Foundation Studies Program in Sydney, Australia, which prepares these students to enter an undergraduate program. The research instruments include an adapted version of Guilloteaux and Dörnyei’s (2008) motivation orientation of language teaching (MOLT) classroom observation scheme and post-lesson teacher evaluation system (PLTES), and Papi and Abdollahzadeh’s (2012) students’ motivated state (SMS) questionnaire (slightly modified to fit the context of the current study). It was found that teachers’ motivational strategy practice was positively related to students’ motivated behaviour, although the relationship was not as strong as those found in previous research of middle or high school English as a foreign language contexts. The implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Ability grouping and scaffolded learning with large classes: Vietnamese students’ attitudes to learning approaches

Michael Carey: University of the Sunshine Coast

Tuan Do: University of Danang, Vietnam

In Asian college programs with large class sizes, the common practice of heterogeneous grouping of students may hinder EFL teaching. In this context, students with different levels of English language proficiency achieve their learning goals in various ways, so require differentiated input. The question of how diverse learners respond to differentiated learning and teaching methods in large Asian classes is under- researched. We report on an experiment in which ability grouping was combined with scaffolded learning (two experimental and independent variables) to teach a large EFL class. The dependent variables we evaluated were the students’ attitudes (emotional, behavioural and cognitive) towards the experimental teaching technique, with data collected through observation and a questionnaire. Quantitative and qualitative analysis suggests that the students’ attitudes towards the teaching technique were positive. Although this was a relatively small- scale experiment (N=52), it provides evidence that a combination of ability grouping and scaffolded learning can be a beneficial teaching technique for large EFL classes.

Fluency development through extensive reading: Two case studies

Paul Brigg and Alice Chik: Macquarie University

This paper compares the development of fluency from two forms of Extensive Reading (ER) in case studies of learners who had just completed five-week ER courses. These involved 1 hour per week of shared-book reading and 3.5 hours weekly of individual sustained silent reading (SSR). The two participants were preparing for university entry at an English Language Centre (ELC) and both were enthusiastic leisure readers in their first language. In the ER courses, one read intermediate-level graded readers for language growth, with the other read simplified-intermediate books for fluency development. At the conclusion of their courses, the participants undertook think- aloud interviews while reading a graded reader excerpt at their respective levels. Their transcripts were then evaluated using semantic assessment, procedural development measurements and error counts. It was established that the participant reading for fluency development experienced significant growth in that area. This suggests that fluency training should be included in university language preparation courses.

So, without any more fanfare, please cast your vote! Closes Monday October 10, 2016 at 5 pm DST

Your moderator, Phil Chappell (@TESOLatMQ, Executive Editor of the English Australia Journal)