Comparison of the Impact of Extensive and Intensive Reading Approaches on the Korean EFL Learners’ Reading Rate and Reading Comprehension Development

A Young Park


Extensive Reading (ER) is a reading approach that aims to make covering large amounts of reading material enjoyable for language learners. Many experimental studies have showed the effectiveness of the ER approach on reading fluency, the ability to read words and process text rapidly and accurately. Though revealing, these findings need to be interpreted with caution due to methodological defects in the measurement of reading fluency in these ER studies. This quasi-experimental study compared the effect of the ER approach with that of the conventional Intensive Reading (IR) approach on EFL learners’ reading rate and reading comprehension with regard to leaners’ proficiency level. Over a 12-week timespan, two intact classes of 72 Korean secondary students received either ER (N = 36) or IR (N = 36) instruction, with pre- and post- differences in performance examined with regard to proficiency level.  Results of an ANCOVA revealed that students’ reading rate and comprehension increased significantly more from the ER approach than from the IR approach. That is, students from the ER group significantly increased their reading rate in comparison to the IR group without impairing reading comprehension. More specifically, the ER approach had a greater positive impact on the learners’ reading rate than the IR approach irrespective of participants’ English proficiency level. However, in terms of reading comprehension, the advanced and intermediate level learners benefited more from the ER approach, while the low level learners benefited more from the IR approach.



Extensive reading, Intensive reading, Reading fluency, Reading rate, Reading comprehension, Proficiency, EFL learners

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