The process of reading books outside one’s scheduled area of expertise or work is also referred to as extensive reading. More than anyone else, this process has some immense benefits for students. For starters, such reading helps them develop a sense of autonomy. In fact, it is said to be the best and also the cheapest way for a student to develop such qualities. By its very nature reading happens to be a rather individual and private activity. It is one thing that you can do at any time of the day and at any place of your choice. You can start reading when you want to and stop as and when it pleases you.
Here readers have the freedom to interpret and visualize the text that they are reading just the way they wish to. They can also ask themselves any question that they wish to – it can be an implicit one or an explicit one.
Apart from this, they can also take notes about the language or just let the story take them along the flow.
Let’s check out the top 6 benefits of reading books for students:
1. It offers inputs that the students can comprehend
As far as various sources of comprehensible inputs are concerned reading happens to be the one form that is the most easily available. This is especially true for places where the students do not have much access to a language that they are looking to learn.
If these texts can be chosen carefully, keeping in mind their comfort and capability levels, it can help students reacquaint themselves time and again with language items that they are already familiar with. This way they are able to strengthen their existing knowledge and increase it further. There is hardly any other way in which a student will get to learn new languages and that too within the limited scope that a class offers.
A great way to learn any language is through immense exposure to it on a repeated basis, and that too in a definite context. The best way to do so is through extended reading.
2. It improves their general language skills and capabilities
We might not know or understand this but the benefits of extended reading go far beyond mere reading.
Students become competent in a wide range of areas such as reading as well as other skills related to languages such as writing, control over syntax, and speaking to name a few. There is, in fact, plenty of evidence in the academic circles to suggest that there is a significant improvement in speaking skills that comes as a direct result of extended reading. So, when a student is reading in an extensive manner all her or his language skills are being honed and not merely reading.
3. It helps develop general and global knowledge
As far as most of the students these days are concerned there is rather limited knowledge of the world that they are living in. This is applicable from an effective point of view as well as a cognitive one. Their experience of the world is likewise as well – limited at best. This is where extended reading can come in and make such a difference.
It can throw open the windows of this world to them and they can see it through many different kinds of eyes at the same time. This is one education function that extended reading plays and one that cannot be stressed enough to reveal how important it is.
4. It helps with the growth of vocabulary
When a student is in the habit of reading books outside her or his curriculum it helps her or him improve her or his vocabulary. Not only that; with extended reading students are able to improve this rate of growth and sustain it as well.
It is not possible for you to extend your vocabulary with just a single session of reading. You need to be doing it time and again in order for the growth to happen. With extended reading you are exposed to phrases and words of a language in a context time and again. This also means that you become progressively acquainted with them. Since you are learning a new language in a proper context you are also able to deduce things a lot faster in this language.
There have also been plenty of studies in the academic circles that support the theory that extended reading helps students improve their vocabulary and sustain it through continued exposure to language in various contexts.
5. It helps improve writing
Extended reading can also help the students improve their writing. In fact, the connection between reading and writing happens to be a well established one. The more you read, the better you become at writing. As far as academicians are concerned there is no clear logic to suggest why this would happen but it happens nonetheless. Common sense suggests that when you read you meet a language more often, per se. Your mechanism for acquiring language works in such a way that it is able to reproduce this knowledge in the form of speaking and writing as and when it is needed.
6. It creates a motivation to read more and sustains it
There is a circle of virtue – success begets more success. It makes sure that when you are able to read a new language and master it with a modicum of success you are motivated to repeat this trend even more. It helps your self-esteem and that too in a positive way.
You feel encouraged and this causes you to read more. In fact, when you are able to read your first book in a new language and learn it the positive effects of it are undeniable. Academics say that it is a lot similar to hitting a home run. However, they also suggest that the first reading material should be a compelling one. Merely an interesting one would not serve the purpose over here. It is the success that a student achieves with her or his first instance of extended reading that prompts her or him to keep doing it time and again.