The effect of adding supplementary writing to an extensive reading program
International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 1(1), 2-16. 2004.
by Beniko Mason
This study investigated whether adding supplementary writing to an extensive reading program would increase its effectiveness for the development of grammatical accuracy. The participants were Japanese female college learners of English (N = 104) studying in an extensive reading program. The Japanese summary group (n = 34) wrote summaries in Japanese, the English summary group (n = 34) wrote summaries in English, and the Correction group (n = 36) wrote summaries in English, received corrective feedback, and rewrote their corrected summaries. All participants read an average of 2300 pages (about 500,000 words) in three semesters, and the Correction group's summaries were corrected 25 times. The results revealed that all three groups improved significantly, and there were no statistically significant differences among the groups on three tests. The questionnaire revealed that the Japanese summary group spent 150 hours reading while the other groups spent about 300 hours reading, writing and rewriting. The conclusion was that adding supplementary writing did not lead to greater accuracy and that it was inefficient.
The last few decades have witnessed the publication of a considerable amount of empirical evidence supporting what Krashen has called "the power of reading" (Krashen, 1993). There is little doubt that reading itself leads to better reading, better vocabulary, better writing, and better control of grammar in both first and second languages. The impact of reading has been demonstrated in controlled studies of in-school reading ("sustained silent reading," and "extensive reading"; see e.g. Elley and Mangubhai, 1983; Mason and Krashen, 1997), as well as in numerous case histories (e.g. Krashen, 1993; Cho and Krashen, 1994) and correlational studies of self-reported recreational reading (e.g. Anderson, Wilson, and Fielding, 1988).