2. Give access to lots of interesting, compelling books.

by Beniko Mason

Easy access to a large quantity of interesting, comprehensible books is a must. They say that you can lead horses to water, but that you cannot make them drink. Horses eventually get thirsty.

Without water available nearby they will not be able to drink. It is a teacher’s responsibility to teach them to start reading and encourage them to keep reading.

The teacher must be familiar with the content of the books available to second (foreign) language acquirers. This will help students feel welcomed and encouraged when the teacher shares his/her feelings about the story.

For those students who simply do not read, it is a good idea to bring a wide selection of colorful easier books into a classroom, including comic books. Even one pleasant, satisfying experience could change their attitude. In one study, English teachers in Korea who did not feel confident engaging in pleasure reading in English themselves were introduced to easy children’s readers and they became very enthusiastic about introducing reading into their classes (Cho, 2012). Books with only a few words on each page are good for reluctant students. It is also a good idea to slip in some easy interesting books in the native language. At the beginning, progress may be slow, and patience may be needed, but once reluctant readers have a “home run book experience” (Trelease, 2006; Von Sprecken, Kim, & Krashen, 2000; Cho, 2010), reluctance will be much less likely.


Setting Up a Classroom Library, Stories First Foundation