Research Key

The Effects of Extensive Reading on L2 Language Learners: The Case of Level 300 Students in the Faculty of Arts, University of Buea

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Qualitative research
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This work set out to describe the relationship which exists between reading and language efficiency in L2 learners of the English language. To achieve this, data was collected through a set of questionnaires (30 of which were administered to 300 level students in the Faculty of Arts, University of Buea, data analyzed using tables and percentages.

Krashen’s Theory which emphasizes that learners should be able to draw up meaning from what they read was used to interpret. The result showed that extensive reading is very important and has a positive effect on students’ language power.

Based on this study, it was discovered a greater proportion of the students do not read extensively, but the few who do are more grounded in vocabulary and word acquisition. It is therefore recommended that teachers should teach about reading and its role in 12 language learning for greater output.



Language learning and acquisition have a lot to do with reading. It is through reading that it is attained. As ironical and funny as it may seem, both students and even pupils tend to limit their reading activities, less don’t do it at all.

According to some, reading only has to do with what is taught in the classroom and what is prescribed by the institutions or by lecturers. This unwillingness by learners of the English language as a second language greatly has a negative influence on language learning.

It is with this issue that linguists have differing views as to reading on a wider scope, which should be greatly encouraged in academic institutions in order to enhance the learning of the English language. This is what this research seeks to study.

Background of the Study

English language learning is generally done in four major ways, commonly called “language skills”. These are, speaking which has to do with verbal use of the language, writing which entails putting down the letters and sounds of the language on a surface and reading which is understanding and looking at printed or written words to get meaning.

From the above discussion, one could see that to learn the English language as a second language, one needs to employ all of the skills, including listening. It is however ironic that students learning the English language tend to focus on listening, speaking, writing and care less about reading which is even rarely done extensively.

Historical Background

Here, the history of extensive reading as a program in Chugoku Junior college, Japan, will be discussed. The introduction of extensive reading came in 2000. A workshop was organized and conducted by Dr. Robert Waring. In it, the concept of reading at an appropriate level to improve language skills seemed simplified, yet logical.

The first step was to search for books and articles on extensive reading to learn more about reading extensively, the power of reading and the approaches to be used. Form this level; teachers were constantly being educated on extensive reading which gradually got students involved.

In 2006, the students could go in for contests from where they got numerous awards. By Extensive reading, the students’ minds were “enlarged” as they studied and learnt more new words, expressions and even beautiful language use. This made Extensive reading become a part of the curriculum.

Definition of Terms

Extensive reading

Extensive reading can be described as a free type of reading, book flood or reading for pleasure which is a tool for language learning and facilitates the acquisition of vocabulary. Proponents such as

Krashen (1989) claim that reading alone will increase encounters with new and unknown words form which learners will infer and gain more knowledge.


According to Wiktinary, reading is a cognitive process of decoding symbols to derive meaning.

Description of Study Area

This research/study which is centred on the impacts or influence which extensive reading has on second language learners of English is designed to be carried out at the University of Buea, on the students studying English language as a second language.

This chosen population is geared towards getting just the right and useful information based on their experiences in extensive reading. The chosen student population, however, will not be composed of those still in their first year of studies, because they might not have read extensively so far.

Statement of the Problem

It has been observed that students learning the English language as a second language do not read beyond what is prescribed in class, by lecturers or that which is only imposed on them. This reluctance to read extensively (reading out of the scope) has an influence on language learning.

It is through reading that new expressions are learnt, new words are discovered and at times even wrong language use can be discovered and corrections made. Despite these, students still limit what reading material to cover as learners of the English language.

Objectives of the Study

  • This study is aimed at relating extensive reading to second language learning. Here it will seek to explain how reading extensively plays a role in extensive reading.
  • This research also has an objective to show how performance in language learning is affected or influenced by extensive reading.
  • The research well is concerned with comparing students who read extensively with those who don’t, based on the vocabulary knowledge gained.

Research Questions

  • What impacts or influence does extensive reading have on language learning?
  • How is reading related to language learning and performance?
  • What advantages are there with reading extensively with regards to vocabulary growths?
  • How has extensive reading affected other students? 
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