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12 July, 2008
various members

Daniel Droukis and Paul Collet shared textbook-free courses they had designed around writing resumes, of relevance to university students. Ken Gibson described a one-week intensive fluency training course that used no written materials. Others described experiences of giving up on a textbook that turned out to be a bad fit for a class, while others reported that they prefer topic-based textbooks which leave them free to expand the course in directions that fit both their teaching style and the students’ interests and needs. Students often need the structure provided by a book but don’t seem to mind not finishing it. Everyone was reminded to save digitalized versions of any special materials they prepare for a course.
When the discussion shifted to extensive reading, Hudson Murrell passed out a description of his program. About half those present used some form of extensive reading. Most agreed that it works best as homework, at the pace of one book every week or two. It can be supplemented by in-class instruction in reading strategies (such as how to handle unknown words) and even by the teacher reading aloud to make clear to the students that there is no pausing or backtracking in this type of reading. The first result of sustained reading, according to a study by Ken Gibson is increased speed, but there may be a dip in comprehension.
No time remained to discuss participants’ research interests and possible collaborations, so those will be handled via the chapter’s next e-mail newsletter.

Reported By Margaret Orleans