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The ASEAN Journal of Education ASEAN Journal of Education

Promoting English Reading Ability through the Therapeutic Benefits of Extensive Reading


Bussabamintra Chaluaisaeng,


Abstract

Generally, therapeutic reading is directly applied in the medical field as an alternative treatment for both physical and mental illness (Billington, J., Dowrick, C., Robinson, J., Hamer, A., Williams, C.; 2011) while extensive reading is implemented in the language field for reading improvement (Krashen, 2005), Yamashita, J (2004), Carrell, and Carson, (1997) ). However, this research study combined the two together. A mixed ability group of graduate students with different disciplines struggling with their study at Khon Kaen University were empowered to enjoy reading within a learner-centered approach through freely choosing their extensive reading materials based on their needs and interests and reading ability from easy to more difficult levels. At the beginning, a teacher provided some extensive reading as a model, and encouraged them to share their own among themselves followed by group discussion. The findings revealed that the therapeutic benefits of extensive reading positively affected both their reading ability and their pleasure through mediating experiences and models of human thinking and feeling which were applicable for their problem solving as adult learners. Though the findings in terms of quantitative data related to reading improvement were not conclusive, the results in the forms of qualitative data using self-assessment reports elicited from a focus group discussion and an informal semi-structured conversational interview, self-assessment in respects to their anxiety related to their study, futures and their work showed positive effects. The participants reported that they felt more confident, more motivated to learn how to read in English. Moreover, they valued selected extensive reading as a stimulating, meaningful, challenging and uplifting activity which fostered relaxation and calmness. It also encouraged focused concentration enabling them to put personal thoughts aside so they were more determined to pursue their study and personal and career life. This directly entailed their improved reading ability derived from the therapeutic benefits of extensive reading.

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Key words: English Reading Ability, Therapeutic Benefits, Extensive Reading,
     
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