This Week In Language Education – May 19, 2017

An abbreviated edition of TWILE since I’m traveling this week and next. But there’s one study that can’t wait . . .

Reading Your Way to a Higher TOEIC® Score

Mason and Krashen (2017) present a summary of eight case studies on the effect of free reading (reading for fun) on scores for the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), a standardized exam used by many businesses to test the English skills of potential employees. Most of the case studies have been discussed in previous papers by Mason, but this piece provides a useful table summarizing the relationship between hours of reading and TOEIC scores.

Mason and Krashen calculated the number of pages and words read by their eight informants, all of whom did an extensive amount of out-of-class pleasure reading, and compared that data to their pre- and post-test TOEIC scores. The readers selected their own reading materials, which for most was a mix of graded readers and young adult books. They read for an average of 260 hours, although there was a good deal of variability in the group (the range was 27 to 651 hours).

The researchers calculated that for every one hour of free reading, participants gained on average 0.6 points of the TOEIC. The TOEIC is scaled from 0 to 990, and is further broken down into various levels of proficiency. Mason and Krashen estimated that it would take approximately 1,100 hours of reading to go from the “Elementary” to “International Proficiency” level on the TOEIC – about an hour a day for three years. This figure is very similar to Nation’s (2014) estimate on how many hours one would need to read to acquire enough words to read adult-level texts in English (1,400 hours).

If your students or someone you know want to try this at home, I provided a possible “path” to success here.



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