Extensive Reading in the Korean EAP University Context: A Reconsideration of Its Goals


  • Grace H. Wang Yonsei University
  • Seok-Dong Wang Hankuk University of Foreign Studies




extensive reading, English for Academic Purpose, university, English as a foreign language, graded readers


Extensive reading for English language learners is commonly promoted as reading for pleasure rather than reading for information. However, Park (2005) observes that the changing trend in the reading habits of the South Korean people over the past decade has been one from reading-for-pleasure to that of reading-for-survival. Globally, people are being met with increasingly difficult economic times and South Korea is no exception. Reading habits are fuelled by need, whether that need may be for pleasure or information. When it comes to the needs of the adult English language learner concerning extensive reading (ER), however, we may sometimes overlook their real needs for practical information in areas of language proficiency and skills development. Rather, in an effort to foster strong reading habits, we may tend to emphasize reading for pleasure through materials that have been written more to entertain than to inform. Korean university students, in particular, are driven by the need to read for information. In this paper, I argue, by reference to Day and Bamford’s (1998) Expectancy-value Model of Motivation for Second Language Reading, that driving university students’ motivation to read extensively in English may be better accomplished by raising both the expectancy and value factors with texts that students are able to read reasonably well, which they also consider very worthwhile reading. These materials, for example, could deal with topics that help learners prepare for academic studies abroad and further their career development. The paper concludes that, for university students, at least, the goals of extensive reading may need to be modified so as not to focus exclusively on ease of reading and entertainment.

Author Biographies

Grace H. Wang, Yonsei University

Grace H. Wang, M.A. (TEFL/TESL), is a professor of college English at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, where she designs task-based curricula and materials for EAP courses. She is the author of the iEnglish® task-based textbooks, and the founder of the iEnglish® Language and Research Center (http://ienglishR.org). Email: ghwang97@yonsei.ac.kr.

Seok-Dong Wang, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

Seok-Dong Wang, Ph.D., teaches at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, Korea, where he served as chairman of the Division of International Studies and head of the United Nations peace program. His research areas include issues in education and development aid. Professor Wang is a coauthor of the iEnglish® task-based textbooks. Email: sdwang@hufs.ac.kr.


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