extensive reading

It is important to read 'authentic' texts, because texts that have been simplified may differ from authentic texts in ways that hamper both understanding and learning.1 However, 'authentic' need not mean 'intended for native speakers'. What is important is that the text is written with an 'authentic communicative objective'.2 Texts written to introduce vocabulary or demonstrate a difficult point of grammar do not have such objectives.


Honeyfield, J. (1977). Simplification. TESOL Quarterly, 11(4), 431–440. https://doi.org/10.2307/3585739
Swaffar, J. K. (1985). Reading authentic texts in a foreign language: A cognitive model. The Modern Language Journal, 69(1), 15–35. https://doi.org/10.2307/327875


1 "Traditional simplification involves limiting syntax and vocabulary through detransformation and paraphrasing. These processes reduce information density, and also disrupt the normal system of information distribution (since low frequency items are not used). Further, the highly restricted syntax that is often used may be inadequate for a given information load, and so may reduce cohesion and readability. Also, in concentrating on syntax and vocabulary, simplifiers often lose sight of communicative structure–the ways in which information is organized in texts for particular communicative purposes. All these factors may limit the effectiveness of simplified material in training learners to read unsimplified English." (Honeyfield, 1977, p. 439)

2 "For purposes of the foreign language classroom, an authentic text . . . is one whose primary intent is to communicate meaning. In other words, such a text can be one which is written . . . to be read by other native speakers . . . or it may be a text intended for a language learner group. The relevant consideration here is not for whom it is written but that there has been an authentic communicative objective in mind." (Swaffar, 1985, p. 17)