Reading is an activity that can add someone’s knowledge about important news and also some new vocabulary items. Realizing the importance of reading, some collages make it as one of subject. There are two kinds of teaching reading; Extensive and Intensive. Extensive and Intensive are different in some cases. This article provides three differences between Extensive Reading and Intensive Reading; therefore Extensive Reading has more important purpose compared to Intensive Reading in broadening students’ knowledge.

The first difference is that Extensive Reading covers large area, while Intensive Reading covers narrower area. According to Graham Stanley, Extensive Reading involves students reading long texts or large quantities for general understanding, with the intention of enjoying the texts. It means that students are given freedom to choose their own topic which they think are interested to be discussed. In this case, the students also have to find supported articles related to the topic in order to give them background knowledge, so that they know more about the topic they have chosen. It is different from Intensive Reading that does not allow the students to find a topic they like. The topic is given by the teacher. The students also do not necessary to look for supported articles because the topic which is chosen by the teacher is usually short and easy to understand.

The second difference is about students’ activity in class. In Extensive Reading the students’ activity is more complex than in Intensive Reading. The students, in Extensive Reading class, usually are asked to write a summary after reading an article/ passage. As we know, writing summary is not an easy thing to do. It allows learners to assert full control, both of the main factual or fictional content of an article/ book, and of the grammar and vocabulary used to express it (Bell, 1998). Besides, the students also will do a short presentation on what they have read. By doing short presentation, the students will have knowledge of the right preparation, self- independence and autonomy (Bell, 1998). While in Intensive Reading, instead of writing summary and having presentation, the students are asked to answer some questions related to the topic which is given by the teacher. Usually, all of the answers are available on the text, so that the students only rewrite it.

The last, Extensive Reading will discourage the over- use of dictionary (Bell, 1998); on the contrary dictionary is a must in Intensive Reading. It is true that dictionary have an important place in reading activity, but as stated by Bell (1998) that the students will focus only on the language if they always consult the dictionary every time they find an unfamiliar word. They will not pay attention to the message conveyed. Bell also said that this habit will cause inefficient reading and destroy the pleasure that reading is intended to provide. Graham Stanley from British Council, Barcelona said that by avoiding dictionary, the students are expected to be encouraged to jot down the words they come across in a vocabulary notebook and they can look them up after they have finished reading. It will make the students guess the meaning based on the context. By doing this, the students are able to always remember the meaning of a word because they find it by themselves. Meanwhile in Intensive Reading, students have to find difficult words while they are reading. The frequency of using dictionary is often because in Intensive Reading, a text will be used to answer some questions, so the students have to know the meaning of all words in the text in order to make them easy to answer the questions.

In conclusion, through doing complex activities, Extensive Reading can broaden students’ knowledge more than Intensive Reading. In Extensive Reading, students write summary and do presentation which lead them to minimize the use of dictionary. In opposition, the students’ activities in Intensive Reading are more limited. The activities depend on the teacher’s guidance only. This kind of activities will not encourage students to explore their abilities; they cannot broaden knowledge by themselves as well as in Extensive Reading.


Bell, Timothy. 1998. Extensive Reading: Why? And How?. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IV, No. 12, December 1998. http://iteslj.org/Articles/Bell-Reading.html (Accessed on October 13, 2005)


Stanley, Graham. _____. Extensive Reading. http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/read/extensive.shtml (Accessed on October 13, 2005)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: