The main objective of this study was to find out if extensive reading can have any positive effects on the reading comprehension ability of high school students and their motivation to read in English. Two research questions have been posed. The first research question addressed the effect of extensive reading on students’ reading comprehension ability. The second one is the effect of extensive reading on students’ motivation to read.
In order to find answers to the research questions, a total sample of 52 participants from high schools for girls in Dayyer, Bushehr, were selected. The subjects of the study were female Iranian EFL learners. They were divided into two homogenous groups: the experimental group and the control group.
Both groups had to take a standardized reading comprehension test at the beginning of the experiment (pre-test), and also they had to fill in a motivation questionnaire. After ten weeks both groups had to take another reading comprehension test (post-test), and also they had to fill in a motivation questionnaire.
The statistical results showed that although there was an increase in the mean score of the experimental group, who received extra reading passages, the difference was not statistically significant. Therefore, the first null hypothesis which stated that extensive reading does not have any effect on reading comprehension was accepted. This suggests that extensive reading seems unlikely to help students to improve their English reading scores significantly.
Previous studies which have been conducted on the effectiveness of extensive reading conflict with the results of this study (e.g. Bell, 2001; Leung, 2002; Nakanishi &Ueda, 2011; Erfanpour, 2013; Chen, et.al, 2013) there are some studies which produced contradictory findings too. For example, the results of this study are in line with those of Waring and Takaki (2013); Ro (2013); Yamashita (2013) which indicated that extensive reading program could not lead to students’ enhancement of their vocabulary knowledge. The findings of this study are also in agreement with Yamamoto (2011) who stated that extensive reading could not increase the amount of productive vocabulary size.
The results of the study supported the findings of the previous study by Al-Homoud and Schmitt (2009) who found that extensive reading could not be so effective to see significant improvement in reading comprehension.