Improving IELTS speaking skills of EFL learners through the extensive reading at a tertiary level
Extensive reading has increased its popularity globally as it offers flexibility to choose any book and read in an increasing volume to derive pleasure. Accordingly, the number of studies regarding it has increased in the last two decades. It has been observed that a gap is prevalent in the literature to measure the effects of ER on students’ speaking competence through a standardized test at a tertiary level in Iraq context which has prompted the researcher to conduct this study. In this regard, the present study was carried out to investigate the effects of extensive reading on students’ speaking competence through the IELTS Academic Speaking Test within a span of 10 weeks. 45 Foundation English course students who joined lessons actively at TISHK International University in Erbil, Iraq were chosen by convenience sampling method in the 2022-2023 Academic Year. The data were collected through speaking exams and interviews in this mixed methods design study. Collected data analysed by SPSS 23 or NVivo revealed that extensive reading substantially increased students' marks in the IELTS Speaking test, restored their self-confidence, improved their motivation and affected their overall attitudes towards learning English in a pleasurable way. This study's implications can provide a basis for education stakeholders who are considering introducing an extensive reading-enriched program at educational institutions.
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