This dilemma explains and recognizes the difference between the students of
L1 and L2 in academic contexts and resolves that Reading fluency requires that
a reader know 95% or more of the words encountered in a text for minimal
comprehension; and these words need to be recognized with minimal conscious
Students will only develop such a large automatically recognized vocabulary
from consistent, extended reading. Fluency, then, is closely tied to a large
reading vocabulary and extensive reading.
A further complication for students, in both L1 and L2 reading instruction
situations, is that the social context of the student’s home environment strongly
influences reading development; in particular, social class differences do
appear to have an indirect effect on reading development. Typical middle-class
families provide children with an estimated 1,000 hours of ‘tutoring’ before the
children arrive at school.
For the ‘untutored’ learners, how can schools be expected to make up this
amount of literacy exposure at the same time that the better prepared students
are moving ahead from the moment they arrive in school? This is especially
problematic when literacy studies today typically promote natural discovery
learning, multiple literacies, and the rights of students to their own literacy
practices; yet students will still be evaluated, promoted, and encouraged based
on their performances with the genres most associated with middle-class home
The most basic response to this dilemma is to encourage students to read
extensively, but this advice itself poses another dilemma
This dilemma explains the social context of the student's family environment,
the way in which it strongly influences the development of reading. It focuses
mainly on the differences between social classes, which although not taken into
account, are very important because private schools have much better
education, social classes and implementation of study-teaching for students.
The most basic response to this dilemma is to encourage students to read
extensively, but this advice itself poses another dilemma
We learn to read by reading a lot, yet reading a lot is not the emphasis of most
reading curricula. There is now considerable evidence that the best way to learn
to read is by extensive reading. Many additional language learning benefits are
created by reading extensively as well
Yet extensive reading is not the central component of reading instruction in
most L2 contexts. The dilemma is not a simple one to respond to. School
administrators do not typically support daily silent reading in class; teachers do
not feel that they are ‘teaching’ when students are reading something enjoyable
The more immediate solution to this dilemma rests partly with educating
administrators and teachers about the importance of extensive pleasure
reading. Classrooms and libraries must be supplied with reading resources that
can excite students to read. Specific time in the school curriculum should be
devoted to pleasure reading, during which teachers read to, and with, students
on a regular basis. Additionally, time must be devoted to developing students’
motivation and to turning them into independent readers.
Dilemma 6 focuses on explaining why the best way to learn is through extensive
reading; taking into account that it is not the central component of reading
instruction in most of the contexts that are presented. And it also shows that
silent reading is part of the training for a student to read as a hobby and not as
an obligation, that is, it is necessary for educators to encourage reading for
A critical component for comprehension is the ability to use appropriate reading
strategies and to know when to use them and in what combinations, depending
on different reading purposes and tasks.
Teaching students to use reading strategies is now recognized as important, but
helping students to develop a large set of independently operating, efficient
reading strategies that are relevant to varying needs and contexts has proven to
be extremely difficult.
The dilemma is that we have to make students into strategic readers rather than
teach them reading strategies. How to do this is a major educational dilemma
for L2 contexts, and how to do the relevant research also poses an interesting
set of dilemmas.
I consider that this dilemma is important because in addition to reading
extensively and choosing a reading that we like, it must be understood that we
have to use adequate reading strategies and know when to use them
depending on the purpose of the readings. The interesting thing about this
dilemma is the challenge that proposes that the student should not be taught to
be a mechanical robot but that they use reason, that is, convert students into
strategic readers.