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Extended Nonfiction Readers for EAP Programs

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Abstract

Content-based instruction course designers have many important decisions to make when developing courses for postsecondary English for academic purposes (EAP) students. One important consideration revolves around deciding if students would benefit most from the use of sustained content (Murphy & Stoller, 2001) or a topical approach (Brinton, Snow, & Wesche, 2003). The authors advocate the sustained content approach and promote the use of extended nonfiction readers, specifically those designed for students in Grades 7–12, as primary texts for achieving course goals for intermediate-level EAP students. The authors support this stance by (a) establishing a strong case for the adoption of extended nonfiction readers in sustained content instruction, (b) introducing helpful text selection criteria, (c) describing scaffolding techniques and synthesis tasks to be used with such readers, and (d) offering tips that can assist teachers and administrators in making a programmatic transition to this pedagogical approach. For practitioners at other grade levels or in programs that endorse other content-based approaches, many of the ideas presented here are relevant with modest adaptations.

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