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T. Mikeladze

Telavi State University (GEORGIA)
Extensive reading in foreign language acquisition has its leading role (cf. Nuttall, 2000:128). It exposes learners to "large quantities of material within their linguistic competence" (Grabe and Stoller, 2002: 259), which is, at the same time, pleasurable. Extensive reading contributes to the learner’s positive attitude and motivation, vocabulary growth, development of language and literacy skills. In the 1980s all the foreign language departments of universities in Georgia had the same curricula, similar disciplines and programs. The extended reading program in this period and later was known as home reading. The focus of home reading is not the volume of reading, but acquired knowledge and skills. The popularity of extensive reading stimulated us to examine the extended reading programs at foreign language departments of Georgian universities and compare them with extensive reading. The following questions guided our research:
1) What types of extended reading programs are there in the foreign language departments of Georgian universities nowadays?
2) What are the differences between these extended reading programs taught at Georgian universities and extensive reading?

To answer the first question a survey was conducted in seven major universities of Georgia. The questionnaires were given to the teachers who instruct the extended reading programs at foreign language departments. The questions aimed at revealing: 1) Program profile, 2) the reading material in the programs and the aspects connected to it, 3) the benefits of the programs. The analysis of the questionnaires revealed that the programs taught at foreign language departments of Georgian universities are similar to intensive reading program. All these extended reading programs differ from extensive reading. Their titles vary from university to university and they do not reflect the nature of extensive reading. The role of the teacher is dominant in these programs. The teachers choose the reading material and the activities. The reading materials used in these programs are authentic, which make it difficult for students to read, translate, analyze and prepare for retelling several pages of these materials.
The second survey was carried out among 40 graduates of 2000-2010 of foreign language departments of 6 Georgian universities, who completed the extended reading programs. The questionnaire form included questions about 1) description of the extended reading program (activities used in the program, amount of reading materials), 2) personal attitude towards the program, 3) influence of the program on the graduates. The description of the program coincides with program profiles given by the teachers in the first survey. The limitations of the programs indicated by the graduates are: lack of creativity, lack of activities, too many unknown words, not adequate and interesting material,
The further analysis of the data shows that it is necessary to alter the programs and principles. We offer the replacement of the existed extended reading programs by an extensive reading program. Extensive reading programs will fill the gaps reported by the graduates; in addition, it will increase teachers’ awareness about teaching extensive reading. An extensive reading program with its fundamental principles should be implemented at foreign language departments of Georgian universities.