英文学科 助教 コーリー・コービー


Learning a language is very much like learning to play the piano—first you learn some basics, and then you practice, practice, and practice! Like any new skill, the more time you spend and experience you have, the more you can improve. Listening to music helps a student understand how the piano sounds, and what is possible when a player grows their skills. English is very much like this, so a learner listens and reads a LOT, and learns how the language really works.


In Japan, most high school students do what is called “intensive reading”, or 精読, where they read a small amount of English and study the words, phrases (語句), and grammar very carefully. Very often, the reading is difficult, and can be stressful for learners. Students spend a lot of time looking at a small amount of English. In fact, Japanese students read an average of just 15,000 English words in three years of junior high school, and 27,000 English words in three years of high school. So, in six years most Japanese students read about 42,000 words, which is less than half the words of an average teen (十代) story book. To explain in a different way, the average student in Canada, my home country, reads 69,600 words a WEEK, which is 9 years of English reading for a Japanese student!

【要約】日本の中学や高校の英語学習では、比較的少ない量の文章(語数の少ない文章)を語句の意味や文法などに気をつけながら精読(intensive reading)することが多いようです。平均すると中学校3年間で約15,000語程、高校3年間で約27,000語、合わせて42,000語程度の英文を読んでいるようです。一方、私の故郷のカナダでは、平均的な学生は1週間で日本の学生の約9年分の量の英文を読んでいるのです。

The main focus of my research and teaching is on reading. Actually, a special kind of reading not very usual in Japan called extensive reading, or 多読, where students read a LOT. But this reading is different from the kind they do in high school. The books are easy and the words in them are not new, but words the students already know. In fact, if students don’t know at least 98% of the words in a book, then the book is too difficult for多読 and I ask my students to choose an easier book. In this way, students can read easily, read quickly, and read a LOT! They read without a dictionary, and without any Japanese help in the books. They read in the same way that they read Japanese books—naturally! It may sound like a big challenge, but in the English Department at Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University (MGU), our goal is to help our students change from English learners to English users. Students are smart, and they learn very quickly that they CAN do it! In fact, last year, our first-year students read an average of 360,000 English words in one year. This is an amazing number of words!

【要約】私は、大学で「多読」(extensive reading)という方法を用いたReading教育を専門に指導しています。多読の授業では、比較的平易な英語で書かれた本を大量に読むように指導しています。その結果、学生はほとんど辞書を使わず、日本語での説明も必要とせず、大量の英文を日本語を読むのと同じように自然に読めるようになります。私たち宮城学院女子大学英文学科の目標は、ただ英語を勉強するだけではなく、実際に英語を使える学生を育てること(「English LearnerからEnglish Userへ」)ですが、昨年の1年生は多読の授業で平均で360,000語の英文を読みました。これは驚くべき数字です!

By reading a lot, learners are able to improve their English ability in many ways—vocabulary (単語), reading level, grammar, writing, listening, and speaking. They learn how the language works, and how words and phrases go together, and work together. Research has shown that language learners who read a lot improve their skills, and improve their test scores, too. Students at MGU spend two years in多読 classes, and are able to increase their English level very much.

【要約】 大量の文を読むことによって、語彙力、読解力、文法力、作文力、聞き取る力や会話力など英語に関する様々な力を伸ばすことができます。多読によって、外国語学習者の能力が伸びテスト(TOEICや英検など)のスコアもアップすることは研究によって証明されています。宮城学院女子大学では、多読の授業を2年間行うことによって、学生たちの英語力を大きく伸ばしています。

The books that students read are very carefully chosen, and organized in a way that students can understand the books’ reading levels. At first, students read very, very easy books, and over time they increase their reading level, and choose more and more difficult books. But they are not difficult to read because the students have built their reading skills and can easily understand higher level books. One of the keys to this reading method is choice. Students choose what they want to read from over 10,000 books in our school libraries. It is my role to guide and coach the students to choose interesting and easy books, and encourage them to read a LOT.


Reading is the key to learning a language well. I have spent thousands of hours learning about how to teach English, and especially how to help students become better readers. It is my goal to help my students learn to love reading. Through books and stories, readers can travel all over the world, through space and time, and experience life far beyond the classroom, and far beyond Japan.


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