What’s Free voluntary Reading?

Free Voluntary Reading is free reading; students are free to choose the books, articles, or other written materials of their own choice and read them at their own pace

These are are some of the two main characteristic of this teaching and learning strategy:

  • Its voluntary reading; students can choose to or not to report the reading they have done.
  • Students are also free to or not to read at home.

These are the main objectives or goals from using Free Voluntary Reading

  • Develop a taste for reading
  • Stimulate the once – reluctant reader to read more outside of school

Let’s check a few more detail that will help you learn more about Free Voluntary Reading and some of its criticisms



Free Voluntary Reading: Requirements

FVR is Sustained Silent Reading in its purest form because there are:

  • No requirements
  • No book reports.
  • No journal entries.
  • No chapter questions.
  • No required home reading

Characteristics of Free Voluntary Reading

The key elements of free voluntary reading include:

  • Freedom of Choice: Students have the autonomy to choose reading materials based on their interests and preferences. This can include fiction, non-fiction, magazines, newspapers, or any other written content.
  • Extensive Reading: FVR encourages students to engage in extensive reading, which involves reading a large quantity of material rather than focusing intensely on a small amount.
  • Enjoyment: The primary aim is for students to find joy and satisfaction in reading. When learners enjoy the process of reading, they are more likely to continue reading, which can lead to improved language skills.
  • Autonomous Learning: FVR promotes autonomy in language learning by allowing students to take charge of their reading choices and pace. This can enhance motivation and a sense of ownership in the learning process

Praises for Free Voluntary Reading

Studies have consistently shown that those who read more show more literacy development.

Studies confirm that those who participate in SSR programs read more on their own when the program is over (Pilgreen and Krashen, 1993) and one study showed that they continue to read more even years later (Greaney and Clarke, 1973).

Some experts also claim that reading comprehension, students writing style, vocabulary, spelling and grammar control improves


The Power of Reading by Stephen Krashen

If you want to learn more about reading, consider watching this seminar by Stephen Krashen


Criticism of Free Voluntary Reading

While free voluntary reading has been praised for its potential benefits in language learning, it’s not without its criticisms.

Some of the common criticisms include:

  • Some critics have claimed that free voluntary reading is merely a time for pretend reading, that many students simply flip pages and look at pictures.
  • Unequal Exposure: Critics argue that FVR may lead to unequal exposure to language input. Students with a strong interest in reading may benefit more than those who are less inclined to read independently.
  • Lack of Accountability: Some educators express concerns about the lack of accountability in FVR. Without structured assessments or assignments tied to the reading, there may be a risk that students do not engage with the material as thoroughly as they would with more traditional instructional methods.
  • Limited Academic Focus: FVR is often associated with leisure reading, and critics argue that it might not provide enough focused attention to academic or subject-specific content. In language learning contexts where specific academic language skills are crucial, some argue that FVR alone may not be sufficient.
  • Potential for Low Challenge: Without guidance, students might choose reading materials that are too easy for them.
  • Cultural and Socioeconomic Factors: The availability and accessibility of reading materials can vary based on cultural and socioeconomic factors. In some contexts, students may not have equal access to a variety of reading materials, potentially limiting the effectiveness of FVR.

More Teaching Reading Resources

I hope you have found everything you were looking for about Free Voluntary reading

These are some posts to learn more about how to teach reading

  1. 15 Examples of Pre-Reading Activities
  2. How to Assess Reading Skills
  3. How to Find the Main Idea in 4 steps
  4. 3 Stages for Teaching Reading
  5. Top Down and Bottom up Processing
  6. 13 Examples of Post-Reading Activities
  7. 11 Examples of While-Reading Activities

I will keeping making adjustments to this articles as I learn more about this topic

Happy reading!

Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of EnglishPost.org, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English