Volume 3 | Issue 2 | November 2015

Article 1 – Extensive Reading of Children’s Literature

Extensive reading of children’s literature can be seen as one of the most powerful means to acquiring a large working vocabulary for both first language learners and second language learners. However, for foreign language learners, children’s literature has a less positive image. For foreign language learners the most commonly recommended reading is of graded readers. Corpus research has shown that work for children has a wide range of rare words, comparable to adult literature, and this leads to the argument that children’s literature puts too great a comprehension and memory strain on foreign language learners, and is an inefficient learning tool compared to graded readers. This paper reviews existing research and examines the arguments for children’s literature in language learning in terms of some features of naturalistic child reading behaviour, and the stylistic choices of writers for children. Replication of child reading behaviours in conjunction with the aid to comprehension and memory inherent in stylistic choices, combined with motivational and practical considerations, are argued to make children’s literature an equal, if not superior choice as extended reading material for foreign language learners. read more

Article 2 – Pictures, Images and Deep Reading

This paper considers the support provided by multimodal children’s literature in the development of literacy. The focus is on reading in a second language and the negotiation of understanding due to information gaps in the narrative, and on reading pleasure due to sensory anchoring through pictures. The development of deep reading is differentiated from the acquisition of functional literacy skills. Further, the differentiation between the medium-embeddedness of pictures and the perceptual-transactional and culturally shaped nature of images is highlighted with regard to the affordances of pictures in picturebooks and graphic novels. In some children’s literature, the opportunities for meaningful booktalk are amplified by an apparently simple style of illustration. This process has been termed amplification through simplification, which, in contrast to simplifying by stereotyping, can help lead to intercultural understanding and deep reading. The affordances of pictures in supporting young adult readers to create a mental model of a storyworld is discussed with reference to two panels from Coraline (Gaiman & Russell, 2008), a graphic novel. read more

Article 3 – Lessons in English Language, Literature and Improvisation

The paper provides a brief outline of the historical development, principles and implementation of improvisational theatre in both the theatrical and non-theatrical context in order to present the art of improvisation as a strategy in foreign and second language acquisition. Research shows that because of the adaptability of the improvisational game structure which allows for the applicability of improvisational techniques in different contexts and with subjects of various backgrounds, improvisational theatre can be incorporated in teaching an array of subjects and topics, including English as a foreign and second language. In order to demonstrate the possible application of the improvisational strategy in English language teaching, there is a detailed description of an interdisciplinary workshop The English Anatomy of a Witch, focusing on the oral tradition of storytelling and the fairy tale as the direct product of both storytelling and improvisational practices, which contains different aspects of improvisational techniques in the classroom setting. By discussing the figure of the witch, which is anthropologically and historically present in British and American culture, the workshop aims to achieve a number of goals and objectives pertaining to both foreign and second language acquisition, the re-evaluation of the literary tradition, as well as pedagogies that foster critical and divergent thinking. read more

Article 4 – Alex Rider – Stormbreaker: A Graphic Novel Experience

This article gives an insight into the use of the graphic novel Alex Rider – Stormbreaker (Horwitz, 2006) in a German secondary school (Realschule). It begins with a short literary review about the application of graphic novels in language learning and then continues with a description of an intervention in a secondary school in Germany. The article describes how the learners are introduced to the graphic novel as a multimodal medium and describes the different tasks and their relevance in the development of multi-literacies. The aim of the teaching sequence was to involve learners in meaningful communicative activities which cater to their needs and which ensure a development of all skills as well as their general competencies regarding the use of sequential art. Whether this aim was accomplished will also be reflected on. read more