Contents and Editorial

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Editorial – Janice Bland, Christiane Lütge and Sandie Mourão ii
Extensive Reading of Children’s Literature in First, Second and Foreign Language Vocabulary Acquisition  –  Dominic Cheetham 1
Pictures, Images and Deep Reading – Janice Bland 24
The Anatomy of a Witch: Lessons in English Language, Literature and Improvisation – Željka (Nemet) Flegar and Jelena Kovačević 37
Alex Rider – Stormbreaker: A Graphic Novel Experience in a German EFL Classroom  – Svenja Brinkmann 61

Recommended Venue: The International Youth Library, Munich – Petra Rauschert


Recommended Reads – Bill Templer, Lorrain Sly, Teresa Fleta and Sandie Mourão


Books Reviews – Penni Cotton, Janet Enever

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Welcome to the fifth issue of the CLELEjournal!

The contributions to this issue of the CLELEjournal all focus on different facets of content-based, holistic learning in English language education. According to psycholinguistic research reported in Saville-Troike, imaginative, empathetic, self-confident, risk-taking, adventuresome and tolerant-of-ambiguity personality traits correlate with success in second-language learning (2006, 89). Consequently these characteristics need to be succoured in language and literature education, for example by a holistic approach to the learning of English, not only in the sense of whole language embedded in context, but also holistic in the sense of the whole person. The CLELEjournal tries to avoid a narrow understanding of language teaching, but understands language learning in primary and secondary schools to be always content-based – whether the content is intercultural learning, critical literacy, global issues, aesthetic pleasure in literary texts, creative writing, visual literacy, drama, information literacy, windows on other worlds or deep reading. These competences and many more can play a central role when literary texts for children and young adults are involved.

In some countries, literary classics for adults are well established on the language-learning syllabus for advanced secondary-school students. Few scholars would doubt the claim that much learning can be achieved from a deep study of Macbeth, Brave New World or To Kill a Mockingbird, for example, quite beyond language development. For younger language learners, the same holds for high quality and challenging literary texts aimed at children and teenagers – this is one of the main tenets of the CLELEjournal. An explicitly instrumental approach to language learning scarcely leads to holistic educational goals and multiple learning outcomes.

Cheetham leads the November 2015 issue with his article on ‘Extensive Reading of Children’s Literature in First, Second, and Foreign Language Vocabulary Acquisition’. He examines specific instances of stylistic features of well-known children’s literature, and examines how these features can help develop a wide vocabulary, lexical patterning, as [End of Page ii] well as grammatical and narrative patterning when children’s literature is employed for extensive reading with language learners.

The approaches to using children’s literature in teaching English are many, and can contribute to holistic language education in very different yet complimentary ways. Bland’s focus with ‘Pictures, Images and Deep Reading’ considers the use of pictures as an introduction to deep reading and as a support for young adult L2 readers to create a mental model of a storyworld. She examines two panels from the graphic novel Coraline to exemplify the approach.

The next contribution documents a holistic approach that focuses not only on the individual language learner, but also on whole group cohesion. Nemet Flegar and Kovačević share their experience with improvisational theatre in their paper ‘The Anatomy of a Witch: Lessons in English Language, Literature and Improvisation’. The authors report on their workshop, The English Anatomy of a Witch, as an example of drama- and literature-based instruction, resulting in language learning as well as critical thinking.

Brinkmann’s paper entitled ‘Alex Rider – Stormbreaker: A Graphic Novel Experience in a German EFL Classroom’ details a fresh and innovative teaching sequence in a German secondary school – for the graphic novel is very far from being widely accepted in language learning in many contexts. Brinkmann illustrates the many opportunities and attractions of the medium with her target group of 13 – 15 year olds.

The Recommended Venue for this issue of CLELE is The International Youth Library in Munich, the largest library for international children’s literature in the world. Rauschert outlines the delights and sterling work of this library since its founding year 1949, both for the local community and for cutting-edge scholarship worldwide.

Four delightful picturebooks are featured in the Recommended Reads section – a mix of well known and lesser-known treasures. But whether the books are new for you or not, do take a look – rediscovering them is a joy with our Recommended Reads contributors Bill Templer, Lorrain Sly, Teresa Fleta and Sandie Mourão.

This issue also features two reviews of recently published scholarship. Cotton enthusiastically reviews Challenging and Controversial Picturebooks: Creative and Critical Responses to Visual Texts (ed. Evans, 2015), which champions the development of picturebooks as an academically acceptable genre. Enever reviews an e-book, Stories and  [End of Page iii] Storyline (Ahlquist & Lugossy, 2015), which she values for being a comprehensive guide for school-based language specialists.

We wish to thank our contributors of articles and academic book reviews, of Recommended Reads and Recommended Venues, our webperson, Ina Batzke, our assistant editor, Bill Templer, and last but not least, many thanks to the members of our editorial review board – for their valued expertise that is central to the journal.

Happy reading.


Janice Bland, Christiane Lütge and Sandie Mourão



Saville-Troike, M. (2006). Introducing Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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