UBC Graduate Research

Exploring the use of picture books in developing the language acquisition of students learning English as a second language Lim, Sarah Dissa Ang


The purpose of this paper is to explore what research says about the effectiveness of using picture books to support language acquisition among students learning English as a second language. The research can be grouped into the following themes : book floods, the effect of using picture books on a specific ability or skill and wordless picture books. Researchers "flooded" communities in the South pacific and China with high interest western picture books and examined the effect that those picture books had on different learning outcomes related to story structure, oral language and reading comprehension. Other experimental research sought to compare the effects of a book based program as opposed to the use of an audio-lingual highly structured textbook. Lastly, some of the research revolved around case studies or experimental studies on how wordless books can be used to promote language learning. Communities who were exposed to picture books showed significant improvement in oral language, comprehension and use of story structure elements. Other research that was conducted comparing the use of picture books to highly structured texts or exercises found that there was a significant increase in language comprehension, vocabulary and expression when using picture books. Wordless books were also found to be an excellent resource for facilitating language development in students learning English as a second language. In my Connections to Practice section I propose a unit plan created using the different picture book versions of the 3 Little Pigs with my English language learners. In this unit students will study and explore variations in the 3 Little Pigs and will participate in activities designed to enhance their language acquisition.

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