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Reading Stories for Young Learners in Korea
- Reading Stories for Young Learners in Korea
- Kim, Yoo Jeong
- Issue Date
- 외국어교육특수대학원 TESOL학과
- 이화여자대학교 외국어교육특수대학원
- Sukyung Chin
- Although the current English education system for elementary school students in Korea is intended to integrate the four language skills in order to improve English as second language, the traditional style of teaching English is still implemented in most classroom and many Korean young learners seem to have difficulty with their language development. From my personal experience as a teacher in one of the elementary English institutions in Korea, most classes use reading to teach vocabulary, grammar as well as communicative skills. However, one of the problems of this approach is that students are unmotivated due to unfamiliar topic, teacher-focused reading, vocabulary memorization, and repeated textbook activities and organizations. Reading is one of the basic linguistic elements to promote all four skills because according to Krashen & Terrel (1983:131), reading helps students to develop linguistic competence in a second language and contributes to promote all four skills. Moreover, it is stated that the value of reading is absolute in terms of building comprehensible input and developing language acquisition (Simon, 1993). Through reading text, learners will gain strong exposure on both content and language inputs.
The group I seek to address is low-intermediate Korean students between the ages of 8-10 and they have been studying English for 2-3 years. I choose this group of target students because students of this age are eager to read English book and gain new knowledge because they are curious about the world around them and they have the potential to develop their language skills through reading engaging stories and interacting with meaningful and creative activities. In reference to the WIDA scale, my students are in the Level 2 on four skills that they can express their ideas at a short sentence level with limited vocabulary usage. However, based on my teaching experience, their reading comprehension is lower compared to other skills due to their lack of attention to linguistic details. With regard to their current English level and lack of motivation, applying graded reader story series in a reading class could support student’s English development. According to Linse (2006), stories generally provide enjoyment and pleasure for all readers. Moreover, literature is used in every classroom for young learners. Compared to the English classroom in the past, using stories in modern course books for reading are on the increase because reading stories is considered as a vital component for young learner’s language development (Linse, 2006). I will adapt the Ready-To-Read Level 2 of “Henry and Mudge” storybook in order to encourage the target young learners to read with fun and enjoy the stories and the friendly characters in the series. As my target students need a strong exposure to fun and meaningful task within the storybook, reading “Henry and Mudge” series might facilitate their reading skills development and boost their motivation to learn their second language.
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