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Language learners read comics: Background knowledge and perceptions of multimodal texts

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Title:Language learners read comics: Background knowledge and perceptions of multimodal texts
Authors:Benjamin, John D.
Keywords:L2 reading instruction
background knowledge
schema theory
Date Issued:01 Oct 2021
Publisher:University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center
(co-sponsored by American Association of University of Supervisors and Coordinators; Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition; Center for Educational Reources in Culture, Language, and Literacy; Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning; Open Language Resource Center; Second Language Teaching and Resource Center)
Citation:Benjamin, J. D. (2021). Language learners read comics: Background knowledge and perceptions of multimodal texts. Second Language Research & Practice, 2(1), 24–40.
Abstract:When didacticizing a comics text for L2 instruction, teachers consider its content and appeal, potential difficulties in language and form, possible tasks and activities, and finally, ways comics can support existing instructional materials, especially the more traditional texts that have long constituted L2 curricula. What is lacking, however, are data on the background knowledge of form and content learners bring to comics texts in the classroom. Without this evidence, teachers are left to make assumptions about what needs to be explicitly taught and scaffolded in guiding learner comprehension of comics.

To investigate learner background knowledge of comics and comics reading, this article presents a questionnaire study focusing on L2 learners’ previous reading experiences, knowledge, and views. It asks advanced university L2 German learners (n = 26) about their comics knowledge in terms of characters, form, plot, and themes to determine whether they possess the necessary schematic background knowledge for reading. It further studies whether learners consider comics as literature and if they regard the reading of these texts as an effective task in language courses. The results provide insight into L2 learners’ comics knowledge for instructors and comics scholars as well as a model for approaching other multimodal texts in L2 instruction.
Appears in Collections: Volume 02 - Issue 1

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