Can L1 children's literature be used in the English language classroom? High frequency words in writing for children

Macalister, John
Webb, Stuart
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University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center
Center for Language & Technology
A challenge in reading research, and particularly extensive reading research, is how to manage the transition from the top of graded reading schemes to authentic texts which may be separated from each other by up to 5,000 word families. While texts written for native-speaker children have been recommended at times, recent research has shown that the lexical load of these texts was of similar difficulty to that of texts written for adults. In this paper we investigate whether it is possible to identify a specialist high frequency list in writing for children, and the impact of any such list on readability for language learners with a 2,000-word family vocabulary size. We found a list of 245 word families provided almost 3.4% coverage for such learners, thus making the use of L1 children’s literature possible in the English language, and especially the English as a foreign language (EFL), classroom.
extensive reading, graded readers, children’s literature, vocabulary, imaginative writing, language learning, English as a foreign language
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