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Melissa Lai, 2008 BEW, 696410671

Using Storybooks to Enhance Motivation of EFL Learners.


1. Introduction 1.1 Purpose Storybooks are readily available in first language environments and are often used as a tool for educators. Evidence showed that home literacy experience would enhance the learners print knowledge and young childrens development of the language skills (Levy, Gong, Hessels, Evans, & Jared, 2006) However, EFL young learners have little opportunities to read English storybooks at home or in the classroom. How to enhance learners intrinsic motivation in the artificial environment is an issue great concern in Taiwan. The nature of the storybook is interesting, imaginative, and could provide various illustrations or pictures as visual aids for learners. Therefore, it is helpful to use storybooks as a supplementary material in the classroom environment. 1.2 Research question The study examined whether the use of storybooks in the classroom environment will enhance intrinsic motivation of ESL learners. Therefore, the research question is as follow: Will storybooks integrated into the English curriculum affect students motivation towards English learning? 2. Literature review 2.1 Storybook and L2 reading The format of the storybook is text along with a large amount of pictures. Those visual aids in storybooks could enhance learner comprehension and motivation. Besides, the storybook is authentic and interesting. Evidence suggests that reading storybooks at home and in preschool is important for young childrens development of the foundational skills required for the eventual mastery of decoding and comprehension (Levy at al., 2004). Moreover, Grabe and Stroller (2002) stated that reading storybooks could enhance leaner emergent reading and enhance vocabulary knowledge, phonological awareness, and comprehension abilities of learners. Using previewing techniques such as previewing a text and providing readers appropriate background knowledge before reading would facilitate reading comprehension of learners (Grabe, & Stroller, 2002). Therefore, the study adopted a facilitating reading procedure to enhance learner comprehension and motivation.

Melissa Lai, 2008 BEW, 696410671

2.2 Intrinsic motivation L2 intrinsic motivation involves enjoyment of learning a second or foreign language for its own sake without any external coercion or pressure. It has been given great importance by several researchers (Brown, 1990, 1994; Dickinson, 1995). Moreover, Wu (2002) has showed that a predictable learning environment, moderately challenging tasks, necessary instructional support, and evaluation that emphasized self-improvement and attributed success or failure to controllable variables were effective ways to enhance young learners self-perceptions of L2 competence. Therefore, intrinsic motivation of learners could be enhanced by appropriately designed classroom environments or activities. 3. Method The design of the study is a comparison design with the instrument of storybooks as the independent variable and learner intrinsic motivation as dependent variable. The purpose of the study is to compare students attitude toward English learning after the instruction of storybooks. 3.1 Participants Twenty-four sixth grade EFL learners in Changhua elementary school engaged in the study. They have learned English for three years and have taken some reading courses but never had storybook teaching. The participants had an average age of 12 years, 50% were female, and 50% were male. And The English teaching experience of the teacher is 8 years. 3.2 Instruments The study examined whether learner motivation would be enhanced by storybooks teaching and therefore, analyzed the data quantitatively. After the implement of storybooks instruction, an interview with the teacher and a motivation questioner were used to collect data. All measures were made on 5-point Linkert scales. The motivation questionnaire contains 11 questions about the learners attitude toward English learning and reading. For example, the question I think that reading storybooks in class is interesting and stimulating intended to measure their attitude toward English reading. And the question I found that it is easy to understand text in English through storybooks was designed to examine the effect of storybooks instruction.

Melissa Lai, 2008 BEW, 696410671

3.3 Procedure 3.3.1 Pretest The motivation questionnaire was administered to students by the classroom teacher before the storybook instruction courses. The students were told that there were no right or wrong answers to the questions. 3.3.2 Instrument Students received 25 minutes of reading instruction a week for three weeks. Since the storybooks are viewed as supplementary materials, they read the books with the teacher for short period of time only. The purpose of the study is to motivate the learners and encourage them to do extensive reading after class time. The storybooks for the lessons are commercial available books, Dirty Bertie (Roberts, 2003) and The Mixed-up Chameleon (Carle, 1984). The books were chosen for the interesting content and readability that was most appropriate for the students. The books contain about 100 words. There were four parts to the lesson: 1. Introduction. In order to activate background knowledge of learners, the teacher introduced the book by asking some questions, showing a picture, or stating facts about the topic. Also, the teacher asked the learners to look at the cover of the book and guess what happened in the story. 2. Vocabulary. The teacher introduced two or three vocabulary words that are important for them to understand the story and explained it in their native language. 3. Reading the story. The teacher did story telling and asked the students to read with her. When reading, the teacher varied with different tone and gestures to help understanding. The following week, the learners read chorally by themselves. 4. Wrap up activities. The teacher asked questions to check comprehension and some open-ended questions to encourage them to express their ideals. They could adapt or rearrange the ending according to their own imagination and draw it on the worksheet. Moreover, the students practiced writing the sentence pattern in the worksheets. 3.3.3 Posttest One week after the reading courses, the participants filled the motivation questionnaire again. Moreover, an interview with the course teacher was administered to survey learners motivation and attitude during the class time. 3.4 Data collection and analysis Added the scores of 5-point Linkert scales questionnaire, the data analysis included the computation of descriptive statistics (means, standard deviation and

Melissa Lai, 2008 BEW, 696410671

frequencies) to compile the information about learner motivation. Paired sample t test was used to analyze the pre- and post-survey scores. The scores of motivation questionnaire were calculated. In the pre survey, the mean score was 33, therefore, students who had a score of 33-55 were considered to have a positive attitude towards mathematics. Results The purpose of the study is to investigate Whether storybooks integrated into the English curriculum affect students motivation towards English learning? On the pre survey, 54% (thirteen) of the students had positive attitude, scored within the 3355 point range, while on the post survey, 63% (fifteen) of students had positive attitude, scored within the 33-55 point range. Table 1 showed that the mean of motivation survey 2(M=34.95) is larger than motivation survey 1(M=33.41). That is, the mean of post survey was improved after instruction of storybooks.
Table1. Descriptive Statistics of Survey N survey1 survey2 Valid N (listwise) 24 24 24 Minimum 11.00 11.00 Maximum 47.00 50.00 Mean 33.4167 34.9583 Std. Deviation 9.13625 8.33264

5.

To provide further support for the hypothesis, paired-sample t test was calculated on the scores of learner intrinsic motivation. Nevertheless, the t test results did not show significant differences (p=.151).
Table2. Paired Samples Test of questionnaire scores Mea n Pair 1 survey1 survey2 1.54 167 Paired Differences Std. 95% Confidence Error Interval of the Mean Difference Lower Upper 5.09031 1.03905 .60778 3.69112 Std. Deviati on t df Sig. (2-tailed)

1.484

23

.151

6. Discussion Findings from pre and post attitude surveys did not show learners motivation toward English learning were significantly enhanced. Nevertheless, the use of storybooks in the English curriculum has some effect on students attitudes towards English. There were 9% learners changed their attitude from negative to positive. According to the teacher, she observed that learners showed great change in their

Melissa Lai, 2008 BEW, 696410671

attitude toward learning. The teacher reported that perception of learner motivation is greatly improved. Learners showed more interest compared to other reading activities or other English activities in the class. Therefore, from the perspective of the teacher, their motivation was improved. In the perspective of the teacher, she saw a great difference on learner attitude. The weakness of the study is the small sample size and short period of instruction time which would affect the result of the study. Due to the time limitation, the participants only had three weeks instruction which is really short that may not has significant effect on learner motivation. In the words of Wu (2002), a predictable learning environment, moderately challenging tasks, necessary instructional support were effective ways to enhance young learners self-perceptions of L2 competence. The instruction of storybooks not only provided a predictable learning environment but some instructional support. Therefore, using of storybooks has some advantages in English learning.

References Ghosn, K. I. (2002). Four good reasons to use literature in primary school. ELT Journal, 56(2), 172-179.

Melissa Lai, 2008 BEW, 696410671

Grabe, W., & Stoller, F. L. (2002). Teaching and researching reading. UK: Longman. Humphreys, G., & Spratt, M. (2008). Many languages, many motivations: A study of Hong Kong students' motivation to learn different target languages. System, 36(2), 313-335. Levy, B. Y., Gong, Z., Hessels S., Evans M. A., & Jared, D. (2006). Understanding print: Early reading development and the contributions of home literacy experiences. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93, 63-93. Van Kraayenoord, C. E., & Paris, S. G. (1996). Story construction from a picture book: An assessment activity for young learners. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 11(1), 41-61. Whitehurst, G. J., Falco, F. L., Lonigan, C. J., Fischel, J. E., DeBaryshe, B. D., Valdez-Menchaca, M. C., et al. (1988). Accelerating language development through picture book reading. Developmental Psychology, 24(4), 552-559. Wu, X. (2003). Intrinsic motivation and young language learners: The impact of the classroom environment. System, 31(4), 501-517.

Appendix Interview Question 1. When listening or reading the stories, did all the students pay attention to it? How

Melissa Lai, 2008 BEW, 696410671

many of them? 2. Did students actively involve in the activities related to stories? Actively raised their hands to answer the question or not? 3. Did the content interest the students? Were they eager to finish reading the storybooks? 4. Did they actively participate in the activities related to storybooks than other activities in normal class activities?

Intrinsic Motivation Questionnaire Name ___________ Grade__________ Class _________

Melissa Lai, 2008 BEW, 696410671

1. I think that reading storybooks in class is interesting and stimulating. strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree 2. I have much fun in reading storybooks than other tasks. strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree 3. I would like to read some English books, articles or story books after class time. strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree 4. I enjoy reading articles with my classmates. strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree 5. I found that it is easy to understand text in English through storybooks. strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree 6. I am proud of myself when I can read some English by myself. strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree 7. I always ask my teacher or others for English words because I want to know more about the story. strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree 8. Things I read in English class are always meaningful to me. strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree 9. I feel it is easy to understand the articles taught in the class. strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree 10. I feel sad when I can not understand the content of the storybooks. strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree 11.I learned something through storybooks. strongly agree agree disagree strongly disagree