An Investigation into whether Children's Literature Provides Viable Comprehensible Input to Support the Vocabulary Acquisition of Primary 1 Children

Alison Maree Dragon-Humphries

English Language Honours AE, NIE, 2003


The teaching of vocabulary often follows two main approaches - direct or indirect, each with its own merits. This thesis explores an indirect approach - the teaching of vocabulary through the reading of children's literature. Krashen (1985) recommends that reading is one of the best ways for children to acquire new vocabulary indirectly. He recommends that when there is enough comprehensible input and the appropriate affective filter, vocabulary can best be acquired. Using Krashen's theory, my research aimed to determine the viability of four children's literature texts and textbook reading passages as sources of comprehensible input. It also aimed to provide specific evidence for teachers who intend to use these children's literature texts as well as discuss some pedagogical implications of their use.

A textual analysis was done for these texts based on a criterion that was designed from Krashen's (1982) and Krashen and Terrell's (1983) research on second language acquisition. Evidence (or lack) of adherence to each aspect of the criterion was recorded.

The findings from my study imply that the recommended literature should be used by teachers as they provide comprehensible input for the acquisition of vocabulary. The findings also suggest that the use of each of the textbooks alone, without the recommended literature, is insufficient in providing comprehensible input for vocabulary acquisition.