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The value of English Picture Story Books

The best way to introduce grammar is to hide it behind meaning, such as in a story.
“Using a Story-Based Approach to Teach Grammar” by Bonnie Adair-Hauk, in J. Schrum & E.
Glisan, Teacher’s Handbook, Chapter 7, pub. Heinle & Heinle, 2000. From Shea’s findings on
the educational value of English picture story book.
At present most teachers adopt the traditional teaching method in the grammar class.
They spend a lot of time explaining the grammar points, analyzing long and boring sentences and
expounding less useful but difficult words. This method focuses on form, and the process of
presentation, practice and production is deadly dull, full of drills and drudgery. It is so boring
that it can not arouse students’ interest, so it is not an effective way to teaching grammar. It is out
of fashion now. Zhu Xiao Zen, Sep. 2007, Volume 4, No.9 (Serial No.45)
I’m really agree that this technique of teaching grammar is effected in terms of linguistic
value, the value of the story and the value of the picture.

(1) Linguistic value

In terms of linguistic value, I can see that the students will know the proper manner or the
proper words used in communications. Besides that, they also can know the new vocabulary with
the correct grammar techniques. Either in the past, future or present tenses. In this context the
picture or situation must be suitable with the context of grammar.

From the psychology and emotional aspect, they can try their potential in giving ideas
either the ideas can be accepted depends on teachers expectation. The students can build their own
sentences. This technique also can encourage student develop their skills to speak and oral
communication skills. Teacher can detect the student potential of language development. Students
also may know how to behave in giving ideas and sharing information.

(2). The value of the story

The stories have the potential to motivate learning. Students mostly like to read pictures, so that
this will encourage them to know the story as well. Yet the story must be an attractive story.
Children enjoy listening to stories in their first language and are more likely to transfer that desire
when listening to books read in a second language. Therefore, motivation and interest increase.
Begoña Illán Martínez, 2008.

(3). The value of the picture

As we all know students love to see picture, the application of the picture enabled
students to create more ideas and they could express their opinions freely on the topics. What’s
more, it provided them enough opportunities and language environments to speak English. They
had more chances to open their mouth to practice their speaking and their communicative ability
could be improved virtually. Through this technique students could get much meaningful
language input and what they had learnt in the classroom could help them solve the problems in
real life. This also will encourage students to develop their creative and critical thinking.
Teaching grammar to English as a second language (ESL) students can be very
difficult. English has many rules of grammar that are tricky and problematic for many students
who are speakers of foreign languages. Teachers often rely on several resources or teaching
materials to teach English grammar to ESL students.

One way to teach English grammar to ESL students is to practice speaking and learning
in real-life situations. That why this method (English picture story book) will encourage students
to participate in the lesson. Picture story book offer contextual support for grammar rules,
relevant and real-life discussions to engage students in material, and reinforcement of irregular
verbs and other difficult grammar subjects.

Before choosing a story, the following aspects have to be considered:

• Whether the book is authentic or has been adapted and simplified for children whose first
language is not English.
• The book’s relation to the curriculum (school, family, Christmas, clothes, food, etc.); the
• must be relevant, interesting and meaningful.
• Whether the book provides attractive visual support to help students understand content.
• Its language suitability as it pertains to student levels, preferably books using repetitive
• requiring repetition. Through this, students develop memory skills and build oral
• The length of the story and organization of ideas.
• Its relation to the target language and culture.
Once the story that will be used to deal with the given topic is selected, how to use it to
effectively teach the new material must be determined. Ellis and Brewster (1991) believe that the
following ideas should be apart of this type of lesson plan:

• It should provide a context for the story and present the main characters. In doing so,
students will link their own example
• It should identify linguistic objectives, for example, what vocabulary and sentence
structures the teacher wants students to learn for sound, word and sentence levels.
• Teachers should decide how long to spend on the story, for example, if it will be read all
in one day or over the course of several lessons.
• Teachers should determine how to present, practice and revise language and vocabulary.
For instance, students may match pictures with words or label pictures to present lingual
• Students can sound out letters and words and create a graphic representation using
individual white boards.
• Students can also write sentences for each word and draw a picture in their writer
• It should contain rhymes and songs that would reinforce the introduced language.
• It should contain links with arts and crafts.
• Teachers should decide on follow-up activities related to the topic experiences with those
in the story

Don't forget feedback. Ask the students if they can understand. During the practice phase,
correct all mistakes since accuracy is the focus. However, use discretion about interrupting too
much during a performance. Dr. Roy Lyster of McGill University says you should give feedback
with humor and a good nature. Correct sparingly to keep the fun in performance.
c. Grammar is a wide term that includes many things besides traditional questions of tense,
plurals etc. It is really about everything that affects the organization and style of language, from
intonation, to the ordering of ideas in a text, to style, register and pragmatics.

Teaching English as a second language does not simply consist of instructing students in the
development of linguistic elements, but also helping students understand socio-cultural aspects,
enabling them to engage in real and effective communication. One way to expose students to
socio-cultural differences is through the use of literature.

According to Duff and Maley (1990), the use of literature in the classroom offers the following
· It offers a wide range of styles, vocabulary, etc.
· It deals with matters that concern children and are related to their personal experiences.
· It is open to multiple interpretations and opinions, bringing about genuine interaction and
participation in the classroom.
Children enjoy listening to stories in their first language and are more likely to transfer
that desire when listening to books read in a second language. Therefore, motivation and interest
increase. Furthermore, stories are a great way of introducing, practising, revising, and improving
pronunciation skills and teaching culture using the target language. Moreover, the four basic
linguistic skills can be interrelated with other concepts. This integration favours the development
of learning strategies. In addition, the use of stories favours an interdisciplinary and
comprehensive methodology. For instance, if students are studying plants in science, the same
topic can be reviewed in English using a story such as “Jack and the Beanstalk”. In maths, they
can learn to complete graphs showing different types of beans. In Spanish, students may then be
asked to write a journal entry concerning their observations of the growth process.
The interaction in the class could be between me, my students and the story book. Every
time the student interacts with any of these sources, I will makes various hypotheses about what
they learning, and accepts or rejects them, trying out new ones. I would build a co-interactions
and develops a wide range of strategies to build an interaction in a communicative context.
On my lesson I will encourage participation of my students by asking them how the
opinion about the story. The question and answer session will be conduct to help them to be
participate in the topic. Besides that I will ask their life experience and compared with the picture
story. That’s why the story must be related into their life.

Woods, E. 1995. Introduction grammar. Penguin Books Ltd.

Duff, A. and Maley, A. (1990). Literature: Resource books for teachers. Oxford: Oxford University
Ellis, G. & Brewster, J. (1990). The Storytelling Handbook for Primary Teachers. London: Penguin.

Adair-Hauck, B., Donato, R., & Cumo-Johanssen, P. (2000). Using a story-based approach to teach
grammar. In J. L. Shrum & E. W. Glisan, Teacher's handbook, contextualized language
instruction (2nd ed.) (pp. 146-171). Boston: Heinle and Heinle.

Adair-Hauck B., Willingham-McLain, L., & Youngs, B. E. (2000). Evaluating the integration of
technology and second language learning. CALICO Journal, 17, 269-306.

Begoña Illán Martíne, A story-based approach to teaching English (2008)

Collie & Slater. (1987). Literature in the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
ZHU Xiao-zhen (2007) Integrating task-based teaching approach into grammar teaching. School of
Foreign Languages, Wuhan University of Technology, China