Dr Sy-ying Lee's Analysis

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Analysis of texts found here: http://www.slideshare.net/BMABHK/texts-to-be-analysed

Dr Sy-ying Lee analysed these texts during a workshop in April 2013 as part of "Love to Learn":

Co-organised by Bring Me A Book Hong Kong and the Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation, "Love to Learn" is a collaborative non-profit series of talks and workshops designed to promote children's critical, creative, and innovative thinking whilst minimising anxiety and stress related to academic performance.

In the 2011 Progress in International Reading and Literacy Study (PIRLS), Hong Kong ranked LOWEST out of 45 regions in terms of motivation to read and family literacy. Only 12 percent of Hong Kong parents engaged in pre-school literacy activities with their children, versus the international average of 37 percent.

Through Love To Learn, we hope to show parents and teachers how easy it can be to instil a real love of reading in their children, making teaching and learning more pleasurable and less stressful for everyone involved!

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Dr Sy-ying Lee's Analysis

  1. 1. Why Should Youngsters EnjoyStories: A Corpus Investigation ofSchool Text and Teen LiteratureSyying Lee, Ph.DNational Taiwan Universityof Science and Technology
  2. 2. Part I:Elementary School Text vs. StoriesIn Wang and Lee (2007) study:A. 65 storybooks were read to children who had zero or littleEnglish backgroundB. Chapter books were introduced in the third year, Findings:childrenProgressed and participated in SSR in year fourStarted reading authentic English books Marvin Redpost by LouisSacharBecame independent readersC. What is it that contributed to this amazing outcome?
  3. 3. RationaleAre textbooks proper teaching material since weheavily rely on it in our teaching?Do they supply quality and quantity input foreffective English learning?Can textbooks help pupils read authentic textswith the language and cultural input provided?Can textbooks help pupils build thecommunicative competence with the language andcultural input provided?
  4. 4. MaterialsStorybooks: 65 storybooks which were readaloud to pupils in an EFL classroom for 4 years(Wang & Lee, 2007).Books were chosen based on the instructor’sexperience with young children in EFL classes.
  5. 5. MaterialsTextbooks: 3 series textbooks, Joy, Hess, & Longman(12 volumes for each) which are designed for the 6year of English instruction and widely used in thepublic elementary schools in TaipeiTextbook series were selected as a result of informalsurveys with several elementary schools and textpublishers.
  6. 6. Three Aspects of ComparisonsVocabulary: quantity and qualityTotal number of word tokens and content words, e.g. nouns,adjectives, verbsGrammar: sentence patternsWh-questions, interrogatives, declarative statements (DOE,2006)Cultural information: holidays, festivals, othercelebrationsCommunication is never cultural-free (Cortazzi& Jin, 1999)
  7. 7. Table 2.Numbers of Word Tokens, Headwords, and Word FamiliesMaterialTotal Words(tokens)HeadwordsPossible word*familiesStorybooks 24,698 2,117 1,270Hess 7,337 894 536Joy 8,398 1,034 620Longman 5,951 811 486
  8. 8. Table 3.Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives Appeared in the Stories andTextbooksMaterials Nouns VerbsAdjec-tivesTotal Number ofDifferentContent WordsStorybooks 1073 364 272 1709Hess 502 128 70 700Joy 579 145 76 800Longman 441 102 71 614
  9. 9. StorybooksContain more patterns than the textbooks do and than thoserequired by the DOE requirement, for example, tag questions,exclamations, sentences with a passive voice, and others.Are written mostly in the past tense (Yang, Huang, & Lee, 2000),different from the textbooks in which texts are mostly written inpresent tense throughout the 12 volumes.
  10. 10. Finally the bell rang. Sureenough, he was waiting for meby the bus.I was real scared. I tried towalk by him, but he pushed me."Just leave me alone!" I said.Can be used to express feelings or emotions
  11. 11. Textbooks: “can” is used to ask about one’s ability, e.g.“Can Lily ride a bike? No, she can’t.”Storybooks: a wide variety of linguistic features are usedto create more vivid images and expressions.Rhetoric questionsWon’t Mom hove this, Dad?Why, didn’t you know?SurpriseCan you believe it?Again?Bigger than you?
  12. 12. How questionsIn textbooks, “how” questions are limited to referring tothe degree of things (“How old are you?”) and situations(“How are you?”)In storybooks, in addition to these ordinary uses, “how”questions are used to express meanings closer to our reallife, emotion, and feeling.
  13. 13. I asked my little sister if she got my invitation andhid it somewhere.She giggled and said, "Maybe you werent invited."I never thought of that.How could that be?I called my best friend to talk about something.He said, "Boy, will we have fun at Billy Bearsbirthday party on Saturday! We are all going to FunCity!"Hens on strike!Whoever heard of such a thing?How can I run a farm with no milkand no eggs!Farmer Brown was furious.
  14. 14. Sample Exclamations“What a wonderful surprise!” she says. ( Five LittleMonkeys Bake a Birthday Cake)What a pig! (The True Story of the Three Little Pigs)At first, he couldnt believe his ears. Cows that type?Impossible! (Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type)Awesome!“Hooray!” (Just a Baseball Game)
  15. 15. Sample Passive Voice SentencesNO passive voice sentences can be found intextbooks.She was nowhere to be found. (Piggybook)No hiding place was missed. (Clifford’sHappy Easter)“Maybe you werent invited.” (Just notInvited)When his work was done, he would sit by thefire and wish he was big and hairy like hisbrothers. (Prince Cinders)
  16. 16. Content on the Target Culture:the culture of the target languageContent on the Source Culture:the learners’ own cultureNo chance to read stories about Chinese or any Asian culturesin the four years of storytellingContent on the International CultureOthers: Sample Content on BirthdayCelebration in Both Types of MaterialCulture:Holidays, Festival and Customs
  17. 17. Content on the Target CultureComparison of Texts on Christmas from the TextbookSeries and StorybooksComparison of Texts on Birthday Party from theTextbook Series and StorybooksTable_4.15_Texts_on_Christmas_from_the_Textbook_Series_and_Storybooks.docTable_4.17_Presentations_of_Birthday_Celebration_form_Both_materials.doc
  18. 18. Culture:Holidays, Festivals, & CustomsCortazzi & Jin (1999): Communication is never culture-free.Kilickaya (2004): ELT material is supposed to carry theresponsibility to present cultural information.Richards (1993): “I see textbooks as source books, ratherthan course books. I see their role as facilitating teaching,rather than restricting it.”
  19. 19. Part II: Junior High School Texts vs.Teen LiteratureMaterials:One set of textbooks (6 volumes) most widely used in juniorhigh school28 chapter books popular for children in the US and canpossibly be read by a regular 6th grader in one year assupplementary reading, or even a 4th grader (Wang & Lee,2007)8 books in Marvin Redpost20 books in Magic Tree HouseInstrument:COCA (http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/): The Corpus of ContemporaryAmerican English is the largest freely-available corpus of Englishcreated by Mark Davies of Brigham Young University
  20. 20. ProcedureThe 6 textbooks and the 28 storybooks were firstly scanned andconverted to a word file.A computer program was designed to calculate the numbers ofword types (tokens), nouns, verbs, and adjectives.COCA was then used to calculate the percentages of wordlevels (e.g. 1-500, 500-3000, >3000, and academic word levelwords) in every 1000 words.
  21. 21. Magic Tree House Series by Mary PopeOsbrone
  22. 22. Magic Tree House Series by Mary PopeOsbronePolar Bear Past Bedtime Ghost Town at Sundown
  23. 23. Marvin Redpost Series by Louis Sachar
  24. 24. Marvin Redpost Series by Louis SacharSuper Fast, Out of Control
  25. 25. Textbook: reading人民教育出版社 (2004, Oct.) .英語 六年級下冊 P.54
  26. 26. Textbook: dialogue人民教育出版社 (2004, Oct.) .英語 六年級下冊 P.67 人民教育出版社 (2004, Oct.). 英語 六年級下冊 P.72
  27. 27. Total Word Tokens for Each Storybook andTextbookA Magical Crystal? 8098Super Fast, Out of Control 7470A Flying Birthday Cake? 7404Alone in His Teacher’s House 6932Ghost Town at Sundown 6421Civil Wars on Sunday 6380Is He a Girl? 6301Earthquake in the Early Morning 6216Vacation Under the Volcano 6091Class President 6040Viking Ships at Sunrise 5962Midnight on the Moon 5918Buffalo Before Breakfast 5852Hour of the Olympics 5764Polar Bears Past Bedtime 5692Tigers at Twilight 5662Twister on Tuesday 5620Day of the Dragon King 5529Night of the Ninjas 5481Kidnapped at Birth? 5479Pirates Past Noon 5375Revolutionary War on Wednesday 5327The Knight at Dawn 5290Mummies in the Morning 5130Sunset of the Sabertooth 4953Junior High School Book 5 4835Afternoon on the Amazon 4818Dolphins at Daybreak 4814Dinosaurs Before Dark 4783Why Pick on Me? 4696Junior High School Book 4 3997Junior High School Book 2 3308Junior High School Book 3 3268Junior High School Book 6 3001Junior High School Book 1 168152,418 Marvin Redpost Series110,865 Magic Tree House Series19,953 Junior High School Books
  28. 28. Total Word Tokens & Words with Different Parts ofSpeechTotal number ofwordsWords met persemesterNoun Verb Adj. Adv.Story-books 163,283 8,164 2079 1657 640 153Textbooks 19,953 3,325 952 493 250 91
  29. 29. Percentages of Level Words (per 1000 words):TextbooksBooks 1~500 501~3000 >3000 AcademicJunior High 1 68% 13.6% 18.3% 0.1%Junior High 2 72.8% 13.6% 13.6% 0%Junior High 3 69.2% 15.8% 14.6% 1%Junior High 4 72.8% 13.5% 13.6% 0.8%Junior High 5 73.7% 13.6% 12.3% 1.2%Junior High 6 73.6% 15% 11.6% 2.2%Average percentage 71.7% 14.18% 14% 0.88%
  30. 30. Percentages of Level Words (per 1000 words):Magic Tree House SeriesBooks 1~500 501~3000 >3000 AcademicDinosaurs Before Dark 67.5% 16.6% 17.3% 0%The Knight at Dawn 68.3% 14.3% 17.4% 0%Mummies in the Morning 67.9% 15.2% 17.1% 0%Pirates Past Noon 63.9% 15.3% 18.9% 0%Night of the Ninjas 67.8% 16.3% 15.9% 0%Afternoon on the Amazon 67% 16.5% 16.4% 0%Sunset of the Sabertooth 65.2% 16.6% 18.1% 0%Ghost Town at Sundown 67.5% 14.2% 18.2% 0%Hour of the Olympics 68.4% 15.2% 16.5% 2%Buffalo Before Breakfast 66.1% 15.3% 18.5% 0%Average percentages 66.9% 15.5% 17.43% 0.2%
  31. 31. Percentages of Level Words (per 1000 words):Marvin Redpost SeriesBooks 1~500 501~3000 >3000 AcademicKidnapped at Birth? 65.5% 12% 22.3% 0%Why Pick on Me? 71.6% 11.3% 16.8% 0.5%Is He a Girl? 71.9% 10% 17.2% 0%Alone in His Teacher’s House 72.6% 11.6% 27.3% 0%Class President 77.7% 22.6% 10.8% 0%A Flying Birthday Cake? 71.9% 13.4% 14.7% 0%Super Fast, Out of Control 73.5% 11% 15.4% 0%A Magic Crystal? 73.2% 11% 15.8% 0%Average percentages 72% 12.86% 18% 0.06%
  32. 32. Percentages of Level Words (per 1000 words):Comparison of Three Materials1-500 500-3000 >3000 AcademicTextbooks 71.7% 14.1% 14% 0.8%Magic Tree House 66.9% 15.5% 17.4% 0.2%Marvin Redpost 72% 12.9% 18% 0.06%
  33. 33. Findings and InterpretationsStorybooks that can be read for one year have a total number ofword tokens (types) 8 times the number of words in textbooksused in three years, 163,000 vs. 20,000, with similarpercentages of level words in every 1000 words of text.What does this mean?Storybooks contain verbs over 4.5 times the number of verbs intextbooks, e.g. 1,657 vs. 493, a sharp increase of verbs fromchildren storybooks, 364.What does this mean?
  34. 34. Findings and InterpretationsIn textbooks, the context that presents the new words is verylimited, making the learning more condensed and tiring. Mostwords are learned through memorization for quizzes and exams.Storybooks have a much richer context for new words to recyclemany more times in more detailed, interesting, and imagisticdescriptions, providing a built-in review for vocabularyacquisition (Krashen, 2004; Trelease, 2006).The much higher rate for verbs shows the importance ofdescribing motions, movements, and behaviors in detail instories, giving learners the models in narrating stories.
  35. 35. Excerpts from Magic Tree House SeriesAfternoon on the Amazon (Nature)The rain forest is in three layers. Thick treetops, often over 150feet in the air, make up the top layer. This is called the forestcanopy. Below the canopy is the understory, then the forest floor.The jaguar is the biggest predator in the western hemisphere. It hasgold fur and black spots.Civil War on Sunday (History)“All of us in this tent were once slaves,” the man said. “We ranaway from our owners in the South to fight to end slavery, to fightfor freedom for our people. I ran barefoot for over thirty miles totell the Union soldiers that the Confederates were going to attack.”
  36. 36. Excerpts from Magic Tree House SeriesBuffalos Before Breakfast (Culture, nature, and history)“The buffalo gives our people many gifts,” said the old woman.“Food from his body. Tepees from his skin, tools from hisbones.”[…] “Cups from his horns” Grandmother went on. “Ropesfrom his hair. Even winter sleds from his ribs.”Midnight on the Moon (Science)A person weighs less on the moon because of the moon’s lowgravity and lack of air. If you weigh 60 pounds on Earth, youwould only weigh 10 pounds on the moon.
  37. 37. Excerpts from Marvin Redpost SeriesWhy Pick on Me? (Emotions)“You were snot?” asked Clarence. “He just said that he was snot.” …“That’s not what I said,” said Marvin.“That’s snot what I said,” said Clarence.“Just go to the end of the line, Marvin,” said Travis.Marvin didn’t move. Clarence grabbed the ball from him.“Oh, gross!” he exclaimed. “His boogers are on the ball!” even Stuartlaughed.“I’m not playing with this ball!” said Clarence. He threw it to Marvin.Marvin held up the ball.“Look, there’s nothing on it,” he said.“Now they’re on his hands!” said Clarence.Everyone backed away from Marvin.
  38. 38. Excerpts from Marvin Redpost SeriesAlone in His Teacher’s House(Relationship, Forgiveness)“I’m sorry,” said Mrs. North.“You’re sorry?” said Marvin. His legs were shaking.“It was unfair of me to ask you to take care of such an old—” shestopped.“I just didn’t want to put him in a kennel. You must have feltawful!” the next thing Marvin knew, Mrs. North was hugging him.“The plane was very late,” she said, still hugging him. “OtherwiseI would have called you last night. You probably thought I hatedyou.”“Maybe a little,” said Marvin.“I’m so glad Waldo had someone like you.” Marvin noticed hereyes were wet
  39. 39. ConclusionIn addition to providing a greater amount of vocabularyexposures, storybooks provide a wider variety of sentencestructures or patterns closer to our everyday language used todescribe our feelings and emotions.The cultural information embedded in the stories constitutes thevery fundamental base for building communicative competencebecause “communication is rarely culture-free” (Cortazzi & Jin,1999).
  40. 40. ConclusionThe most obvious limitation of textbooks: “a purely functionalapproach to language and language use could not do justice tothe ‘whole complex business of communication’ “(Widdowson,1978).And, the CLT based on textbooks only help learnersaccumulate performance units (e.g. asking and requesting forinfo) without building any underlying competence required foractual communication and further learning (Yang, Huang, &Lee, 1999).
  41. 41. ConclusionThe comparison made in this report may not be fair. But, havewe been fair to our children when they deserve more qualityand quantity input?The findings of this exploratory study, exploring into thequantity and quality input provided in both types of materials,suggest that teachers do not limit their teaching in the frame oftextbooks, which can be used for only one kind of purpose: toteach the language required by school (Smith, 2003).

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