Teaching Comprehension through Literary Works:

The 3H Strategies to EFL Students’ Reading Success and Motivation

       ...
Introduction

     Language study is no longer considered to be merely an exercise of language itself;

it should be commu...
method spotlights on the explanation of the literary meanings and their typical tests focus

mostly a literal understandin...
Background and Rationale

Why Literary Works?

     Literary works, as valuable authentic materials, are primarily an art ...
text, so that they can promote students a greater tolerance for cultural differences and

respect their own. Literary work...
whereas the low-achievement students, who are told they are wrong, tend to lose their

interest in reading, even avoid rea...
continuously redefine the meaning of the work and creates interesting.

     However, Brumfit declares that “the young rea...
answer relationships and guide readers to use their linguistic knowledge and schemata to

deal with the literary works the...
Materials

The last leaf by O. Henry edited by Far East English Reader

Called Away edited by Sun-Min English Reader



Pr...
Take The Last Leaf for example, the teacher started with the questions, “Do you know

any Chinese literary works?” and “Ho...
(questions 4–6), and desirability for reading literary works (questions 7–10) (see

Appendix 3).

Coding System

     In t...
Table 2 The comparison of reader response and traditional approach on comprehension

                                     ...
Note: test 1: pretest; test 2: posttest




       By contrast, Figure 2 revealed that different from the first target les...
learning English was important (95%). Concerning the subjects’ learning habits, 58% of

them followed the teacher’s instru...
in addition to comprehension, the 3H strategies were effective in increasing students’

motivation and desirability for re...
works, needless to say appreciate them. In fact, the students taught by the traditional

Basal Reader approach either seri...
Reader Response approach is definitely good for students to be aware of the difference

among the world of the literary wo...
References

Alderson, J. C. (2000). Assessing Reading. UK: Cambridge university press.

Anderson, N. (1999). Exploring sec...
McGee, L. M. (1992). Focus on research: exploring the literature-based reading

     revolution. Language Arts, 69, 529–53...
Appendix 1 -1



                                      The Last Leaf

     At the top of a three-story brick building in G...
Old Mr. Behrman was a painter who lived beneath them. He was past sixty and had

a long beard. Behrman was a failure in ar...
They couldn’t imagine where he had been on such a dreadful night. And then they found

a light and a ladder, and some brus...
Appendix 1 -2




              Called Away



     I meant to do my work today—

 But a brown bird sang in the apple tree...
Appendix 2-1

              Reader Response Approach: the 3H Reading Strategies

                                   The La...
3. Head Questions

    (17) Do you like the story? Why or why not?

    (18) What does the story remind you of?

    (19) ...
Appendix 2-2

              Reader Response Approach: the 3H Reading Strategies



1. Here Questions

    1. What did the ...
Appendix 3

                                      Questionnaire

                                                         ...
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  1. 1. Teaching Comprehension through Literary Works: The 3H Strategies to EFL Students’ Reading Success and Motivation By Yu-ying Chris, Chang - u Y January, 2009
  2. 2. Introduction Language study is no longer considered to be merely an exercise of language itself; it should be communicative acts to negotiate with people, literary works, or even the alternative world. Unfortunately, most of the language teachers in middle schools in Taiwan still reinforce the importance of studying language itself and fail to notice literary study. The teachers are accustomed to providing language-based materials and following the test-driven trend, whereas the students are busy decoding the literal meaning of the texts and picking up the trivial and jumbled language. In such a situation, the students neither have a chance to admire the beauty of language nor practice conferring the meaning of the literary discourses and the outside world. Consequently, students do not introspect the true meaning of the works when they are involved in reading; instead, they are searching for the only correct answer to the comprehension question. Reading, to middle school students in Taiwan, becomes the way of accumulating vocabulary and grammar knowledge and hence has been regarded as a burdensome, agonized task. Providentially, a group of teachers bring a series of genres of literary works into language classrooms and feel complacent toward tagging along the tendency of literary study. They believe that literary works must be able to transmit the joy to students and lessen students’ suffering from reading as well. It seems a good tiding for students to have a chance to contact the world of literature. However, literature usually contains subtle vocabulary usage, complex and exact syntax and cultural diversity so that the teachers cannot but put much more emphasis on comprehension and view comprehending the text as a fatal, final mission (Lin, 2002; Hu, 2003). Hence, almost their teaching
  3. 3. method spotlights on the explanation of the literary meanings and their typical tests focus mostly a literal understanding of the text, less on inferential part, and even least on the aspect of readers’ response. Though comprehension can enhance readers’ confidence in readability and bring a positive effect on learning reading (Alderson, 2000), it is the least, but not the last. Reading literary works, in fact, should include three directions, namely reading a line, between the lines, and beyond the lines; meanwhile, reading class should mix up three angles, that is, “the cultural model, the language model, and personal growth model” (Carter & Long, 1991, p. 2). The present study, employing the 3H reading strategies (i.e. Here, Hidden, and Head), attempts to increase students’ ecstasy in reading literary works. Aside from the development of language knowledge, it is hoped that reading literary works can bring students more personal growth and cross-cultural awareness. The 3H reading strategies, introduced by Torgesen (1977) and advocated by Graham & Wong (2001), are originated from Reader Response Theories. They are particularly important and effective for students with reading problems because the three strategies incorporate text-explicit and text-implicit question-answer relationships, which direct students to use past experiences to select images, feelings, and references and create new experiences and orientations. Three research questions will be scrutinized and discussed in this study. 1. Do the 3H reading strategies minimize students’ difficulty and succeed in reading literary works? 2. Do the 3H reading strategies build up students’ language knowledge and also cultivate their ability of negotiating the text and their world? 3. Do the 3H reading strategies foster students more willingness to read literary works?
  4. 4. Background and Rationale Why Literary Works? Literary works, as valuable authentic materials, are primarily an art form which conveys enriched language, cross-cultural thoughts and morality growth; however, the instruction of literary works has been ignored and regarded as unnecessary in the EFL field. The foremost opposition in literary works in language teaching results from the traditionally prejudicial perspectives: (1) the complex and the unique use of literary language cannot achieve the goal of grammar teaching, measured as the first and foremost; (2) it cannot meet the students’ academic goals and occupational needs like passing the entrance exam; (3) some aspects of culture are difficult to deal with; (4) the linguistic knowledge may not be difficult, but the conceptual knowledge, e.g. connotation of linguistic symbol, is (Brumfit & Carter, 1997; Hu, 2003; Yang, 1991). Nevertheless, in order to help students fulfill their lives, we have to admit the focus should be on communicative language teaching and learning, not grammar teaching or not passing the entrance exam. Furthermore, not a few educators hold positive and valuable attitude of literary works for EFL students. They believe that literary works provide a basis for extending language usage, e.g. subtle vocabulary usage, complex and exact syntax, so it covers not only vocabulary knowledge but also grammar aspects. Next, literary works present language in discourse embedded within a social context, so students can have a good chance to learn appropriate language use. After all, language should be used in the right person (i.e. tenor), right register (i.e. mode), and right situation (i.e. field) (Huson, 1987, p. 49). Besides, literary works present cultural background of a
  5. 5. text, so that they can promote students a greater tolerance for cultural differences and respect their own. Literary works indeed offer the affective, attitudinal, and experiential polyhedron, which may motivate students to read, and hence develop students’ reading proficiency. According to Smith (1975), students will lose their interest and motivation in reading if the new information they read has practically nothing to do with their previous experience. Traditional Approaches to Literary Works Applebee (1974) gives a framework of three traditional focuses to literary works teaching: (1) the impartation of morality and on-going development of culture; (2) the importance of attentive reading of the text and sharpening of the sense; and (3) the enjoyment and appreciation of the work. However, according Hu (2003), the mainstream of teaching literary works in fact follows the first two perspectives, ignoring the third concern because of its non-academic appreciation. That is, when teachers introduce the literary works to students, very often they either pour students information of the author such as cultural background and intentions or turn the teaching of literary works into sentence-by-sentence translation (e.g. Collie & Stephen, 1987; Hu, 2003; Maxwell, 1993). All of the time in class becomes distributed to the explanation of convention, not the communicative processing. No wonder Maxwell mentions that in a traditional classroom, studying literary works often means finding the hidden meaning in the works, especially the ones the teacher imparts. Indeed, this phenomenon can be easily found in Taiwan—the high-achievement students without doubts come to an agreement on a particular interpretation regardless of their differences in personality and past experience,
  6. 6. whereas the low-achievement students, who are told they are wrong, tend to lose their interest in reading, even avoid reading. In the long run, the occurrence will deprive students of the opportunity to share their own points of view with one another and finally lead to the vanishing of communicative function which is regarded as the most important aim of language classroom nowadays. In fact, literary works, an active activity, are supposed to be interpreted in different ways because of different readers with different personalities and past experience, for it encourages the readers to see connections between themselves and literary works. After all, little thought can change the world. Reader Response Approach: the 3H Strategies According to many researchers (e.g. McGee, 1992; Tompkins, 1980; Shafer, 1997), Reader Response approach concerns readers’ experience to the texts. That is, during the reading process, readers with individual variables will sympathize or oppose what they read and form their own values. Citing Hu (2003), Short claims that the reader’s understanding of a text will be conditioned by what he already knows. That implies that the meaning of the text definitely is not decoded as an absolute one; it changes from reader to reader. Therefore, reading does not only become the discovering of denotation and connotation of the literary works but the creation, the one which is not fully created without readers’ assimilation by way of their knowledge and experience. This kind of the transaction between active minds and the words posed by the author becomes a triangle relationship, namely “author-text-reader” (see Figure 2). That is, the author provides words and ideas to the literary work, which gives readers to reflect themselves; readers offer their personal responses to this work and appraise what the author says; readers
  7. 7. continuously redefine the meaning of the work and creates interesting. However, Brumfit declares that “the young reader’s experience, both of literature and life, is limited” (Brumfit & Carter, 1997, p. 257), so the best way to help readers have wider reading and further pleasure reading is to create changes for readers to share their feelings and responses to both inside and outside literature. In order to bring students the pleasure of reading, based on the theories, the reading process should concern four facets, namely author, text, reader, and other readers (see Figure 3). By interacting in the new relationship of author-text-reader-other readers, students can have chance to express themselves, examine their responses and come to a deeper, but distinctive understanding of the text. Accordingly, teachers, in class, have to provide literary works and to create opportunities for students to share their responses and feelings with one another by designing different kinds of activities such as asking questions, role-play, think-aloud, etc. Among the Reader Response activities, question and answer is considered as the easy, common one. Almost all teachers, according to the text, propose comprehensible questions in the process of teaching such as “What does the speaker say?” or “Why does he say so?” or “Is it this and that?” Citing McGee (1992), Kelly and Farnan declare Reader Response questions should go beyond the comprehensible questions, such as “If you could be any character in the story, who would you be?” or “Do you like this story? Why or why not?” or “How does the story make you feel? Explain.” The 3H reading strategies, including Here, Hidden, and Head questions, provide an explicit way for students to decode the literary works (Torgesen, 1977; Graham & Wong, 2001). It covers three layers of questions which incorporate text-explicit and text-implicit question-
  8. 8. answer relationships and guide readers to use their linguistic knowledge and schemata to deal with the literary works they encounter. By experiencing the process, readers become more sensitive to the works and are willing to verbalize their thoughts without interference. These verbalizations can be recorded, elucidated and diagnosed for later reading. Method Subjects Fifty commercial high school students, who studied in the night department, participated in this study (age: 17, 1–18, 5; mean=17.7) and 92% of them had a part-time job in the daytime. For studying and working at the same time, these subjects had less time in reading. The subjects came from two classes who had the similar English grades on High School Entrance Exam and had willingness to participate in the study. Both of the classes have been taught by the same English teacher under the same textbooks and instruction for one year. In this study, 25 subjects in Class A, the comparative group (hereby CG), were instructed by the traditional Basal Readers approach, i.e. pre-reading questions, vocabulary and text instruction, and drills and exercise, whereas the other 25 in Class B, the experimental group (hereby EG), were undertaken the Reader Response approach: 3H reading strategies (i.e. Here, Hidden, and Head), namely pre-reading questions, silent reading, discussion, response to the work, and role-play. In order to avoid the interference of English proficiency in the study, the English proficiency of the two groups was examined and confirmed no significant (p > .01).
  9. 9. Materials The last leaf by O. Henry edited by Far East English Reader Called Away edited by Sun-Min English Reader Procedure All the subjects had 3 hours of the English class per week. Because of the limited time, the study could cover only two literary works: a story and a poem. The detail of the two lessons was described as follows. Table 1 the instruction scheme of the two lessons Group Traditional Basal Reader Reader Response approach: the 3H Hour approach (CG: comparative strategies (EG: experimental group) group) 1–2h * Warm up: pre-reading * Warm up: pre-reading * Vocabulary instruction * Vocabulary instruction * Grammar Focus * Grammar Focus * Listen to CD * Listen to CD * The teacher first introduces the concept of the 3H strategies. * The teacher lectures while * Students read silently. * Students, given a handout including students sit passively taking 2–3h the 3H questions, discuss them in notes. groups, the teacher being a facilitator during the process. 3h * Students’ responses to the text * Exercise practice * Students’ role-play 4h * Achievement test * Achievement test In both groups, the teacher gave the warm-up activities in the first few minutes.
  10. 10. Take The Last Leaf for example, the teacher started with the questions, “Do you know any Chinese literary works?” and “How about English literary works?” After guiding students to the field of literature world, the teacher centered on the theme of the work and posed questions, such as “Look at the tile. Can you guess what the story is about?” “What about the illustration?” and “What did you see in it…?” Next, the teacher gave vocabulary instruction (i.e. definition plus example sentences) and the major grammar focuses to the CG and EG groups. After that, both groups listened to CD, practicing word-pronunciation. In the second hour, the teacher started teaching the CG subjects the text, including meanings and structures and the subjects were passively taking notes. As for the EG group, first of all, the teacher introduced the Reader Response approach: the 3H reading strategies (i.e. Here, Hidden, Head questions) and teach them how to use it in reading. Then, the teacher asked the subjects to read silently. After 10 minutes, the subjects were grouped to figure out the layers of the questions written on a handout. The role of the teacher played as a facilitator and walked around the classroom. In the third hour, the CG subjects did drills and exercise and the teacher gave them feedback, whereas the EG subjects shared their feelings with one another and performed the work, i.e. did the role- playing and reciting. After finishing the target lesson, the two groups, as usual, took the achievement test. The result of the achievement test would be examined by the statistic analysis to see if there was any significant difference between the two groups. After the study, each of the subjects in CG and EG was asked to fill out a questionnaire whose content covered three parts, namely language background (questions 1–3), reading habits and attitude
  11. 11. (questions 4–6), and desirability for reading literary works (questions 7–10) (see Appendix 3). Coding System In the General Linear Model (GLM), the ANOVA analysis was utilized to examine if there was any significant difference between the two groups (i.e. traditional Basal Reader approach and Reader Response approach: the 3H reading strategies) in the pretest (i.e. beginning proficiency) and posttests (i.e. immediately after teaching the target lessons). Besides, the result of the questionnaire including students’ language background, reading habits and attitude and their desirability for reading literary works was calculated by percentage and discussed. Results The means and standard deviations of the frequency of the pretest and posttests representing traditional Basal Reader approach and Reader Response approach: the 3H reading strategies were presented in Table 2. The subjects in both groups did not have significant difference in the pretest (F = 0.37, p = 0.5444) although the mean of EG is a little higher than that of CG. But, on the contrary, the results of the two posttests between the groups were significantly different (F = 11.46, p = 0.00014; F = 13.36, p = 0.0007). For more detail, as shown in Table 2, the mean of the first posttest in the comparative group was 51.720 whereas that in the experimental group was 67.640. The means of the second posttest were 74.090 and 80.571. Thus, in these two target lessons, the range of the means between the two groups was 15.92 and 6.481 respectively. Obviously, the value of the first target lesson was doubled that of the second target lesson.
  12. 12. Table 2 The comparison of reader response and traditional approach on comprehension CG (n=25) EG (n=25) M SD M SD Proficiency (pretest) 74.000 11.717 76.040 11.909 0.37 0.5444 Target lesson 1 0.00014** 51.720 18.667 67.640 14.297 11.46 (posttest) * Target lesson 2 74.090 10.064 80.571 12.339 13.36 0.0007*** (posttest) Note: CG: comparative group by traditional basal reader; EG: experimental group by the 3H strategies In order to have a clear vision, the following Figures 3 and 4 provided the differences of the pretest-posttest 1 and pretest-posttest 2 between the two groups. In Figure 1, it showed that the 2 curve lines slipped down. Especially, the line of CG went down more sharply than that of EG. 80 70 60 CG 50 grades EG 40 30 20 10 0 1 2 tests Figure 3 The difference of the pretest-posttest1 between the two groups
  13. 13. Note: test 1: pretest; test 2: posttest By contrast, Figure 2 revealed that different from the first target lesson, the two curve lines did not go down. Surprisingly, the EG curve line went up although the EG line was unbiased. 82 80 78 EG grades CG 76 74 72 70 tests 1 2 Figure 3 The difference of the pretest-posttest1 between the two groups The result of the questionnaire The questionnaire contained three major parts: language background (questions 1–3), reading habits and attitude (questions 4–6), and desirability for reading literary works (questions 7–10). From the calculation, it was found that the subjects either used Mandarin (44%) and Taiwanese (2%) or both (54%) to communicate with others outside the classroom. Most of them had less than 4 years of English learning (98%), including the years of the compulsory education. Besides, they seldom spent time reading English (84% less than 1 hour in a week and 16% within 1–2 hours) although they assumed
  14. 14. learning English was important (95%). Concerning the subjects’ learning habits, 58% of them followed the teacher’s instruction, 34% learned by his own experience, 7% from the peer and 1% in others. Half of them assumed it was okay to read English texts and 36% disliked it and 14% liked it. As for the desirability for reading literary works, it was found that in the experimental group 67% enjoyed reading the literary works, less than 1% assumed so-so, and 2% disliked it, while in the comparative group, 17% enjoyed reading the literary works, 34% assumed it was okay, but 49% disliked it. Interestingly, the major reason for EG subjects disliked the literary works was because of the sad ending; however, the reason for the CG subjects was almost because of the long passage. Discussion and Conclusion The purpose of the present study attempted to examine the effect of the Reader Response approach: the 3H reading strategies on comprehending literary works. Meanwhile, it also tried to investigate the students’ desirability and motivation of reading literary works with and without employing the strategies. The result in each of the two target lessons showed that the high school students under the instruction of the Reader Response approach: the 3H reading strategies outperformed those under the traditional Basal Reader approach on comprehending literary works. Compared with Graham & Wong’s study (2001), the didactic training of the 3H strategies has its pedagogic effect not merely for poor English native readers or native English students with learning ability, but also for EFL learners on the processing literary works. Besides, the result of questionnaire showed that the students with the 3H strategies have higher desirability and more willingness to read literary works than those without the strategies. In other words,
  15. 15. in addition to comprehension, the 3H strategies were effective in increasing students’ motivation and desirability for reading literary works. There may be some explanations addressed as follows. First, the 3H reading strategies (i.e. Here, Hidden, Head) possibly set a gradual process for students to plunge into the world of literary works which contain complicated, subtle language use and usage. The students monitored their understanding of the literary works on the first stage. Whenever they had hesitation and difficulty, the students turned to classmates and the teacher. Generally speaking, Chinese students seldom ask their teacher questions individually in public, but they easily do in-group. Indeed, with continuously discussing, it was observed and found that the students became satisfied with comprehending not only the literal meaning but also the underlying meaning. The students hence started paying attention to what the character uttered and when and how. For example, when the students read “Your friend has made up her mind that she’s not going to get well,” some of them felt confused why the doctor did not express the fact directly like “Your friend wants to die.” For a period of discussion, the students concluded that the utterance was an indirect expression that seemed appropriate for a doctor in such a situation. Therefore, the students might unconsciously learn the sense to the language and achieve the goal Huson mentions (1987): language should be used in the right person, the right register and the right situation. According to Ryder & Graves (2003), learning requires a series of communication. Citing Berger (1997), Aristotle mentions that literary works are imitations of reality and notes conveyed by different media which people can easily get hold of. Even so, without reflection to literary works, students will never have a chance to value literary
  16. 16. works, needless to say appreciate them. In fact, the students taught by the traditional Basal Reader approach either seriously said nothing or provided a formula-like answer when they were asked to write their response to the literary works. By contrast, the students taught by the 3H strategies based on the Reader Response approach were pouring out words incessantly. That may be because the 3H strategies on the last stage provide a chance for students to have retrospection in literary works. The students were encouraged to think aloud and talk aloud and became accustomed to it. According to Hu (2003), Chinese students tend to hide their feelings and choose to be silent; however, the situation is tremendously changed, indicated in the present study, once students are trained in expressing themselves and speak out their ideas one after one. During the stage, the students taught by the 3H strategies seemly enjoyed sharing their reaction to the works, expressing their feelings and even arguing with classmates and the teacher was also elated with the amusing and relaxing atmosphere. It was probably because the students were not restricted to provide the ONLY correct answer to the question. Reading, in this study, hence was neither longer a lonely task nor a task for searching for the correct answer to the question. According to many studies (e.g. Brumfit and Carter, 1986, 1997; Hu, 2003, Yang, 1991), literary works reflect and represent human beings either better or worse or the same as real life. However, the definition of literary works is disputed because no one has yet come up with a satisfactory answer. So, literary works are the performance in words, which are importantly inducing some sort of aesthetic response. Thus, language teachers need to provide strategies and guide students to reap the joys of reading, not just let students move through the text from word to word as Anderson (1999) mentions. The
  17. 17. Reader Response approach is definitely good for students to be aware of the difference among the world of the literary works, their own experience and others’ minds that committed the functions of literary works because the students are immersed in different thoughts. The 3H strategies based on the Reader Response approach further provide a exact, gradual procedure which leads students to read the lines (i.e. literal meaning of text), read between the lines (i.e. inferred meanings), and read beyond the lines (i.e. readers’ critical evaluations of text). The teacher, by reading or hearing readers’ responses, can know what their students really have in mind and understand them better. The more teachers understand their students, the better learning environment the teachers will provide; the better learning environment students have, the better they can learn. Although different readers may engage in very different reading processes, the understandings they end up with would be similar: greater understanding of what they read would lead to greater enjoyment of lifelong.
  18. 18. References Alderson, J. C. (2000). Assessing Reading. UK: Cambridge university press. Anderson, N. (1999). Exploring second language: Issues and strategies. Boston: Heinle & Heinle Publishers. Applebee, A. N. (1974). The tradition and reform in the teaching of English. Urbana. Ill: NCTC. Brumfit, C. J. & Carter, R. A. (1997). Literature and language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Carter, R., & Long, M. N. (1991). Teaching literature. New York: Longman. Collie, J. & Stephen, S. (1987). Literature in the language classroom: A resource book of ideas and activities. New York: Cambridge University Press. Graham, L. & Wong, B. Y. L. (2001). Comparing two modes of teaching a question- answering strategy for enhancing reading comprehension: Didactic and self- instructional training. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 26, 270–279. Hu, B. H. (2003). Teaching English through literature: A study in the application of Reader Response theory in the teaching of literary works to senior high school students in Taiwan. (Master thesis). Taipei: Chengchi University. Huson, R. A. (1987). Sociolinguistics. New York: Cambridge University Press. Lin, M. S. (2002). An investigation of high school’s interest on reading. Retrieved from http://www.hsenenglish.com.tw Maxwell, R. J. (1993). Teaching English in middle and secondary schools. New York: Macmillan.
  19. 19. McGee, L. M. (1992). Focus on research: exploring the literature-based reading revolution. Language Arts, 69, 529–537. Shafer, G. (1997). Reader response makes history. English Journal, 86, 65–68. Smith, F. (1975). Comprehension and learning. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Tompkins, J. P. (1980). (Ed.). Reader-response: from formalism to post-structuralism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Torgesen, J. K. (1977). Memorization processes in reading-disabled children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 72, 141–160. Yang, L. C. (1991). Literature in the language classroom. Selected papers from the proceedings of the eighth international symposium on English teaching in the Republic of China. Taipei: the Crane.
  20. 20. Appendix 1 -1 The Last Leaf At the top of a three-story brick building in Greenwich Village, where many artists lived, Sue and Joanna had their studio. They had met at a restaurant on English Street, and found their tastes in art, food, and fashion so similar that they decided to become roommates. That was in May. In November the cold, wet weather brought sickness to the neighborhood where the two women lived; and Joanna became ill from pneumonia. She lay, scarcely moving, on her bed, looking through the window at the side of the next brick house. One morning the doctor came and spoke to Sue. “She has one chance in ten,” he said. “And that chance will come only if she wants to live. Your friend has made up her mind that she’s not going to get well. When a patient has that kind of thinking, there is little that medicine can do.” After the doctor had gone Sue cried and cried. Finally she walked into Joanna’s room and found her lying on the bed with her eyes wide open. She was looking out the window and counting backward. “Twelve,” she said, “eleven, ten, nine, eight, seven. The leaves on the ivy vine are falling faster now. There are only five left. When the last one falls I must go, too. I’m tired of waiting. I want to let go of everything, and go sailing down, down, just like one of those poor, tired leaves.” “Oh, I never heard of such nonsense,” complained Sue. “Try to sleep. I must go talk to Mr. Behrman. Don’t try to move ‘til I come back.”
  21. 21. Old Mr. Behrman was a painter who lived beneath them. He was past sixty and had a long beard. Behrman was a failure in art. He had always said he was going to paint a masterpiece, but had never begun one. For several years he had painted almost nothing, but spent much of his time drinking. He was a fierce old man, yet he liked Sue and Joanna and thought it was his job to protect them. Sue told Behrman what Joanna had said about the leaves. “Ah, that poor little Miss Joanna,” said Behrman. “Some day I will paint a masterpiece. Yes!” When Sue awoke the next morning she found Joanna again staring out the window. But, what had happened? Though it had rained heavily the night before, and the wind had blown, there yet stood out against the brick wall one ivy leaf. It was the last on the vine. “I thought it would surely fall during the night,” said Joanna. “It will fall today, and I shall die at the same time.” Yet, as the day passed, and it began to grow dark, the lone ivy leaf clung to its stem against the wall. The next day as well, the ivy leaf was still there. “I’ve been a bad girl, Sue,” said Joanna. “Something has made that last leaf stay there to show how wrong I was. It is a sin to want to die.” The doctor came in the afternoon and again spoke to Sue. “Take care of her, and she will recover. Now I must go and see the old artist downstairs. He has pneumonia, too, but he is an old, weak man. There is no hope for him.” By the next day, Joanna was out of danger. Sue came to her bed and put one arm around her. “I have something to tell you, Joanna,” she said. “Mr. Behrman died of pneumonia today. Someone found him in his room. His shoes and clothing were wet and icy cold.
  22. 22. They couldn’t imagine where he had been on such a dreadful night. And then they found a light and a ladder, and some brushes and a palette with green and yellow colors mixed on it, and—look out the window, dear, at the last ivy leaf on the wall. Didn’t you wonder why it never moved when the wind blew? Ah, darling, it’s Behrman’s masterpiece—he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell.” Adapted from “The Last Leaf” by O. Henry
  23. 23. Appendix 1 -2 Called Away I meant to do my work today— But a brown bird sang in the apple tree, And a butterfly flitted across the field, And all the leaves were calling me. And the wind went sighing over the land Tossing the grasses to and fro, And a rainbow held out its shining hand— So what could I do but laugh and go?
  24. 24. Appendix 2-1 Reader Response Approach: the 3H Reading Strategies The Last Leaf 1. Here Questions (1) Is Sue and Joanna’s studio in Edinburgh Village? (2) Why do Sue and Joanna become good friends? (3) How is the weather in November? (4) Does Sue get pneumonia and lie in bed? (5) Does Joanna believe “to want to die is a sin”? (6) How old is Mr. Behrman? (7) Does Mr. Behrman spend a lot of time drinking? (8) What does Joanna count? (9) What do people find in Mr. Behrman’s room? (10) What illness does Mr. Behrman die of? 2. Hidden Questions (11) What is the title and who are the characters?W (12) What is the relationship among the three characters? (13) Why does the doctor say, “She has one chance in ten”? (14) What does “go sailing down, down” imply? (16) Why is Mr. Behrman’s painting a masterpiece?
  25. 25. 3. Head Questions (17) Do you like the story? Why or why not? (18) What does the story remind you of? (19) Do you agree Joanna’s attitude? (20) What do you think of Mr. Behrman in the story? (21) What does “the last leaf” imply? (22) Does anyone in your life do help you when you are in need?
  26. 26. Appendix 2-2 Reader Response Approach: the 3H Reading Strategies 1. Here Questions 1. What did the speaker mean to do today? 2. Who was singing in the apple tree? 3. Who was flitting across the field? 4. Who was sighing over the land and tossing the grasses? 5. Who has shining hands? 2. Hidden Questions 6. What drew the speaker’s attention away from his work? 7. Which color can be found in a rainbow? 8. What do you think called away the speaker? 3. Head Questions 9. Why is the title called “Called Away”? 10. What did the speaker decided to do at the end? 11. If you were the speaker, would you go away in such a situation? 12. Have you ever had such an experience like the speaker? 13. What does the poem remind you of?
  27. 27. Appendix 3 Questionnaire Age: ____years ___months _____ 1. What language do you usually speak outside of the classroom? (1) Mandarin. (2) Taiwanese. (3) English. (4) Others _____________. _____ 2. How long have you been studying English? (1) less than 4 years. (2) 5 years. (3) 6 years. (4) upper 7 years (about ____ yr.) _____ 3. How much time do you usually study English in a week (not including the class hours)? (1) Less than 1 hour. (2) 1-2 hours. (3) 2-3 hours. (4) More than 3 hours (about ____ hr.) _____ 4. How important is it for you to learn English? (1) Very important. (2) Important. (3) Not so important. (4) I don’t care. _____ 5. How do you process English readings? (1) By following the teacher’s strategies. (2) By personal experience. (3) By learning from the peers. (4) Others _________. _____ 6. Do you like reading English texts? (1) Very much. (2) Most of time. (3) Sometimes. (4) Seldom, even hate it. _____ 7. Have you ever read literary works in English class? (1) Yes ____ (2) No ____ _____ 8. If you have to reading English, are you willing to read literary works like The Last Leaf and Called Away in the future? (1) Very much. (2) Most of time. (3) Sometimes. (4) Little. _____ 9. Compared with the other non-literary works, is the literary work hard for you to understand? (1) Very much. (2) Most of time. (3) Sometimes. (4) Little. _____ 10. Do you have more motivation to think aloud to the text when you read literary works like The Last Leaf and Called Away? (1) Very much. (2) Most of time. (3) Sometimes. (4) Little.

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