Malaysian Children Storybooks as ESL Reading Materials

Adlina Ismail, Normah Yusof


English as a Second Language (ESL) reading materials for children are important in second language development. It is believed that language cannot be taught in a vacuum context as language functions within a culture. Even though learning a language requires learning about the culture unconsciously, learners’ culture should be taken into consideration as well. The study aimed to identify the difference between Malaysian picture storybooks and Malaysian chapter storybooks in terms of readability by using a computational tool, Coh-Metrix TERA. This study also aimed to discuss the suitability of the samples’ readability in relation to the second language comprehension and cognitive development theories. The study collected 10 locally published picture storybooks and chapter storybooks each. The narrative texts from the books were extracted and assessed by Coh-Metrix TERA. It was found that picture storybooks are different from chapter storybooks in terms of the amount of concrete words, referential cohesion devices, and familiar words in the texts. In general, the samples’ readability is in line with the cognitive development theory. However, they can be improved in terms of cohesive devices and familiar words. In brief, Malaysian picture storybooks and chapter storybooks are suitable to be used as reading materials to learn English for Malaysian children. Nevertheless, weak readers may require adult assistance in certain parts of the books.


Readability, Reading Materials, ESL Learning, Young Learners, Storybooks, Linguistic Factors

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