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Introduction

Literature has always been recognised as a vital component of language learning. The new
English language curriculum in Malaysia namely KSSR emphasizes on the importance
formalises literatures inclusion in primary school. New methods will be utilised for teaching
literature in schools to boost students confidence in the language. These include more
production activities such as choral reading, acting out scenes from stories and producing
works on different literary genres to enhance creativity among students.
The English language curriculum for primary and secondary schools will take a
modular approach. In addition to the four basic skills reading, writing, listening and
speaking two new modules have also been introduced; grammar and language arts (which
includes literature).
Childrens literature can be defined as the material created for and widely read, viewed
and heard by children, that has an imaginative element.
Childrens Literature Childrens literature can be divided based on these genres:
1. Picture books
2. Picture story books
3. Traditional Literature
4. Folktales
5. Fairy Tales
6. Fables
7. Legends
8. Myth
9. Epic
10. Historical Fiction
11. Modern Fantasy
12. Realistic Fiction
13. Non fiction
14. Biography
15. Poetry and dramas
16. Graphic Novels


Aims of Childrens Literature Programme
To help pupils improve their English through reading simple fiction
To provide a continuum for the literature component introduced in secondary school
To create an enjoyable learning environment
To instil and inculcate the reading habit among pupils.
To enrich pupils vocabulary and language content.
To enhance pupils thinking skills.
To promote cultural understanding in the Malaysian context
To improve English language proficiency of pupils.
To provide lively, enjoyable and high-interest readings.



Roles of Literature in the Curriculum Standard for Primary Schools
The English language Curriculum Specifications stated that the aim of literature is not only
meant to address the interpersonal, informational aesthetic value of learning but also the
learning of the English language in general. The literature component in English is aimed at
enhancing students language proficiency, and it is also geared for the purpose of generating
the aesthetic part of the language that is personal response from students. Outlined with six
learning objectives for the literature components, Cheng (2008) stated that the study of
literature aids in language acquisition be developing the childrens awareness on how
language works in communication and experiencing the form of narratives.
It is also an attempt to curb the declining levels of achievement in standard
assessment of English proficiency in recent years in primary schools (Basree, 2009). In line
with the Contemporary Childrens Literature (CCL) Programs objectives and aims in the
implementation, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has given good support in the
implementation of childrens literature into the schools systems. Without the belief an support
of the MOE in the importance of literature of literature as a component in the syllabus, the
death of literature is a sure thing (Cheng, 2008) in the schools syllabus.
According to the KSSR English Language Document (2011), the Language Arts in
Year 1 and 2 will explore the power of story, rhyme, and song to activate pupils imagination
and interest, thus encouraging them to use the English language widely. More importantly,
this component will ensure that pupils will benefit from hearing and using language from
fiction as well as nonfiction sources. It is hoped that teachers will use funfilled and
meaningful activities so that pupils will gain a rich and invaluable experience in using the
English language. When taught well, pupils will take pride in their success. They will also
benefit strongly from consistent praise for effort and achievement by the teachers with the
aim of making their learning as rewarding as possible. Pupils will also be encouraged to
plan, prepare and produce simple creative works. In addition, the Language Arts module
also provides pupils with the opportunity to integrate, experiment and apply what they have
learnt in the other modules in fun-filled, activity-based and meaningful experiences.


Early Structured Reading Programme (ESRP)
The Early Structured Reading Programme (ESRP) was first introduced in Malaysian schools
in 2002. The programme is based on the UK Literary Hour approach and is referred to as
the English Hour in Malaysian schools. The aim of the ESRP is to build among primary
school pupils the ability to read in English with confidence. It is hoped that at the end of the
ESRP pupils are able to:
read fluently and understand what they read.
use reading cues such as phonics, graphics, syntactic and contextual cues to help
them read new words and to correct their own mistakes.
Under the ESRP, the English Hour classroom time is structured into set activities every 15-
20 minutes where teachers spend time reading with their pupils. The reading is conducted
either as a whole class or in groups. Pupils are not required to read on their own before they
are ready.


Under the Literacy English Hour of 60 minutes, teachers are required to do the following:



Step 1: 15 Minutes - Whole Class
Activity
Shared Reading or Shared Writing.
Teacher reads a book together with
the pupils
Step 2: 15 Minutes - Whole Class Activity
Focused Word Work.
Teacher can focus on various aspects such
as Phonics, Pronunciation, Grammar,
Spelling,
Word attack skills etc.
Step 3: 20 Minutes Group Work Activity
Guided Reading or Writing with Independent
work
Teacher works with 2 groups per day on a
specific area that requires focused attention.
Other pupils will do word or sentence level
work or independent reading
Step 4: 10 Minutes - Whole Class Activity
Summing up
Under the ESRP, two sets of prescribed texts are used in the programme which comprises
the following:
Ladybird Series (54 Titles).
Sound Start Series (38 Titles).
The books are distributed to under achieving schools and schools that are located in remote
areas. The number of titles distributed to each school is dependent on the number of pupils
in the school.
The following is a general criteria used by the MOE:
10 25 pupils 1 set
251 500 pupils 2 sets
501 750 pupils 3 sets
751- 1000 pupils 4 sets
The ESRP is an early childrens literature programme which can be incorporated under the
Language Arts Module.

Contemporary Childrens Literature Programme (CCLP)
The Contemporary Childrens Literature Programme (CCLP) was implemented in all
Malaysian primary schools in 2005 beginning with pupils in Year 4. It was extended to Year
5 students in 2006 and to Year 6 students in 2007. The CCLP is viewed as a follow-up to
The Structured Reading Programme for Year 1 and Year 2 pupils and as a continuum of
learning abilities for the literature component introduced in secondary schools.
Under the CCLP teachers are required to allot one period in a week for the teaching and
learning of literature in the ESL primary classroom. The main aims of the CCLP are as
follows:
To help pupils improve their English through reading simple fiction; and
To provide a foundation for the literature component in secondary schools.

The CCLP is an intensive reading programme where pupils will be encouraged to
complete reading three prescribed texts per year. The contemporary literature texts consist
of works written after 1900. They also deal with every day or current issues that children face
in their everyday lives. The texts selected included graded readers that consisted of short
stories and poems.
Under the CCLP, students are required to do the reading at home and discuss the
book in class. Teachers are required to prepare and facilitate activities for three phases (Pre
Reading, While Reading and Post Reading) to help keep track of students understanding
and to help them consolidate and reflect on what they have read. While reading, teachers
are also encouraged to bring students attention to both language use and literary devices
such as the plot, the setting, the characters, the themes, messages and moral values.
Teachers are also encouraged to utilise the reading texts for school based oral assessment
and portfolio assessment activities (Sidhu, Chan & Kaur, 2010).

Different sets of texts are allocated for National and National Type Primary Schools. In the
National schools, teachers are required to allocate one period a week for the teaching and
learning of the literature component under the CCLP. For the National Type Primary Schools
(Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools), literature is taught once a fortnight.

The Objectives include
To instil and inculcate the reading habit among pupils;
To enrich pupils vocabulary and language content;
To enhance pupils thinking skills;
To promote cultural understanding;
To improve English Language proficiency of pupils and
To provide lively and enjoyable reading.



The following are literary texts used in the Malaysian primary ESL classroom since 2004.
This current cycle of book will end in 2014 for Year 4 school pupils.

Year 4
1. Tidy Your Room, Tanya! Pamela Rushby
2. Tales and Tails Hyacinth Gaudart
3. The Little Blue Boy Fatou Keita Danalis Distributors
4. Coral Bay Surprise Barbara & David Miller
5. Everyone is Good At Something Peter Etherton
6. The Humble Prince Kumara Velu
7. Caught in the Act Patricia Sealey
8. The Old House Sandra Clayton
9. A Wise Man Chan Siew Mei

Year 5
1. Mr. Stoffles and the Painted Tiger Robin Mellor
2. Anansi and Turtle Share Dinner- Della Rowland
3. Poems in your Pocket Debbie Powell & Andrea Sakata
4. What you Wish For Ann Thomas
5. The Walking Box and Other Stories Judy Ling
6. The Mirror Richard Brown& Kate Ruttle
7. Changing Days Jill Eggleton
8. The Elves and the Shoemaker- Margaret Nash
9. The Race for the Cup Barbara Michelhill

Year 6
1. Dans Secret Weapon Theresa Rea
2. Clever Katya Julia Donaldson
3. The Case of the Missing Math Teacher Suzanne Woyo
4. Shorty Christina Rule

The following are literary texts for the new cycle (Cycle 2) for Year 4 pupils in all national and
national type primary schools in Malaysia (Table 2). This new cycle will commence for all
Year 4 pupils in 2015.
Poems
1. Sand Castle by J. Patrick Lewis
2. Sounds Like Magic by Celia Warren
3. Holiday Memories by June Crebbin
4. At The Playground by Brian Moses
5. Clap Your Hands by Pam Gidney
6. Woodpecker by Brenda Williams
7. Grandmas House by Pamela Mordecai
8. Noisy Food by Marian Swinger

Short Story
1. The King of Kites by Judith Heneghan and Laure Fournier
2. Graphic Novel The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling


In teaching Childrens Literature, we need to keep in mind that the pupil is central and an
active recipient. Hence, activities conducted in the classroom should be interesting and help
pupils engage interactively with the literary text.
The MOE recommends that teachers conduct pre, while and post reading activities. The Pre-
reading activities should help activate, motivate and prepare learners for the reading task
and assess their background knowledge of the topic concerned. In fact, introducing a new
book is an apt pre-reading activity as spending some time looking at the content of a book
can spark students interest and can provide students with context that will help them
engage with the material. The While-Reading Strategies should provide learners with a
purpose and focus for reading so that they can understand the texts more comprehensively.
These reading activities can also focus on developing learners linguistic proficiency and
depending on their proficiency, these learners can be guided to delve deeper into the literary
elements and devices within the text. The Post-Reading Strategies serve as take-off points
for the learners to reflect and make connections with their personal experiences and real life
situations. These reading strategies should also allow learners to venture into the creative
and aesthetic realms and provide room for creativity, innovation and scope to discover the
web of wonder that literature has to offer.


The following are some reading activities that allow learners to explore literary texts.

Pre-Reading Activities
Brainstorming Activities
Explore the front cover and look into aspects such as title, illustrations, genre, author,
illustrator, publisher, ISBN, etc.

Prediction Activities
Predict plot based on cover, content page heading, blurb, illustrations in text, chapter titles,
etc.
Guess the genre give some opening lines (poem or prose).
Opening lines match opening lines of poem to title of poem - split poem.

Group discussions
Group discussions in and out of class will help discover what pupils bring to the reading,
what their fellow pupils bring as well as shared experiences.

Vocabulary Previews
Many stories have topic specific vocabulary which may sometimes cause problems in
comprehension. So prepare related exercises on thematic vocabulary to help pupils with
unfamiliar key words. In short, specific vocabulary needs to be taught to pupils before
reading so that new words, background information, and comprehension can improve
together. For example, you can use activities to introduce names of animals in a particular
story about animals.

Input cultural background
Some stories have specific cultural settings and norms. Children are usually interested in
exploring the differences between their own culture and the lives of children in other parts of
the world. Hence, teachers need to conduct activities to help pupils get a lead-in to the
storys cultural settings.

Author Consideration
Depending upon the topic/content area, teachers can encourage discussions about the
author of the particular work. This can aid pupils understanding in aspects such as: What is
the author trying to say? What is his point of view and his reason for writing the particular
work? What is he/she trying to say? What is his point of view and his reason for writing the
particular work

Using the KWL Strategy:
This is a good strategy and consists of three steps for pupils to use with a text:
What do I Know?
What do I Want to learn?
What did I Learn?

While Reading Activities
Read Aloud
For young pupils the ideas on the page come alive when they are spoken. Therefore,
reading text aloud provides a way to help them access the material and develop skills as
active listeners. Listening will help young learners to become proficient readers and provide
a model for fluent reading. Pupils will also learn to recognise how to pronounce unfamiliar
words and slowly take the focus off the teacher as the only source of information.

Storytelling
Telling a story is an art that is useful for teachers to acquire because of the pleasure it
provides both to the teller and the audience. Teachers should first and foremost, select a
suitable story. When sharing the story with pupils, teachers should observe their pupils
responses and where possible encourage young learners to be storytellers.

Storyboard teaching strategy
The storyboard teaching strategy is one sure way of getting pupils to keep track of main
ideas and supporting details in a narrative by having them illustrate important scenes in a
story. Storyboarding can be used when texts are read aloud, or it can be used to help pupils
summarize and retain main ideas of a story they have read to themselves. Checking the
thoroughness and accuracy of students storyboards is an effective way to evaluate reading
comprehension before moving on to more analytical tasks.

Total Physical Response (TPR)
With very young or active learners, a story can be mimed using TPR while the teacher reads
or the children listen.

Characters and voices
In reading a story there are numerous characters, and while reading, young learners can be
encouraged to read the dialogue of the characters. Where possible at the start of the lesson,
teachers can also model the reading of dialogues by different characters in different voices.


Vocabulary help
If a child is reading individually at school or at home they can be taught to use the
dictionaries to check on the meanings of unknown words. Vocabulary based activities can
also be integrated in the literature lessons.

Shared Reading
Shared Reading is an interesting activity as it prompts pupils to join in the reading of a big
book or other enlarged text. Shared reading must be guided by the teacher or an
experienced reader. During shared reading, the teacher must involve/engage the children in
reading by pointing to or sliding below each word in the text. This provides children the
opportunity to participate and behave like a reader. More importantly, Shared Reading
creates a risk-free environment, allowing children to focus on the enjoyment of reading the
story.

Role Play
Role-playing can be seen as unstructured drama where pupils can be encouraged to look at
the issue/topic from the perspective of a character. The teachers need to provide detailed
instructions on the setting, context and the characters. Depending on the pupils ability, they
can be given the choice to decide their characters' lines and directions.

Other activities With pupils who can read independently, teachers can conduct the
following while-reading activities:
Skimming/scanning.
Cloze exercise.
Sequencing events.
Jig saw reading.
Predicting outcomes.
Writing / completing summaries.
Information transfer (e.g. draw diagrams / graphs / maps / plans / complete a diagram
/ make or complete notes (e.g. tree diagrams / mind maps).
Discussing literary elements such as characterisation, authors style, skill, and
viewpoint, etc.
Talking about characters.
Language based, vocabulary and grammar based activities.

Post Reading Activities
Quick Comprehension Check
It is always a good idea to conduct a quick comprehension check to examine whether
learners have comprehended the story, or answered/attempted questions at the end of each
page of text. This may take the form of a few gist' questions about the text in oral form,
asking children for a response
e.g. why is this person sad, which character did the children like etc. This could be done in
written/oral form.

Make a Poster/Illustrate the Story
Pupils can be given the opportunity for some creative drawing and illustrations. For example,
pupils can create a poster for a movie, design a new book cover, draw a poster for a missing
person or even design a newsletter/flyer/brochure of an event in the story.

Stimulus for Writing
Most stories usually lend themselves to acting as a stimulus for creative writing. Depending
on the pupils language proficiency, pupils can be involved in guided writing activities such
as writing a letter / poem or designing a birthday card, etc.

Role-play/Acting Out
Interpreting stories as role-play can be as simple or complicated as you like. It could start
with miming basic actions, then speaking or improvising dialogue. Teachers can also opt out
for masks and face paints. Teachers may however, need to organise by moving furniture in
the classroom or creating/providing simple props etc.

Readers Theatre
Readers theatre is an effective activity which can help pupils process dilemmas experienced
by characters in a text or tell a story in a most entertaining form, without props and
costumes. Pupils should be encouraged to use intonation and gestures appropriate to their
characters and their characters words. Readers theatre is a simple, effective and risk-free
way to get children to enjoy reading and get a better understanding of the text. The more
familiar pupils are with readers theatre, the more proficient they become at comprehending
texts and looking into literary elements such as plot, theme, and moral values.

Text-to-text, text-to self, text-to-world
Reading comes more meaningful and alive for children if teachers can provide opportunities
to relate ideas in the text to their experiences and beliefs and other events happening in the
larger world. This strategy can be used when reading all kinds of texts.

Other Post Reading Activities
Prepare a story map.
Prepare a comic strip.
Draw / illustrate a character you like and give two reasons.
Recite a passage / dialogue / poem you liked or enjoyed.
Retell the story from a different point of view / different ending.
Asking questions for a radio interview / TV show.
Design a new cover / Give the story a new title.
Cut out words from newspapers and magazines for a word collage (which gives a
feeling for the book) poster.
Perform a choral reading activity based on the story.