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Literature Review:
The Use of Digital Stories to Enhance Reading o!"rehension in a #oreign Language
$athan %arrett
EDU &'( Action Research
August 1) *'1+
hris Reiersgaard
As first language learners) the "rocess of learning how to read at such a ,oung age is an
a!a-ing acco!"lish!ent. The a/ilit, to recogni-e sounds) inter"ret letters and words) and gain
an awareness of si!"le and co!"le0 sentence structure has /een so!ething that we learned how
to do without reali-ing that we did. It was an a/ilit, that was taught to us in which we !i!ic1ed
in order to learn how to read. #or a second language learner) the a/ilit, to read a foreign
language co!es across as difficult filled full of trial and error. In !an, of the second language
classroo!s) the s1ill to teach students how to read a foreign language is loo1ed u"on as !ore of
an afterthought. It is i!"erative that students learning a second language learn the /asics all over
again in order for the! to /eco!e successful in their reading endeavors. Research has shown
that al"ha/et 1nowledge and "honological awareness are strong "redictors of successful literac,
develo"!ent in children 2for a review see Ada!s) 133'4 Lonigan) 5urgess) 6 Anthon,) *'''4
Wagner et al.) 133(7. In regards to gaining a stronger "honological awareness) tales and stories
are effective listening !aterials for children to develo" listening co!"rehension and literac, /oth
in their first and foreign language 2Dic1inson) *''14 Elle,) 13834 Is/ell) *''*4 9enno) Wil1inson)
6 :oore) *''*4 Raines 6 Is/ell) 133;4 Richards 6 Anderson) *''+4 <even/ergen 6 Whitehurst)
*''+7. Thus) this literature review will /e designed to investigate and e0a!ine resources that
have /een found lin1ed to research in regards to i!"le!enting digital stories in a foreign
language learning classroo! in order to enhance reading co!"rehension a!ong the students.
Phonological Awareness
In "rocessing /oth s"o1en and written language) the hu!an /rain e!"lo,s a "honological
code to re"resent linguistic infor!ation 2#ord) *''&7. This code is uni=ue for each individual
language) as each language has its own distinct set of sounds) with ver, s"ecific rules that govern
how those sounds can /e co!/ined into s,lla/les and words 2for discussion see ohn) *''+7. In
the S"anish language) distinct set of sounds are acco!"anied with s"ecific rules that are different
fro! those that have learned English as their first language. Unli1e the English language)
S"anish has onl, one set sound "er language character. Thus) to a native English s"ea1er)
S"anish can /e a little daunting of a tas1 to learn in the /eginning. This is where the
i!"le!entation of digital stories can co!e into "la,. While the stories are "la,ing on the screen
or !onitor) the te0t is dis"la,ed underneath the short video. Students will /e a/le to listen to the
narrator rela,ing the stor, while seeing the te0t that is s"o1en) thus creating a higher
"honological awareness in the S"anish language. This will also allow the students to see the
different characters in the S"anish language that will relate to the s,nta0 and s"elling of the new
language that is /eing learned. Research has shown that "honological awareness s1ills can /e
taught and that gains in "honological awareness are associated with corres"onding gains in
reading achieve!ent 2Lie) 13314 Torgesen) :organ) 6 Davis) 133*4 Vellutino 6 Scanlon) 138(7.
Digital Stories
At an earl, stage of language ac=uisition) stories can offer a valua/le wa, of
conte0tuali-ing and introducing new language) !a1ing it !eaningful and !e!ora/le 2Wasi1 6
5ond) *''14 Whitehurst 6 Lonigan) 13384 Wright) *'''7. The, are associated with feelings and
!e!ories) as the, are a distinctive !anifestation of cultural values and "erce"tions 2Verdugo 6
5el!onte) *''(7. 5esides) the, "resent linguistic for!s) gra!!ar) "hrases) voca/ular,) and
for!ulaic s"eech within a !eaningful and structured conte0t that su""orts co!"rehension of the
narrative world 2%la-er 6 5ur1e) 133;4 >ennings) 13317.
Within recent ,ears) with the increase of !ore so"histicated !ulti!edia technolog, that
is availa/le to use) there is renewed interest in the co!"le!entar, relationshi" of visual and
auditor, channels in listening and reading co!"rehension 25rett) 133&4 #eli0) 133&7.
:ulti!edia a""lications for foreign language learning can "rovide a !ore realistic of the new
language and culture in the classroo!) including not onl, linguistic /ut also "aralinguistic
features such as /od, language) gestures) "rosod,) etc.) which hel" to conve, !eaning to the
learners 25rett) 133&4 #idel!an) 133(7. If a""ro"riatel, selected) digital stories !a, "rove to /e
=uite useful in develo"ing students? listening and reading s1ills. The interactivit, of internet@
/ased stories) we assu!e) !a, facilitate learning since children are activel, involved in decoding
and understanding the stor, 2Donato) 133;7. With the ca"a/ilit, of interacting with the digital
stories) foreign language learners will have an advantageous o""ortunit, to enhance their
learning e0"erience. #inall,) gains in listening s1ills and understanding see! to /ring /enefits to
i!"rove children?s reading co!"rehension 25ie!iller) *''+4 Sticht 6 >a!es) 138;4 Sticht)
The sources that have /een selected and reviewed in this literature review have given
further insight and 1nowledge of the i!"act of the i!"le!entation of digital stories in regards to
reading co!"rehension in a foreign language classroo!. The i!"le!entation of the digital
stories will hel" the students gain a higher "honological awareness to the new language and will
also introduce a visual and auditor, learning environ!ent. Since !an, educators are /eing
as1ed to incor"orate technolog, in the classroo!) digital stories can /e a great start for teaching
students how to read in a foreign language due to its interactive ca"a/ilities. Unfortunatel,) the
"ro"er use and ada"tation of these digital stories) I feel) has not /een full, researched and onl,
"ro"er and sufficient o/Aective data followed /, results will hel" us understand the great
"otential that digital /oo1s !a, have in the foreign language classroo!.
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