Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Teaching English as a Second Language/Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Tammy Slater


Although many instructors claim that literature and literary fiction are beneficial to ESL learners, little research exists to support these claims. Using literature in the language classroom through Content-Based Language Teaching (Mohan, 1971) offers a methods-based framework, but still lacks a linguistic backing to support its use in the EFL or ESL classroom. This study seeks to fill this research gap by integrating Mohan’s (1986) Knowledge Framework (KF) with his theories of CBLT in order to provide theory-driven research to the use of literature in the language classroom.

By using a single case metrology, this study aims to document the teaching of a set of lessons using literature for teaching English reading skills to ESL students. Using the first four lessons of McCulloch’s (2015) EFL university unit plan for the award-winning young adult novel The Giver, this study pilots the use of the KF with adult learners. The present study modifies the existing unit plan to meet the needs of two classes of adult ESL learners studying in community language classes in the US. The purpose of this study is to illustrate participants’ beliefs about the effectiveness of this piece of literature in teaching them English reading skills. Additionally, the study seeks to find out about the perceived effectiveness of particular activities within these lessons in order to inform future use of the KF with adult learners.

The results showed that learner beliefs remained stable over the course of the study, indicating that an introduction to literature in a second language may not change the opinions of adult learners. Additionally, results indicate that adult learners appreciate KF-based activities and lessons, but need explicit instruction in the knowledge structures in order to transfer the skills learned during activities to broader language contexts.


Copyright Owner

Hannah Vaughn Bingham Brunner



File Format


File Size

123 pages