Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts




The place of literature in language teaching has long been debated. This study investigates the use of poetry and children's literature written in verse as materials for helping advanced adult learners of English as a second or foreign language develop oral fluency skills. Fifteen native Chinese-speaking graduate students or professionals associated with ISU participated in the study. Speech samples were taken before and after a two-week treatment period. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the three treatment groups: a children's literature group, and adult literature group, and a control group. During the treatment period, each of the literature treatment groups met for four hours of literature-based speaking instruction. Following the collection of the post-treatment speech samples, the samples were rated for fluency by six graduate students enrolled in the TESL/Applied Linguistics M.A. program at ISU. The ratings show a very slight, but statistically significant, increase in fluency for some participants when responding to a reading prompt. No gains in fluency were found when participants responded to an open-ended question. Questionnaires indicate that the participants found the children's books somewhat interesting and helpful for language study and the adult poetry more so. The results suggest that carefully selected children's literature may be appropriate for advanced learners of English in certain circumstances.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Ketty Ruth Reppert



OCLC Number


File Format


File Size

169 pages