The Effect of Authentic and Simplified Literary Texts on the Reading Comprehension of Iranian Advanced EFL Learners

Document Type: Original Article

Author

English Department, Chabahar Maritime University, Iran

Abstract

The present quasi-experimental study mainly investigates the role of literature as input for reading comprehension in Iranian EFL classrooms. To be more exact, it investigates the effects of authentic and simplified literary texts on the reading comprehension of Iranian advanced EFL learners. The participants were 35 male and female Iranian EFL learners who were at advanced level, studying in a private language institute in Tehran, Iran. They were randomly divided into three groups, each group receiving a particular type of text: general academic texts in control group, authentic literary texts in one of the experimental groups, and simplified literary texts in the other experimental group. After the administration of CAE reading comprehension pre-test, holding 15 sessions of treatment, and another CAE reading comprehension as post-test, the collected data were analyzed using one-way ANOVA by SPSS software. The results showed that using both simplified literary texts and authentic literary texts, as replacements for general academic text, had a positive effect on the reading comprehension of advanced Iranian EFL learners. In addition, there was not any significant difference between the effectiveness of simplified literary texts and authentic literary texts.

Keywords


Article Title [Persian]

نقش متون ادبی اصلی و ساده شده در مهارت درک مطلب زبان آموزان زبان انگیسی سطح پیشرفته

Author [Persian]

  • یوسف بخشی زاده گشتی
دانشگاه دریانوردی و علوم دریایی
Abstract [Persian]

The present quasi-experimental study mainly investigates the role of literature as input for reading comprehension in Iranian EFL classrooms. To be more exact, it investigates the effects of authentic and simplified literary texts on the reading comprehension of Iranian advanced EFL learners. The participants were 35 male and female Iranian EFL learners who were at advanced level, studying in a private language institute in Tehran, Iran. They were randomly divided into three groups, each group receiving a particular type of text: general academic texts in control group, authentic literary texts in one of the experimental groups, and simplified literary texts in the other experimental group. After the administration of CAE reading comprehension pre-test, holding 15 sessions of treatment, and another CAE reading comprehension as post-test, the collected data were analyzed using one-way ANOVA by SPSS software. The results showed that using both simplified literary texts and authentic literary texts, as replacements for general academic text, had a positive effect on the reading comprehension of advanced Iranian EFL learners. In addition, there was not any significant difference between the effectiveness of simplified literary texts and authentic literary texts.

Keywords [Persian]

  • reading comprehension
  • Literature
  • Authentic Literary Texts
  • literary texts
  • General Academic Texts

The Effect of Authentic and Simplified Literary Texts on the Reading Comprehension of Iranian Advanced EFL Learners

[1] Yousef Bakhshizadeh*

IJEAP-1901-1336

 

Abstract

The present quasi-experimental study mainly investigates the role of literature as input for reading comprehension in Iranian EFL classrooms. To be more exact, it investigates the effects of authentic and simplified literary texts on the reading comprehension of Iranian advanced EFL learners. The participants were 35 male and female Iranian EFL learners who were at advanced level, studying in a private language institute in Tehran, Iran. They were randomly divided into three groups, each group receiving a particular type of text: general academic texts in control group, authentic literary texts in one of the experimental groups, and simplified literary texts in the other experimental group. After the administration of CAE reading comprehension pre-test, holding 15 sessions of treatment, and another CAE reading comprehension as post-test, the collected data were analyzed using one-way ANOVA by SPSS software. The results showed that using both simplified literary texts and authentic literary texts, as replacements for general academic text, had a positive effect on the reading comprehension of advanced Iranian EFL learners. In addition, there was not any significant difference between the effectiveness of simplified literary texts and authentic literary texts.

Keywords: Reading Comprehension, Literature, Authentic Literary Texts, Literary Texts, General Academic Texts

1. Introduction

During the grammar translation period, literature was considered as the primary constituent of this method. Teachers and experts selected literary texts of the target language, used them as sources of translation assignment for students and as examples of good writing and "illustrations of the grammatical rules" (Duff & Maley, 1990, p. 3). The major goal in this method was to focus on form, consciously learning grammatical rules and lexical items as they appeared in the text. So according to these aims literary texts were chosen as the best representation of elements this method needed to meet. It's worth mentioning that the main purpose of grammar translation method is not to focus on the literary content but the surface structure or formal properties of the language that were adhered to. By the time the grammar translation method was no more in use, literary texts happened to be ignored in second language teaching.

In structural approaches literature was discredited as a tool to the teaching of foreign languages since they believed that it represents old traditions and customs. In a similar fashion, the functional-national syllabus discarded literature as the main focus in this method was communication and presentation of authentic language samples. Literature was classically considered as being neither an authentic instance of language use nor to have a communicative function. Nevertheless, in the recent years the interest in literature as a precious language teaching resource has been revived to a great extent (Duff & Maley 1990, p. 3). This corresponds with the new flows within the communicative approach. The principles of communicative approach which is mostly communicative competence (being able to communicate in real, authentic communicative situations) could be realized in reading literature. Literature is undoubtedly a communicative activity and no one can deny the fact that literary texts are authentic instances of language use. Consequently Brumfit and Carter (1986) and Lazar (1993) reject the idea that the language used in literary texts is something unusual and specific. They assert that the language of literary texts is a common language with a high application of linguistic features like similes, metaphors, poetic lexis, unusual syntactic patterns, etc. These features do not specifically belong to literature since they usually recur in ordinary language use and also in rhymes, proverbs or public slogans. However in literature these features happen to occur more frequently.

Authentic texts have been defined as "…real-life texts, not written for pedagogic purposes" (Wallace, 1992, p. 145).Therefore, they are written for natives and contain "real" language. They are "…resources that have been created to bring about some social purpose in the language community" (Peacock, 1997). In contrast, non-authentic texts are specially designed for language learning purposes. Non-authentic materials are useful for teaching structures but are not suitable for improving reading skills, simply for the fact that the artificial nature of the language and structures used could deprive learners from encountering the real world. Non-authentic does not really mean simplified; however, in this article it is referred to as any text which is written by a non-native merely for the sake of teaching a particular structure or vocabulary. Perhaps many simplified texts are authentic in nature as the process of simplification is done meticulously by native authors (in some cases the same author of original text), who cautiously tries to preserve the key features of the source text. Authentic materials also include valuable linguistic forms and functions in real-life contexts. Literary texts are considered as the most valid and comprehensive authentic resource. There are many reasons claiming the superiority of authentic materials above simplified or adapted materials. As Chalikendy (2015) puts it in his summarization of the differences between authentic and simplified, authentic materials do not protect learners from what might be difficult and/or sophisticated. They present all varieties of reading: from newspapers and magazines to advertisements, product labels, forms, films, etc. Unfortunately much of such authentic materials do not carry an emotional connection. According to affective filter hypothesis and schema theory, materials that lack emotional connection may not happen to be memorable and thus learnt by readers. Thus, further insight into the importance of using authentic "literary" materials is offered as "they provide learners with genuine, authentic samples of language and also with real samples of a wide range of styles, text types and registers" (Llach 2007). In order to help the process of second language acquisition, it has been broadly recognized that input should be comprehensible (Krashen, 1981, 1982, 1985, & 1994). Using simplified input by the teacher is one of the solutions suggested by Krashen (1985) to make input comprehensible. However, there are many critics of simplified and authentic texts proposing the drawbacks of each.

2. Theoretical Framework of the Study

2.1. The Input Hypothesis

Proposed by Krashen in 1985, the Input hypothesis expresses that the input a language learner is exposed to should be comprehensible and should be slightly one level beyond the student's current linguistic proficiency. Sometimes the input theory is divided into subcomponents'; anyway, in this work it will be brought up as the input theory or input hypothesis.

In this article, the input theory is significant on the grounds that it will be an establishment for challenging students to read texts that would oblige them to do some additional activities to appreciate and comprehend completely what they read. Hence, the target level of difficulty should be a challenge to the students but not so difficult that they cannot accomplish. It should require some effort but a kind of practical and conceivable effort. For instance, reading a ballad (silently or aloud) may be trying something new, thus challenging and interesting. This genre may be new to some language learners. This sort of challenging input should be managed to instruct with cautious presentation of auxiliary elements of lesson plans. For this situation, Rygiel in her handbook of literature-based lessons for ESL suggests that playing a video of a section of a play being performed on stage for the students is a case of using auxiliary elements to moderate a challenging reading (Rygiel, 2016).

 

2.2. The Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Gardner (1983) proposed the theory of multiple intelligences by taking the results of research that showed that individuals learn in different ways. He introduced various learning styles which are employed by various students. These styles include:

  • Visual-spatial learners: Learners who best get the hang of utilizing ideas of physical space: maps, diagrams, charts and models.
  • Bodily-kinesthetic learners: These learners jump at the chance to touch objects, feel their surface, stretch them, and move them. Moreover, they learn through role playing, or pretending to be someone, adopting someone's roles.
  • Linguistic learners: These learners can easily acquire something with words. They use paper and pen and they like to read, write, and see the words. They also tend to use tape recorders.
  • Melodic learners (musical learners): These are people who best react to sound and rhythm. Application of musical components or a rich poem in terms of rhyme and meter will help them a lot as they perfectly process musical and rhythmical information.
  • Logical-Mathematical learners: This is a style of learning in which relationships and connections are explored through their patterns and logical arrangements. Tools such as riddles, puzzles and games work well for these learners.
  • Interpersonal learners: People who learn best through communication and interaction with others. They watch others, learn from their achievements and failures and absorb this knowledge into their own.
  • Intrapersonal learners: As opposed to learners who learn from other people, intrapersonal learners are introverted, introspective and shy. For them self-reflection and time, and tools such as diaries, personal paintings and other creative materials are of a high value.

The theory of multiple intelligences can support the idea of using literary texts as the best teaching material because this theory argues that there are different learning styles, and individuals learn in their own special way. However, since literature provides learners with different genres, it can be very useful and interesting. In other words, students with different inclinations for learning modalities should first know their learning style and then use their qualities in the selected types of reading. For example, a kinesthetic learner may find reading/playing a drama as the most beneficial reading material. The physical activity of play, understanding the feelings of characters and putting themselves in their shoes may be the elements that will enhance this student's performance in reading and understanding of the text. Or a musical learner may best benefit from reading a poem that has prominent rhythm and/or rhyme as literary devices. The musicality of verse may give such learners further motivation to read more and furnish enjoyment of this reading because their favored learning modality found an appropriate way for expressing it.

2.3. The Affective Filter Hypothesis

Krashen (1982) proposed the affective filter hypothesis, which is rooted in the Natural Approach. This hypothesis, basically, represents that the less anxiety the student has, the better she/he will learn. In other words, it suggests that whatever lessens the students' apprehension and puts them at ease should be tried because then the results of learning will be best. This theory associates the student's inclinations, tastes and choices with the very act of learning through reading. Since lessons including literary input will be most likely different from the ones these EFL students experience (grammar, pronunciation, writing), this difference offers a chance for some relaxation, an escape into another world. A literary masterpiece can sink the readers in the story or beauty of language use and make them forget that they are learning or are in an academic situation. In the words of one author, Raasch (2014): "That's why literature is so fascinating. It's always up for interpretation, and could be a hundred different things to a hundred different individuals. It's never the same thing twice.” (p. 203).

Considering the above-mentioned benefits of using literary texts in English language classes, the present study aims to investigate the effects of three kinds of input namely, general academic texts, authentic literary texts, and simplified literary texts on language learners' reading comprehension progress. Providing rich language with a high level of difficulty for advanced students, which is at the same time interesting and motivating for them, is a tough challenge.

  1. Methodology

3.1. Design

The present study is a quasi-experimental research that tries to investigate the possible effects of using literature on reading skill. Generally, readers can find literature in two forms: authentic and simplified. The effect of each form is also comparatively tested. In other words, three groups- two experimental groups and one control group were considered. Literary materials were taught to the experimental groups and the control group was exempted from treatment to play the role of an indicator for experimental groups' alterations.

3.2.  Participants

The participants of this study were 35 Iranian EFL learners who were all at advanced level studying at Iran-Australia school of language, Tehran, Iran. They were selected through convenience sampling technique. The students’ ages ranged from 18 to 28. The participants were in three classes, 12 students in control group, 11 students in authentic literary material group, and 12 students in simplified literary material group. Both males and females learners took part in this study as it was conducted in a co-educational institution.

3.3.  Procedure

In the present study, there were three groups: one control group and two experimental groups. In control group, no treatment was used, that is to say, no literary material was presented to the students, and they had their ordinary academic lessons as in their previous terms. However, in experimental groups literary materials for teaching and students' tasks were presented. More specifically, each experimental group was exposed to a different form of literary texts, authentic and simplified. Students of experimental groups as well as control group had the same level of English proficiency. In each session the teacher devoted 30 minutes of the class time for teaching reading and extensive reading tasks based on literary materials of different genres. In the first session, a Cambridge English Advanced Reading and Use of English test was administered as the pretest in each group. Nelson test 350 was taken by the students in advance in order to ensure the researchers of their homogeneity. From the second session on, the treatments were conducted in 15 sessions.

In authentic experimental group different genres of literary texts were presented. Famous pieces of literature were chosen including some extracts of Shakespeare's plays, excerpts of great novels such as David Copperfield, popular short stories and poems of great poets in the world. All materials were chosen with rigorous attention to the theoretical framework of the study. In other words, the materials were selected considering students level ­­­­­­according to the input hypothesis, their interests and tastes based on the affective filter hypothesis and their learning styles according to multiple intelligences theory. All pieces of literary works taken to the class were quite pure and authentic without any paraphrase or simplification and hence rather complex in structure and meaning. The materials were practiced in the class using activities offered by experts in this field and some assignments of extensive literary reading were given to them.

In simplified experimental group literary texts of different genres were exposed to students holding the principles and theoretical framework considered in authentic experimental group. The treatment was exactly the same as the former experimental group. The only difference was in preparing materials. Some excerpts of great novels and plays, short stories, and poems which were paraphrased, simplified, and modified to contemporary literature were chosen for the class treatment and homework assignments. The language of these texts was less complex but still in advanced level.

The treatment carried on up to 14th session, and during this period the researcher ignored the reading activity parts of the students' course book in order to keep the class away from monotony and did not devote the course merely to one skill (reading ability). In the last session, another Cambridge English Advanced Reading and Use of English test was administered as the post-test in three groups. After that, all the scores which formed the data of the study were analyzed using SPSS software. The results of the pre-tests and post-tests were compared and some useful findings were achieved.

  1. Results

A Nelson test 350 was administered at the outset to assign the subjects into three homogeneous groups. The following table shows the results and interpretation of the subjects' placement test scores.

Table 1: Placement Test Results

Descriptive Statistics

 

N

Minimum

Maximum

Mean

Std. Deviation

Placement

35

27

36

31.40

1.98

 

Table 1 shows that all 35 students' scores range from 27 to 36 with a small standard deviation of around 2. These statistics imply that the subjects performed almost equally in the placement test, and their slight score differences were not significant. Thus, it was concluded that all of them were at the same level: advanced level. Once the first requirement was met, (i.e. the groups are homogeneous and all the participant are at the same level), the researcher could proceed to administering the CAE Reading Comprehension pretest. Table 2 presents the descriptive data of students' CAE Reading Comprehension pre-test scores across the groups.

Table 2: Descriptive Statistics of the Reading Comprehension Pre-test Scores by Group

 

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Std. Error

95% Confidence Interval for Mean

Minimum

Maximum

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

Academic text

12

166.25

3.467

1.001

164.05

168.45

160

170

Simplified texts

11

168.09

4.908

1.480

164.79

171.39

160

178

Authentic texts

12

169.67

5.466

1.578

166.19

173.14

160

178

Total

35

168.00

4.765

.805

166.36

169.64

160

178

 

The results show that students in General Academic Texts group (control group) recorded the lowest mean CAE Reading pre-test score (M=166, SD=3.46). The Simplified Literary Texts group's mean CAE Reading pre-test score (M=168, SD=4.9) was higher than that of General Academic Texts group. The highest mean CAE Reading pre-test score (M=170, SD=5.46) was obtained by Authentic Literary Texts group. The results suggest that the students' CAE Reading Comprehension Pre-test scores, across three groups, were not the same; to check whether the differences are significant a test of homogeneity of variances is required. A Levene Test was conducted in order to make sure that the homogeneity of variances is met by the data as the group sizes were not equal and population variance needed to be equal for all groups. The results are available in table 3 below.

Table 3: Levene's Test of Homogeneity of Variances

Pretest

Levene Statistic

DF1

DF2

Sig.

.719

2

32

.495

 

The result of Levene's test for equality of variances in Table 3 was negative (p > .05). In other words it showed that the variances in the different groups were not significantly different and were statistically homogeneous (F (2, 32) =.719, p=0.495 > .05).

The results of pre-test data analysis indicated that all the students' reading comprehension skill in three groups were at the same level of proficiency, all variances were homogeneous and there was no significant difference between the students' pre-test mean scores across the groups. Thus, the teacher could start the treatment with confidence, and after 15 sessions of presenting literature to experimental groups (simplified literature to one of them and authentic literature to another, as there were two experimental groups) and continuing with academic general texts in control group as routine, the post-test was administered among the three. The results of analyzing the obtained data are presented below. Table 4 presents the descriptive data resulted from the students' CAE Reading comprehension post-test scores across the groups.

Table 4: Descriptive Statistics of subjects' CAE Reading Comprehension Post-test Scores by Group

 

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Std. Error

95% Confidence Interval for Mean

Minimum

Maximum

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

General texts

12

170.50

3.503

1.011

168.27

172.73

163

175

Simplified texts

11

183.73

6.604

1.991

179.29

188.16

173

192

Authentic texts

12

180.67

6.005

1.734

176.85

184.48

172

192

Total

35

178.14

7.837

1.325

175.45

180.83

163

192

 

As the table shows, students of General Academic Texts group (control group) got the lowest mean score (M=170.5, SD =3.5) that was not very different from their pre-test mean score (M=166). However the Simplified Literary Texts group students managed to obtain the highest mean score (M =184, SD =6.6) which impressively differs from their pre-test mean score (M =168). Finally the students in Authentic Literary Texts group recorded a mean score (M =181, SD= 6) of higher than General Academic Texts group and lower than Simplified Literary Texts group. Authentic Literary Texts group's Post-test mean score was also considerably different from their pre-test mean score (M =170)

The results reveal that the students' CAE Reading Comprehension Post-test scores, across three groups, were not the same. The assumption is the difference is significant. In order to reject the null hypothesis one-way ANOVA was conducted and the results are presented in the Table 5.

 

 

Table 5: Analysis of Variance of Students' CAE Reading Comprehension Post-test Scores

 

Sum of Squares

DF

Mean Square

F

Sig.

Between Groups

1120.437

2

560.219

18.523

.000

Within Groups

967.848

32

30.245

 

 

Total

2088.286

34

 

 

 

 

The results, as seen in this table, indicate that the F value is 18.523 (p<.001). The p value suggests that the null hypothesis stating that there is no significant difference in CAE Reading Comprehension Post-test scores of the students across the groups is absolutely rejected (F(2, 32) =18.523, p-value <.001< .05). Putting more explicitly, it can be implied from the analysis of variance results that the English reading comprehension skills of the subjects of the present study happened to be sharply different (as p

Moreover, a calculation of "eta squared" was applied to determine the effect size of the existing difference.

   →      = 0.536

The answer shows that the effect size is large as 0.536 > 0.14.

To identify which pair(s) of groups differed from each other, and which means are significantly different to which other means the Tukey HSD Multiple Comparisons post hoc test was run. The results are presented in Table 6 as following.

Table 6: Tukey HSD Multiple Comparisons post hoc test of Groups' CAE Reading Comprehension Post-test Mean Scores

(I) Text_type

(J) Text_type

Mean Difference (I-J)

Std. Error

Sig.

95% Confidence Interval

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

Academic texts

Simplified texts

-13.227*

2.296

.000

-18.87

-7.59

Authentic texts

-10.167*

2.245

.000

-15.68

-4.65

Simplified texts

Academic text

13.227*

2.296

.000

7.59

18.87

Authentic texts

3.061

2.296

.388

-2.58

8.70

Authentic texts

Academic text

10.167*

2.245

.000

4.65

15.68

Simplified texts

-3.061

2.296

.388

-8.70

2.58

*The mean difference is significant at the 0.05 level.

As shown in table 6, General Academic Texts group is significantly (p-value < .001) different from Simplified Literary Texts group by 13 points lower mean score and also significantly(p-value < .001)  different from Authentic Literary Texts group by 10 points lower mean score. In another set of comparisons it can be seen that the Simplified literary Texts group is significantly (p-value < .001) different from General Academic texts by 13 points higher mean scorer. However the Simplified Literary Texts group does not significantly differ from Authentic Literary Texts group (p-value =.388 > .05) since its mean score is only 3 points higher. The next comparison can be interpreted as the Authentic literary Texts group's mean score is 10 points higher than that of General Academic Texts group and therefore the difference is significant (p-value < .001). Finally in the last line, Authentic Literary Texts group shows 3 points lower mean score when compared to simplified literary Texts group and this amount is rather few to make the difference significant (p-value > .05).

  1. Discussion

The results of the present study showed that both authentic literary texts and simplified literary texts had a superior effect on reading comprehension progress rather than general academic texts. This result, before anything else, proves the positive role of literature in reading comprehension. In piles of other studies the effective impact of literature in all skills of language learning was proved by empirical experiments and the benefits of using literature in syllabus courses were stressed repeatedly. In support of this result, Collie and Slater (1994) in their Literature in Language Classroom reported that "literature offered invaluable authentic material, affluent language environment and cultural background knowledge, and active personal involvement. Accordingly teaching literature to EFL/ESL learners was highly beneficial." The results of this study also supports that of Icoz (1992) and Wu (1998) who got a positive and significant effect when using literature in their classroom contexts and found out that literature developed a better feel for language, drew the pupils' attention, increased their reading interest, and improved their language proficiency since literature provided evidence of extensive and subtle vocabulary usage along with complex and exact syntax.

The primary result of the present study is also consistent with that of Shtepani (2012) who interviewed 60 teachers and students of master's program and concluded that the integration of literature in EFL classes is a useful technique for teaching both basic language skills and language aspects. He also found out the authentic nature of literary materials helps students improve learning, develops their critical thinking and enhances their cultural education. The same beliefs are shared by Chalikendy (2015) who offered using literature as a natural source for teaching English in ESL/EFL classrooms. He deduced that learners are fond of literature because of its emotion, creativity and imaginative power. He also points to the natural context that literature can provide for learners, multi-dimensional use of language that can be explored through literature and scholarly proved reputation of literature in developing several kinds of competencies such as linguistic competence, communicative competence, sociolinguistic competence and cultural competence.

In the same way, many other scholars and authors (Amer 2012;Cho, Ahn, & Krashen, 2005; Collie & Slater, 1990; Dornyei, 2005; Heath, 1996; Hess, 2006; Holden, 2003; Kim, 2004; Krashen, 2004; Morrow, 2004; Rodrigo et al., 2004; Strong, 1996; Wang and Guthrie, 2004; and Widdowson, 1977) have repeatedly remarked the positive effects of literature on four language skills and sub-skills, language awareness, learners' motivation, their competencies in different areas such as communicative, linguistic, sociolinguistic, etc., and their attitude towards the new language and culture.

However, despite these pro literature scholars there are some anti-literature points of view. Maley (2001) summarizes the arguments against literature use in curriculum and says literature was previously regarded optimistically as irrelevant and pessimistically as positively harmful. The use of literature in EFL or ESL learning is discouraged by some scholars due to its complexity and being time consuming (Parkinson & Thomas, 2000), being useless for occupational and academic needs since it has no functional use (Cook, 1981, cited in Brumfit & Carter, 1986), some of cultural aspects that might be far-fetched for the students or, in some cases, immoral in their culture, etc.

In using literary materials in classroom, many possible factors can be at work in order to achieve good results. Firstly, it's very important to do it according to theoretical frameworks. The teacher should be firstly completely aware of principles and techniques of language teaching and secondly should have what Vestli (2008) and Hennig (2010) (cited in Moltubakk, 2008) calls literary competence. An interview with many experienced teachers done by Shtepani (2012) showed that EFL teachers need more training to turn their classes into a motivating environment where pupils enjoy literature and acquire English at the same time.

In most of Iranian English language institutes the use of literature in classroom as a teaching tool or material is completely unknown. Even if it is sometimes suggested by some, the idea would be, at best, disregarded and, at worst, considered as a fantasy and thus impossible. It has turned to be like a custom to use only the course books such as "Top notch", "Four Corners", etc. as the one and only teaching material. However in some language centers some supplementary vocabulary, structure or listening books for reinforcing the students' weaknesses are presented. This is despite the fact that literature can compensate for all pedagogical shortcomings and information gaps of the course book. Finding out the reason why such institutes don’t trust literature as a useful and motivating complementary material for the classrooms needs particular survey and further research. A better case is those institutes that use short story series as supplementary. This is a really good idea but not enough. When short stories are used in every term, they won't be motivating anymore. Fortunately literature has a variety of genres and there are lots of positive points in using each.

Another finding of the present study is that there is no significant difference between authentic literary materials and simplified literary texts. In other words, both simplified and authentic forms of literary texts contributed to the same extent to language learners' reading comprehension considerably better than ordinary academic texts did. Although a slight difference (3 marks) has been seen in favor of simplified literature. The result of the present study is in line with that of Crossley, McCarthy, Louwerse, and McNamara (2007) Linguistic Analysis of Simplified and Authentic Texts. They concluded that no significant difference exists between authentic and simplified texts in abstractness and ambiguity. They also favored simplified texts as they base more on frequent and familiar words, provide learners with more common connectives and more conferential cohesion, display less causality, depend less on complex logical operators, and demonstrate more syntactic complexity than do authentic texts.

However, there is an argument between researchers in the field of foreign or second language teaching over the use of simplified materials versus authentic ones. Lots of scholars (e.g. Bacon & Finnemann, 1990; Swaffar, 1985; Tomlinson, Bao, Masuhara, & Rubdy, 2001) believe in the superiority of authentic reading texts over the simplified or modified ones due to the motivational, communicative and real life-like features of these kinds of texts. Some others such as Kelly, Offner and vorland (2002) stated the role of authentic materials as the linking between classroom and real world. They meant what is taught in the classroom should be connected to its function in the real world. Despite this controversy above authentic and simplified materials, the present researcher found in his experiences of using both forms of literary materials (authentic and simplified) that the best idea is the integrated simplification technique offered by Hirvala (1988). In this way students will be exposed to authentic input and have their own interpretation of that. Then looking at the simplified form can brighten their understanding and pave new and easier ways for them to learn new things from it. This technique was only used for poetry in this research and was not of concern of the study. In order to examine the effectiveness of integrated simplification technique further research in particular is needed.

  1. Conclusion

The primary aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of two forms of literary materials (authentic and simplified) on reading comprehension progress of advanced Iranian students. In other words, the researchers tried to examine the comparative effect of three kinds of texts namely, general academic texts, authentic literary texts and simplified literary texts on reading comprehension. After the treatment, experiments and analyzing the results, it was concluded that the most effective reading material was simplified literary texts and the least was general academic texts. Authentic literary texts fell in between with very little and insignificant difference from simplified form. So according to the results the first implication of the study is that literature has a surprisingly positive effect on advanced Iranian EFL learners' reading comprehension progress. This claim enjoys support by many other experts and scholars as mentioned in earlier sections. Secondly, the study implied the fact that there is no significant difference in using whether simplified or authentic forms of literary texts and thus both of them are more effective than ordinary academic texts in the promotion of EFL learners' reading comprehension.

The present study has some pedagogical implications as well. In addition to the promotion of student's score in reading, the researcher, during the treatment sessions found out that no matter simplified or authentic, literature was the only thing that gave motivation to students for reading section of instruction and made an interest for reading in students who had neglected reading skill. Therefore, teachers should take advantage of this valuable resource to teach reading and help students get familiar with great literary works of the world. The other implication is for the teachers who have difficulty in motivating their students for reading skill. It is suggested that teachers choose attractive literary texts corresponding to their students' level, interests and learning styles, for their classroom reading activities. Teachers can also give students some extensive reading tasks to students as a fruitful homework. However, in order to determine the role of literature as an extensive reading homework in particular, further research needs to be done.

Also syllabus designers and course designers can use the findings of this study to apply literary texts in their syllabi and courses so that reading comprehension activity could be counted as a creative and active section rather than a boring one. Another implication is for material developers and course book authors. Implementing great and interesting literary pieces in their materials and reading sections of course books can be innovative and welcomed by teachers and students who use them.

Finally, the outcomes of this study can be profitable to language learners. Most of the students, even up to advanced levels, have never tried reading literary texts and have no idea of them. Therefore it is strongly suggested to language learners of any level to start reading simplified or authentic forms of the target language literature. This can give them motivation for more extensive reading, help them to build good knowledge of language and improve their awareness of the target culture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Bacon, S., & Finnemann, M. (1990). A study of the attitudes, motives, and strategies of university foreign language students and their disposition to authentic oral and written input. Modern Language Journal, 74, 459-473.

Brumfit, C. J., & Carter, R. A. (1986). Literature and Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chalikendy, M. A. (2015). Literature: A natural source for teaching English in ESL/EFL classrooms. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 6, 224-234.

Cho, K. S., Ahn, K. O., & Krashen, S. D. (2005). The effects of narrow reading of authentic texts on interest and reading ability in English as a foreign language. Reading Improvement, 4(1), 58-64.

Collie, J., & Slater, S. (1990). Literature in the Language Classroom: A Resource Book of Ideas and Activities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cook, G. (1986). Texts, Extracts and Stylistic Texture. In C. J. Brumfit, & R. A. Carter, Literature and LAnguage Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Crossley, S. A., McCarthy, P. M., Louwerse, M. M., & McNamara, D. S. (2007). A linguistic analysis of simplified and authentic texts. The Modern Language Journal, 91, 15-31.

Dornyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Mahwah,NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Duff, A., & Maley, A. (1990). Literature. Oxford: Ocford University Press.

Heath, S. (1996). Re-creating lierature in the ESL classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 30(4), 776-778.

Hess, N. (2006). The short story: Integrating language skills through the parallel life approach. In A. Paran (Ed.), Literature in Language Teaching and Learning (pp. 27-43). Alexandria, VA: TESOL.

Hirvala, A. (1988). Integrating simplified and original texts. JALT Journal, 9 (2), 131-151.

Holden, W. (2003). Student attitudes toward graded reading: A preliminary investigation. Bulletin of Hokuriku University, 27, 145-158.

Icoz, N. (1992). Teaching literature: why, what, and how. English Teaching Forum, 30 (1), 10-12.

Kelly, C., Kelly, L., Offner, M., & Vorland, B. (2002). Effective ways to use authentic materials . The Internet TESL Journal. 8(11). Retrieved: http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Kelly-Authentic.html.

Kim, M. (2004). Literature discussions in adult L2 learning. Language and education, 18(2), 145-166.

Krashen, S. D. (1981). Second Language Aquisition and Second Language Learning. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Krashen, S. D. (1982). Principles and Practices in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Krashen, S. D. (1985). The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications. London: Longman.

Krashen, S. D. (1994). The Input Hypothesis and Its Rivals. In N. Ellis (1994), Implicit and Explicit Learning of Languages (pp. 45-77). London: Academic Press.

Krashen, S. D. (2004). The power of reading. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Publishing Company.

Lazar, G. (1993). Literature and Language Teaching: A Guide for Teachers and Trainers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Llach, P. A. (2007). Teaching English through literature the wasteland in the ESL classroom. Odisea, 8, 7-17.

Maley, A. (2001). Literature in the language classroom. In R. Carter, & D. Nunan (Eds.), The Cambridge Guide to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (pp. 180-185). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Moltubakk, J. N. (2012). Literature as Windows on the World. A Literary Approach to Second Language Learning; Cultural and Literary Competence in Toni Morrison’s «A Mercy». Tromso: University of Tromso.

Morrow, L. M. (2004). Motivation: The forgotten factor. Reading Today, 21(5), 6-12.

Parkinson, B., & Reid-Thomas, H. (2000). Teaching Literature in a Second Language. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Peacock, M. (1997). The effect of authentic materials on the motivation of EFL learners. English Language Teaching Journal, 51(2), 144-156.

Raasch, S. (2014). Snow Like Ashes. New York, NY. Harper Collins Publishers.

Rodrigo, V., Krashen, S. D., & Gribbons, B. (2004). The effectiveness of two comprehensible input approaches to foreign language instruction at the intermediate level, System, 32(1), 53-61.

Shtepani, E. (2012). Overview on the use of literary texts in EFL classes. Lingua Mobili, 6(39), 7-14.

Strong, G. (1996). Using literature for language teaching in ESOL. Thought Currents in English Literature, 69, 291-305.

Swaffar, J. k. (1985). Reading authentic texts in a foreign language: A cognitive model. Modern Language Journal, 69, 15-34.

Tomlinson, B., Bao, D., Masuhara, H., & Rubdy, R. (2001). EFL corses for adults. ELT Journal, 55, 80-101.

Wallace, C. (1992). Reading. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wang, J. H., & Guthrie, J. T. (2004). Modeling the effects of intrinsinc motivation, extrinsic motivation, amount of reading, and past reading achievement on text comprehension between U.S. and Chinese students. Reading Research Quarterly, 39(2), 162-186.

Widdowson, H. (1977). Stylistics and the teaching of literature. London: Longman.

Wu, T. R. (1998). Teaching literature in the English language classroom: An example of a chicano/mexican legend. Selected Papers from the Seventh International Symposium on English Teaching, 891-895.



[1] Assistant Professor, yousefbakhshi@gmail.com; English Department, Chabahar Maritime University, Chabahar, Iran

Bacon, S., & Finnemann, M. (1990). A study of the attitudes, motives, and strategies of university foreign language students and their disposition to authentic oral and written input. Modern Language Journal, 74, 459-473.

Brumfit, C. J., & Carter, R. A. (1986). Literature and Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chalikendy, M. A. (2015). Literature: A natural source for teaching English in ESL/EFL classrooms. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 6, 224-234.

Cho, K. S., Ahn, K. O., & Krashen, S. D. (2005). The effects of narrow reading of authentic texts on interest and reading ability in English as a foreign language. Reading Improvement, 4(1), 58-64.

Collie, J., & Slater, S. (1990). Literature in the Language Classroom: A Resource Book of Ideas and Activities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cook, G. (1986). Texts, Extracts and Stylistic Texture. In C. J. Brumfit, & R. A. Carter, Literature and LAnguage Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Crossley, S. A., McCarthy, P. M., Louwerse, M. M., & McNamara, D. S. (2007). A linguistic analysis of simplified and authentic texts. The Modern Language Journal, 91, 15-31.

Dornyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Mahwah,NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Duff, A., & Maley, A. (1990). Literature. Oxford: Ocford University Press.

Heath, S. (1996). Re-creating lierature in the ESL classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 30(4), 776-778.

Hess, N. (2006). The short story: Integrating language skills through the parallel life approach. In A. Paran (Ed.), Literature in Language Teaching and Learning (pp. 27-43). Alexandria, VA: TESOL.

Hirvala, A. (1988). Integrating simplified and original texts. JALT Journal, 9 (2), 131-151.

Holden, W. (2003). Student attitudes toward graded reading: A preliminary investigation. Bulletin of Hokuriku University, 27, 145-158.

Icoz, N. (1992). Teaching literature: why, what, and how. English Teaching Forum, 30 (1), 10-12.

Kelly, C., Kelly, L., Offner, M., & Vorland, B. (2002). Effective ways to use authentic materials . The Internet TESL Journal. 8(11). Retrieved: http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Kelly-Authentic.html.

Kim, M. (2004). Literature discussions in adult L2 learning. Language and education, 18(2), 145-166.

Krashen, S. D. (1981). Second Language Aquisition and Second Language Learning. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Krashen, S. D. (1982). Principles and Practices in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Krashen, S. D. (1985). The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications. London: Longman.

Krashen, S. D. (1994). The Input Hypothesis and Its Rivals. In N. Ellis (1994), Implicit and Explicit Learning of Languages (pp. 45-77). London: Academic Press.

Krashen, S. D. (2004). The power of reading. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Publishing Company.

Lazar, G. (1993). Literature and Language Teaching: A Guide for Teachers and Trainers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Llach, P. A. (2007). Teaching English through literature the wasteland in the ESL classroom. Odisea, 8, 7-17.

Maley, A. (2001). Literature in the language classroom. In R. Carter, & D. Nunan (Eds.), The Cambridge Guide to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (pp. 180-185). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Moltubakk, J. N. (2012). Literature as Windows on the World. A Literary Approach to Second Language Learning; Cultural and Literary Competence in Toni Morrison’s «A Mercy». Tromso: University of Tromso.

Morrow, L. M. (2004). Motivation: The forgotten factor. Reading Today, 21(5), 6-12.

Parkinson, B., & Reid-Thomas, H. (2000). Teaching Literature in a Second Language. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Peacock, M. (1997). The effect of authentic materials on the motivation of EFL learners. English Language Teaching Journal, 51(2), 144-156.

Raasch, S. (2014). Snow Like Ashes. New York, NY. Harper Collins Publishers.

Rodrigo, V., Krashen, S. D., & Gribbons, B. (2004). The effectiveness of two comprehensible input approaches to foreign language instruction at the intermediate level, System, 32(1), 53-61.

Shtepani, E. (2012). Overview on the use of literary texts in EFL classes. Lingua Mobili, 6(39), 7-14.

Strong, G. (1996). Using literature for language teaching in ESOL. Thought Currents in English Literature, 69, 291-305.

Swaffar, J. k. (1985). Reading authentic texts in a foreign language: A cognitive model. Modern Language Journal, 69, 15-34.

Tomlinson, B., Bao, D., Masuhara, H., & Rubdy, R. (2001). EFL corses for adults. ELT Journal, 55, 80-101.

Wallace, C. (1992). Reading. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wang, J. H., & Guthrie, J. T. (2004). Modeling the effects of intrinsinc motivation, extrinsic motivation, amount of reading, and past reading achievement on text comprehension between U.S. and Chinese students. Reading Research Quarterly, 39(2), 162-186.

Widdowson, H. (1977). Stylistics and the teaching of literature. London: Longman.

Wu, T. R. (1998). Teaching literature in the English language classroom: An example of a chicano/mexican legend. Selected Papers from the Seventh International Symposium on English Teaching, 891-895.