Greta Antonioni explored 'Teaching English as a Foreign Language Through Scientific Information Books for Children and Young Adults' at the 7th online Future of English Language Teaching Conference.
See the video recording below:
Information books for children and young adults are non-fiction texts which aim at providing information on a variety of topics (Mallett, 2004). Generally, we can differentiate compulsory information books (those used in the school curriculum) from non-compulsory information books (read as a source of entertainment). The latter category will be the core of the present work.
It goes without saying that this group of information books must be able to combine two objectives: education and entertainment (known by the name of "edutainment", a blend of the previous words). In order to achieve both goals, these books have to use a wide range of popularization strategies (Calsamiglia & Van Dijk, 2004) together with fictional passages and a captivating iconic apparatus. Even games might be inserted in order to make the book even more "entertaining" and "interactive".
The aim of the present work is to demonstrate the efficiency of scientific information books as a tool to teach English as a foreign language to children of "Scuola media" (lower middle schools 11-14 years old).
In the Italian school system, CLIL methodology (Content and Language Integrated Learning) is gaining importance in High schools, and the use of non-fiction texts (together with a student's book which covers the main grammatical aspects) since "scuola media" will definitely be a step forward in the Italian school system.