An Investigation of Exposure to Informational Text through English Textbooks

  • Received : 20090400
  • Accepted : 20090600
  • Published : 2009.06.30

Abstract

This study investigated the extent of informational text genre appeared in English textbooks at grades six, seven, and nine. Employing content analysis to analyze the literary forms, the researcher identified genre in each reading selection of each English textbook and classified it into six categories - fiction, information, biography, poetry, play, or fantasy. Especially, informational genre was classified further into two subcategories - non-narrative and narrative - in order to investigate the extent of non-narrative informational text only. The text genre was examined by analyzing (a) the number of reading selections representing each genre and (b) the number of words in reading selections devoted to each genre. The most frequent type of genre at grade 6 and 7 was fiction with 94% and 71% respectively, whereas at grade 9 it was devoted to information (51%), followed by fiction (37%). The largest number of words was devoted to fiction with 96% at the sixth grade and 70% at the seventh grade; on the other hand, for grade 9, it was devoted to information (46%), followed by fiction (39%). Although there was variance across different publishers, the informational text genre gained more significance as the grade level increased. In particular, the percentage of reading selections and words devoted to the non-narrative or expository informational genre was overall 4% at grade 6, 17% at grade 7, and 44% at grade 9. The findings demonstrated the need to pay more attention to informational literacy especially in the early grades for the development of balanced genre knowledge.