Children acquire their first language without the fear of making mistakes. On the other hand, second language learners are always conscious about learning a second language as they have already developed concepts related to their first language. In such situations I find that using literary text, in ESL classrooms, is a highly effective way to keep students engaged and motivated which results in making learning less painful and more fun.
Literary text can be used in an ESL classroom either in the form of a short story or even as song lyrics. Both of these forms can be explored in order to enhance students’ listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in the second language. Short stories provide students with an opportunity to gather information by reading fewer words. Short stories can be read in one go, so many short stories can be shared and explored during a taught course. Students can also find elements of interest in short stories which keep them motivated to read. Similarly, song lyrics have a beautiful rhythm which keeps the readers charmed and involved in the text. It is poetry with an edge. Exploring song lyrics provides teachers with wonderful opportunities to integrate pronunciation, rhythm, rhyme scheme and stress patterns through listening and speaking. In addition, they also help second language learners become familiar with slang words, English expressions and idioms in interesting and entertaining ways.