Turkey's Primary English-as-a-foreign Language (EFL) Coursebooks: An Investigation of Emergent Literacy Tasks

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Ünal Gezer M.

CUKUROVA UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF EDUCATION JOURNAL, vol.51, no.1, pp.220-236, 2022 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 51 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.14812/cufej.982901
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI)
  • Page Numbers: pp.220-236
  • Keywords: Primary English, English-as-a-foreign language, EFL coursebook, Emergent literacy, Phonics, Phonological and phonemic awareness, Teaching English to young learners, YOUNG LEARNERS, ACQUISITION
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


Turkey's most recent primary English language curriculum, which highlights oral skills, mandates communicative teaching to young learners. Recent primary English curriculum comprises two hours per week of English as-a-foreign language (EFL) instruction to include listening and speaking only for Grade 2 and very limited reading and writing for Grade 3 onward. While communicative skills are highly emphasized, literacy skills are kept on the back burner as reading and writing are incorporated gradually with minimal reading and writing at earlier grade levels and some literacy practices at upper grade levels. Successful emergent literacy development in English highly depends on young language learners' phonological (e.g. alliteration, rhyme), phonemic (i.e. sound manipulation), and orthographic awareness (i.e. spelling conventions) in English. The present study investigates to what extent Turkey's locally-designed primary EFL coursebooks-used in 2018-2021 academic period-cater to the early literacy needs of young learners at grades two, three, and four. The study explores early literacy content in coursebooks in a mixed-methods design: qualitatively with the descriptive content analysis and quantitatively with the frequency of early literacy constructs. The results of those analyses reveal primary English coursebooks do not promote a linguistically sound and pedagogically appropriate integration of literacy skills according to principles of second language (L2) literacy acquisition at primary levels. Turkey's misaligned early English literacy curriculum, in its current state, sends alarming messages to foreign language policy makers, material designers, and EFL educators.