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What is Playful Learning?

Start by learning about what playful learning is.

Playful Reading has been promoted as the best way to promote early and continued reading development.

The Playful Reading approach integrates active reading with speaking, listening and writing through reading a text, image or multimedia based literature. Through reading with purpose, the teacher facilitates students to use play-based learning to comprehend what they have read actively to reproduce meaningful learning.

Reading is an active process in which to comprehend, the reader interacts with a multitude of factors related to themself, the text being read, and the context the reading takes place in.

It involves a transaction between the literature or the text’s inferred meaning, and focuses on the readers’ individual experience of a literary work through their interpretation through their own prior knowledge.

This approach emphasises the cognitive reading process.

Meaning processing in reading

Traditional education mainly involves vocabulary and grammar teaching, while playful reading uses reading (including reading comprehension and other reading techniques, such as phonics and character in the story) as the central area of teaching ESL. Play-based pedagogies indicate that children ‘organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they engage actively with people, objects and representations’ whilst engaged within a play.

Some activities that can be used to to engage play are:

  • Modelling reading
  • Shared reading
  • Guided reading
  • Independent reading
  • Language experience approach
  • Literature circles
  • Close reading

What Playful Learning is Not: Popular Misconceptions

De Jong and Harper (2005) has pointed out the four misconceptions of “good teaching” and effective ESL teaching and learning:

  • Misconception 1: By practicing listening and speaking, ESL learners can develop reading comprehension capability naturally.
  • Misconception 2: Every ESL learner can follow the same schedule to achieve the same learning outcomes.
  • Misconception 3: If you are a good English speaker, you can be a good ESL teacher.
  • Misconception 4: Reading does not need to involve listening, speaking or writing.

Join the Discussion

An example activity using playful learning could be using hopscotch to link up rhyming words. What are some other reading games for preschoolers that you can think of?
Share your answer/s in the Comments section below and click the Mark as complete button to check this step off before continuing to the next step.
© Australian Catholic University (ACU, 2021)
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