Language is a reflection of society, so knowing about a language also means knowing about a culture. Therefore, many types of literature have been used as a language education tool representing culture. This thesis proposed folktales as an effective material of not only introducing culture but also learning language. Since folktales are old stories that have passed from generation to generation for a long time, values and morals of a culture are naturally presented in the context of the stories. Furthermore, folktales could enhance students' reading comprehension because the story lines, phrases, and words in a story are used repeatedly. Due to this repeated use of language, students could learn expressions and vocabulary more effectively. This study examined the relationship between using Korean folktales in a foreign language class and learners' reading comprehension and cultural understanding. The participants were the students of Korean 201 at BYU. The experimental group had folktale courses once in every week for 10 weeks while they received usual language class from Monday to Thursday, whereas the control group received usual language class every day. The Test in Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) was administered for observing the students' enhancement in reading proficiency, and the Likert-scale surveys were given for observing their enhancement in cultural understanding. In addition to the quantitative data, qualitative data was gathered from the oral interviews of the experimental group. The interview questions were about their experiences and attitudes towards the use of folktales in Korean class. The results of the study showed that there was no significant difference between the two groups due to the many limitations of the present study, but the participants' interviews revealed that the students felt the use of folktales in language class helped to enhance their reading comprehension and cultural understanding, and they had positive attitudes toward to using folktales.



College and Department

Humanities; Center for Language Studies



Date Submitted


Document Type





Korean, folktales, reading comprehension, cultural understanding, foreign language teaching, second language