Absolutely! ... and allow me to throw a different idea out for you to chew on. I notice that many people above are referring to teaching English where it is the second language involved. I often use children's literature, songs, etc. in my English classes even where it is always the primary language! The reason why I do this is to capture the attention of the students. I try to choose pieces that will spark a memory or at least inspire laughter. Just off the cuff, ... a few of the favorites are the poetry of Schoolhouse Rock to introduce the less exciting broadsides of the 1700s and T. S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats in order to connect modern British literature with today's musicals.
You just have to be careful what books you choose. There are some beautifully written simple books. The main thing is to not offend your students. Use fairy tales, Caldecott winners and books with classic universal themes. You can also have students read to younger children. That way, they practice their English with easy books without being offended.
Children's books are good for teaching those lower order thinking elements such as conventions and grammar. However, I like to use them for higher order thinking activities with high school students as well. Consider the social commentary in the Shel Silverstein book The Giving Tree, or the political commentary (some overt and some covert) in Dr. Suess books such as Hooray for Diffendoofer Day.
This statement is very true. I have used Ruth Heller's World of Language series of children's books to teach the parts of speech to middle school students. They are all beautifully illustrated and teach the parts of speech through pictures and verse. My favorite book in the series is Up, Up, and Away, which is all about adverbs.
Dr. Seuss's books, especially Green Eggs and Ham, are helpful in teaching iambic pentameter.
I would also agree, it is the way I learned more about the English language as a student and it continues to be an effective tool for helping my students and I learn and write better etc. It can be difficult at first, but if students begin to see it as compelling and want to know how the stories are going, it can really be helpful in giving them framework and context and all sorts of useful skills in English.
Absolutely! I have a friend in Sweden who teaches English language to a range of tertiary students from novices to graduates sponsored by Volvo. As a technology teacher, the technical side of language was easy for her, but basic grammar, structures, idioms, etc was harder for her to learn to teach them (if that makes sense!). She has always used the Roger Hargreaves Mr Men and Little Misses series with her students. Obviously it needs to be done with humour, but her lessons are extremely successful and she has held the Volvo contract for the past 15 years.