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Title:The writing development of English language learners from two grades
Author(s):Zheng, Xun
Director of Research:McCarthey, Sarah J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McCarthey, Sarah J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hawisher, Gail E.; Sadler, Randall W.; DeNicolo, Christina P.
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Curriculum and Instruction
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
English language learners
Elementary literacy
Emergent Literacy
Abstract:The current study is a qualitative case study that investigated the writing development of seven Chinese-speaking English language learners (ELLs) from kindergarten and 3rd-grade ESL classes in an elementary school in the Midwest and intended to discover the factors that affect students' English writing development in a one-year period. Guided by the sociocultural theories of learning, different data sources such as classroom observations, interviews with participants, as well as students’ writing samples from the seven cases were collected to delineate the factors that influenced participants' writing development. Those factors emerged as the author identified the features running across cases and across grade levels by using the within- and cross-case analysis. The close examination of the cases demonstrated that in both grades writing instruction critically affected students’ participation of writing activities, their perception of writing and writing development in general. Parents' perception of and support for writing also were found to have great impact on students' English writing development in school setting. The study also illustrated different features that characterized young writers from the two grades. Kindergarteners tended to use pictures in their writings and thus generated unique understanding of composition. In addition to some scholars' findings of the non-linear development in young children's spelling, the study revealed the non-linear characteristics in kindergarten ELLs’ development of story telling. Among 3rd grade participants, the writing technique in a familiar language was not automatically transferred to the writing in the other language. All the evidence calls for educators of ELLs to pay attention to the individual needs of young writers within meaningful, interactive and explicit writing instruction. Communication with parents about their perspective of writing also will enable teachers to better accommodate writing instruction in class. The study further suggests the collaboration between ESL teachers and native language teachers or parents to facilitate the transfer of writing techniques between languages.
Issue Date:2012-05-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Xun Zheng
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-05-22
Date Deposited:2012-05

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