New Immigrant Readers: The Role of Young Adult Literature in Literacy Development and Academic Confidence

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Title: New Immigrant Readers: The Role of Young Adult Literature in Literacy Development and Academic Confidence
Author: Chiu, Ching-Hsien
Advisors: Dr. Carol A. Pope, Committee Chair
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate how reading young adult literature affected new immigrant adolescents who were in the process of developing their English literacy and making the transition to academic confidence. The primary question considered if reading young adult literature had a positive influence on literacy development and academic confidence for English as a second language (ESL) middle school students. The study used a qualitative research approach incorporating observation, interviewing, and document analysis. The time frame for the five participants' coming to the United States was between one year eight months and five years. All participants expressed confidence in their academic performance, and four of them were determined to go to college. They all attended the same middle school with a large ESL population who came from the same region—Mexico. These Mexican students were bilingual, but more often spoke Spanglish, an English/Spanish mix. The findings suggested that reading young adult literature extensively played a dynamic role in ESL student literacy success. Reading provided a foundation for their development in literacy and helped them think and reason. Reading served as a tool for their success in problem solving. It also helped the ESL participants in this study succeed in their academic performance. Instructional implications for teaching ESL students immerging from this study include: 1. ESL students need more support and practice to express their reflections on reading young adult literature, in writing as well as in speaking. 2. Teachers might also work with the school media specialist to sponsor book talks, to publish students' reflections, or to maintain lists of recommended books. 3. First year ESL students need more time in ESL classes. Further longitude research is needed to investigate how ESL students who read extensively in middle school perform academically in high school and in college.
Date: 2005-04-25
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Curriculum and Instruction

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