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1 ADOLESCENT ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS IN THE CLASSROOM: STUDENTS PERCEPTIONS OF USING READ 180 By CHIU -HUI (VIVIAN) WU A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Chiu Hui (Vivian) Wu
3 To My Parents
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS T he process of writing a dissertation is a series of hurdle s However, several people helped me immeasurably as I worked to overcome these hurdles First of all, this dissertation c ould not have been done without the four wonderful students who participated in my study. T hey may not know how important they were to me but they made up the essence of this dissertation. I would also like to thank the principal and teacher who gave me the permission to do this study. I would like to thank the members of my committee: Maria Coady, Candace Harper, Mirka Koro -Ljungbe rg, and Colleen Packer. I am deeply indebted to my committee chair Professor Maria Coady for her invaluable input and timely feedback throughout my doctoral journey. Her willingness to meet with me on a weekly basis during the proposal stage of my resear ch demonstrated her passion and commitment to promote student work She is certainly my role model and it was my greatest honor to have her as an advisor. I would also like to thank Professor Candace Harper for her support and guidance in the seminar cou rses I took with her, which w ere the catalyst for this dissertation. From the first day we met in the hallway of the School of Teaching and Learning, she always treated me as a scholar I am also grateful to Professor Mirka Koro -Ljungberg for her profess ional and emotional support. The qualitative supportive group that she initiated offered inspiration for my dissertation. I also thank Professor Colleen Packer for her emotional support and encouragement during my time in the doctoral program. Her faith i n me made me become more self -confident. I would like to thank a group of friends who devoted their time, patience, and energy to help me: Cathrine Beaunae, Bob Dahlgren, Cindie Moore, and Angel Tseng. My research buddy, Cathrine, and I were writing o ur dissertations at the same time. We shared our knowledge and struggle s with each other. I also appreciated her edits and comments on earlier drafts. Another
5 buddy, Cindie, also helped edit some of my chapters and reminded me to rest my brain during my writing. Her knowledge and wisdom always helped me think differently and I sincerely appreciate her friendship and support. Angel was the one I could always turn to whenever I didn t know what to do with myself and I had a moment of weakness or feeling s of lonel iness I appreciated her challenging yet supporting encouragement and I believed she was, as her name indicates, an angel from God to protect me. I appreciated Bob Dahlgren for reading some of the chapters with his comments and practicing my o ral defense with me. All my friends pledged to work with me through the process of writing this dissertation and encouraged me to continue my journey. My family members have been a great support to me in accomplish ing my dream. I appreciated my incredib le sisters, Daiying (Lynn) and Chiuhsia ( Eunice ) Wu, and brother, Chunhui (Harry) Wu, for their support and their dedication to help me. I offer s pecial thanks to my younger sister Chiuhsia for running errands for me. I would like to thank my wonderful p arents, Chinfa and Yufeng Lee Wu for their unconditional love and patience. I am very blessed to be their daughter as they supported my decision to pursue a Ph. D I could not find such wonderful parents in the world ; they have my deepest gratitude of all.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................................... 4 LIST OF TABLES .............................................................................................................................. 10 LIST OF FIGURES ............................................................................................................................ 11 ABSTRACT ........................................................................................................................................ 12 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................... 14 Overview ...................................................................................................................................... 14 The Importance of Literacy ................................................................................................. 15 Adolescent English Language Learners ............................................................................. 17 Adolescent ELLs an d Educational Technologies .............................................................. 19 Increased Use of Educational Software .............................................................................. 20 Statement of the Problem ............................................................................................................ 21 Purpose of the Study ................................................................................................................... 22 Research Questions ..................................................................................................................... 23 Operational Terms ....................................................................................................................... 23 Conclusions ................................................................................................................................. 25 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ............................................................................................ 26 Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 26 Culturally Relevant Pedagogy .................................................................................................... 26 Literacy Engagement .................................................................................................................. 31 Differentiated Instruction ............................................................................................................ 34 A Comparison of CRP, LE and DI ............................................................................................. 37 READ 180 ................................................................................................................................... 40 Review of READ 180 Studies .................................................................................................... 42 Positive Effects .................................................................................................................... 42 No Effects ............................................................................................................................. 45 Confounding Effects ............................................................................................................ 46 The Need for Future Research on ELLs .................................................................................... 56 Conclusions ................................................................................................................................. 56 3 METHODOLOGY ...................................................................................................................... 57 Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 57 Qualitative Research ................................................................................................................... 57 Pilot Study ................................................................................................................................... 58 Constructivism ............................................................................................................................. 60
7 Res earch Design .......................................................................................................................... 61 Research Setting .................................................................................................................. 61 Selection of Participants ...................................................................................................... 63 Data Collection ............................................................................................................................ 63 Interview : The Primary Data ............................................................................................... 66 The Interview Process ......................................................................................................... 67 Interviewing Eva .......................................................................................................... 69 Interviewing Is abel ....................................................................................................... 70 Interviewing Marco ...................................................................................................... 70 Interviewing Xiao Nan ................................................................................................. 72 Observati on : The Secondarty Data ..................................................................................... 73 The Observation Process ..................................................................................................... 74 Unobtrusive Data : The Secondarty Data ............................................................................ 75 A Recapitulation on the Data Collection Process: Reciprocity ........................................ 76 Data Analysis ............................................................................................................................... 76 Subjectivity Sta tement ................................................................................................................ 81 Validity ........................................................................................................................................ 83 Limitations ................................................................................................................................... 85 Participant Sampling ............................................................................................................ 85 Data Collection .................................................................................................................... 86 Data Analysis ....................................................................................................................... 86 Conclusions ................................................................................................................................. 86 4 CONTEXTUAL BACKGROUNDS ......................................................................................... 88 Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 88 Research Setting .......................................................................................................................... 88 The Sunshine Middle School .............................................................................................. 88 Ms. Andersons ESOL Class .............................................................................................. 89 The Physical Environm ent of the ESOL Classroom ......................................................... 90 Descriptions of Participants ........................................................................................................ 91 Eva ........................................................................................................................................ 92 Isabel ..................................................................................................................................... 93 Marco .................................................................................................................................... 94 Xiao Nan .............................................................................................................................. 95 READ 180 ................................................................................................................................... 96 Reading Zone ....................................................................................................................... 98 Word Zone ........................................................................................................................... 98 Spelling Zone ....................................................................................................................... 99 Success Zone ...................................................................................................................... 100 READ 180 Paperback Books, Audio Books, and rBook ................................................ 101 The ESOL Class Routine of Usi ng READ 180 ....................................................................... 101 Conclusions ............................................................................................................................... 104
8 5 FINDINGS ................................................................................................................................. 105 Introduction ............................................................................................................................... 105 Theory of the Ways in Which Adolescent ELLs Perceive the Use of READ 180 ............... 105 Responsive: Culture -Understanding Immigrant Exper iences ................................................ 107 Responsive: Language .............................................................................................................. 110 English Language System ................................................................................................. 110 Scaffolding Strategies ........................................................................................................ 113 Repeated Reading .............................................................................................................. 116 Responsive: Technology ........................................................................................................... 118 Motivation .......................................................................................................................... 118 Synchronizing Learning Pace ........................................................................................... 123 Non -responsive: Culture ........................................................................................................... 124 Cultural Identities .............................................................................................................. 125 Identity Conflict ................................................................................................................. 127 The Lack of Culturally Relevant Materials ...................................................................... 129 Not Connecting to Prior Knowledge ................................................................................ 131 Non -responsive: Language ....................................................................................................... 133 Experiencin g Reading Comprehension Difficulties ........................................................ 134 Need for C onversational L earning .................................................................................... 139 The Passionate Readers ..................................................................................................... 142 Non -responsive: TechnologyNot Synchronize Learning Pace ............................................. 145 Conclusions ............................................................................................................................... 149 6 DISCUSSI ON ............................................................................................................................ 151 Introduction ............................................................................................................................... 151 Culture ........................................................................................................................................ 151 Culture, Identity and Learni ng .......................................................................................... 152 Cultural Knowledge ........................................................................................................... 156 Language .................................................................................................................................... 158 Scaffolding ELLs ............................................................................................................... 158 Conversational Language .................................................................................................. 161 Understanding Reading Comprehension .......................................................................... 163 Technology ................................................................................................................................ 164 Motivation .......................................................................................................................... 165 Individualized Learning .................................................................................................... 167 Co nclusions ............................................................................................................................... 169 7 CONCLUSIONS ....................................................................................................................... 171 Introduction ............................................................................................................................... 171 Summary of Find ings ................................................................................................................ 171 Pedagogical Implications .......................................................................................................... 174 Culture ................................................................................................................................ 174 Language ............................................................................................................................ 176 Technology ......................................................................................................................... 177
9 Future Investigations ................................................................................................................. 180 Conclusions ............................................................................................................................... 182 APPENDIX A INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD OF PROTOC O L ...................................................... 184 B TEACHER INFORMED CONSENT ...................................................................................... 186 C STUDENT ASSENT FORM ................................................................................................... 187 D PARENT CONSENT FORM -ENGLISH ................................................................................ 188 E PARENT CONSENT FORM -SPANISH ................................................................................ 189 F PARENT CONSENT FORM -CHINESE ................................................................................ 190 G STUDENT INTERVIEW PROTOCOL .................................................................................. 191 H STUDENT OBSERVA TION PROTOCOL ............................................................................ 195 I OBSERVATION FIELD NOTES ........................................................................................... 196 J STUDENT READING LOGS ................................................................................................. 197 K THE TOPIC LIST OF READ 180 ........................................................................................... 201 L TRANSCRIPT CONVENTION .............................................................................................. 202 M CODING TRAIL ....................................................................................................................... 203 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................................................................................................. 209 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........................................................................................................... 224
10 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 READ 180 instruction model ................................................................................................ 40 2 2 Components of READ 180 .................................................................................................... 42 2 3 Summary of findings from 14 dissertation studies on READ 180...................................... 49 3 1 Data collection timeline ......................................................................................................... 62 3 2 Data planning and collection matrix ..................................................................................... 64 4 1 Student d emographics of Ms. Andersons i ntermediate ESOL Class ................................ 90 4 2 Demographics of the four participants .................................................................................. 97 4 3 A typical routine of Ms. Andersons ESOL class .............................................................. 103 4 4 An overview of participants reading (Based on students reading logs) ......................... 104
11 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 1 The demographic composition of English Language Learners in Florida ......................... 14 1 2 Eighth grade rea ding scores for ELLs and not ELLs ........................................................... 18 2 1 Intersection and comparison of culturally relevant pedagogy literacy engagement and differentiated instruction ................................................................................................. 38 4 1 The physical environment of the ESOL class ...................................................................... 91 5 1 Theory of the ways in which adolescent English Language Learners perceive the use of the READ 180 reading pro gram ..................................................................................... 107
12 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy ADOLESCENT ENGLISH LANGUAG E LEARNERS IN THE CLASSROOM: STUDENTS PERCEPTIONS OF USING READ 180 By Chiu Hui (Vivian) Wu August 2009 Chair: Maria Coady Major: Curriculum and Instruction This qualitative research study investigate d four adolescent English Language Learners (ELL s) perceptions of READ 180. READ 180 i s a reading program designed for both struggling readers and English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL ) students (Scholastic, 2009a ). Although there have been a number of research studies on the benefits of READ 180 for struggling readers with learning disabilities (e.g., Brown, 2006; Caggiano, 2007; Papalewis, 2004), there is a lack of research on whether or not READ 180 is beneficial to ELLs. Specifically, this study focus ed on how the ELLs responded to using READ 180 with respect to their cultural and linguistic needs and interests This study was guided by the theoretical framework s of culturally relevant pedagogy (Au, 1998; Gay, 2000; LadsonBillings, 1995) literacy engagement and second language acquisition (Cummins in press; Guthrie, 2004) and differentiated instruction (Rothenberg & Fisher, 2007; Tomlinson, 2003). Student interviews served as the primary data source and classroom observations and documents were used as secondary sources Constructivist gr ounded theory (Charmaz, 2003, 2006) was used to analyze the data. The findings of the study showed that students diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and differing English language ability levels made it difficult for the READ 180
13 program to meet all t he cultural and linguistic needs of the participants The advanced -level ELLs desired more challenging books to read, whereas the beginningand intermediate -level ELLs desired more conversational English and supports in reading comprehension. Using grounded theory methods the study showed the ways in which READ 180 both responded to and did not respond to the participants needs in cultural, linguistic and technological dimensions. READ 180 responded to the general needs and interests of ELLs; however, READ 180 failed to respond to the unique cultural and linguistic needs and interests of ELLs. These findings lead to a number of significant i mplications for ESOL teachers to consider regarding the use of READ 180.
14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Overview The number of English Language Learners (ELLs) in the United States has been steadily increasing for the past decade. According to a report published in 2000 by the National Center for Education Statistics more than 4.7 million people over the age of fi ve approximately 18% of the U.S. population, speak a language other than English at home (NCES, 2004) This trend is also reflected in both the elementary and secondary public school population s T he number of ELLs in 1990 was only 3.2 million or 14% of the population, suggesting a 47 % increase within ten years. When looking at student populations by state, in the year 20052006, Florida had the third largest number of ELLs with 221,705 or 8.3% of its total student population California had the large st ELL student population with 25.1% and Texas was second largest with 15.7% (FDOE, 2009 ). In Florida, the racial /ethnic representation of ELLs is shown in the following Florida Department of Education (2009 ) chart: Figure 1 1. The demographic composi tion of English Language Learners in Florida (Adapted from FDOE, 2009)
15 Hispanic students represented the largest group of the ELL population at nearly 77% followed by Black students at 12.4 % White students at 5.4 %, Asian students at 4.2 % and other studen ts (multiracial and American Indian) at 1 % in the 20062007 school year (FDOE, 2009 ). The most significant educational implication for this growing population is that educators must be prepared to meet the need s of their linguistically and cultural ly dive rs e students E LL s are defined by the state of Florida as individuals who are: (a) born in any country other than the United States and whose native language is not English, (b) from homes where any language other than English is spoken, (c) American Indians or Alaskan natives who come from homes where languages other than English impact English language proficiency, or (d) individuals who have difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or listening to English to the extent that they would not be able to lea rn successfully in classrooms where the language of instruction is English ( FDOE, 2009 p.1). Th e term E nglish Language Learner (ELL) is used interchangeably with the terms Limited English Proficient (LEP) and English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). For example, in the federally mandated No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB, 2001), the term LEP is used, and many public schools still refer to ELLs as ESOL students Recently, however, the term ELL has become more commonly used in academia (e.g., Abedi, Hof stetter & Lord, 2004; Harper & de Jong, 2005; Reeves, 2004) as well as by the s t ate of Florida (FDOE, 2009 ). For the purposes of this study, I will use the term s ELLs and ESOL students interchangeable when referring to the participants The Importance o f Literacy There is considerable concern among politician s and educational policy makers with respect to the reading performance of children enrolled in public schools in the United States. The concern is that American students reading proficiency is inf erior to that of students from
16 other developed countries (Cummi n s, Brown, & Sayers, 2007) Consequently, there is a desire on the part of policy makers to remedy this problem by holding teachers and schools accountable for the reading achievement of their students with the implementation of laws such as NCLB (2001) with its current emphasis on standardized testing. According to NCLB (2001), highly qualifie d teachers (a) have a bachelor degree, (b) are state licensed and certified, and (c) know the subje ct s they are teaching (U.S. DOE, 2004). Implicit in this stipulation is the assumption that teachers are currently not well trained enough to provide adequate instruction to improve students reading achievement Additionally Zehr (2008) reports that so me educators believe the accountability provisions of NCLB do not accurately portray the quality of education provided for ELL students because standardized tests cannot measure their progress. Many educators nationwide share the feeling that NCLB isnt f lexible enough to reflect the gains made by their students, particularly those with academic challenges (Cummins et al. 2007; DarlingHammond, 2007; Harper, Platt, Naranjo & Boynton, 2007). Some educators have called for changes that would allow a school to measure more precisely individual students academic growth, rather than to try to ensure that all students meet rigid academic targets ( Abedi, Hofstetter & Lord, 2004; Menken, 2006; Wu, Kim & Harper, 2007). Furthermore, Cummins, Brown and Sayers ( 2007) indicate that the so -called literacy crisis that spawned the NCLB Act may be a fallacy Regardless of the controversy surrounding NC L B there is currently an emphasis on the need to hold schools accountable for students academic performance specific ally related to literacy To improve reading, one federal program, Reading First, was designed to assist schools with funding to improve students early reading experience in grades K to 2 However, several researchers argued that the reading achievement levels of U.S. students remained the same from
17 1992 to 2005 (Cummins, Brown, & Sayers, 2007; Krashen, 2004, 2005) despite the more than one billion dollars spent on Reading First programs nationally. Thus, some researchers question the effectiveness of Reading First with respect to students reading achievement (Altwerger, 2005; Bracey, 2005; Garan, 2004; Krashen, 2008) NCLB policy is based on the findings of the National Reading Panel (NRP) report of 2000. In this report that review ed scientifically b ased research studies, the findings revealed the need for more reading interventions in public schools However, some educational researchers point out that the NRP report (2000) was ideologically biased because the findings were not scientifically ground ed (Allington, 2002; Coles, 2003; Garan, 2004; Krashen, 2004). August and Shanahan (2006, 2008) indicated that the NRP report (2000) intentionally excluded the scientific literature related to second language literacy development and English language lear ners. Nevertheless, because its mandates are tied to federal funding, public schools continue to follow the recommendations of NCLB by using a variety of reading interventions that purport to offer empirically based designed programs for struggling reader s. Many educational publishers (e.g., Renaissance L earning Inc, Scholastic Inc, and Scientific L earning Inc.) are now providing reading software programs that offer struggling readers and English Language Learners multimodal ways of learning how to read Adolescent English Language Learners According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, 2007), only one third of all 8th graders in the U.S. read pr o ficiently ; the remaining two thirds read ing at or below grade level. For 8th grade ELLs, the number is even more astounding--only 8 % of ELLs read proficiently (Figure 1 2) Additionally, 70% of ELLs read below grade level despite the fact that 57% of them are second and third generation immigrants (Batalova, Fix & Murray, 2005). T his
18 sugge sts that adolescent ELLs are more likely to encounter reading difficulties than their English -speaking peers. Figure 1 2. Ei ght h grade reading score s for ELLs and not ELLs ( Lee, Grigg & Donahue, 2007) Indeed, adolescent ELLs face several challenges in their schooling (Garcia & Godina, 2004; Short & Fitzsimmons, 2007). ELLs come to school with a varied range of language proficiency and abilities. Some ELLs come to public school extremely proficient in their first language, or L1 while other s have lim ited literacy in their L1. Short and Fitzsimmons (2007) explain that ELLs must perform double the work of native English speakers in the countrys middle and high school s (p. 1 emphasis in original) because they are expected to acquire English as their academic language as well as learn the nuances of English as a social language Cummins (1981) pointed out that learning a second language requires at least two to three years to develop communicative English skills and four to seven years to be competen t in academic English (Cummins, 1981) The academic needs of adolescent ELLs are urgent but overlooked (Alliance for Excellence Education, 2007). Although dramatic statistics exist regarding adolescent ELLs
19 facing academic challenges in U.S. schools August and Shanahan (2006, 2008) point out that there is a paucity of research on the literacy development of adolescent ELLs Thus, there is a need to fill th is research gap (August & Shanahan, 2006, 2008; Short & Fitzsimmons, 2007). Adolescent ELLs and Educational Technologies Adolescents are motivated by technology (Sternberg, Kaplan, & Borck, 2007), and adolescent ELLs are no exception (Short & Fitzsimmons, 2007). Short and Fitzsimmons (2007) note that t echnologies offer multimodal ways of learning t hat appeal to adolescents, and motivate them to stay engaged in reading Short and Fitzsimmons (2007) suggest that since adolescents have a high interest in out -of -school literacies such as computer games, Internet activities iPod s music and movies, these technologies could be integrated into the curriculum (p. 13). Educational technologies that integrate simulations, computer games, or other visual and auditory aids can engage students in literacy (Gambrell, 2006). Multimodal ways of learning, as aforementioned, are reflected in the construct of new literacies. In this construct, reading printed text only is considered limiting, as new technologies and media contain visuals and auditory input as part of everyday life (Kress, 2003; Lankshear & K nobel, 2006). In other words, students learn to process information from multiple pathways rather than relying on traditional texts These new literacies include hypermedia, which integrates various types of media and features nonlinear presentation s of i nformation for students to choose their learning path s through the multiple forms of materials. In addition, r esearchers have re -conceptualized literacy as many or multiliteracies as a way to challenge the traditional static view of literacy (New Londo n Group, 1996). One of the pedagogical implications of mult i literacies for teaching is that adolescents are exposed to both text and nontext forms of liter a cies and there is a need to consider their visual, aural, and semiotic understandings in addition to text ual understandings (Walsh, 2006). Indeed, the
20 increased access to the Internet via computer technology encourages teachers to utilize free Internet resources for teaching (e.g., GodwinJones, 2007; Lord, 2003, 2004; Thorne, 2003). Although the use of educational technologies is appealing and motivating to adolescents, it is complicated when applied to the learning needs of ELLs. In addressing second literacy instruction for adolescent ELLs, McCafferty (2002) notes the complexity of this process fo r students. ELLs must first become conscious of the different kinds of input s they are receiving including verbal, nonverbal, visual, and auditory. While they have become conscious of the inputs, they also attempt to incorporate them as part of their id entit ies (McCafferty, 2002). In order to understand the complexity of technology use and L2 literacy it is important to understand how the semiotic systems of content materials influence ELLs identities (Cummins, Brown & Sayers, 2007; Murray, 2005) F or example, if an ELL student, from Vietnam, is reading with a tutorial software program about skateboarding, she may not have the prior knowledge to understand the lesson content. Therefore, although technology may be appealing and motivating to adolescent ELLs, when it is used to promote L2 literacy, technology needs to be culturally sensitive. Increased Use of Educational Software While the Internet has been as a re source for educational purposes, a tremendous amount of money has been spent by school di stricts on software programs over the last decade. According to Oppenheimer (2007), K to 12 schools spent 1.9 billion on electronic curricular products, as reported by Simba Information This suggests that the use of educational software has become more p rominent in school curricula To date the research on the effectiveness of educational software focuses solely on students academic achievement and standardized testing. However, there is little research that explores how educational software influences students learning experiences. For example Niederhauser and Stoddart (2001) note that, c omputer
21 technology, in and of itself, does not embody a speci fi c pedagogical orientation. Different types of software can be used to address a range of educationa l goals (p. 29). For example, some educational software is specifically designed to help ELLs stay engaged in low level reading programs that teach decoding and word recognition, while other software is designed to provide enrichment for ELLs who are rea ding beyond their grade level. Additionally, to promote reading, some software is behaviorist -oriented and uses drill and practice learning strategies that are designed to move information from the working memory to the long term memory ( e.g., Burton, Moore & Magliaro, 2004; Chun & Payne, 2004). O n the other hand, constructivist based software is designed as a tool to help students construct their understanding of the text (Jonassen 1996; Jonassen, Peck & Wilson, 1999) Statement of the Problem READ 180: READ 180 is a reading intervention program that claims to provide differentiated instruction for struggling readers for all grade levels (Scholastic Inc., 2009 a, n. p. ). The term struggling readers refers to the group of students whose reading per formance is at or below the 25th percentile on state standardized tests (Proctor, Dalton, & Grisham, 2007). This group is frequently comprised of students with learning disabilities whose first language is English as well as students who are in the proce ss of acquiring English as a second language (L2). While some ELLs may be identified as struggling readers their reading needs are different from those of native English -speaking students who are struggling readers For example, Bernhardt (2005) remind s educators that unlike L1 students, L2 students reading development is affected by their first language; that is, their L1 literacy knowledge as well as their knowledge of L2 influences their L2 reading experience. Unlike L1 students who have reading di sabilities, m any L2 readers may have acquired literacy skills in their native language but may lack the
22 cultural and linguistic knowledge necessary for comprehending English language text. In contrast, L1 students with learning disabilities have difficult y developing literacy skills in their native language. Regardless of these differences between these two groups READ 180 purports to address the needs of both groups of students : struggling readers and English Language Learners (ELLs) (Scholastic Inc 2 009 b) Although there are a number of research studies on the benefits of READ 180 for struggling readers with learning disabilities (e.g., Brown, 2006; Caggiano, 2007; Papalewis, 2004), there is a dearth of research that directly focuses on whether or no t READ 180 meets the needs of ELLs in reading. Purpose of the Study This study focused on English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students perceptions of READ 180. As noted above, READ 180 is a reading program designed for both struggling readers and ESOL students. Unlike struggling readers, ESOL students have to become proficient in various forms of English, both socia l and academic forms (Cummins, 2003). Moreover, they are expected to acquire high degrees of literacy in English. Additionally, ESO L students come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and they have different learning experiences from their American peers (Nieto & Bode 2008 ). Beyond language learning, a n appropriate, if not effective, curriculum for ESOL students mu st provide opportunities for ESOL students to negotiate their cultural identities (see also de J ong & Harper 2007). According to Scholastic (200 9 a ), READ 180 provides a variety of instructional strategies for teachers (p. 4), as well as in -service trai ning to meet the needs of ESOL students. Although there have been numerous studies conducted on the influences of READ 180 on struggling readers achievement ( e.g., Brown, 2006; Caggiano, 2007; Papalewis, 2004), there is no research specifically targeted for ESOL students. According to Caggiano (2007), there is a need to
23 explore the cultural relevance of READ 180 and its influence on students from culturally diverse backgrounds. This current research is designed to help teachers evaluate how READ 180 influences ESOL students English language learning experiences. Research Questions In this study, there is one main research question and t hree sub questions as follows: How does the READ 180 reading intervention program reflect middle school ESOL student s linguistic and cultural backgrounds? a ) How do middle school ESOL students perceive their cultural backgrounds as being reflected in READ 180? b ) How do middle school ESOL students perceive their language learning as being reflected in READ 180? c ) How do middle school ESOL students perceive the use of technology facilitating their learning? Operational Terms English language learners (ELLs): E LL s are defined by the state of Florida as individuals who are (a) born in any country other than the United States and whose native language is not English, (b) from homes where any language other than English is spoken, (c) American Indians or Alaskan natives who come from homes where languages other than English impact English language proficiency, or (d) individuals who have difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or listening to English to the extent that they would not be able to learn successfully in classrooms where the language of instruction is English ( FDOE, 200 9 p.1). Limited English Proficiency students (LEP): According to Section 9101.25 of Title IX of the U.S. Department of Education General Provisions for Elementary and Secondary Education, the term Limited English Proficiency is similar to ELLs and refers to students who are: (a) between the ages of 3 t hrough 21, (b) enrolled or preparing to enroll in elementary or
24 secondary school, (c) not born in the United States or speak a language other than English as their first language, (d) who are American Indians or Alaskan natives, (e) who come from a background where their first language learning influences their ability to learn English, and (f) have difficulties speaking, reading, writing and understanding English in that it limited their ability to participate fully in public school (U.S. DOE, 2004). Strug gling readers (at -risk readers): Struggling readers are students whose reading performance is at or below the 25th percentile on state standardized tests (Proctor, Dalton, & Grisham, 2007). This category includes students with learning disabilities, stud ents reading below grade level, and students with decoding and encoding problems. Teacher fidelity : Teacher fidelity refers to the degree in which teacher s implement academic interventions according to the protocol designated by the intervention (Pence, Justice, & Wiggins, 2008). Furthermore, according to Pence et al (2008) m easuring implementation fidelity is a necessary intermediate step between delivering professional development to teachers and evaluating subsequent teacher and child outcomes ( p. 332). Teacher fi delity is generally rated on a scale from a moderate degree of fidelity to a high degree of fidelity, depending on the self reporting of teachers who are implementing any given academic intervention. READ 180: READ 180 is a reading inte rvention program designed by Scholastic Inc. to provide differentiated instruction for struggling readers and ELL s (Scholastic Inc., 2009 a, 2009 b) See Chapter 2 and 4 for more details. Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) : S cholastic R eading I nventory is a computer -based reading assessment program that is designed by Scholastic Inc. to measure student s reading proficiency and monitor students reading progress
25 Conclusions This chapter builds on a rationale for conducting research on how adolescent E LLs and their ESOL teacher perceive the use of READ 180. While READ 180 is designed for both struggling readers and ELLs, there is a need to examine the degree to which it meets the needs of ELLs. The lack of research on adolescent ELLs also suggests a need to focus on this particular student population One main research question is listed along with t hree subset questions The findings from this study can help ESOL teachers evaluate whether or not READ 180 will be appropriate for their instructional prac tices when working with culturally and linguistically diverse students
26 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to provide the conceptual framework and a literature review for the study. The conceptual framework inc ludes t hree theories : ( 1 ) c ulturally relevant pedagogy (2 ) l iteracy engagement and (3) differentiated instruction In the following chapter these three theories will be de lineated and the relationship among them will be described Implications are mad e for literacy education for culturally and linguistically diverse students. In addition, a review of the literature of empirical on READ 180 follows Culturally Relevant Pedagogy The concept of c ulturally relevant pedagogy (CRP ) has inform ed the field o f education about the importance of cultural congruence in teaching and learning, the need for cultural diversity in educational content materials, ideology with respect to pedagogy and cultur al communication. CRP a s defined by Gay (2000), is a combinat ion of critical pedagogy and sociocultural theory: Culturally responsive pedagogy simulta neously develops, along with the academic achievement, social consciousness and critique, cultural affirmation, competence, and exchange; community building and person al connections, individual self -worth and abilities; and an ethic of caring. It uses ways of knowing, understanding, and representing various ethnic and cultural groups in teaching academic subjects, process and skills. (p. 43) Culturally relevant pedagogu es believe that academic difficulties experienced by marginalized group s of students, such as ELLs are due to the incongruence between the White male, privileged pedagogical paradigm (McIntosh, 1988; McIntyre, 1997) and the culturally diverse funds of knowledge paradigm (Heath, 1983; Moll, Amanti, Neff & Gonzalez, 1992). The w hite, male privileged paradigm suggests that dominant White male culture is taught and reinforced in the culture of the school. A culturally diverse paradigm sugges ts that student s of color possess unique cultural knowledge that is not valued by the
27 mainstream school culture. When these two paradigms are incongruent, ELL student learning is hindered. (Au, 1998; Heath, 1983; Moll et al ., 1992) A dvocates of CRP believe that providi ng a culturally relevant curriculum promote s the academic achievement of culturally and linguistically diverse students One well known example of this application of CRP is The Kamehameha Early Childhood Education Program (KEEP) (Au, 1980). This early l iteracy program was designed to increase the reading achievement of young, n ative Hawaiian students by implementing a curriculum that incorporated the CRP practice of talk -story (Au, 1980). The talk -story was a traditional linguistic practice of Nativ e Hawaiians and the use of it in the KEEP curriculum helped students improve their literacy skills by using culturally appropriate practices (Nieto & Bode, 2008). The theoretical underpinning of culturally relevant pedagogy is derived from two major sourc es: ( 1 ) critical pedagogy that describe s how the societal power structure disempowers students from culturally diverse backgrounds (Freire, 1990; Freire & Macedo, 1987) and ( 2 ) socio -cultural theory that explains how and why students home culture s should be integrated into the curricula (Vygotsky, 1978). Grounded in critical pedagogy (Freire, 1990; Freire & Macedo, 1987), culturally relevant pedagogues perceive d that students from non -dominant group s are at a disadvantage due to the incongruence between t heir cultural knowledge and that of the mainstream groups (CREDE, 2002; Gay 2000; LadsonBillings, 1995). LadsonBillings (1995) explain ed that CRP perceives education as a political act in which teachers can help students accept and affirm their cultu ral identity while developing critical perspectives that challenge the inequalities that schools perpetuate (p. 469). Such inequity is the result of unequal distribution s of cultural capital, with certain types of cultural capital (e.g. English as a fir st language) being favored over other s (Bourdieu, 1986). To counter the coercive power structure that this unequal distribution of cultural capital creates
28 CRP teachers must be aware that these sociopolitical forces create learning difficult ies For exa mple, research has documented that non Caucasian students have been marginalized in public education due to their incongruence with the mainstream culture both socially and politically (Shannon & Escamilla 1999). Moreover, when considering l anguage a s a form of cultural capital (Bourdieu, 2000; Macedo, Dendrinos & Gounari, 2003) ELLs are at a disadvantage particularly when English is used as the sole medium of instruction CRP challenges teachers to e xplore the idea that students from non Caucasian bac kgrounds have different but equally valuable forms of cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1986, 2000) This idea represents the essence of sociocultural theory in CRP Beyond critical pedagogy, sociocultural theory assumes that literacy practice is socially and culturally constructed and draws upon cultural relevant pedagogy (Vygotsky, 1978) Vygotsky s notion of Zone of Proximal Development ( ZPD ) illustrate s the concept of scaffolding although he did not use the term. ZPD suggests that learning occurs when a n individual receives assistance from more competent peers or teachers to move from a current level of knowledge to a more advanced level of knowledge (Vygotsky, 1978). For ELLs, the ZPD sheds lights on the importance of a students competency in her first language ( L1 ) because L1 can be a scaffolding tool to develop competency in a second language (L2) (Cummins, 1981). Using a sociocultural theor etical lens to look at L2 literacy education, it is essential to consider the relationship between cultural identity and language learning of ELLs ( Cummins, 1996). T he sociocultural view of CRP specifically suggests that the native language and the home culture of culturally and linguistically diverse students should be viewed as a sset s (or resource s ) rather than as deficits. Culturally relevant pedagogue s perceive d the educational gap between Euro -Americans and students from diverse background s a s a result of cultural
29 incongruence Under these circumstances the role of the teacher is viewed as a mediator betwe en the home and the school culture (Moll & Arnot Hopffer, 2005) As a demonstration of the effort to mak e the curriculum more culturally congruent with the mainstream, Moll (1992) and his colleagues connect ed the funds of knowledge, of the family and co mmunity cultural resources of Mexican students to the classroom curriculum (Moll, 2006; Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 1992; Moll & Gonzalez, 2004) In this study, the students c ultur al differences were not abstract concepts unrelated to the classroom ; instead they became concrete forms of knowledge infused into the curriculum as vocabulary le ssons and classroom discourse (Moll, 2006) The concept of cultural ly relevant pedagogy suggest s the need for teachers and schools to give a voice to students to express their understanding of the world. This study explore s how the content of READ 180 influences ELLs perceptions of themselves by addressing whether or not READ 180s materials reflect their linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Furthermore this st udy investigate s how ELLs perceive the linguistic and cultural relevance of READ 180. When READ 180 is integrated into the curriculum of an ESOL classroom it represent s a form of technological learning that has the potential to transform education. T he National Reading Panel (2000) conclude d that there may be a promising use of technology in reading instruction (p. 17). Indeed, research has show n that adolescents are more likely to be motivated through computerized reading instruction (Kim & Kamil, 2 004). Many researchers have caution ed however, that it is naive to view technology a s a promising tool in empower ing culturally and linguistically diverse students (Au, 2006; Bernhardt, 2006; Cummins, Brown & Sayers, 2007) Au (2006) contended that t echnology c ould actually widen the literacy achievement gap between Euro-American students and students from diverse backgrounds. For example, when using technology in reading, Euro-American
30 students tend to receive a constructivist model of instruction tha t allow s them to construct their own understanding of the text they are reading. Conversely, students from culturally diverse backgrounds tend to receive instruction which focus es on low level reading skills (Fitzgerald, 1995). However, Hubbard and Siski n (2004) argue d that the teaching of low level reading skill s with technology was an opportunity for ELLs to develop their basic understanding of English before they use d it in social interaction s. Cummins, Brown and Sayers (2007) suggest ed that the curr ent research findings were insufficient to indicate the overall effect of technology on academic achievement cross culturally In the case of READ 180, ideological assumptions made by the publisher, Scholastic Inc were unrelated to any rigorous, empiric al research Independent research should be conducted to investigate how culturally and linguistically diverse students use READ 180. Numerous researcher s ha ve called attention to the issue of cultural diversity in relation to technology. For example, S ubramony (2004) argue d that cultural diversity is underrepresented in technology, which he believed, was intentionally meant to foster the assimilation of diverse cultures into the dominant European-American White culture. Furthermore, Chen (2007) questi oned the neutrality of computer software: Computer software is biased, incorporating cultural preferences for such things as analytic and linear thinking, the way information is organised, and cultural -specific logic and rules. This can disadvantage ethni c minorities, who often are also increasingly at risk academically. Added to these biases, different cultural groups may have different perspectives that they use to interpret and organise information about the world. (p. 1114) Similar to Chen (2007), Bra nder (2005) suggest ed that researchers examine whether or not cultural bias exist s in the medium of language software. Smith -Maddox (1998) contend ed that culture should be a dimension of academic achievement (p. 302). Additionally, Smith Maddox suggest ed that content relevance, teacher beliefs, classroom environments, and ethnic identities ideally would be the measurements for culturally relevant pedagogy. Since
31 the publisher of READ 180 intended to meet the needs of ELLs, with this software program, I follow Smith -Maddox s (1998) argument by asking the question -how culturally relevant are the content materials of READ 180 to ELLs? Literacy Engagement Culturally relevant pedagog ues also believe that students socioeconomic backgrounds influenc e thei r levels of academic achievement (Au, 1998), while other researchers s ee academic achievement through the le n s of literacy engagement Literacy engagement advocates purport that when students are more engaged they can overcome the barriers related to thei r contextual backgrounds and achieve academic success (Guthrie, 2004; Kirsch, de Jong, LaFontaine, McQueen, Mendelovits & Monseur, 2002). In a study of 32 countries conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the test r esults of 15-years -old students using the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) suggest ed that highly engaged, low S ES learners tended to outperform their non -engaged, middle class peers in reading achievement (Kirsch, de Jong, LaFontaine, McQueen, Mendelovits & Monseur, 2002, cited in Cummins, Brown & Sayers, 2007). Furthermore, Guthrie (2004) suggest ed that the relationship between literacy engagement and academic achievement is reciprocal or mutual causation (p. 6). The term mutual causation refers to the way in which a cademic success can happen as a r esult of engagement in reading and an engage d reader tends to experience academic success. Kirsch et al.s findings (2002) suggest ed that literacy enga gement promote d academic success i n any group of students and perhaps serve d as a strategy for bridg ing the educational gap between privileged and marginalized students The term literacy engagement suggest ed a similar idea about the ways to motivate students to read (Guthrie & Humenick, 2004). However, unlike motivation, which refers to a commitment in cognitive thinking while reading, engagement is an encompassing term that
32 indicate s that a learner is committed to reading academically, cognitively, affectively and socially. A ccording to Guthrie (2004), literacy engagement can be viewed on four dimensions : (1) time on task (paying attention to text, concentrating on meaning, and sustaining cognitive effort); (2) affect (enthusiasm and enjoyment surrounding the interaction with text); (3 ) the cognitive process of reading (questioning or comprehension monitoring); and (4) and the exposure of literacy activities (the amount and diversity of students reading practices) Guthrie (2004) contended that literacy engagement is observable as he note s: t eachers and researchers know engaged readers when they see them (p. 2). For example, the definition of an engage d reader according to Guthrie (2004) is a reader who spen ds time reading extensively and is able to monitor her comprehension. By contrast, a disengaged reader according to Guthrie (2004) d oes not spend time reading and is uncertain about whether or not she underst ands a text and she ha s less control over her comprehension. However, such a dichotomy between engaged and disengaged readers may be oversimplified Whether or not a reader is engaged may also be a result of the reading materials being used In relation to L2 literacy, Bernhardt (2005) contend ed that there is a need to distinguish between a reading problem and a second language problem. ELLs, particularly those who are beginning readers, can be easily misinterpreted as disengaged reader s or struggling reader s. Simply observing the behaviors without having them voiced could limit a researchers opportunity to understand them. While Guthrie s (2004) literacy engagement applie s to all types of readers and does not target ELLs Cummins (in press) posit ed a literacy engagement theory specifically focused on ELLs cultural backgrounds with the four dimensions of : (1) activat ing prior knowledge (2) scaffold ing meaning (3) affirm ing identity and (4) extend ing language. Cummins (in press) remind ed teachers that ELLs need various forms of support linguistic visual, au ral and
33 verbal. Similar to Guthrie (2004), Cummins (in press) also assert ed the affective and social dimensions of literacy engagement in a way that their identities must be affirmed so that they w ould be more willing to invest in learning. Finally, extended language use, in a similar fashion with Guthrie (2004) suggest ed that academic language require d extensive exposure of reading in various forms of print genres. The concept of literacy engagement is essential in this study because it assists in the examin ation of ELLs perce ptions of how READ 180 both enga ges them in reading and meets their learning needs. On the Scholastic, Inc. website, the READ 180 publisher state d a commitment to adolescent struggling readers, including both ELLs and students with learning disabilities: ...these readers (adolescent rea ders) need to be engaged and given incentive to learn to read. The needs of English-Language Learners and students with learning disabilities also need to be taken into account (Scholastic Inc., 2009 c n. p.) However, it is questionable whether the same s oftware used for struggling readers and ELLs can engage both groups who may have vastly different needs. For example, Short and Fitzsimmons (2007) note d that the educational needs of English -speaking struggling readers and ELLs were different. For e xampl e, native, English -speaking, struggling readers may need their teacher s guidance to recall information to comprehend text whereas ELLs can access background knowledge to activate their learning. In studying adolescent ELLs, Garcia and Godina (2004) came to the same conclusion : activating ELLs prior or background knowledge is essential Short and Fitzsimmons (2007) also suggest ed that the motivation to read for adolescent n ative -English -speaking struggling readers was quite different from that of ELLs T he former group tend ed to have weak intrinsic motivation while the latter group ha d strong intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (Short & Fitzsimmons, 2007) Other researchers (Drnyei 2001; Drnyei & Schmidt, 2001; Drnyei & Ushioda, 2009) also confirmed t hat ELLs have
34 d emonstrated strong motivation toward language learning. In other words, it is safe to say that ELLs are more motivated to read than are English -speaking struggling readers ; consequently the programs that are used to motivate these subgrou ps must be different. The motivation for second language learners is essential because mastering a language takes time and requires patience and persistence from a language learner ( Drnyei 2001). The motivation of a second language learner can be both intrinsic and extrinsic ; intrinsic motivation includes the feelings of accomplishment toward language learning (Drnyei 2001) T he way s in which a language learner percei ves the relationship between her home culture/language and the target language/cultu re could shape the extent to which she would want to learn the target language. The extrinsic motivation, for example, is a learning environment that provides comfort, resources, incentive, rewards, and so on. A demonstration of low motivation results in disinterest, frustration, fear and lack of selfconfidence ( Drnyei 2001). The pedagogical implication for ESOL education is that teachers should relate the cultural and linguistic backgrounds to language learning by understanding second language learner s attitude s between the L1 and the L2 and creating a learning environment that allows learners to feel engaged and rewarded Differentiated Instruction The practice of differentiated instruction (DI) is g rounded in the understanding that the student po pulation of a ny given class room can be comprised of learners with mixed ability levels and culturally diverse backgrounds Consequently, differentiated instruction is an approach designed to meet the need s of every student by rejecting a one -size -fit all curriculum (Campbell, 2008; Gregory & Chapman, 2007; Paterson, 2005; Rothenberg & Fisher, 2007; Tomlinson, 2003). Meeting or responding to the needs of diverse learner s requires that educators take into consideration each students learning styles, int erest, goals, cultural backgrounds, and prior knowledge (Benjamin, 2002, p. xii ).
35 D I is adapted from the pedagogical strategies of s pecial e ducation, that were designed to assist teachers in meeting the needs of students with varying abilities in special and general education settings (Bender, 2002; Zigmond, 1995). When using DI, educators can adapt curricula by using multiple content materials, modification s of content materials, and scaffolding instructions to help students with mixed abilities succeed in the classroom (Gregory & Chapman, 2007; Tomlinson, 2003) Rather than placing students in separate classes accord ing to their abilities, differentiated instruction encourages general education teachers to provide instruction in the least restricted en vironment to enhance the learning experience of students with varying abilities ( Giangreco, Dennis, Cloninger, Edelman, & Schattman, 1993) Furthermore differentiated instruction acknowledge s that each student has her own strengths and can develop them t o achieve academic success. In general education, teachers who adopt DI strategies acknowledge students multiple forms of intelligence by providing various ways of representation and instruction (Campbell, 2008; Gardner, 1993). A pedagogue who a pplies the DI approach to her classroom curriculum is an educator who values each student s individual styles of learning. As Campbell (2008) noted : Differentiated instruction is not a method or a strategy. As noted, it is a way of thinking and planning. It in volves thinking about the different levels of readiness and ability, different students interests, and different learning profiles. It means thinking about how to provide multiple entry points into content areas, so that all students can be successful in their studies. It means thinking about students both individually and collectively their life experiences and their circumstances (p. 1) Thus, as Campbell (2008) explained, the purpose of DI is to provide a learner -centered environment that reflects stu dents needs, interests, and learning preferences. Tomlinson (1999, 2003) noted that DI can encompass three major dimensions: content, process, and product. First of all, p roviding a wide range of content materials can offer diverse students one avenue f or learning; secondly, offering diverse students multiple ways of processing
36 information can increase comprehension, and thirdly, a variety of evaluati o n strategies can increase the production of work from diverse learners ( Tomlinson, 1999, 2003) The reco gnition of the importance of using DI in the classroom is increasing each year in the U S as the student population becomes more culturally and linguistically diverse and the educational trend toward total inclusion continue (MacGillivray & Rueda, 2004; Rothenberg & Fisher, 2007) This demographic trend has created the need for educators to be prepared to meet the needs diverse student populations ; t his is particularly true in the context of the ESOL classroom (Herrera & Murry, 2005; Rothenberg & Fisher, 2 007). Herrera and Murry (2005) report ed that the combination of cultural diversity, varying levels of English language proficiency, and var ying academic levels can create challenges for ESOL teachers that can be addressed with th e use of DI strategies W ith the implementation of DI teachers have the tools to adapt their curricula to reflect ELLs academic levels and learning Hoover and Patton (2005) identif ied three criteria necessary for teachers to provide DI for ELLs: culture, language, and the cont ent. Teachers should consider using a curriculum that reflect s the culture of an ELL with respect to prior knowledge and value congruence as a way to provide sufficient scaffolding I nsufficient scaffold ing or generic representation s of diverse backgroun ds may fail to meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students. The content should not only be comprehensible but also reflect students prior knowledge, life experiences and language levels (Rothenberg & Fisher, 2007). MacGillivray and Rueda (2004) noted that an effective DI in the literacy curriculum must start with an understanding of individual students lives. Teachers are cautioned against approaching ELLs with a deficit model of instruction and are advised to maintain high expe ctation from all students (MacGillivray & Rueda, 2004) Since many ELLs live between two or more cultures and languages, educators are advised to take advantage of students wealth of multiple cultural and linguistic resources As Scholastic Inc. (2009b) maintains the
37 READ 180 program is designed to meet the needs of ELLs with its instructional contents and instructions In this study, I have attempted to explore students perspective of how this reading intervention, in terms of the content, process an d product, differentiates the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of ELLs through their learning experiences. A Comparison of CRP, LE and DI The three theoretical frameworks Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP), Literacy E n gagement (LE) and Differentiated I nstruction (DI), provide the lens for this study CRP allow s me to closely examine the experiences and perceptions of ELLs and the ESOL teacher with respect to their cultural background s LE allow s me to examine how ELLS are engaged in reading in the context of using READ 180. DI informs the ways in which READ 180 reflect s their learning needs. The three theories emphasize the relationship between students identity, cultu ral background, and learning In the following section, I describe how these thre e theories intersect and inform this study (see Figure 2 1). The advocates of CRP, LE and DI acknowledge the importance of learning and attempt to empower students through various dimensions by: (1) activating the learner s background knowledge (e.g., cul tural background and experiences ); (2) using a variety of teacher/learner strategies ; and (3) promoting social interaction and engagement. These theories suggest that effective teaching includes a variety of strategies to make curricula more relevant to s tudents so that students can make the connections in order to acquire new knowledge. Additionally, dialogue and interaction can engage students in learning. In the next section, each aspect is described in detail. First, the three theori e s maintain that the background of a learner (i.e., culture and experiences) influences her learning. The core objective is to make curricula more culturally relevant for diverse student populations that prior knowledge or experience s may be used to generate and acquire new knowledge Content reading materials should be not only
38 culturally relevant to students but also reflect their diverse and multiple perspectives In this study, how students relate their backgrounds to the text s in READ 180 is investigated. Fi gure 2 1. Intersection and comparison of culturally relevant pedagog y, literacy engagement and differentiated instruction Second, using a variety of instructional strategies to meet various learners needs is a second overlapping component. Although CRP advocates emphasize teacher strategies and LE focuses on the learner strategies, the ultimate goal is to use a variety of teaching strategies that align with student learning. Guthrie (2004) specified that reading strategies such as activating backgroun d knowledge, questioning, searching for information, summarizing, organizing graphically, structuring stories, relating questions and answers, and performing elaborative interrogation with text (p. 24). Rothenberg and Fisher (2007) also indicated the var iety of instructional strategies suggests additional avenues to lessen the linguistic demands and make the input more comprehensible. This study therefore investigate d the perceptions of Culturally relevant materials reflects backgrounds (or identities) Teacher and learner strategies Social interaction and engagement
39 ELLs with regard to the degree that learning/teaching strategies are utilized appropriately in the context of READ 180 to engage students in reading. Finally all three advocates consider the role of social interaction in the classroom as a significant way to engage students in learning Cummins (in press) considered dia logue as an opportunity for ELLs to expand their use of language. Advocates of LE assert that classroom conversation provides an opportunity for students to share their questions and clarify their understanding after reading a text. Guthrie (2004) a rgued that engaged reading is often socially interactive (p. 4 ). Bender (2002) also used the whole group and small group discussions to create more opportu nities for social interaction. In this study, when the READ 180 design incorporates small group work in its educational rotation, it is important to investigate how ELLs relate the small group discussions of READ 180 to the other two parts of the rotation : the software program and the independent reading It is also important to observe whether or not stude nts enjoy learning when using the READ 180 program. Despite some of their differences, these theories are complementary to one another Culturally relevant pedagogy incorporates critical consciousness that is lacking in Guthrie s (2004) literacy engag ement theory. The theory of l iteracy engagement reflects students propensity to read, but it does not address how certain medium s (e.g. texts, sounds, visual aids) may convey stereotypes, prejudices, and discriminations. Gay (2000) contend ed that the te xt materials were controlled by the dominant group (European American) and confirm ed its status, culture, and contributions (p. 113). The convergence of these ideas suggested a need to examine how adequately cultural diversity was represented through th e perspectives of ELLs and their use of READ 180.
40 READ 180 READ 180 is a reading program designed by Scholastic Inc. (2009a) to meet the needs of struggling readers, including English Language Learners (ELLs) and students with learning disabilities. Th e Scholastic website state s the objective s of READ 180 as follows: An intensive reading intervention program that helps educators confront the problem of adolescent illiteracy and special needs reading on multiple fronts, using technology, print, and profe ssional development READ 180 is proven to meet the needs of struggling readers whose reading achievement is below proficient level. The program directly addresses individual needs through differentiated instruction, adaptive and instructional software, hi ghinterest literature, and direct instruction in reading, writing, and vocabulary skills. (Scholastic, 2009a, n. p., e mphasis in original) The following table (Table 2 1) indicate s a program of 90-minute instruction using whole group and small group instr uction, sequenced by whole group (20 minutes), small group rotations (three rotations, 20 minutes each) and whole group (ten minutes). The three rotations include computer, teacher, and individual station. During the three -stage rotations, one third of s tudents learn with the topic CDs when they use the computer; one third learn with student books in a small group using student materials (e.g., rBook and LBook) with the teacher; and one -third of students choose paperback books to read silently. Table 2 1 READ 180 instruction model (Scholastic, 2009d) Whole Group Instruction (20 mins) Small Group Rotations (60 minutes) Whole Group Wrap -Up (10 mins) The teacher begins the day by providing direct instruction to the whole class. Small Gro up Instruction (20 mins) Software (20 mins) Individual Silent reading (20 mins) The day ends with 10 minutes of whole group instruction. S tudents use rBook, a student textbook with thematic unit, in a small group with the teacher. Students use the softwar e, comprised of four zones (Reading, Word, Spelling, and Success) independently. Students choose to read paperback and audio books independently.
41 READ 180 offers reading instruction for three levels : elementary middle, and high schools ; particul arly for students with learning disabilities and English Language Learners According to the Scholastic Inc. website, the program has been sold to more than 7,000 schools in the United States (Scholastic Inc. 2009b). As it is designed to meet the needs of ELLs, the READ 180 software offers additional language translation for anchor video description and vocabulary definition, including Spanish, Cantonese Haitian Creole, Hmong, and Vietnamese for language support (Scholastic Inc. 2009b). Table 2 2 ind icated that READ 180 provides instructional materials and resources for both teachers and students for use in a middle school classroom. The teacher resources include instructional resources, such as an rBook Teacher s edition, and the resources for diffe rentiating instruction, assessment, professional development and installation guide (Scholastic Inc., 2009e). Student materials included rBook, LBook, software, paperback books and audio books (Scholastic Inc., 2009f). The topic software included in READ 180 offered nine CDs. Both rBook and LBook are printed materials for students to use in a whole group and small group instruction when they are not using the software. They were e specially designed for E LLs with three stages for three levels of students (Stage A -elementary, Stage B-middle school, and Stage C -high school) and were intended to be used in whole group and small group discussion s (Scholastic Inc., 2009b). Scholastic Inc. (2009g) stated that the LBook ensure[d] all READ 180 students, especially ELLs at different language proficiency levels are able to access the academic language, word learning strategies, and grammar required to participate in accelerated instruction toward ELA [English Language Art] grade level standards (Scholastic Inc., 2009f, n. p. em phasis in original) The rBook series was designed to promote active engagement of all students, even those recently acquiring the English language (Scholastic Inc., 2009b, n. p.). However, it should be noted that the teacher in this study only used the rBook in her ESOL classroom during the research period (see Chapter 4). Paperback books were leveled with three
42 (elementary ) or four (middle and high school) levels with a total number of forty titles available for middle school stude nts. The audio books offered 12 titles, each of which include d an audio CD, but were not leveled. Table 2 2. Components of READ 180 READ 180 components Teacher materials (Scholastic, 2009e) rBook ( T eachers edition) Teaching resource s for topic software, audio books and paperbacks Placement, assessment guide rSkill s tests Test -taking strategies Student materials (Scholastic, 2009f) rBook (for ELLs) LBook (for ELLs) Software Paperback books Audio books Review of READ 180 Studies A review of the res earch conducted on READ 180 between 2003 and 2008 reveal s 14 dissertations and one journal article (Papalewis, 2004) ( see Table 2 3 ). These studies we re conducted using quantitative research (Barbato, 2006; Brown, 2006; Campbell, 2006; Gentry, 2006; Kratofil, 2006; Witkowski, 2004; Woods, 2007) or mixed method designs (Denman, 2004; Thomas, 2005; White, 2007). The findings from these studies are not consistent i n terms of the effectiveness of the R EAD 180 program interve ntion. This chapter is organized t o report on these studies in the following manner : (a) studies with findings that report the positive effects of READ 180; (b) studies with findings that report no effects from the implementation of READ 180; and (c) studies with findings that report confounding effects on students reading achievement and/or attitudes toward reading. Positive Effects Six of the 14 studies show ed positive results in terms of the effectiveness of READ 180 with students reading achievement (Denman, 2004; Felty, 2008; Kratof il, 2006; Nave, 2007;
43 Papalewis, 2004; Thomas, 2005). Papalewis (2004) examin ed the effectiveness of READ 180 with 537 8th grade rs who were identified as struggling readers in an urban school district. The ethnic composition of the sample population incl uded: Hispanic ( 78%), African American (14%), White (3%), and Asian (3%). Moreover, 69% of the students in the sample population were ELLs. Using a quantitative experimental design w ith in a treatment period of one year the results of the post tests sugg est ed a significant gain in participants reading achievement by comparing students Reading and Language Arts Normal Curve Equivalent (N CEs) scores from the previous year. Although the study by Papalewis (2004) report ed that the READ 180 strategy was pa rticularly applicable for ELLs, there was no concrete evidence supporting how this was applicable to ELLs (p. 36). Similarly, Nave (2007) examin ed the effectiveness of READ 180 on the reading achievement of struggling readers from grades five to seven Using a quantitative experimental design, the study compare d the results of the READ 180 intervention to students test score s on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP). This comparison in clude d the TCAP reading and math score s. The finding indicate d that participants who receive d the READ 180 intervention ha d significant gains in their test score s o n the TCAP as compared to their counterparts who had not used READ 180 The study conclude d that READ 180 may have a positive impact on studen ts reading achievement. Moreover, Thomas (2005) examine d the degree to which implementation and teacher fidelity of READ 180 influence d at risk learners academic achievement and motivation. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, he studie d 1 83 middle school students from 15 classes at nine schools. Classroom observations were also conducted The result s indicate d that a high level of teacher fidelity showed gains on students reading achievement. The study conclude d that teacher beliefs co uld influence the implementation and effectiveness of READ 180 on students reading achievement.
44 Denman (2004) and Felty (2008) use d a mixed research design to explore students reading achievement and their attitudes toward reading. Both studies show ed that READ 180 improve d both students reading performance and attitudes toward reading. Denman (2004) studi ed the impact of READ 180 on reading achievement of 85 struggling readers from grade s five to six. Using quantitative and qualitative methods th is study was conducted using the following quantitative designs : (a) e xperimental and control groups, and (b) scores from pre and post tests Th e Standardized Test of Achievement in Reading (STAR) was used as the baseline to separate the experimental and control groups. Participants test scores from the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) were used to determine the effects within the experimental group. The q ualitative techniques used include d : (a) teacher interviews, (b) focus group interviews, and (c) observations, to gather descriptive data that explore students attitudes toward reading. Like Thomas (2005) Denman (2004) found that students attitudes and achievement in reading improved with READ 180 when teacher fidelity was moderate Felty (2008) examine d the effectiveness of READ 180 on reading achievement and motivation with 47 students in the eighth grade from non -White and low SES backgrounds for a period of eight months. The study was conducted using quantitative and qualitative methods using pretest posttest, surveys, interviews and observations. Using a series of five tests from 4Sight Reading and the states standardized Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) as a baseline T he study show ed that there was a significant gain in th e READ 180 treatment group. The study also explore d teachers and students perceptions of READ 180. The quantitative findings from the study indicate d that READ 180 significantly improve d students reading performance on the PSSA. The descriptive data indicate d further that both teachers and students believe d that READ 180 improve d reading decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
45 Kratofil (2006) investigate d the effects of READ 180 on 90 middle school students who were considered struggling re aders in grades six and seven. These students reading performances prior to the implementation of READ 180 were at least two levels below their grade level. Using an experimental research design, the study found that there was a significant difference b etween the treatment and the control group by comparing the participants reading test scores of SRI. No Effects Three studies show ed that READ 180 did not improve students reading achievement when using students standardized test scores as a measure o f improvement The findings from these studies suggested there were no significant differences in reading achievement after the use of READ 180 (Bebon, 2007; Caggiano, 2007; Campbell, 2006). One study compared READ 180 with two non -computerized reading programs and f ound that READ 180 was no more effective than noncomputerized reading programs (Witkowski, 2004). Bebon (2007) examine d the impact of READ 180 on middle school migrant students reading comprehension based on their reading performance scores from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) from 2004 to 2006. Migrant students were first language Spanish -speaking from low SES backgrounds. Using a quantitative design, Bebon (2007) compare d the pre test and post test scores of the trea tment group (N=349) and control group (N=247). The findings indicate d that there were no statistical differences between and within these groups. Based solely on their reading scores, the study conclude d that READ 180 may not improve migrant students re ading comprehension. In another doctoral dissertation, Caggiano (2007) examine d how READ 180 affect ed the reading achievement of 120 struggling readers in grade s six to eight The findings were mixed, indicating that when READ 180 was implemented with mo derate teacher fidelity, there were significant gains on the reading achievement of students in grade six, but not those
46 in grade s seven and eight Scores were based on the Scholastic Reading Intervention (SRI) test. The findings also indicate d that ther e were no significant gains in reading performance between the treatment groups (all grades ) and the control groups (all grade s ) based on their test score s from the Virginia Standards of Learning Assessment (VSLA). Finally Campbell (2006) studie d the eff ectiveness of READ 180 on 144 middle school struggling readers. Using an experimental design, the treatment group receive d the READ 180 intervention and the control group received the non-computerized Language Arts Intensive Reading Instruction. Using AN OVA, the result show ed no significant difference in reading achievement between these two groups. Rather than comparing students performance of READ 180 to standardized test scores, Witkowski (2004) compared students us e of READ 180 with two groups of s tudents using non -computerized reading programs, Reading in the Content Area of World or U.S. History and English Support The participants in this study were 63 high school students with learning disabilities Using pre and post test scores the fin dings indicate d that students in the Reading in the Content Area program ha d better gains than those in READ 180 and the English Support program The study also use d surveys to examine whether or not the three reading programs improve d students attitude s toward s reading The findings from the study show ed no significant changes in reading attitudes among these three groups. Confounding Effects Four studies indicate d that READ 180 h ad either no effects or minimal effects among certain group of students ( Barbato, 2006; Brown, 2006; Gentry, 2006; Woods, 2007). Gentry (2005) examine d the effectiveness of READ 180 with a group of 30 students in the ninth grade in an urban high school Using a mixed method design, the study was conducted quantitatively with pre test and post -test scores using ANCOVA to analyze the difference s between the treatment and control group. The findings show ed that there was no significant
47 difference between these two groups. In terms of social variables, the findings suggest ed tha t a gender effect was significant as the result s show that girls score d higher than boys However, there was no significant effect related to students SES As a follow up qualitative component to this study, the researcher use d class observations as wel l as teacher and student interviews to explore students attitudes toward reading. The qualitative data support ed the qua nt itative findings of data that there was a gender difference in the attitude of reading between boys and girls ; girls tend ed to be more engaged in READ 180 than are boys Brown (2006) investigat ed the effectiveness of READ 180 with students in gr a des six to eight by comparing students READ 180 scores to their scores from the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP). With a t otal of 2 198 subjects (49% 6th grade rs 34% 7th grade rs and 16% 8th grade rs ), the findings show ed that using the READ 180 program as a reading intervention improve d students reading score in the TCAP. Similar to Gentry s (2006) findings, students from lower SES backgrounds d id not benefit from the implementation of READ 180. Furthermore, t he levels of teacher fidelity with the implementation of READ 180 d id not significantly relate to the TCAP gains. S uch finding s contradict ed those of Woods (2007) Barbato (2006) studie d the efficacy of READ 180 on reading achievement scores with 91 elementary students in the fourth grade. Using a quantitative research design, he found positive gains with the implementation of READ 180 by comparing participants p re test and post test SRI reading scores. However, with the same participants, there was no significant difference in their Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation (GRADE) test scores between the treatment and the control group. The GRADE is a n independent reading assessment unrelated to the READ 180 intervention and Scholastic Inc. Woods (2007) investigat ed the effect of READ 180 on reading achievement of 384 middle school students in grades six though eight for a period of three years. Usin g an
48 experimental design, the study compare d the differences between the treatment group that use d READ 180 and the control group that receive d traditional remedial reading intervention and the impact of these interventions on dropout frequencies The fin dings suggest ed that there was no significant difference between treatment and control group during the first year of implementation whereas the results were significant for the second and third year of implementation This suggest s that a longterm commitment to R EAD 180 may produce academic benefits for students The study conclude d that when READ 180 was implemented with moderate teacher fidelity it could improve students reading achievement. In addition, the study concluded that the READ 180 inter vention d id not reduce the dropout rate.
49 Table 2 3 Summary of findings from 14 dissertation studies on READ 180 Author(s) Title Study focus (Research Question) Methodology (Participants/setting) Significance/Conclusion Suggestions for future research Barbato, (2006) A pr eliminary evaluation of the READ 180 Program examined the effect of a modified implementation of Scholastic's READ 180 Program Quantitative study: 4 Repeated measures : P re -test and post -test of reading score of SRI Pa rticipants: 91 4th grade students S tudents who participated in the READ 180 Program made statistically significant reading gains as evidenced by a pre intervention and post intervention test administration of the READ 180 Program's SRI. Bebon, C. D. (200 7) The impact of a reading program designed to increase comprehension and proficiency of middle school migrant students in a South Texas school district. To determine whether or not READ 180 is effective for increasing the reading comprehension and profici ency of middle school migrant students. Quantitative study: using causal comparative design 6 middle schools (N=349/ N=247) No statistically significant differences were found within or between the groups. N/A Brown, S. H. (2006) The effectiveness of READ 180 intervention for struggling readers in grades 6 -8. the effect of READ 180 on Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) % proficient reading scores Mixed design: Quantitative methods: Survey and ANOVA data analysis to indicate the correlation between test score; Qualitative methods: interview s were identified for improving the program's design and implementation. N=925 students and 34 teachers There was no significant relationship between teacher perceptions of the READ 180 program implementa tion and TCAP gains. N/A
50 Table 2 3 Continued Author(s) Title Study focus (Research Question) Methodology (Participants/setting) Significance/Conclusion Suggestions for future research Caggiano, J. A. (2007). Addressing the learning nee ds of struggling adolescent readers: The impact of a reading intervention program on students in a middle school setting To examine the impact of READ 180 on grade 6 8 students reading achievement Quantitative study: Experimental study 2 middle schools: Treatment group=1182; Control group=888) The modified implementation model of the READ 180 program yielded significant results on a measure of growth in reading comprehension (Scholastic Reading Inventory) for Grade 6 students who participated in the program. The findings revealed no significant differences for students in grades 7 and 8 on this dependent measure T here were no significant differences in performance between the groups of students in grades 6, 7 and 8 on the 2006 Virginia Standards of Lear ning Assessments in reading and mathematics when compared to students who did not participate in the intervention. To explore the impact of culturally relevant pedagogy in this remedial program on students who come from culturally diverse backgrounds.
51 Table 2 3 Continued Author(s) Title Study focus (Research Question) Methodology (Participants/setting) Significance/Conclusion Suggestions for future research Campbell, Y. C. (2006) Effects of an integrated learning system on the reading achievemen t of middle school students Investigate the effects of READ 180, an integrated learning system, on the reading achievement of middle school students who read below grade level Quantitative study: Experimental design ANOVA analysis N=144 (Experimental group=71; Control group=73) No statistically significant difference in reading achievement between the two groups. Outcomes of this study were impacted by various contextual issues such as program implementation and pedagogical support. M ore research is neede d to determine whether READ 180 instruction is effective in increasing the reading achievement of middle school students with reading delay, and whether or not the reading knowledge and skills acquired, transfer to other reading tasks and measures. Denma n, J. S. (2004) Integrating technology into the reading curriculum: Acquisition, implementation, and evaluation of a reading program with a technology component (READ 180(TM)) for struggling readers Evaluate a reading curriculum with a technology component (i.e. READ 180) that was designed for struggling older readers. Mixed design: Surveys, focus groups and student interviews, classroom observations, and pre and post testing, two groups of students (experimental and control) were compared Grade 5 12 I dent ifies low motivation, low confidence, and different learning preferences as three major obstacles that face our struggling readers. N/A
52 Table 2 3 Continued Author(s) Title Study focus (Research Question) Methodology (Participants/setti ng) Significance/Conclusion Suggestions for future research Gentry, L. (2006) An evaluation of READ 180 in an urban secondary school Evaluate the effectiveness of an intensive reading program, "READ 180," in an urban secondary school. Mixed design: Quanti tative study: Experiment Analysis of CoVariance Qualitative study: Student and teacher interviews Participants: 9th grade Results were mixed, some positive statistically significant differences were found with moderate to strong effect sizes, between s tudents involved with the READ 180 model and a comparison group relative to standardized reading achievement measures. To study how implementations in an curriculum are related to administrative policy To study what influences students choices to read. Kratofil, M. D. (2006) A comparison of the effect of Scholastic READ 180 and traditional reading interventions on the reading achievement of middle school low level readers Compare the effect of Scholastic READ 180 to the effect of traditional reading int erventions on the reading achievement of sixth and seventh graders who had been diagnosed as reading at least two levels below grade level Quantitative study: Experimental study: treatment (n=57)and control group (n=33) Repeated measures analysis of Cova riance Participants: 90 6th and 7th grade struggling readers who are at least two levels below grade level The study found that there was a significant difference between the treatment and the control group by comparing the participants reading test sco re of SRI. Define clearly the relationship between reading intervention and reading achievement.
53 Table 2 3 Continued Author(s) Title Study focus (Research Question) Methodology (Participants/setting) Significance/Conclusion Suggestio ns for future research Nave, J. (2007) An assessment of READ 180 regarding its association with the academic achievement of at risk students in Sevier County schools Evaluate the effectiveness of READ 180 on the test score of TCAP Quantitative study: Ex perimental Three way ANOCA Participants: Grade 5 and 7 READ 180 was significantly associated with the success for many of the at risk students whether by gender, socioeconomic status, or overall student numbers as compared to their at risk counterparts wh o were not enrolled in the READ 180 program. To study on the program's impact on the English as a Second Language (ESL) students who participate in the program.
54 Table 2 3 Continued Author(s) Title Study focus (Research Questio n) Methodology (Participants/setting) Significance/Conclusion Suggestions for future research Thomas, D. M. (2005) Examining the academic and motivational outcomes of students participating in the READ 180 program Examine the academic and motivational outcomes among students exposed to various implementation fidelity levels of the READ 180 program. Mixed design Quantitative study: Experimental study. Qualitative study: Observation Independent variables in this study included grade, READ 180 fidelity imp lementation levels (high, medium, low, or no READ 180), teacher ethnicity and year's teachers implemented the program. Dependent variables in the analysis included the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) assessment, school attendance, library checkout and t he Reader Self Perception Scale (RSPS). Students from classrooms with a high level of fidelity in program implementation demonstrated the greatest gains on the SRI. Examine the teaching goal orientation and class contexts. White, L. M. (2007) A middle s chool under review: A study on the effectiveness of two implementation models of the READ 180 program on special education students' reading performance. Explore and compare the impact of these two READ 180 models on the reading achievement of special education students. Mixed design: Quantitative study: Qualitative study: Classroom observation; interview N=96 students Special education students made gains in reading while they were afforded the same educational offerings of their peers in the regular ed ucation population. N/A
55 Table 2 3 Continued Author(s) Title Study focus (Research Question) Methodology (Participants/setting) Significance/Conclusion Suggestions for future research Witkowski, P. M. (2004) A comparison study of two interv ention programs for readingdelayed high school students Explore and compare the impact of the programs, READ 180, a content area reading program called Reading in the Content Area of World or U.S. History, and A third program, English Support. Quantitati ve study: nonequivalent, control group design N=63 There were no significant changes in reading attitudes across time in any of the three groups. The Reading in the Content Area Program produced significantly better gains in reading comprehension than di d either READ 180 or the English Support Programs. I t is difficult to improve attitudes toward reading once the student becomes an adolescent. N/A Woods, D. E. (2007) An investigation of the effects of a middle school reading intervention on school dropout rates Investigate the effects on reading achievement for middle school students after participation in READ 180, as well as the relationship of program participation to later dropout rates, compared to students enrolled in a traditional reading remediat ion program. Quantitative study: Experimental group Data analysis: t test and chi -square N=384 (grade 6 to 8 students) There were no significant differences between the treatment and comparison groups in reading scores during the first year of READ 180 im plementation. A n intensive reading intervention, READ 180, can significantly improve reading achievement for struggling adolescent readers when implemented with moderate fidelity. A qualitative study is recommended to examine the administrative decision s related to the reading program
56 The Need for Future Research on ELLs The majority of participants in these research studies are struggling readers or at risk readers. Although some ELLs could be struggling readers, their learning needs in reading are s ignificantly different, as noted in Chapter 1 Although Papalewis (2004) concluded that READ 180 could be beneficial for ELLs, very few of the studies available for review targeted E LLs as research subjects The study by Bebon (2007) is the one exception because it focused on students from migrant population s who were ELLs Consequently, as Nave (2007) suggest ed there is a need for more research focus ed on the effectiveness of READ 180 and ELL s Additionally, Caggiano (2007) suggest ed that researchers explor e d the impact of culturally relevant pedagogy with respect to the READ 180 program and how it influence d students from culturally diverse backgrounds. Overall, the research reviewed here indicates a need for further explor ation and descriptive data related to the contextual issues of cultural diversity, SES, gender, and teachers beliefs about the use of READ 180 as a reading intervention for ESOL student s. Conclusions In this chapter, I use d culturally relevant pedagogy literacy engagement and di fferentiated instruction as the theoretical framework to study the use of READ 180 in an ESOL classroom. The three theories are defined, described, and the relationship among them has been discussed. In addition, a review of literature related to READ 180 has been provided. In the following chapter, I will describe the methods and epistemological framework that will guide the study.
57 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Introduction For a long time, I was driven to the positivist philosophical stance that reality is fixed and knowledge exists to be discovered. In my previous role as a learner and teacher, I was also driven to believe that test score s were indicator s of learning achieve ment As I reviewed the literature related to the use of READ 180 in Chapter 2, I discovered that I was not alone. Students test score s were commonly used to evaluate the effectiveness of educational software program s being used in the classroom However, the literature did not provide me with much information about how culturally rel evant the content materials were for English Language Learners (ELLs) ; thus, I appl ied the research paradigm of interpreti vi st, to my study in order to explore the connection between research and teaching In this chapter, I will outline a methodological design that use s constructionism as the epistemological stance that guided my study of READ 180. In the section that follows I will explain the research design, including my data collection and data analysis methods Qualitative Research Qualitative re search is a field of inquiry that aims to understand the complexity of a social context by exploring people s beliefs, values, and attitudes within that context Bogdan and Biklen (1998) describe the purpose of qualitative research: Unlike quantitative re searchers, qualitative researchers do not see themselves as collecting the facts of human behavior, which when accumulated will provide verification and elaboration on a theory that will allow scientists to state cause and predict human behavior. Qualitative researchers understand human behaviors as too complex to do that and see the search for cause and prediction as undermining their ability to grasp the basic interpretive nature of human behavior and the human experience. (p. 38) Recognizing the dist inction between quantitative and qualitative research allow s a qualitative researcher to r eport more than just the facts. Merriam (2002) state s that, the key to
58 understanding qualitative research lies with the idea that meaning is socially constructed by individuals in interaction with their world (p. 3). In other words, one purpose of qualitative research is to seek an understanding of the meanings that individuals make of their realities A qualitative research design in this study allow ed me to ca pture the meanings that my ELL participants ma d e of their experiences using READ 180. Pilot Study In the fall of 2007, I conducted a pilot study that provided the impetus for the current study. The purpose of the pilot study was to explore the perceptions of ESOL teachers and ELLs regarding their experiences in using reading software. Using a qualitative research design, the study examined both teachers and students perceptions of using two types of educat ional software, READ 180, and a content -based software program Orchard. The pilot study emphasized the strengths and limitations of both software programs from the perspectives of two ESOL teachers and 14 ELLs. Specifically, this pilot study answered the following research questions: How do ESOL te achers and ELLs perceive the effectiveness of using reading software? How does the use of reading software promote or limit ELLs learning? In the pilot study, two ESOL middle school teachers, whom I refer to as Ms. Dickenson and Mrs. Smith, and 14 ELLs were selected as study participants. A novice ESOL teacher, Ms. Dickenson was in her second year of teaching. In contrast, Mrs. Smith was a veteran teacher who had been teaching for more than 25 years. The students level of language proficiency was det ermined by the school. Students assessed at intermediate level of language proficiency were placed in Ms. Dickensons class, while Mrs. Smiths class consisted of beginning level ELL students. D ata were collected over a period of six weeks from mid Oct ober to the end of November 2007. The data sources include d : (a) observations (b) teacher interviews; ( c) student focus
59 group interviews and ( d) archival data, fr om instructional manuals I used observations in order to capture participants daily rout ines regarding the use of the software. The two teacher interview s each lasted approximately 30 to 45 minutes. The interview questions included how ESOL teachers perceived the pedagogical beliefs embedded in the software and how the software influence d s tudents experiences. The s tudent interview protocol included questions about students most and least preferred parts of the software and how the software helped them learn English. The archival data include d printed course materials related to READ 180 such as teacher manuals and online information from the publishers websites. The content materials, such as the topic CD, were used as probes for generating interview questions for Ms. Dickenson. I used t hematic analysis Due to time constraints only the interview data, including that from the students and teachers, were analyzed. Three main themes emerged from the data: ( 1 ) the cultural relevance / sensitivity of software ; (2 ) the influences of using the software on classroom interactions ; and (3) ELL s perceptions of how the software engaged them in learning. Ms. Dickenson perceived that READ 180 w as not sufficiently culturally relevant to her ELLs, although the publishers of the software promote it as culturally relevant. Ms. Dickenson found that many topics in the READ 180 software package were U.S. and Eurocentric (e.g., the Little Rock Nine, the Art Attack, S kateboarding, Princess Diana). Accordingly, she suggested that READ 180 could have provided more culturally relevant materials for international students. A lthough the publishers of READ 180 state d that the software addressed the linguistic and cultural needs of ELLs, it was Ms. Dickensons perception that students cultural backgrounds were not sufficiently reflected in the software mater ials Meeting the needs of ELLs require s a reading program that not only assist s ELLs with second language acquisition but also one that i s culturally and linguistically sensitive to the prior knowledge of diverse students. The findings
60 from my pilot stud y indicated that one ESOL teacher Ms. Dickenson, believed that the READ 180 content was predominantly based on American popular culture. This intrigued me to explore student perspectives on the cultural relevance of READ 180 since the students were the one s who were exposed to the program. Because I had conducted focus group interview s with several students at a time, my findings did not yield substantial data to obtain an in depth understanding of student s perspective s or a deep understanding of how t hey perceived the p rogram s benefits for learning English. Thus, in th e current study I attempted to deepen the understanding of how ELLs perceived ways in which the READ 180 program met their cultural and linguistic needs Constructivism Constructivism is a theoretical perspective that looks for the individual meaning making processes of research participants, while rejecting the positivist view that knowledge is objective and waiting to be discovered (Crotty, 1998; Fosnot, 2005; Gale & Steffe, 1995; La Rochelle & Bednarz, 1998). Constructivism is grounded in constructionism, the epistemological belief that knowledge is the product of social practices and institutions and is therefore socially constructed (Audi, 1999; Berger & Luckman, 1967 ). Crotty (19 98) further explained with regard to constructionism, meanings are constructed by human beings a s they engage with the world they are interpreting (p. 43). From the perspective of constructionists knowledge is the interplay between the objective world and the subjective mind. Rather than believing that knowledge is transmitted from the knower to the knowee, constructionists believe that knowledge is constructed and multiple realities are created by individuals (Crotty, 1998). Constructionists assert that there is no objective knowledge collectively agreed upon and that k nowledge is constructed by individuals under any given circumstance or situation (Schwandt, 2000).
61 Gergen and Gergen (2008) employed constructionism and constructivism interchangeably and were not consistent in the uses of the terms but they contend that there is a distinction between constructionism and constructivism. While both share the view that there is no objective truth, constructivism focuse s on the individual meaning rather than the collective one. Constructivism falls into a subcategory of constructionism because the mind constructs reality in its relationship to the world (Gergen, 1999, p. 60). Constructionism has been developed into several subareas, including construc tivism (Wadsworth, 1996), social constructivism (Schwandt, 2000), radical constructivism (von Glaserfeld, 1995) and critical constructivism (Kincheloe, 2005). In this study, I took the theoretical perspective of constructivism which allowed me to explore the individual mind s of the ELLs in terms of how their own culture and language shape d their learning experiences with the use of READ 180. The pedagogical implication s of constructivism and literacy is that teaching and learning practices take learners prior knowledge into account and allow learners to construct their own meaning s In other words, m ultiple forms of knowledge exist to be explored a nd there is no objective knowledge that all learners s hare. For ELL students, their language and culture in fluence the way s in which they constructed their meanings in the learning context. In this study, constructi vism was used to describe the epistemological framework in order to explore how ELLs construct meaning within their social world with their learnin g experience s with using READ 180. Research Design Research Setting The READ 180 program was designed for use with elementary, middle school, and high school students. I was informed by the Florida County School Board ( pseudonym ) of one middle school ES OL class using the program. As such, t his study took place in a middle school
62 ESOL classroom (see Chapter 4) I collected data from the end of November 2008 to the end of January 2009 (see Table 3 1 for the timeline of the study) I used numerous data c ollection techniques, including student interviews, field notes from classroom observations (researcher in classroom ) and unobtrusive data ( publisher related materials, student r eading logs and worksheets ), in order to triangulat e findings. The primary data source was six sets of 30-minute individual interviews with the students T he secondary data include d 30 hour s of class observations and student documents. The way I integrated primary and secondary data was by beginning with classroom observations a nd using the expand field notes to create interview questions. Stud ent reading logs (see Appendix J for example) were collected on a weekly basis and were also used for each participant to reflect on the readings they had read. I used student reading logs as an ancillary tool to interview my participants by asking them the reason that they chose to read particular books both READ 180 and non -READ 180 book s and their reflections from the book s Table 3 1. Data collection timeline Data collection perio d Interview with each ELL (Pri mary data) Observation (Secondary data) Documents (Secondary data) Week 1 (Nov. 25 ~Nov. 30 ) First Began on December first, four visits per week, and two hours per day. The total observational hours were approximately 30 hou rs. Student reading logs and worksheets on a weekly basis Week 2 (Dec. 1~ 6 ) Second Week 3 (Dec. 7~13) Third Week 4 (Dec. 14~19) Fourth Week 5 (Jan. 15~21) Fifth Week 6 (Jan. 22~ 28) Sixth
63 Selection of Participants I used criteria sampling to recruit study participants who provide d me with data to answer my research questions (Kuzel, 1999; Patton, 1990). Patton (1990) describe d the basis of th is method as focus(ing) on selecting information rich cases whose study will illuminate the questions under study (p. 230). I recruit ed four student participants in one local middle school for my study I used t he following criteria to recruit my student participant s : 1 Participants were currently middle school students in grade 8 who are receiv ing ESOL services 2 Participants were enrolled in one class in which the teacher utilizes the READ 180 program. 3 Participants spoke Chinese or Spanish as a first language 4 Participants were immigrants who have been in the United States for at least six months 5 Participants used computer technology and have access to the Internet at home In this study I answer ed the research questions presented above. In order to answer the questions, I follow ed a data collection process as delineated in Table 3 2 Data Collection Qualitative data may consist of a variety of data collection techniques, depending on the research study Morse and Richards (2002) d efine d good data as information that is rich, thick, and dense, and that offers sufficient detail to allow readers to understand the setting and situation of the research without asking further information (p. 90). In this study, the data were focused on understanding the ways in which the student participants ma d e meaning and f ound value in their use of READ 180 as an intervention for learning English. I used transcribed interviews ( primary data), field notes from classroom observations (secondary data) and collect ed documents ( secondary data ) to enhance the validity of this study (see Figure 3 1)
64 Table 3 2 Data p lanning and c ollection m atrix (Adapted from LeCompte & Schensul, 1999) Research Questions What d id I need to know? Why d id I need to know this? What kind of data answer ed the question? Where d id I find the data? Whom d id I need to contact for access? How does the READ 180 reading intervention reflect middle school ESOL students cultural and linguistic backgrounds ? To what extent does READ 180 address the issues of cultural and linguistic diversity? How important is cultural dive rsity to ELLs? To explore how READ 180 address es ESOL students cultural linguistic and background s Primary data sources: Student interviews Secondary data sources: Archival data (Documents) ; Observations READ 180: (Websites, student records); Middle school site District Principal T eacher S tudents P arents a. How do middle school ESOL students perceive their cultural backgrounds as being reflected in READ 180? To what extent do READ 180 materials address ESOL students cultural background s ? To u nderstand how READ 180 materials address ESOL students cultural backgrounds. Primary data sources: Student interviews Secondary data sources: Archival data (Documents) ; Observations READ 180: (content materials -topic CDs and books); student journal log s; Middle school site District, Principal T eacher, S tudents P arents b How do middle school ESOL students perceive their language learning as being reflected in READ 180? To what extent does READ 180 help ESOL students to learn English? To understan d how READ 180 responds to ESOL students linguistic needs Primary data sources: Student interviews Secondary data sources: Archival data (Documents) ; Observations Middle school site District Principal T eacher S tudents P arents c How do middle school ESOL students perceive the use of technology facilitating their learning? How do ESOL students perceive technology helps them learn? To understand how ESOL students learn with technology in READ 180 Primary data sources: Student interviews Secondary data sources: Archival data (Documents) ; Observations Middle school site District Principal T eacher S tudents P arents
65 Primary data : Student Interviews Classroom observation Publisher materials Student work Secondary Data Figure 3 1. Data collection within a constructivist framework These multiple sources of data allow ed me to gain complex and in -depth perspectives of my participants perceptions of READ 180. To get the approval for conducting this research, I submit ted a proposal of research protocol to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the University of Florida (Append ix A) Upon receipt of the IRB approval, I contact ed the director of research for the Florida County S chool B oard (pseudonym ). Upon his approval, I was given permission to conduct my research in one middle school in Florida County (pseudonym ) I was als o informed by the director of research that there were three K 12 public schools providing ESOL services one of which was the middle school in this school district. The Office of Research contacted the middle school principal and he agreed to allow me to conduct my research project at his school The ESOL teacher, Ms. Anderson, was informed by the school principal of my desire to conduct research in her class She initiated an interview with me to talk about my research study and after meeting with me a greed to participa te in the study. Informed C onsent s for the
66 teacher (Appendi x B), students (Appendi x C), and their parents were sent and signed before data collection began English (Appendi x D ) Spanish (Appendi x E ), and Chinese (Appendi x F ) versions of the Informed C onsents for parents and for students were provided. The data collection proc es s for interviewing participants, designed to be a combination of classroom observations and interviews, beg a n with the first round of student interviews Next I use d the data gathered from the observations and student documents to create interview guide s for each subsequent follow up interview. Interview : The P rimary Data Scholars have emphasized the importance of interview data and how knowledge is generated from the process of interviewing (Holstein & Gubrium, 2003; Kvale, 1996, 1999; Seidman, 1991). Kvale (1996) contends that interview s allow people to describe their experiences and perceptions to the researcher in their own words. From a constructivist p erspective interview ing is a method in which it is possible to capture the subjective views of participants providing that their knowledge is relevant to the topic under study. A good interview will require the researcher to practice and to reflect on t he interaction with participants. While interviews can be classified as structured, semi -structured, and open-ended, the latter two are most commonly used in qualitative research studies. A semi -structured interview model allows participants the opportunity to articulate their experiences in a natural and non -restrictive way The open ended interview is an unstructured conversation with the participant without prepared questions. One of the strengths of an open -ended interview is that it can be conducte d like a friendly conversation in which the researcher can establish rapport with her participant s (Hatch, 2002). When using observation as a secondary data source the interview developed from observations allows respondents to make meanings of their obs erved actions. When using student work as another secondary data source the open-
67 ended interview allows respondents to make meanings of their thoughts. Moreover, multiple follow up interviews provide researchers with opportunities to clarify participant s statements for greater understanding of the interview data Interviewing adolescent students can be a difficult task for qualitative researchers in terms of their recruitment and the manner in which adolescent students often simply respond Yes No or other short response to interview questions (Bassett, Beagan, Ristovski Slijepcevic, & Chapman, 2008). E der and Fingerson (2003) contend that the power imbalance between the researcher and participants needs to be carefully considered especially w hen researchers conduct interviews with adolescents and children, as they are a powerless group due to their age. If a dolescents have been taught to obey authority figures as research participants they may simply respond in ways that they feel the resear cher desire s ; conversely, because of their developmental issues, some of them may be more resistant to answering the researcher s questions (Beaunae & Wu, 2009). In this study, I interview ed four ELLs to capture their personal experiences and perceptions about using READ 180 as an English learning program The s tudent interview protocol is included in Appendix H and the observation protocol is found in Appendix I. The first set of student interview s focus ed on student s perceptions of (a) their experienc e s with using computer technology; (b) the ways in which using READ 180 engage d them in reading English ; and (c) its overall value to them as ELLs The follow up interview questions emerged from my observations of their behaviors while using READ 180. In addition, I conducted an open -ended interview with each participant during his or her lunch break as a strategy for developing rapport with the participants. The Interview Process A total of six individual semi -structured interviews were conducted with the four participants from the end of November 2008 to the end of January 2009. These interviews
68 were conducted at either a table outside of the classroom during the classroom hour or at the school cafeteria during the lunch break, depending on participa nt s preferences. The initial interview s began with participants personal introduction s including their immigrant experiences and the ir uses of technology at home. Next I ask ed ab out their experiences using READ 180. The follow up interview questions were generated during the observation visits and the questions that emerged from the data. I created the interview questions one or two days after the classroom observations. These questions were based on my observations o f the participants interaction with the software and the reading materials. In addition to the semi struc tured interview, I used open-ended interview s as a way to understand students literacy practices both in and out of -school as part of the contextua l background. I had an open en ded interview with each of the participants I also had lunch with some of the participant s individually and while they were with their friends. Because the purpose was to establish rapport with them by understanding their school life not related to the f ocus of READ 180, I did not record the open -ended interviews. Interviewing the ELLs created both opportunities and challenges for my research. One of the main challenges I face d during the interview ing process was that I had to conduct all the interview s with my participants, except one, in English, which was not the first language for either my participants or me Occasionally, I had some difficulties understanding Marco s English during the interviews On the other hand, I had no difficulties underst anding Eva and Isabel who were very fluent in English. I was able to conduct interviews with one of my participants, Xiao Nan in his native language Mandarin, because I also speak Mandarin Chinese. T he challenges of working with adolescents also create d an opportunity for me to experience how sophisticated these teenagers were in their thinking. As the researcher is the main instrument for conducting a qualitative research study (Glesne, 1998), it became crucial to reflect on the strengths and challeng es I had in the interview process. In the following
69 section, I will describe my interview experience with each of my participants, as Eva, Isabel, Marco, and Xiao Nan ( alphabetically sequenced). Each interview lasted approximately 30 minutes and consiste d of conversations about their experiences with using READ 180. The interview protocol is listed in Appendix G By the time the research was conducted, these four participants, Eva, Isabel, Marco and Xiao Nan, were eighth graders who were in the same ESO L class using the READ 180 intervention. Eva, Isabel, and Marco were native Spanish speakers while Xiao Nan was the sole native Mandarin speaker. Eva and Isabel c a me from Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States, and both had been in the U.S. for more than four years at the time of the study. Marco came from Chile 18 months ago. Xiao Nan came from China nine months ago. In the next chapter, I will provide a more detail ed demographic description of each participant Interviewing Eva Interviewing Eva was a very collaborative experience as she answered my questions with her soft fluent English very freely and openly She did not talk much but her answer s indicated that she could articulate her thoughts well. Although she was willing to answer my questions, I felt that she kept me at a distance in a way that was representative of her age For example, she was not interested in meeting with me during her lunch break because she always had her lunch with friends On e day I decided to join Eva and h er friend, who was also from Puerto Rico, while they were having lunch. My questions to them were related to how they perceive the differences between Puerto Rico and the U.S., such as their schooling experiences. Although she answered my questions, I co uld sense that she was not interested in having a conversation with me because she wa s with her friends As I reflect ed on my teenage memories, I remembered that socializing with my friends exceed ed a ll other matters particularly those related to things that adults felt were important
70 I understood that being with her friends was more important than answering a researchers questions and I felt I had intruded into her social realm. However, later that day, while I was in Ms. Anderson s class observing students, Eva was working on a synonym worksheet. She approached me and asked me to help her for the first time. I felt that I had apparently developed some rapport with her during my attempt to join her social circle. Interviewing Isabel With her flu ent English, Isabel talked very openly during the interviews. Unlike some teenagers who are not good at answering open-ended questions such as h ow and w hy, Isabel was able to articulate her response s in a way that explicitly expressed her preferences and opinions. Although there were times that she simply said Yes or No to my question s the kind of answer one might expect from a 13-year -old, Isabel was willing to generate her stories by telling me about her personal experiences and preferences. Her answer s w ere very straightforward. Although she was very friendly to me, I consciously used strategies to establish rapport and friendship with her. For example, most of the books she read in Ms. Anderson s class were not from the READ 180 program; I sabel read several popular teen novels, such as Twilight (Meyer 2005) and The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants (Brashares, 2003). I purposefully did research on these books in order to engage Isabel in more conversations I also self -disclosed my dislike for the movie The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants when she told me that she did not like the book. She was very excited to know about my feeling s and that experience helped me to continue to develop rapport with her Interviewing Marco Interviewing Marco wa s a very playful and collaborative experience, and I felt that he treated me more as a friend than as a researcher. Compared to the other three participants, I found it less challenging to interview Marco because he talked very openly with me about his pe rsonal stories. For example, he showed no hesitation in sharing his critical thoughts on
71 immigrant issues, his personal struggles with some of his academic work. The way he used his teenage language, such as thingy (thing), made me feel as if I was a f riend of hi s In the beginning of my data collection, while I was doing classroom observations, Marco would approach me and ask me if I would like to interview him. When he described his reflection s on one of the book s that he had read, he asked me if I had read that particular book or seen the movie One of the challenges I had with him was trying to understand his English because he had a very strong Spanish accent This is not unusual, and in fact it is part of the natural process of language acquisi tion for many bilingual learners. There were a few occasions that because I did not understand Marco s accent that I had to ask him to spell out word s For example, Marco would say Juck instead of Yuck with his Spanish accent. Another challenge w ith Marco s interviews was that they were discursive and created some difficulties for me in understand ing his meaning. For example, the following excerpt indicates that I was not able to interpret his meaning as I tried to ask him about the ways in which READ 180 helped him understand history. (Vivian= the researcher Marco= the participant) Vivian: Does it [READ 180] help you understand the U.S. history? Marco: Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. Vivian: What do you mean Sometimes yes. Sometimes no ? Marco : I sometimes got confused. Vivian: What confuses you? Marco: Sometimes the teacher shows you one thing and then READ 180 tells you another thing. Vivian: Can you give me an example? Marco: I don t know. When I was watching a video about [ it in] RE AD 180, and they say, like, (3). They were like, they were talking about...(2) Oh. No. Now I get it. That was in the past. I forget those videos, way longer. Never mind. 'Cause there is one time and right now...There are a lot of legal immigrants before. Im kind of confused. I was trying to ask for clarification based on Marcos words and requesting an example but I still could not understand him In the end, I realized that he had mixed up other experiences as he said Never mind and Im kind of conf used. However, I was not familiar with the
72 middle school context, and that may have limited my ability of understanding his point. As an alternative, he tr ied to indicate that READ 180 expand ed his knowledge by challenging his perceptions. Although som e of Marcos narratives were difficult to understand, I appreciated his patience when sharing his knowledge with me and with his candid response s to my questions. Interviewing Xiao Nan Xiao Nan was the only Chinese -speaking student in my study A s a nati ve speaker of Mandarin Chinese, I assumed that I was a cultural insider with him as we shared the same Chinese culture I expected that he would be more willing to tell me about his stories. However, I soon realized that my belief was a fallacy as I con ducted my first interview with him. Xiao Nan's answer s were short and he was openly resistant to some of my questions, particularly when I asked him about his personal experience s For example, in the first interview, when talking about the Jane Eyre exc erpt from READ 180 that he read, he just said something does not fit me. Then I continued to ask him what he meant by that. However, he changed his response by saying It s Okay. The book is okay. It s good. Another example of Xiao Nan s unwilling ness to be interviewed by me was that he was resistant to respond ing to my question s about fitting in culturally in the third interview. This was in response to an article that he had read about fitting in to American culture. After I asked him a que stion, t here were several long pause s when he uttered U Hm. (3) My thought (8)hm...I don't have much feeling (after reading "fitting-in") (6) [I want to] learn, learn English well ( (3) (8)(6) ) I felt as if my question had upset him and caused him discomfort Being aware of his resistance (Beaunae & Wu, 2009; Vitus, 2008), I decided to move Xiao Nan s interview time from the formal setting of the class room to the relativ ely informal setting of his lunch break. Although he and his mother had signed the Chinese Informed
73 Consent, he expressed curiosity about my study during our third interview and be gan to ask me: Do you make READ 180? Why do you do t his kind of study? Our conversation became more casual and he also showed his curiosity about me by asking me questions about my research study and my life in the United States I asked him if there was anything he would like to add. Previously he had just said No. But, in our final interview, he responded to the question Is there anything you would like to add? with I don t know. What else do you want to know? I was very pleased with h is response because I perceived it as a n indication that I had established rapport with him and that he had bec o me more comfortable shar ing his knowledge with me Observation : The Secondary Data Adler and Adler (1994) characterize d observation as the fundamental base of all research methods in any of the social sciences (p. 389) as it allows researchers to capture the complexity of a natural social setting. According to Marshall and Rossman (2006), the process of observation entail s systemic noting and recording of events, behaviors and artifacts (objects) in t he social setting chosen for study (p. 98). They also note that it i s important for researchers to conduct observations so they can take notes not only about the setting of their research but also of the body language and affect of the participants (p. 99) Eder and Fingerson (2003) suggest ed that a brief period of field observation preceding interview ing c ould create an advantage for researchers not only to provide a rich description of the natural context but also to establish rapport with adolescent participants. Observation in a constructivist framework invites a researcher to explore the ways in which participants realities are constructed. However, the researcher should be aware of not making subjective interpretation s of participants actions As a result, I considered observation as secondary data to the data from interview questions which I designed to ascertain how the subjects realities were constructed through their daily routine s; an
74 elaboration of their actions. In this study, obse rvation provide d an opportunity to see how the ELLs have actually learned with READ 180 so that interview questions could be well framed to closely relate to students everyday experiences. The direct observations w ere used in order to capture the everyda y practices that ESOL students employed while using READ 180 and provide d a contextual description of the study being researched (see Chapter 4). The observation protocol used with the participants is located in Appendi x I The Observation Process I cho se to do observations because it provided an opportunity for me to better understand the study context by seeing the everyday activities that each ELL was engaged so that interview questions could be better framed. Observations took place in a middle scho ol ESOL classroom during the time that READ 180 was being used four days a week, from early December 2008 to the end of January 2009. The total observation time was 30 hours. During each visit I observed two of the four participants in order to generate interview questions. I also created a schedule for myself in order to document my observation and interview plan (see Table 3 1). The elements that I observed included participants actions while using READ 180 and the ways in which they were engaged or d isengaged in reading (Appendix H ). I created onsite field notes during my observations A sample of my expanded field notes i s included in Appendix I After writing abbreviated observation notes in class, later that same day, I wrote the expanded fiel d notes to reflect on my observation s and to generate interview questions for the next interview My observations included both the class and the software program and the four participants. My observation s of the class included the daily procedure s and the classroom structure s as well as the use of the software program, as indicated in the next chapter. For each participant, I observed the task s that they were doing such as the Zone s of READ 180 and whether or not they were reading audio or paperbac k books. The interview questions
75 were designed to ask the participants why they chose what they chose to read and how th ey reflected on the different task s of READ 180. Second, I observed their acts of engagement (e.g., s taying focused on task) and/or di sengagement (e.g., talking with others, looking at other students computer screen s or putting a book back without finishing it) of each student. I asked them to make meanings of these actions that I had observed. Third, I also documented my concern about their behaviors or words, if I was not sure if they were engaged in learning. For example, I noticed that Marco sometimes talked to himself while he worked at the computer and I asked him about this behavior Unobtrusive Data : The Secondary Data Hatch (2002) describe d unobtrusive data as artifacts, traces, documents, personal communications, records, photographs, and archives (p. 117). Unobtrusive data can add to the rich ness in portraying participants values and beliefs as they have the possibility of offering insights into the ways that people have constructed and experienced their lives (Hodder 2000) Thus the unobtrusive data were another source I drew from in order to supplement my interview data Documents were collected from the following sources: students work related to READ 180, which includ ed reading logs and worksheets, and the publisher s descriptions of the READ 180 software program from the Scholastic Inc. website F ollowing a constructivist perspective, t he use of unobtrusive dat a from students, including student reading logs and the work being produced from using READ 180, h a d the potential to illuminate the ways in which students ma d e meanings of their learning In this study, I collected students work (Appendix J ), including reading logs and worksheets. I n addition, I collect ed materials that were posted on the publishers website including a list of topic CDs (Appendix K ) and audio and paperback books as supplementary sources for interview questions The se materials served as supplementary sources for interview s by asking ELLs questions related to the publishers information For example, I asked them to comment on
76 the READ 180 materials that they had read. I also asked my participants about the worksheets and reading logs to comment on the relevance of them with respect to their cultural backgrounds. A Recapitulation o n the Data Collection Process: Reciprocity Reciprocity is identified as an approach to equalize the power imbalance between the researcher and the researched by giving something in return to participants (Zigo, 2001). In this study, I used this strategy in order to establish rapport not only with my participants but also with the teacher who gave me permission to observe her class. To establish rapport wi th my participants, I prepared a holiday card with a bookstore gift card and had lunch with each of my participant s Although the teacher was not my participant, I expressed my appreciat ion for her by volunteer ing to be her teaching assistant on the days that I visited her class. I helped some of her students with the worksheet s During the research data collection period, I helped her supervise students who were performing or practicing for an interview play for the schools multicultural week. There w as also one occasion, while I was in her classroom, that she had difficulties displaying photos through her computer As I helped her solve the technical problem, Ms. Anderson was grateful for my assistance and I established some rapport through this reci procity. Data Analysis Data analysis is a systematic way to analyze the data that a researcher has gathered. For a qualitative researcher, it involves making decisions about what and how to represent data (Grbich, 2007). A rigorous data analysis, as pa rt of the methods for an investigation must align with the theoretical perspective of the study (Hatch, 2002). While several common data analysis techniques ( e.g., narrative and grounded theory) fit into the
77 constructivist framework, grounded theory was more appropriate because little i s known about how ELLs use the READ 180 reading program. G rounded theory data analysis has been commonly used by qualitative researchers (Charmaz, 2006; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). The different elements of grounded theory data analysis such as coding, categorizing, and memo writing reflect the inductive, analytic and interpretive nature of qualitative research. Strauss and Corb i n (1998 ) characterize grounded theory as a way to inductively obtain phe nomena from a research study. When using grounded theory data analysis it is possible to collect, discover, and analyze data related to the research study in a systematic way. Through such methods themes emerge from the data and those themes lead to th e development of a theory. Constructionist grounded theory is concerned with understanding the studied phenomenon. A constructivist oriented researcher using grounded theory places priority on the phenomena of study and sees both data and analysis as cr eated from shared experiences and relationships with participants (p. 130). Charmaz (2006) state d : Conceptualize the studied phenomenon to understand it in abstract terms Articulate theoretical claims pertaining to scope, depth, power, and relevance Ack nowledge subjectivity in theorizing and hence the role of negotiation, dialogue, understanding O ffer an imaginative interpretation (p. 127) Additionally, when using grounded theory to analyze interview data, it should be noted that : A constructivist woul d emphasize the participant s definition of terms, situations, and events and try to tap the participants assumptions, implicit meanings, and tacit rules. An objectivist would be concerned with obtaining accurate information about chronology, events, set tings, and behaviors (Charmaz, 2003, p. 317) Following a constructivist perspective combined with grounded theory methods the purpose of th is study wa s to understand the relationships between the perceptions of my ELL
78 participants using the READ 180 readi ng program and the statements of programs effectiveness for ESOL students supplied by the publisher, Scholastic, Inc. As for the role of the researcher, Charmaz (2006) explain ed that the use of c onstructivism encourages the researchers self reflection with respect to their interpretations of the data as well as those of the research participants. Thus, constructivist grounded theory researcher s ideally are self -reflective about their constructions, preconceptions, and assumptions that inform their stud y (Charmaz, 2003). In the process of grounded theory, d ata analysis is imperative to break down the data by phrases or meaning units code the meaning units, and then group the codes into concepts in order to create a theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1998 ). Charmaz (2006) described the three stage coding process: initial, focused, and selective codes. The initial coding process involve s breaking down the raw transcribed data into codes and renaming them as closely as possible to the original meaning of the transcription. The focused coding process involve s a set of procedures of synthesis and explanation of the larger selections of the data (Charmaz, 2006). The purpose of focused coding is to rearrange all the initial codes into categories, in which consta nt comparison techniques can be applied The selective coding process or the final stage, is where the data are given specific properties and categorized into larger themes (Charmaz, 2006). The categories are conceptualized and refined for theory development. One of the ways that the reflexive process of analyzing data takes place is through memo writing. Memo writing is a crucial stage of grounded theory analysis regardless of the specific theoretical perspectives that the researcher holds. G ood memo -writing helps lead the researcher to an early phase of developing her findings. In memo writing, researcher s reflect on their data while collecting, transcribing, analyzing, and coding it to trace their thoughts as they are developing their theories.
79 D ata Analysis Proce ss in This Study: The data analysis process co -occurred with the data collection. I used memo writing to reflect on my data analysis. I revisited the same interview question with one participant when he or she had not given me enough i nformation ; or when I found a theme emerg ing from the responses of another participant Then I began with transcribing the interview data by following the transcript convention (Appendix L ). All interview data were transcribed by the researcher. I conve rted my transcribed interviews from a word processing program to a spreadsheet program which allow ed me to do coding, retrieving and sorting of my data. Issues of translation need ed to be atten ded to as part of this cross -cultural research study (Tsai, Choe, Lim, Acorda, Chan, Taylor, et al. 2004) As Xiao Nan and I were both Chinese native speakers we used code -switching, using English phrases or terms as an alternative, during the interview to ensure that we did not misinterpret the one another s me aning s of words As an EnglishChinese bilingual speaker with knowledge in ESOL/bilingual education, I had the confidence to translat e Xiao Nan s data from Chinese to English accurately. To ensure that the translation was both accurate and meaningful, I not only included the original Chinese text but also had my translation reviewed by an English native speaker for analyzing data. Making comparison s occurred in the process of collecting and analyzing data. In the data collection phase, I asked each part icipant questions in relation to the literature. In the data analysis phase, I grouped the codes that shared similar ideas. The comparison was constantly refined until the core category was formed. I conducted the first -stage of open coding for the part icipants transcribed interviews All the transcripts were read several times while I tried to identify the meaning units line by line. The strategies I used to label code s were (a ) to summarize a code in relat ionship to the meaning unit of the text with respect to my research focus or (2) to use In vivo codes,
80 (participants actual words ) as a label The number of open cod e s totaled more than 900 for the four participants. However, based on my memo s there were some data that were transcribed but not code d because they fell into the following categories: (a ) c ontextual background (particularly in the first round of interview s that are d escribed in Chapter 4); (b ) Brief answers which were too vague to create meanings, such as Yes, No, or I don t know; (c ) Participants clarifying questions such as, What do you mean? and ( d ) Participants narratives that did not relate to the research focus, such as the description of other reading materials. In the second-stage of focused coding, I constantly compared all of the open codes in order to combine codes that shared the same theme. I eliminated some open codes that I considered trivial or unrelated to the actual focus of the study such as the description of another reading software program Reading Counts. I also eliminated some of the data that were related to the teacher in order to narrow the research focus to the perceptions of the ELLs and their interaction s with the READ 180 curriculum materials. In the third -stage selective coding, I conti nued to make comparison s between focused codes that were alike or related in order to categorize them into selective codes. For example, some of the major selective codes that emerged from the data were, the lack of culturally relevant materials or the need for conversational learning and so on. I eliminated codes that did not fit into the aforementioned selective codes since they did not fit into my theory or the purpose of the stud y. Appendix M is a coding trail that shows the three -stage coding pr ocess ; moving from the initial codes to the selective cod es Meanwhile, I also used memo s for two purposes: One was reflectional to document the observed events during the data collection process; the other was analytical to document the themes I found i mportant and wante d t o explore further This helped me look for gap s in the data I found within and across my participants and create d memo s to document the
81 explanation of each code. The final theory is an integration of all of the categories, including t he selective codes and focused codes. In Chapter 5, I described the emerge nt theory, named Differentiated Learning, in relation to three category, culture, language, and technology, along with the properties and dimensions. The sub -headings were the sel ective codes and the words in bolded text are the focused codes. Subjectivity Statement My research on READ 180 and ELL s was inspired by a research project I conducted in a Curriculum Materials and Development course in March 2007. T his was the first ti me I had been exposed to the READ 180 program and the ways in which teachers working with two very different populations of students used it in their curriculum. I spoke to two teachers Mrs. Pratt ( pseudonym ), the special education teacher and Ms. Dicke nson (pseudonym), the ESOL teacher, regarding their perceptions and experiences with using READ 180. After a two -hour observation with Mrs. Pratt a veteran teacher of 28 years I found that she was pleased to tell me in an interview that READ 180 had hel ped her students who were struggl ing read ers She was eager to share how amazing READ 180 related materials wer e to the needs of her students. At the same time, I saw that many of her students were listening independently to its audio books with their own recorder. After my experience in Mrs. Pratts special education classroom, I visited Ms. Dickenson s ESOL class room where I saw a very different representation of READ 180. Perhaps because she was a novice ESOL teacher and passionate about her work, M s. Dickenson found it challeng ing to integrat e the READ 180 program into her ESOL curriculum. From her experience s of working with ESOL students, she contended that (a) ESOL students for the most part like d to read and that (b) ESOL students found reading valuable for learning English and they did not need the READ 180 topics in order to attract them to the content.
82 Mrs. Pratt s and Ms. Dickenson s competing narratives about their experiences with using READ 180 inspired me to explore the use of READ 180 for ELLs. The publisher of READ 180 claim ed that it wa s designed for both struggling readers and ELLs After my interviews with the two teachers, I began to question whether a reading program originally designed to help struggling readers, could possibl y meet the needs of ELL s I asked myself: How different are the needs of struggling readers and E LLs? How are they similar? These questions c ontinued to intrigue me and thus became the impetus for this research study. My interest in studying READ 180 wi th respect to cultural relevance has also had a profound influence on this study. As I continued to explore the specifics of the READ 180 program in the Fall of 2007, I read some of the materials offered as part of the curriculum. One of the READ 180 reso urces I read was an rBook about The New Americans. This lesson was designed to introduce ELLs to the topic of immigration On the cover page of the book was a picture of people with dark eyes and dark hair laughing with an American flag behind them. I found this image disturb ing My sensitivity as a n international student and member of a nonCaucasian group in the U.S. caused me concern about the implicit message of assimilating newcomers into American society Furthermore, my doctoral training in the ESOL program has sensitized me to question the idea of assimilation conveyed to me, as a reader and as an immigrant (or a visitor ) of the United S t ates. This experience inspired me to critique the cultural relevance of READ 180 for English Language Lea rners. My subjectivity also informs my interaction s with adolescent s As I spent time interviewing and developing rapport with my four young participants I reflected on the time when I was a 13 year -old searching for peer affirmation and life values O ne of the darkest periods of my life occurred when I was 13 and was both frustrated by trying to establish relationships with my classmates and felt pressured by my academic performance Recalling myself as a teenager with all my conflicting feelings and emotions, I was both empathetic and
83 curious about how hard it w ould be for my teenage participants to study in the U.S. with limited English proficiency I wondered how they might feel like cultural outsider s how difficult it would be for them to try to learn to fit into the microcosm of their schools as well as to the macrocosm of American society. Validity Validity in any research project is crucial as it challenges how researchers claim that they know what they know. It requires researchers to ensure that the procedure of the study that they use is rigorous and that their findings and conclusions are credible (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005; Hatch, 2002). Qualitative research does not assume that there is an objective representation of the reality of partici pants. This is what Denzin and Lincoln claimed as a crisis of representation (1994, p. 9). For qualitative research, validity needs to be considered as the integration of theoretical perspectives and the methods being used. It also requires the resear chers awareness of her work through the data collection and analysis phases (Gergen & Gergen, 2003). In addition, Whittemore, Chase, and Mandle (2001) indicate that the primary criteria for evaluating a qualitative study are credibility, authenticity, c riticality, and integrity (p. 522). Credibility and authenticity are concepts concerned with the accurate representation of participants perceptions whereas integrity is more concerned with the researcher s self awareness of bias and assumption. Nega tive case analysis and member checks are essential to enhanc ing the validity of a constructivist study because they allow the researcher and the researched to co -construct their meanings. The view of negative case analysis helps a researcher seek the expl anation for her data as it creates both opportunities and threat to the validity of her study (Emigh, 1997). T he use of negative case analysis or disconfirming evidence, from the lens of the researcher, is essential for the constructivist paradigm because the realit ies are complex and multiple (Creswell & Miller, 2000). The examination of negative case examples also has been
84 implemented in grounded theory stud ies through the constant comparison methods in order to look for any inconsistenc ies in the data (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). The analysis of negative case methods can expand the researcher s view of the focus of the study and allow new dimensions to emerge. M ember checking ensures that the data findings are credible by having the participants validate them. According to Lincoln and Guba (1985), member checking is the most essential technique that a qualitative researcher has for establishing credibility. At the same time, member checking has the potential for gathering additional information to enric h the data. To conduct member checking, I present ed the transcripts along with my findings to my participant s to elicit their feedback in March. The four participants agreed with the way I presented their ideas in the findings. In addition, they provide d comments on the analysis of the data. For example, although Eva thought that being a Puerto Rican is a privilege compared to that of other immigrants, she experienced the same challenges as did other immigrants I also asked participants for clarific ations as I noticed some inconsistency within a participant 's responses or vague comments in the data. In addition, I used triangulation to enhance internal validity. T riangulation refers to the use of different data sources to create a point of converge nce for all of the data. M orse and Richards (2002) simultaneously critique d and explained the misuse of the term triangulation in the following passage: Triangulation refers to the gaining of multiple perspectives through completed studies that have been conducted on the same topic and that directly address each other s findings. To be considered triangulated, studies must meet that is, one must encounter another in order to challenge it (for clarification), illuminate it (add to it conceptually or the oretically), or verify it (provide the same conclusions). (p. 76, e mphasis in original ) The purpose of triangulation should be the expansion of the views of data to see if any incongruence occurs. Therefore, I use d the data from interviews, observation, d ocuments,
85 field notes, and memos in order to substantiate the research findings through multiple perspectives. T o conduct a peer review, I solicited the advice from two colleagues who have conducted grounded theory studies currently or previously and ha d solid professional knowledge in qualitative research. Specifically, I asked these colleagues to comment on my data collection and analysis processes and check for problems or inconsistencies. I also presented my data analysis process and findings to a qualitative support group, comprised of methodology professors and graduate students at the university, for feedback on my data analysis procedure. The feedback I received enhanced my understanding of interpreting my data and helped me to validate my an alyzing procedures Limitations While I acknowledge that my responsibility is to ensure the best conditions for my research, there are some significant limitations with respect to this study in the process of participant sampling, data collection, and data analysis. The following descriptions will inform the readers in order to interpret the fin d ings and conclusions I have made. Participant Sampling The best criteri on for doing grounded theory stud ies is to recruit a homogenous group. In my case this would have required me to recruit participants that were all Chinese native speakers so I could have theoretically had an insider s view of both language and culture. However, given the fact that Chinese -speaking ELLs make up less than 5 % of the ELL popu lation in Florida, it would have been impossible to recruit four Chinese -speaking participants in the same class using the READ 180 program given the limitations of doing a doctoral dissertation
86 D ata Collection T he other limitation of the study is rel ated to the ESOL class s use of READ 180. The teacher integrated READ 180 into her class curriculum in November 2008. Although I focused on the participants current experience using the program the findings and conclusions of this study could have been quite different if the class had been using READ 180 for a length ier period of time This is especially true when considering the diverse topics that READ 180 provides. For example, when I asked participants to reflect on the ways in which READ 180 help ed them with content areas such as social studies, math, and science Isabel told me that she did not know how to relate READ 180 to other subjects. I dont know. I havent really gotten to the science of READ 180 yet. So far, I only got into the spor ts When I ask ed about social studies, she said Its not something that I am [learning ] right now. Data Analysis As the teacher take s part in the READ 180 reading program's three rotations, the teacher 's influence is significant in terms of the mater ial selection and the implementation of READ 180. However, due to the large amount of data collected from the six interviews and the fact that the teacher was not the study participant, I eliminated the data related to students descriptions of the teachers involvement with READ 180 This way I focused solely on students perceptions of the READ 180 materials. Conclusions In this chapter, I used a qualitative research paradigm with a constructivist lens to explore the perceptions of ELLs use of READ 1 80. C onstructivism reject s the idea that there is an objective truth in the external world waiting to be discovered. This constructionist epistemological perspective guide d this study through the voice s of adolescent ELLs Included in this chapter were the data sampling procedures, methods, collection and analysis
87 techniques that were used to conduct the study. I also add ress ed t he means by which I establish validity for conducting this study and the limitations of the study that occurred in the recruit ment, data collection, and data analysis stages.
88 CHAPTER 4 CONTEXTUAL BACKGROUN DS Introduction Discussion of c ontextual background in a qualitative study is not simply a report of an act but rather an explanation that provides understanding for the me aning of an act. T his chapter will provide an understanding of the context in which the research took place with READ 180, including the contextual backgrounds for both the research setting and the READ 180 component description. While I aimed to describe the study context, my description was accompanied by my subjective interpretation. This chapter is structured in three major sections: (1) the research setting, (2) the four participants, and (3) the READ 180 components that were used by the students i n the ESOL class The research setting includes the Sunshine Middle School, the ESOL classroom and how the ESOL teacher incorporated the READ 180 program into her curriculum. The descriptions came from my 30-hour s of classroom observations and documents I collected from the teacher. Next, I describe the participants contextual backgrounds which were primarily grou nded in both semi -structured and open-ended interview data and supplemented by my classroom field notes Finally the READ 180 component de scriptions were the documents I collected from the Scholastic Inc. s READ 180 website. Research Setting The Sunshine Middle School The Sunshine Middle School ( pseudonym ), comprised of approximately 900 students, was a public school located in north -central Florida. According to categories used by the State of Florida, the student diversity backgrounds were White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian. However, it should be noted that such categor ies are too generic to represent student diversity. According to the F lorida Department of Education s school accountability report, the minority rate in Sunshine Middle School was 49% in 20072008, showing a slow increase
89 since 2002. In addition, 43% of the student population at the Sunshine Middle School received free and reduced lunch in 20072008. (This percentage has consistently remained over 40% since 2002). Currently, the Sunshine Middle School offer s two ESOL courses for English Language Learners ( ELLs ), one for beginning and one for intermediate level. The scho ol classifie d each student according to his/her level of proficiency; As stipulated by the f ederal No Child Left Behind act of 2001, Sunshine Middle School was labeled a Grade A school for two consecutive academic years from 2004 through 2006. However, it did not meet the Adequate Year ly Progress (AYP) in the two consecutive academic years from 2006 through 2008. The school purchased the READ 180 package for teaching in 20042005 along with the computer equipment for classes, one of which is Ms. Anderso n s intermediate level ESOL class. Ms. Andersons ESOL C lass Ms. Anderson ( pseudonym ) was the certified ESOL teacher instructing two classes of ELLs at the Sunshine Middle School. However, she only integrated READ 180 into her intermediate level class i nstruction. She explained that the content of READ 180 may be too difficult for beginning ELL s. The 17 students in her intermediate level class are culturally and linguistically diverse, coming from 11 countries or regions (see Table 4 -1) : Chile, China, Egypt, El Salvador, Honduras India, Mexico, Puerto Rico (U.S. territory), Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam Nine languages were spoken by these students as the ir first language, including Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Gujarati, Tamil Turkish, and Ukrainian In this study, I specifically focused on the eighth graders and recruited the four participants : Eva, Isabel, Marco, and Xiao Nan.
90 Table 4 1. Student demographics of Ms. Anderson s i ntermediate ESOL Class Country/Region Languages # of students Grade Ch ile Spanish 1 8 China Chinese 1 8 Egypt Arabic 1 6 El Salvador Spanish 1 7 Honduras Spanish 1 6 India Gujarati Tamil 3 6,7 Mexico Spanish 2 6 Puerto Rico (U.S. territory) Spanish 3 8 Turkey Turkish 1 7 Ukraine Ukrainian 1 6 Vietnam Vietnamese 1 6 TOTAL 17 The Physical Environment of the ESOL Classroom Ms Anderson s ESOL classroom (see Figure 4 1) provided a learning environment for culturally diverse students who were learn ing English. On the top of the whiteboard, there were 20 paper cha racters dressed in costume s from different countries, such as Mexico, Japan, and Korea In addition there was a world map displayed on the window so that students could easily locate a country if they were interested. When Chinese New Year came at the e nd of January, I observed Ms. Anderson celebrate Chinese New Year with cultural objects, such as Chinese paintings, red envelope s and characters decorated on the bulletin board. The ESOL classroom contained different forms of educational resources, incl uding technological tools and printed materials, for ELLs. It was equipped with seven DELL computers, six for students and one for the teacher. These computers were purchased by the school in order to run the READ 180 software package in the year 20042005. Each computer was equipped with Windows XP operating system and the READ 180 software program. S tudent computers had limited Internet access. Other technology in the classroom included a Lexmark printer, a TV that hung i n the corner, an overhead pr ojector and a multimedia NetTV monitor with DVD and VHS players. The multimedia TV functions as a computer. During the data collection period, I observed
91 Ms. Anderson using the multimedia TV to display photos taken at an event I also watched movies and video clips that students made for the school s multicultural week. P osters from READ 180 program were displayed on the wall s of the classroom The posters include d the READ 180 instructional model and a poster of the READ 180 audio books and paperback bo oks of Stage B (for middle school). Additionally, READ 180 materials and books were on the shel ves in the classroom for students easy access. File cabinet Board Door Door Teachers desk Xiao-Nan Marco Isabel Windows Windows The researcherT h e R E A D 1 8 0 p a p e r b a c k s a n d A u d i o B o o k s Chairs Eva Student seatsT h e C o m p u t e r S t a t i o nThe Small Group Discussion Bulletin board and books TV Printer Overhead Projector Multimedia TV READ 180 fact & Fiction collections Teacher computer S t u d e n t c o m p u t e r Figure 4 1. The physical environment of the ESOL class Descriptions of Particip ants The four students (see Table 4 2) in this study included Eva and Isabel from Puerto Rico, Marco from Chile, and Xiao Nan from China (all names are pseudonyms ). The students share d some commonalities: they were all 13 years old, enrolled in the 8th gr ade, came to the U.S. with their parent(s) and receive d ESOL service s from Ms. Anderson during the time this study was conducted. A ll participants received free or reduced lunch The
92 following section describes the participants including the ir respecti ve lengths of stay in the U.S., their self -reported family background including literacy practices as well as home use of technology and my observations of their personality traits. The following section describes each participant alphabetical ly by first name Eva Eva emigrated with her family from Puerto Rico to the U.S. five years ago She was the eldest child with two other siblings one brother and one sister, both eight -year s -old. Her father worked as a communications teller and her mother was a ho usewife who formerly worked as a nurse. H er parents were separated and she lived with her mother and her aunt s family. When Eva came to the U.S., she barely spoke English so her mother hired a tutor to help her Eva enjoyed living in the U.S. and said she felt the education al quality was more advanced than Puerto Rico. Eva liked to read and read a lot at home. Currently, she was re reading Twilight (Meyer, 2005). She considered herself a serious reader because she enjoyed reading very much. Th e topics she enjoyed most were love, mystery, and fiction. S he was not interested in non -fiction Eva used the computer at home for nonacademic purposes but did not use it very frequently. She said, Only [when] I have nothing to do, I use the computer She explained that she only used the computer to check email, play video games, such as Play Station, search via Google, look at photos, and listen to music. For example, she had done some research on biography and history and information about dif ferent countries. She also played online games she described as Like little cartoon that you get to [put] the clothes on them and you move them around. You have to earn points so you can buy stuff. Eva looked mature for her age perhaps due to her long curly hair. She sometimes wore earrings and makeup as well. She was relatively quiet in Ms. Anderson s class and spoke
93 very softly. During the lunch break, she ate with a girl who also came from Puerto Rico and was enrolled in Ms. Anderson s beginning-level class. Isabel Isabel emigrated to the U.S. from Puerto Rico four years ago. Her father came from Puerto Rico and her mother was from the Dominican Republic. H er father passed away seven years earlier and her mother and she came to the U.S. for eco nomic and educational opportunities: T he economy is better over here [in the U.S. ] a nd my mom wants a better job. They want us to study here because she thinks its [the education] better Isabel enjoyed reading long chapter books. For example, she was very interested in adolescent popular literature, such as Twilight (Meyer, 2005). On average, she read at least five books a week, depending on the size of the book. During the interviews, she liked to share her reflections about the books and articles sh e read. She told me that she had finished reading the whole collection of Twilight (Meyer, 2005) and she was very interested in sharing the story she read with me. Isabel used the computer at home mainly for academic purpose s and used it very inf requently. When I asked her whether she played games online, she said that I get tons of homework. I dont use that much. She used the Google and Yahoo search engines in order to do research and read articles. As she said, I like to research and know some st uff She did not use the computer for social networking. She had never used computer software such as READ 180 in Puerto Rico but she enjoyed using it in Ms. Anderson s class. During my class observation s there were times when Ms. Anderson did not kno w how to connect her laptop to the TV in order to display some photos she took for the students in a school event but Isabel was the one she called on for help.
94 Marco Marco came to the U.S. from Chile with his parents in August, 2007 so that his father c ould pursue a doctoral degree at a near by university The family planned to stay in the U.S. for at least four years the time required for his father to complete the degree. In a s imilar regard to Eva, Marco was also the eldest of four child ren with th ree other siblings, one sister (seven years old) and two brothers (five years old and two year s old). Marco s father was concerned with Marco s academic performance and had high expectations of Marco. When he learned that he got 70 out of 100 from a Reading Counts quiz, he said to me: Its not good. If I said it to my dad, he would get really mad. He would say No, you have to get straight As There were times in the interview process that he talked about how his father helped him with reading, such a s making him word quizzes to help him learn English. Marco liked to read culturally relevant books as he told me that he liked to learn about Latino culture. He also said he liked g raphic novels and all kinds of books except [for] the fantasy ones. Fan tasy does not get me along with the reading. He continued, Cause it [fantasy books ] gets a little weird. There are some words, for example, like elf. I knew that word but for example...I know the word, there are some other words like half man and hal f horse. I think its Centaurs. I am not sure. Ok...those kinds of words kind of get me confusing [confused] Marco was technolog ically savvy and he used technology for a variety of entertain ment and social networking purposes. He liked to play all k inds of games, such as GunBound, which he had play ed in Chile. Besides e -mail, he also used Internet social tools, such as MySpace, Instant Mess aging blogging, and Facebook, to network with his friends. His amount of his computer usage was, however, n ot fixed. Sometimes he was online almost all
95 day and sometimes he only did it once a week. When he received a bad grade, his parents would restrict him from using the computer. Marco was outgoing and social. He had frequent interaction s with other s tudents, both male and female, most of the time. When the class was doing the sustained silent reading activity or when he worked on the Skill section, he changed seats very often. Sometimes he sat at his and other student s desk s and even at the teacher s desk to connect to others. In the beginning of my visits, he approached me and asked me if I would interview him. Marco was an active student and involved in school projects. During the school s multicultural week, the school invited some of Ms. And erson s ESOL students to present their cultur es to the mainstream students. Marco was one of the six students who volunteered to participate in the project. H is role was to describe his immigrant experience when he first came to the U.S. He explained ho w he was disturbed by seeing the phrase Welcome to America because being from Chile in South America, h e already considered himself an America n Xiao Nan Xiao Nan was the most recent arriv al in the U.S among the group of participants ; having come in Ma rch 2008. He came with his mother, a visiting scholar at a nearby university They planned to stay in the U.S. for one year and then to move back to China in March 2009. Xiao Nan came from a single -parent family whose mother was a professor at a univers ity in ShenDung Xiao Nan used technology at home almost every day for academic and non -academic purposes He did research for his school homework on English language web pages For example, he did research for a paper on the Revolutionary War in his social studies class He also studied for his Spanish class using the Internet He used to play computer games, such as strategic video games related to fighting while he was in China. He also like d to read
96 fiction online, including Kung -Fu fiction Since he has been living in the U.S., he has enjoyed reading news in Chinese Once in a while, he w ill do online chatting with his friends in China Xiao Nan was very quiet in and out of the class room In class, I seldom saw him interact with other students. He talked to Marco, who sat next to him, more than other students. Most of the time, he sat at his desk quietly and did not talk to other students. During the lunch break, he had lunch with three or four boys some of whom I recognized, as other ESOL students from Ms. Anderson s class. Once while I was ha ving lunch with him outside of the school cafeteria, one of his friends from the U.S. came to him and said he would like to learn Chinese Xiao Nan seemed to be very surprised as he said Reall y? You want to learn Chinese? In an open -ended interview, Xiao Nan told me that some school students talked about him behind his back because they thought he did not understand English. Although he cannot speak and write very well, he said he was able t o listen and understand READ 180 READ 180 is an intervention program, designed specifically for K 12 Englishspeaking struggling readers and English language learners (Scholastic, 2006). The program is divided into three stages: Stage A is for elem entary level students S tage B is for middle school level students and S tage C is for high school level students. While READ 180 provides three stages, the current study focuses on Stage B, the middle school aspect. The program is specifically targeted to two student populations: struggling readers and English Language Learners.
97 Table 4 2. Demographics of the four participants Participants Gender Grade Age Country/ Region U.S. citizen Time in the U.S. (year)( until December 08) Technological uses at home Books of interest Eva Female 8 13 Puerto Rico Yes 5 years R esearch Photos Playing video games Love, Mystery Isabel Female 8 13 Puerto Rico Yes 4 years Research Social networking (e.g. MSN) Love, Mystery, F iction Marco Male 8 13 Chile N o 14 months Facebook Instant M essaging Games Graphic novels Xiao Nan Male 8 13 China No 8 months Playing g ames Reading Kungfu F iction Research Ethics, Mystery, Adventure
98 The READ 180 software program includes four major zones, sequenced by (1) Reading Zone, (2) Word Zone, (3) Spelling Zone, and (4) Success Zone. Students are expected to interact with these zones from which they resume the task for 20 minutes when they are in the Computer group during what is called the three phase rotation. The program keeps a complete record the Zone they have not completed and request them to continue it. In the following section, I will describe each zone based on the student task s and my interpretation about how it helps students to read. Reading Zone Th e Reading Zone involves three subsections: (1) Video, (2) Passage, and (3) Self -check. First, s tudents watch a realistic video clip that is related to a passage that they will read following the video. The video is one minute long. After watching the vi deo, s tudents listen to one of four level passages Sentences in the passages are highlighted in violet while the narration takes place In addition, some important phrases are colored in pink for extra attention. Students can also choose to listen to a word or a phrase by moving the cursor over it. After students have watched the video and listened to the passage, they are expected to record themselves reading the passage. During the S elf -check section students answer ten multiple -choice questions in tended to test comprehension and vocabulary. In the Self -check section, they receive immediate feedback confirming or disconfirming their answer s. If students answer the questions correctly, they move to the next item. If they answer incorrectly they c lick on another answer until they find the correct answer Students are allowed to return to the passage at any time during the exercise. Word Zone The Word Zone includes (1) Word Assessment, (2) Word Clinic (3) Word Match, (4) Word Review, (5) Self C he ck, and (6) Speed Challenge. In the Word Assessment section
99 students make initial contact with the words that relate to the passage they had previously read in the Reading Zone. Word, Sentence and Pause buttons are available for students who need additional assistance or a break. Students click on a word from a list to identify what they have heard In the Word Click section students record the word s shown on the screen. Tip Record and Pause buttons are also available. They can liste n to tips on how to sound out word s before recording their answers There are f ive words on the screen at a time. In the Word Matc h section students match a word from a list to what they have heard based on what they have hear d Once again, there are f ive words on the screen at a time. A Mix up button is available for students to redo the task. In the Word Review section students practice words that the program has identified as words with which students need more practice, usually commonly misspe lled and missed words. Word Sentence and Pause buttons are also available here. In the Self Check section students self assess their own accuracy by recording each word themselves without hearing the narrator The Record button is made availa ble and one word appears on screen at a time. Finally, in the Speed Challenge section students click on the words that they hear as quickly as they can and are shown immediately whether their answers are correct. Once they complete the whole section, t he READ 180 program will present a report indicating words in groups that are incorrect slow and missed. Spelling Zone The Spelling Zone section is comprised of (1) Spelling Assessment, (2) Spelling Clinic, (3) Spelling Challenge, and (4) Proofreadi ng. In the Spelling Assessment section students listen and spell out the words that they hear with their headset s with ten words listed on the screen. Then they receive immediate feedback by being told which items are correct and which are not. The inc orrect words are retained for students to practice in the spelling clinic. In the Spelling
100 Clinic section students practice words that they type d incorrectly in the Spelling Assessment. In the Spelling Challeng e section students hear a word and type it in as quickly as they can. There are three buttons included: Word (for word meaning), Sentence (for contextual meaning), and Pause to give a break for students who need extra support. Once students enter a word, they receive immediate feedback on the accuracy of their answer s If they receive a Yes, they then move to the next item. If they receive a No the correct word spelling appears on the screen with a small box in which students can practice by typing it. Finally, in the Proofreading s ection students identify the misspelled words within a sentence by choosing the correct one from a list of five words. The questions are based on the words students have misspelled. Again, t hey receive immediate feedback to indicate whether their answer s are correct Success Zone The Success Zone section includes (1) Discrepancy Passages, (2) Context Passages, (3) Final recording, and (4) Fluency self -check. In the Discrepancy Passages section students identify the passage that correctly reflects the meaning of the original passage from three passages. In C ontext Passages students do a cloze, or fill in practice exercise, in which they read the same passage in which some vocabulary words are missing Students click on the blanks and choose the corre ct answer from a list of six words to fill in the blank If their answers are all correct, students move on to the next page to continue the rest of the passage. If their answers are incorrect, the sections become blank and students are expected to resele ct an answer from the same list for further practice In the Final Recordin g section students record the whole passage again. This is aimed at provid ing students with an opportunity to practice fluency. Finally, in the F luency Self Check section stude nts listen to their own recording. After the Fluency Se l f-Check, the screen shows a word count that students have read per minute (WCPM).
101 The content of the READ 180 software program for middle school students (Stage B) provides three content areas with nine topics (see Appendix L). In each topic, student s are expected to finish each unit before they go to the next topic. READ 180 Paperback Books, Audio Books, and rBook In addition to its software, READ 180 includ e s a collection of paperback books as wel l as audio books and an rBook (Scholastic, 2005). The s e materials are designed for teachers and students to use in a 90 -minute instructional model when students are not using the computer. This model suggests beginning with a 20-minute whole group instru ction, followed by a 60minute rotation, and ending with a 10 -minute whole group discussion According to the READ 180 program manual, students choose to read paperback books or audio books when they rotate in the independent group (also called the Skill S ection). The READ 180 website also indicates other student materials related to READ 180, such as Fact & Fiction and Ultra-X paperback books, but I did not see these materials being used by my participants. Consequently, this study could only focus on the materials that were currently being used by the participants in Ms. Anderson s classroom. The READ 180 rBook is designed specifically for teachers who work with English language learners (ELLs) in the whole group and small group discussion format Th e book is arranged by themes that the publisher asserts are related to the experience of ELLs. The first unit, The New Americans, describes immigrant experiences in the United States. This rBook also provides opportunities for students to practice differ ent genres of writing. To accompany the rBook, Scholastic Inc. also provide s videos as additional resources for teachers to show in class. The ESOL Class Routine of Using READ 180 Ms. Anderson s intermediate advanced ESOL class began during the fifth and the sixth class period s at Sunshine Middle School, which took place from 1:40 p.m. to 3: 30 p.m. She
102 always had her class spen d 20 minutes on sustained silent reading (SSR). S tudent s cho se the book s they want ed to read in either paperback or audio book form Then student s wrote in their reading logs about what they read before they started the READ 180 rotation. The READ 180 materials in Ms. Anderson s ESOL class included a classroom storage unit with paperback books and audio books. The audio books prov ide CDs that narrate the book to students while they read along with the book on screen. Ms. Anderson only adopted the rotation aspect of READ 180 (see Table 4 3) into her ESOL curriculum. After the class filled in student reading logs, she announced wh at Skill section they would do for the day before the READ 180 rotation started. Then one third of the students went to the computer s one third of the students worked in a small group with the teacher, and one -third of the students work ed on previously a ssigned tasks or independent reading In s mall g roup work, Ms. Anderson provided READ 180 instructions for using rBook s During my data collection period, she went through the first two chapters of the rBook for middle school students: The New American s a nd The Disaster Lesson Also, during Small Group work she provided feedback to students on their reading logs. In the Skill section, Ms. Anderson asked her students to work on both READ 180 and non READ 180related task s The nonREAD 180 task s can be a nything from spelling tests to nonREAD 180 writing. With the exception of the use of READ 180 software program, Ms. Anderson s class did not use technology very often During my visits, she displayed some photos to the class and the video clip that stude nts made for the multicultural week through the TV. However, the class did
103 not have to learn to videotape because the staff at the media center at the Sunshine Middle School made it for them. Table 4 3. A typical routine of Ms. Anderson s ESOL class 1: 40 p.m. Class begins Student Task 1:45 p.m. Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) Students chose to read books, either READ 180 or non READ 180 related. 2:05 p.m. Reading logs Students filled out their own reading logs. 2: 10 p.m. READ 180 Rotation (1) St udents began with the three stage rotation Computer, Small Group, and Skill. 2: 30 p.m. READ 180 Rotation (2) 2: 50 p.m. READ 180 Rotation (3) 3: 10~3:20 p.m. Class a nnouncements 3: 30 p.m. Class dismissed The following table (Table 4 4) indic ates the four participants reading activity including READ 180 and nonREAD 180 books based on students reading logs from November 2008 to January 2009. All of the participants had read both READ 180 books and non -READ 180 books For example, Eva, had read READ 180 paperback books and non-READ 180 books, such as Inkspell (Funke 2007) and the popular teen fiction, Twilight (Meyer, 2008) Isabel had read only two READ 180 books Love Letters and The Good Fight but she had read six non READ 180 books such as Dacey s Song (Voigt, 2003) and Homecoming (Voigt, 2003). Marco, had read f ive READ 180 books and one nonREAD 180 book, en titled From Amigos to Friends (Garcia 1997). Xiao Nan had most ly read READ 180 books with the except ion of Rave Master (Mas hima 2003). Both Eva and Isabel read more non READ 180 books than READ 180 books preferring popular fiction, whereas Marco and Xiao Nan read more READ 180 books. What is interesting to note is that the non READ 180 book that Marco read was culturally re levant in that it portrayed immigrant experiences in the United States. Pelayo Pete Garcia s (1997) From Amigos to Friends describes a Cuban child s exile experience to the U.S.
104 Table 4 4. An overview of participants reading ( Based on students reading logs ) Participants READ 180 B ooks ( Paperbacks & A udio books) Non READ 180 Books Eva Money Hungry Love Letters and Other Stories Wait until Dark: Tales of Suspense Classic Tales of Terror The Mighty Inkspell New Moon Eclipse Isabel Love Lette rs and Other Stories The Good Fight: Stories about Real Heroes Twilight Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Diceys Song Homecoming Ruby Holler Princess Academy Marco Daniels Story Odd Job Frankenstein (Graphic novels) Jane Eyre (Graphic novels) The Star Fisher From Amigos to Friends X iao Nan Classic Tales of Terror Creatures Infest Local School! Daniels Story Rave Master Conclusions Based on the interview, observational and archival data collected in this investigation this chapter provid es a detailed description about the context of this study, including the school context, the daily practice of ESOL class, the s t udents literacy practice s with and without technology and the descriptions of the components of the READ 180 reading program. The context showed that the participants selected to read numerous books as part of their everyday literacy practices. T he next chapter will delineate the studys most significant findings.
105 CHAPTER 5 FINDINGS Introduction The purpose of th is study was t o show an understanding of the ways in which adolescent English Language Learners (ELLs) perceive d the use of the READ 180 software program Th is understanding was made through my exploration of the READ 180 software program and the books being used by ad olescent ELLs in their ESOL classrooms The data that I collected from each student, including student interviews, were analyzed using grounded theory methods It should be noted that the finding s may be influenced by the imbalance of power dynamic betwe en adults and teenagers (Eder & Fingerson, 2003). While there may be multiple data interpretations, the interpretations are subject ive to the researcher, who co -constructed the knowledge of the data emerging from the study with her participants. To elimi nate my subjective bias, I provide an alternative interpretation to some elements of my findings. In this chapter, I provide a theory diagram in order to present how adolescent ELLs interviewed in this study perceived the use of READ 180. Theory of the Ways in Which Adolescent ELLs Perceive the Use of READ 180 The theory diagram ( Figure 5 .1) below illustrates the context of the ways in which adolescent ELLs described their learning experiences while using the READ 180 reading intervention. The theory i s based on the 14 selective codes developed during the data analysis process as described in Chapter 3. The diagram show s the core category as Differentiated Learning. I described Differentiat ed Learning with respect to the degree in which the READ 180 p rogram differentiated instruction for ELLs needs, abilities, and interest s The cultural and linguistic backgrounds of ELLs shaped their perceptions and experiences while using READ 180.
106 In addition to their cultur al and linguistic experiences students reported that the use of technology in READ 180, including software and audio books, also provided an individualized learning environment that met ELLs needs and interest to keep them engaged. I categorized the 14 selective codes that reflected students needs into three overarching groups: culture, language and technology. The way s in which the adolescent ELLs perceived READ 180 and the degree to which it differentiated their learning were multi -faceted and multi dimensional. I made an attempt to use the two aspects ( responsive and non -responsive) to present the theory of how READ 180 responded to the needs of ELLs. The responsive aspect of READ 180 illustrates how the program responded to the needs and interest of ELLs. S tudents cultural needs inc lud ed the ways in which READ 180 responded to some students cultural backgrounds and their immigrant experiences. READ 180 responded to their linguistic needs by providing repeated reading practice and scaffolds students learning on both decoding and com prehension. T he integration of technology in READ 180 provided an incentive to motivate ELLs and synchronized their learning pace s with choices and feedback. T he non responsive aspect of READ 180 illustrates how the program failed to respond to the uni que cultural and linguistic needs of ELLs. ELLs were disengaged due to the cultural conflict created by their interaction with the programs materials the lack of culturally relevant materials and the lack of connection to their prior knowledge. T he reading comprehension difficulties encountered by the participants suggested that they need ed more support for comprehension. Lower level ELLs desired more opportunities for conversational learning. Technology did not sufficiently synchronize their learni ng pace because of limited choice, inaccurate feedback, and r edundant auditory supports.
107 In this chapter, I argue that READ 180 responded to the general needs of ELLs, yet the program failed to respond to their unique cultural and linguistic needs and int erests. Additionally, ELLs identified the technological aspect of READ 180 (software and audio books) as an incentive to motivate them with learning. However, the findings from this study showed that the students were already intrinsically motivated to le arn English and engaged in reading activities in their everyday practices. o Cultural Identities o Identity Conflict o The Lack of Culturally Relevant Materials o Not Connecting to Prior Knowledge o Experiencing Reading Comprehension Difficulties o Need for Conversational Learning Not synchronizing learning Pace Understanding Immigrant Experiences o English Language System o Scaffolding Strategies o Repeated Reading o Motivation o Synchronizing Learning Pace Differentiated Learning CULTURE LANGUAGE TECHNOLOGYNonresponsive Responsive Figure 5 1. Theory of the ways in which adolescent English Language Learners perceive the use of the READ 180 reading program The following se ction b egins with a description of the responsive aspect with respect to differentiated learning and culture, language, and technology, for ELLs using READ 180. Then I move on to dis cuss the non -responsive aspect with the equal three dimensions. The heading ind icate s selective codes and the words in bold within the text indicate the focused codes (see Chapter 3). Responsive: Culture -Understanding Immigrant Experiences Culture shapes the ways in which one thinks and acts. In the learning context, what one bring s from his or her culture influences his or her knowledge construction process As a
108 demonstration of distinguishing ELLs from mainstream English native speakers, READ 180 met ELLs cultural needs by echoing immigrant s experiences in the United States in the New Americans lesson. The portrayal of difficult life experience s was familiar to these ELLs and they were intrinsically interested in learning about it. Difficult lives: The New Americans lesson of READ 180 (see Chapter 4) contributed to respondi ng to ELLs culture by providing an opportunity for the ELLs to reflect on their immigrant experiences in the United States Indeed, ELLs appeared to be interested in learning about similar difficult life experiences that other immigrants had encountered Participants described how some of the challenges they encountered were similar to those portrayed in the lesson, and they were interested in learning about other immigrants. Participants described the difficult lives that immigrants face in the New A mericans l es son of READ 180, such as speaking limited English and experiencing an isolated social life. Isabel described the life of a teenage girl featured in READ 180 materials, who came to the U nited States as an immigrant : It [READ 180] said that eve rything she is going through, like, she doesnt know about English and she wants to go back. Because she is an immigrant and all that, and starting all over is like hard for other people and I think thats the one (Isabel, 12/19/08) Eva agreed with the wa y in which READ 180 portray ed the arduous li ves of an immigrant, Yeah. When you are new to a country, its hard and tough, echoing her life experiences when she first came to the United States (Eva, 12/15/08). Xiao Nan also agreed : Their [ i mmigrants] life is tough. () (Xiao Nan, 12/15/08) Isabel agreed with h im stating that the first year it was hard and I didnt know much English. (Isabel, 12/04/08). Marco added : Like you dont have friends. [There is] Nobody to help [you]. Eva added that, Making friends is hard too (Eva, 12/15/08). Addressing newcomers who try to keep up with
109 their peers, Eva expressed : You wanna do good but you just dont know what they [her peers] are doing The four ELLs all argued that the challenges t hey faced when they arrived in the United States were similar to the experiences featured in the New Americans lesson. Interest in learning about other immigrants: As immigrant s in the United States these adolescent ELL s described their interest in learn ing about other immigrants who came from other countries and understand ing how they acclimated to life in the United States For example, feeling that he was not alone, Marco described his fondness for learning about immigrants : [It s] g ood c ause I lear n more [from] immigrants [who] are coming here (Marco, 11/25/08) Marco continued : They [READ 180] talk about how its like to be an immigrant here; [it] was really hard. The [airplane] flight was really long and everything [they said was] right. It w as long. [Making friends is hard, too.] Really hard to fit in (Marco, 12/11/08). At the same time, learning about the experiences of other immigrants seemed to reassure the ELLS about their own immigrant identities. Isabel said that it was really cool to learn about other immigrant s and know how [ what ] they go through (Isabel, 12/04/08). She learned that people from different countries have different experiences as they immigrate to the U.S. For Eva and Isabel, both native Puerto Ricans this was particularly interesting because, Puerto Ricans are automatically citizens of the United States, (Isabel, 12/04/08) and they sense d their privilege (Eva, 12/15/08) over the other immigrants described in the READ 180 unit on immigrants Eva also mentioned that she learned about immigrants in a class discussion with the teacher : I ... like being with the teacher cause we get to read from books and know about immigrants and stuff like that (Eva, 11/25/08). Thus the materials in READ 180, especially the New Americans lesson, encouraged the ELLs to learn English by connecting the content to their cultural experiences.
110 Responsive: Language READ 180 responded to participants linguistic needs in three ways: f irst, it helped ELLs build on their knowledge of English language system, including decoding, spelling, word pattern identification, and word meaning. Next, it provided a variety of scaffolding strategies, including visual, auditory, identifying the main ideas, and questioning. Finally, it promoted ELL s reading proficiency through repeated reading practices to promote both fluency and understanding. In this way, the phonological processing language skills were emphasized to promote reading with drill and practices. English Language System READ 180 re sponded to ELLs learning needs by helping ELLs to learn about the English language system. Participants identif ied the ways in which READ 180 responded to their linguistic needs by helping them understanding the letter -sound connection and the structure of English words through practice. It also assisted them in approaching the meaning s of words. Participants also focused on exploring the meanings and patterns of English words with READ 180. The findings of this study indicated that READ 180 provided strategies for understanding English language us age includ ing the following areas: (1) decoding, (2) spelling, (3) word pattern identification, and (4) word meaning. Decoding: Decoding is a process in which students conver t written symbols into sounds and subsequent meanings. All four participants said that READ 180 helped them to explore the sound system of the English language so that they knew how to say the word (Isabel, 12/01/08). Xiao Nan specifically pointed out that the Word Zone section (se e Chapter 4) helped him with words by offering him the opportunity for repetition (Xiao Nan, 12/01/08). Marco believed that if he knew how to say a word he could read faster than before (Marco, 12/19/08). Isabel commented that w orking with the READ 180 computer software allowed her to improve
111 her decoding skills : I f you dont understand the word, its like you can have a person read with you, so you can see how it is pronounced (Isabel, 01/21/09). For example, some of the participants described how t his function helped them to identify word segments by deconstructing a word into syllables. Isabel used her name as an example stating that, my name is like I -SA -BEL, like three parts (Isabel, 01/21/09). Sometimes in the Word Zone, they separate word s like...you know when you have to put two words togethe r [a compound word ] (Eva, 01/21/09). Referring to another decoding strategy, Isabel described how word recognition practice provided by READ 180 helped her, Because in Word Zone, they [READ 180] give you a list, they tell you the word but you have to look for it in a list, its like a lot of words looked alike. So you have to find the right one that is spelled This process specifically target ed word sounds rather than meaning s Spelling: REA D 180 responded to ELLs linguistic needs by providing opportunities for students to practice spelling. All of the participants described how READ 180 helped them learn how to spell words (Eva, 11/25/08; Isabel, 12/01/08; Xiao Nan, 11/25/08), particular ly words that are long (Isabel, 01/21/09) or difficult to spell (Eva, 12/19/08). For example, instant computer feedback that informed them if they ha d misspelled a word was seen by the study participants as helping them t he most Isabel commented tha t, I n Spelling Zone, they tell you the word, and you have to spell it. And if you dont spell it right, they will give you other chances (Isabel, 01/21/09). T he READ 180 program also offered the students tips on how to spell words correctly by opening up a small window and telling users the right way to spell them (Marco, 12/19/08). Their fondness for spelling aids will be further explored later.
112 Identifying the word patter ns: Participants reported that they learn ed word meaning s by identifying the word patterns of English. This practice help ed them to organize the words that already existed in their individual knowledge base s (Isabel, 12/04/08). I have a way to see it [a word] when I finish (Isabel, 12/04/08). They specified the ways in which words can be organized through the use of rBook, such as antonyms and synonyms (Xiao Nan, 12/01/08), prefix and suffix (Eva, 01/27/09), t he future tense and the present tense of a word (Isabel, 12/04/08). This opportunity for practice greatly enhan ced students learning as they explained that they always got future and past tense mix up (Isabel, 12/19/08) or got [it] wrong (Marco, 12/19/08). Word meanings: Participants also focus ed on word meaning s with READ 180 As Eva reported, they give you a good definition (Eva, 01/21/09). Marco was also pleased that READ 180 provide d effective explanations o f words: They [READ 180] explain really good, like, say for example, I press the word, I accidentally press the word very they say very. Ver y means much, not....they explain so good that I understand better than I did last time...than my dad told me (laugh) (Marco, 01/21/09) However, perhaps because of their more advanced language proficiency in English, Eva and Isabel said that they did not often use that part of READ 180. Instead, they click ed on words in order to understand their meanings, I use it [clicking on words] once in a while cause sometimes it [a reading passage] has words Ive not heard before so I just click for what it mean s and it really helps (Eva, 01/21/09). I only do it [click on the Word Definition button] for really long words (Isabel, 01/21/09). Some participants stated that they learned to predict meanings of words within a sentence by using contextual cues Thi s strategy demonstrated cognitive thinking with i nductive reasoning. For example, Eva said that i f you dont know what it means, you can find out what
113 it means by how it is made [placed ] in a sentence (Eva, 11/25/08). Xiao Nan perceived contextual mea ning in READ 180 helpful as a way to understand word meaning s in a sentence, there are words Ive seen before and I just forget, [ but if I see it in the context of a sentence ] Ill know their meaning in that sentence. ( ) (Xiao, 12/03/08). Marco jokingly said that he learned to understand a word contextually, but if that s the only word I get, I would get it zero (Marco, 12/19/08). Scaffolding Strategies The way in which READ 180 responded most effectively to ELLs linguistic needs was with scaffolding strategies that deepen ed their levels of comprehension. In this section, the four adolescent ELLs perceived that the READ 180 materials met their linguistic needs by providing various strategies as scaffolds to help them comprehend/understand a text. These strategies provided additional support to engage them in language learning. The findings that illustrated how READ 180 provides scaffolding strategies for understanding were comprised of the following areas : (1) visual aids ; (2) auditory aids ; (3) identifying the main idea ; and (4) questioning. Visual aids: Providing visual aids was a way that READ 180 offered scaffold ing for ELLs by promoting their understanding of a text. Marco and Xiao Nan acknowledge d that READ 18 0 provided visual aids, including videos and pictures, for increased understanding. Marco described how he made connections between the video and the text, c ause in Snowboarding [a session of CD topic of READ 180] it shows me that snowboarding is a spor t that is really an extreme sport so I start thinking about sports. Its really cool. (Marco, 01/21/09) W i th his limited English, Marco explicitly described how the video provided in READ 180 support ed his understanding of the text:
114 The video makes the topic and me [connects me to the topic] without reading. And then when I read it, I make my own topic [I connect to the topic] but its based on the video and what I read. And then I answer the questions so they are [become] really easy. (Marco, 01/21/ 09) The use of g raphic n ovel s (illustrated books) was another awesome form of visual aid that READ 180 provided (Marco, 11/25/08). Xiao Nan also indicated that he enjoyed reading the graphic novel Moby Dick because it is graphic. () (Xiao Nan, 12/03/08) Indeed, both of them perceive d that visual aid s were an advantage with READ 180 (Marco, 01/27/09). Furthermore, Eva described the ways in which videos engaged her in reading : It does make the story of the book interest ing...the way they say it makes you wanna read it (Eva, 12/19/08). Auditory aids: The use of auditory aids was a strategy that READ 180 used as scaffold ing for ELLs by promoting their understanding of a text. These auditory aid s w ere perceived as more v aluable for beginningor intermediate level ELLs, Xiao Nan and Marco, than for advanced ones. Both Xiao Nan and Marco expressed that t he narration of an audio CD helped the ELLs to comprehend better the text. The advanced level ELLs, Eva and Isabel, we re not interested in using audio CD s at all an issue that I will discuss later in the technology section. Xiao Nan reported that t he audio CD has another voice that tells you how s/he thinks of this reading and it helps me understand. ( [audio CD ] ) (Xiao Nan, 01/15/09) Marco also agreed with Xiao Nan because the narrators explain things I dont know (Marco, 12/11/08). He gave an example of how he inferred a word meaning with the
115 auditory support : Ive been thinking about the word amune1 [immune] with some fish; something and then they told me...since they say this and that, I think amune [immune] means it does not affect to something Thats what I was taught (Marco, 12/11/08). His use of the word taught illustrated how the narrator can function as a teacher for some of the processes in READ 180. Identifying the main idea: Identifying the main idea of a passage was another scaffolding strateg y that illustrated the ways in which READ 180 respond ed to ELLs linguistic need s The participants described the ways in which READ 180 worksheet help ed them find main ideas and details in the New Americans lesson of the rBook (see Chapter 4) (Eva, 12/02/08; Isabel, 12/04/08; Xiao Nan, 12/03/08). For example, Isabel described how identifying the main idea help ed her because sometimes theres always the first sentence or the second sentence but today we were talking about that its [the main idea ] not always in the first sentence (Isabel, 12/04/08). She continued to relate: We read a story together and after that we made a web and in the middle, its about the main idea and on the web you have to support the main idea, like evidence from the story That help s me find what the story is mainly ab out. (Isabel, 12/04/08). In other words, such exercise s help ed ELLs understand the structure of a passage better and thus improve d their reading comprehension. Xiao Nan also reported that identifying main idea s was an aid to his reading comprehension: we practiced by writ ing down the main idea and the details of a passage ...h ow it beg an and develop ed ..that really improved reading comprehension (detail ) (Xiao Nan, 01/15/09). Eva also found it helpful as she noted : 1 The word amune was the actual sound pronounced by Marco although he was trying to say immune This is typical for Spanish speakers whose English is in early develop mental stage.
116 Th at [Finding the main idea] help s me find what the story is mainly about. If someone asks you what the story is about, you can tell them whats in the reading. You can tell the person quickly what the story is about without having to read the whol e story (Eva, 12/03/08) Thus, the four ELLs all agreed that identifying main idea s deepen ed their understanding of texts Questioning: Questioning was a nother scaffolding strateg y used by READ 180 to meet ELLs linguistic needs. This strategy responded to ELLs needs because it promoted their reading comprehension skills Although questions were used as a way to assess their reading, this type of assessment helped ELLs reflect on what they ha d read (see Chapter 4 for the software description). Xiao Na n noted that these kinds of assessments functioned as a learning aid to help his reading comprehension : these exercises you do help you understand the passage better () (Xiao Nan, 01/21/09). He further said that, You have to think very hard on some exercises to get it right. ( ) (Xiao Nan, 01/21/09). Isabel also agreed that she thought that, questions are really good to help her pay attention to whats happening in the story (Isabel, 01/21/09). Eva felt questioning was a way to prepare her for transitioning from the ESOL program in to a regular English class (Eva, 12/19/08). In sum, READ 180 provided the ELLs studied wi th effective scaffolding through questioning. Repeated Reading The f indings of this showed that READ 180 provided repeated opportunities for reading practice in order to meet ELLs l inguistic needs so that they could read more quickly and effectively The four participants described the ways in which READ 180 integrated repeated reading activities into the design of the program for them to improve both their reading fluency and their reading comprehension. For example, t he recording of READ 180 allowed st udents to practice their oral reading fluency ; the Word Zone and Spelling Zone help ed students review
117 words ; and in the Success Zone students review ed and were tested on what they ha d learned (see Chapter 4). It was also through repeated practice that they learned to comprehend a text. The findings of this study indicated that these repeated reading activities included repetition for fluency and repetition for understanding. Repetition for fluency: On the one hand, participants in this study indicate d that repeated practice helped develop their oral reading fluency skills. Isabel indicated that repetition helped her with pronunciation accuracy : You can hear yourself and if you dont say it right, you can record it again (Isabel, 01/29/09). Marco des cribed the same experience with repetition and the way that it helped him learn to pronounce word s more accurately : They [ the READ 180 program] say once, and I say twice. They say it and then I say it back (Marco, 12/19/08) Xiao Nan also described the way that he learned a word if he saw it by practicing a couple times in Word Zone (Wo rd Zone ) (Xiao Nan, 12/01/08). Repetition for understanding: On the other hand, t he ELLs interviewed in this study noted that repetition buil t upon their text and word familiarity so that they increased their understanding. Isabel explained that O nce you read it [the passage] again, it helps you to get the basics. I think that they [READ 180] do that, so you can understand it (Isabel, 11/25/08). Eva agreed with Isabel that practice ma de learning occur : If you practice on them [words], you d o good on them (Eva, 01/21/09). Isabel described her experience: There is one time that I was in Reading Zone, I didnt really get the question, so if you dont get that, you have to go back to the passage, and read it again, so it can help you answer t he question. (Isabel, 11/25/08) Isabel explained that she understood the text better when she was able to revisit the text with the questions in her mind. Xiao Nan also commented that his understanding was influenced by the re petition of a text, and he re read a passage in order to do the exercises : I only read that
118 passage once; I was not [very] familiar with it. I had to read it [the passage] again ... ( ...) (Xiao, 12/03/08). Altogether, the READ 180 software package was successful in providing scaffolding for ELLs learning needs. Responsive : Technology The use of technological components (software and audio CDs) provided a n incentive to engage ELLs to learn and for i ndividualized learning. The findings from the study indicated that participants were motivated when the READ 180 software offered access to a variety of topics that met their individual interest s and expanded t heir knowledge base s Additionally, READ 180 responded to the needs of ELLs when the pace between READ 180 and ELLs paralleled where ELLs made choices and received prompt feedback. With the use of technology that responded to their needs, each ELL w as a ble to adjust his or her learning in terms of what and how he or she learn ed Motivation The f indings from the study showed that the use of technology provided an incentive to motivate ELLs to engage in reading. The four participants perceived that the use of computer within READ 180 served as an extrinsic point of motivation. The specific technological components in READ 18 0 that provided extrinsic motivation for ELLs we re opportunities for spelling practice, a variety of topics, and test score s Two of the participants Marco and Isabel, stated that the grades that they received motivated them to work. However, Xiao Nan and Eva did not believe that READ 180 gave them a sense of accomplishment. While READ 180 provided extrinsic motivation for ELLs to read, such motivation was not necessary as the four
119 participants showed intrinsic motivation and actively engaged in reading activities outside of the READ 180, which I will describe later. Spelling: The students interviewed for this project specificall y pointed out that the computer ke pt them engaged (Eva, 11/25/08; Marco, 01/21/09; Xiao Nan, 11/25/08). The phrase the computer refers to the c omputer -based learning component of READ 180. Both boys Xiao Nan and Marco used the word because to indicate that the computer was an incentive for them to learn, 'cause its the computer. I like the computer (Xiao Nan, 01/27/09) The computer part is what I like the most cause with the computer you hang out and its so cool (Marco, 01/21/09) Marco also pointed out that the spelling activities of READ 180 engaged him more than did other parts, cause with the computer you hang out and its so cool e specially when you go to the Spelling Zone. I like it (Marco, 01/21/09) Among all of the rotatio ns of READ 180, Eva and Isabel expressed that the spelling practice included in READ 180 engaged them the most. Eva said that, I like the spelling the most (Eva, 11/25/08) Similarly, Isabel said that spelling was her favorite part : I like it when we do the spelling. I like doing spelling. (Isabel, 01/29/09) She found that the spelling practice prepared her for the FCAT, as it helps you spell the word better so in case you have the FCAT you did get the spelling mistakes (Isabel, 11/25/08). Xiao Nan also indicated that working with the computer was his favorite part of doing the READ 180 rotations : I like the c omputer the most ( computer !) (Xiao Nan, 12/01/08). Xiao Nan did not express any pleasure with the spelling activities. Instead, he was concerned with learning the strategies of how to spell words () (Xiao Nan, 12/01/08) A variety of topics : The READ 180 publisher provided the adolescent ELLs interviewed for this study with a variety of topics in both the software program and the print materials for the
120 sake of breadth and depth of knowledge. The participants indicated that they were specifically attract ed to the software because of the availability of diverse topics. As a demonstration of differentiated learning offered by the program the variety of topics served to respond to the needs and/or interest s of each ELL. Participants identif ied the topics offered in the READ 180 program as diverse in terms of the quantity and quality of topics Given a list of the title s of all topic CDs available Xiao Nan exclaimed after learning about the total number : Wow, there are so many! () (Xiao Nan, 12/15/08) Oh my God! There are so many ....its 144 [sessions] (Oh my God! ....144 ) (Xiao Nan, 12/15/08). While Xiao Nan was impressed by the sheer volume of topics Isabel described the variation of topics: the rBook has like a lot of topics. T hey can go like from somebody got shot [hit] by the lightening, to like animals.... It gives a variety of topics (Isabel, 11/25/08) Xiao Nan commented that the topics of the CD s on the computer which ke pt him more engaged than during other rotation. He stated that, the topics are interesting and novel so I like to work with the computer better ( ) (Xiao Nan, 12/03/08). Eva reported that the variety of topics met her interest : There is a lot of different topic, like, more than one session. I really like the topics. They are interesting (Eva, 11/25/08). Multip le topics allowed ELLs to choose the subject s that interested them most For example, Isabel chose to work on the topic The Extreme Sports as she enjoyed outdoor sports, cause the topics in READ 180 are interesting like sports are dangerous but it makes it more fun to see (Isabel, 01/29/09). In addition, Eva enjoyed learning from a READ 180 se ction about teenage rs and the l egal system She enjoyed reading a story about a mother who inadvertently violated the law because she did not know that there was a curfew for her teenage son She stated that, I really like the topics like, curfewhe was arrested because there was a curfew
121 (Eva, 11/25/08) Eva explained that both the mother and the son were punished for violating the law even though they did n ot understand it. As such, these interesting topics seemed to fulfill the participants individual interests The variety of topics provide d opportunit ies for these adolescent ELLs to learn new stuff so that they could expand their knowledge (Eva, 12/ 15/08). You learn more than you did before (Eva, 12/15/08). The forms of knowledge identified by the participants were things such as world culture and science, topics designed to expand their understanding of the existing world. For example, Isabel m entioned that she enjoy ed learn ing about other cultures, for example something around the world, through READ 180s rBook topics (Isabel, 01/29/09). Xiao Nan learned how U.S. dollars were minted from a science lesson included in READ 180: I learned tha t U.S. dollars are made of a special paper with many substances. I didnt know that until I read it. ( ) (Xiao Nan, 01/15/09) Isabel reported that she learned about American history: In Reading Zone, it talks a lot about the history of America, like how long it has been here, and its really cool (Isabel, 11/25/08). Feeling accomplished: Two participants reported that they felt accomplished by receiving the READ 180 test score s, which serve d as another source of extrinsic motivation whereas the other participants did not indicate similar motivation to learn Because of her apparently high score s on READ 180, Isabel felt good about herself and said that, I feel good about that cause I feel good about myself [whe n I get those scores] She further noted that the practices in Word Zone and Spelling Zone help me build on my confidence about it [words] (Isabel, 12/01/08). Marco felt accomplished as well; after receiving a good score on a task he had completed, h e could show off his work to his peers (Marco, 12/01/08). However, Eva and Xiao Nan did not
122 feel a sense of accomplish ment from the score s that they received from READ 180. Eva expressed that a good score from READ 180 did not motivate her; i nstead she reported that If I get the score, I want it to be like a prize (Eva, 12/01/08). Similarly to Eva, Xiao Nan said I dont care about the score (Xiao, 12/03/08). Rather, he felt that the design of READ 180 did not motivate him very much and he suggest ed that the program designers make it fun when we do practices ( ) (Xiao Nan, 12/15/08). He further explained, It's not to make it [practices] easy but make it interesting, like adding some activities and steps and all that. () (Xiao Nan, 12/15/08). Thus, the findings of this study were mixed in regard to the ELLs interviewed feeling a sense of accomplishment based on the test scores reported by the READ 180 software package. Multiple goals: When asked to provide suggestions for learning with the computer s ome of the p articipants reported that their extrinsic motivation could be adjusted in a way that would better serve their needs For example, Eva described that she would like to have a prize from READ 180 for her performance (Eva, 12/01/08). Xiao Nan described ho w READ 180 could have motivated him extrinsically by setting up multiple small goals ( ) to see if he could reach them ; then h e would like rewards () after he reaches these small goals (Xiao Nan, 01/27/09). In addition, he suggested that the design of the READ 180 computer component could be more engaging by creating an adventure gaming environment, It's like adventurelike you go to an island, you make it there, and then you get some rewards, then you go to the next island, and if you make i t, you can move on to the next island (... ) (Xiao Nan, 01/27/09). For Xiao Nan t he value of rewards (or
123 goals) equal ed a sense of accomplishment H e stated that, When you achieve it, you have a sense of accomplishment. That is, whe n you achieve a small goal, youll feel accomplished. ( ) (Xiao Nan, 01/27/09). Once again, it can be seen that extrinsic and intrinsic motivation are closely related to the needs and experiences of these ELL s, as indicated by Xiao Nan: When you achieve these small goal s youll want to reach the big goal at the end. () (Xiao Nan, 01/27/09). Synchronizing Learning Pace The READ 180 software provided opportunities for differentiat ed learning for the ELLs interviewed by synchronizing their learning pace s This was helpful for ELLs because their linguistic needs w ere different. The term Synchronizing learning pace refer s to the situation in which the computer component of READ 180, as a demonstration of instructional functions, allowed learners to determine their own learning pace. Additionally, the ELLs interviewed had the choice to construct their own learning path according to their interest s and linguistic needs. Prompt feed back : The study p articipants identif ied READ 180 as provid ing prompt feedback while they were in the midst of an exercise or after a task as another way to support their individual learning. The feedback was helpful in monitor ing their learning performan ce as Eva described : t hey [READ 180] tell you how you read it and understand it. As noted earlier, all participants recognized that READ 180 helped them with spelling. Marco specifically mentioned the feedback that helped him spell more effectively th rough use of the Spelling Zone. A small window appear ed whenever he misspelled a word: In Spelling Zone ... when it is wrong, they show me the right way to type it. ... Then when I type it wrong again, they open up a little window. They say this is the righ t way to spell it. When I type it wrong again, they open up a little window, they say this is the right way to spell it... If I miss it again, they open up a little window again. (Marco, 12/19/08)
124 This is an example of the prompt feedback provided by the R EAD 180 program. Choice: Participants in the study expressed the idea that the READ 180 software offered them the choice to construct their learning. In response to questions concerning their interest s the ELLs participating in this study had the ability to choose a topic of interest to them In respon se to their linguistic needs, participants clicked on buttons that offered aids for pronunciation and word meaning. For example, Marco was pleased that READ 180 provided good explanations for words when he clicked on a word meaning: They [READ 180] explain really good, like, say for example, I press the word, I accidentally press the word very they say very. Very means much, not....they explain so good that I understand better than I did last time...t han my dad told me (laugh) (Marco, 01/21/09) However, the advanced level ELLs in the participant sample Eva and Isabel said that they did not often use that part of READ 180. Instead, they clicked on words in order to understand their meaning. Eva com mented that, I use it [clicking on words] once in a while cause sometimes it [a reading passage] has words Ive not heard before so I just click for what it means and it really helps (Eva, 01/21/09). I only do it [click on the Word Definition button] for like really long words (Isabel, 01/21/09). The findings emerging from the data were therefore mixed on the issue of student choice. Non -responsive : Culture The ELLs expressed their unique cultural needs and interest s and sometimes these were not met b y the offerings of READ 180. T he findings showed that they were proud of being part of their own culture and hoped to shar e this cultural understanding with others. However, READ 180s presentation of an immigra tion lesson created some cultural conflict and did not reflect the ELLs identities. Moreover, three participants indicated that there was a lack of culturally relevant materials in READ 180. Finally, READ 180 was not always culturally relevant
125 because the topics did not connect to students pri or knowledge in areas such as extreme sports (e.g. snowboarding) and dramatic topics, which appeared to attract learners attention without relating to their life experiences very much. Cultural Identities Understanding these ELLs cultural identities he lped me to interpret both their cultural needs and their perceptions of learning with the READ 180 program. Two ELLs, Marco and Isabel, expressed that their cultural needs in regard to t h e New Americans lesson of READ 180 offered them the opportunity to re flect upon their immigrant identities in the United States and their pride in their culture. Cultural pride: ELLs not only expressed a positive value toward their culture in their responses they also expressed their desire to shar e their cultures with others. For instance Marco and Isabel described their feelings of pride for their own culture s I like it [the U.S.] but its not as good as mine [Puerto Rico] (Isabel, 12/19/08). The way Isabel use d the word mine suggested that she consider ed hers elf Puerto Rican rather than American even though she was an American citizen. As a person who lived within two cultures, Isabel described herself: I have more stories to tell people (Isabel, 12/19/08). Marco explained that, I would like to have peopl e know about Chile and the culture (Marco, 11/25/08). In other words, regardless of the fact that they lived in the United States, they not only maintained strong cultural identit ies but were also proud of being member s of their respective culture s How ever, the way s in which they perceived their cultural identity(ies) were not expressed through the use of READ 180. Rather, Marcos cultural pride for example, help ed me to understand the ways in which he encountered identity conflict in his use of READ 180. Immigrant identities: The ways in which each ELL perceived themselves as immigrant s varied. Although the New Americans lesson invited these adolescent ELLs to exp lore the idea of
126 their immigrant identit ies some of them were uncertain as to whethe r they were immigrants. For example, READ 180 defined immigrant as a person who moves from one country to another However, Eva, as a Puerto Rican and a permanent resident of the United States said : I dont know if I am considered an immigrant cause Puerto Rico is kind of a territory of the USA (Eva, 12/15/08). In other words, the way Eva interpreted immigrants from the READ 180 New Americans lesson wa s that she considered herself a U.S. citizen and that the relationship between immigrant s and citizen s w as dichotomous By contrast, Isabel perceived herself as an immigrant from Puerto Rico in transition to becoming a U.S. citizen and enjoyed learning about immigrants. I like it [the immigrant lesson] cause Im an immigrant (Isabel, 12/04/08) Although both Eva and Isabel c a me from Puerto Rico to live in the U nited States they perceive d their immigrant identities differently On the other hand, as a short term visitor Xiao Nan noted that he was not sure whether he wa s an immigrant in the U nited States Based on his understanding of the New Americans lesson included in READ 180, he did not perceive himself as an immigrant: I dont think I am b ecause what they [READ 180] mean is people who settle down here. ( [READ 180] ) (Xiao Nan, 12/15/08). However, he subsequently changed his answer in his sixth interview While p ointing to other students around him, he affirmed that he was an immigrant : They are all citizens but I am not. I am an immigrant ( citizen citiz en immigrant ) (Xiao Nan, 01/27/09). Xiao Nan remained consi stent with the idea of himself as immigrant. His confusion about the term immigrant suggest ed that his immigrant identity was situated with respect to the people with whom he was relating
127 Identity Conflict The data from this study suggest that t he New Americans lesson in READ 180 did not differentiate ELLs cultural needs because it did not reflect their identities as immigrants Identit y conflict refers to the ways in which adolescent ELL s see their identities in contrast to the culturally relevant materials in READ 180. For example, Marco strongly disagreed with what they had read in the immigration unit whil e Eva and Xiao Nan disagreed that they fit into the category of immigrants as described by READ 180, as I will describe Uncertain about being immigrants: Although the New Americans lesson invited adolescent ELLs to exp lore the idea of their immigrant identity, Xiao Nan and Eva were uncertain as to whether they were immigrants. For example, the way in which READ 180 defined immigrant was a person who moves from one country to another assuming that all ELLs are immigrants to the United States (Scholastic Inc., 2005, p.9) However, Eva, as a Puerto Rican who lives permanentl y in the United States said I dont know if I am considered an immigrant cause Puerto Rico is kind of a territory of the USA (Eva, 12/15/08). In other words, Eva considered herself a U.S. citizen rather than an immigrant. By contrast, Isabel perceiv ed herself as an immigrant [emigrant] from Puerto Rico in transition to becoming a U.S. citizen and enjoyed learning about immigrants. I like it [the immigrant lesson] cause Im an immigrant (Isabel, 12/04/08). Although both Eva and Isabel c a me from P uerto Rico to the U.S., the way s in which they perceive d their immigrant identities were different On the other hand, as a short term visitor, Xiao Nan did not perceive himself as an immigrant: I don't think I am b ecause what they [READ 180] mean is people who settle down here. ( [READ 180] ) (Xiao Nan, 12/15/08). Perhaps as a result of not considering himself an immigrant, Xiao Nan had no interest in learning about immigrants: I
128 don't care what it says. ( ) I dont care. Really, I dont. Its [The immigrant lesson ] just an article. ( ) (Xiao, 12/03/08). In the end, the materials in READ 180 created cultural conflict among the ELLs interviewed by rigidly defining cultural identities such as that of immigrants. Unite d States is America?: Although Marco enjoyed learning about immigrant experiences, he specifically disagreed with the way READ 180 use d the terms America and "the United States interchangeably. He stated that, I was born in America (Marco, 11/25/08) While in Chile, he learned that America is a geographical designation rather than a country 's name, Back into my country, they say South America, North America. [But here they say] Welcome to America! I dont get it. Why do they say that United Sta tes is America? (Marco, 11/25/08) His words indicate d that what he learned in the United States contradicted what he had learned in Chile. His confusion ha d nothing to do with his English language proficiency ; rather, he questioned the sociopolitical im plications of using the term America to refer to the United States: I dont get this stuff. They [READ 180] say, like, Welcome to America! They should say United States not America It makes us...our country, like, a little bit, like, lower. We [The United States] are higher Y ou [Chile] are lower (Marco, 11/25/08) While Marco expressed his awareness of the sociopolitical meaning of America, when referring to the United States, he also defended himself as a Chilean in a way to affirm his iden tity as an American. I n other words, he considered himself both a Chilean and an American In addition to using the term America to refer to the United States Marco felt that READ 180 was trying to force him to assimilate into the American way of l ife because i t says Here in America, we do this stuff and this stuff and this stuff, too, since we are in America; not in other countries. It does put, like, that stuff. And I don t like [the way they say it] (Marco,
129 11/25/08). He felt hurt because his own Chilean identity was not affirmed. Marco defended himself by using the third person and saying, O ther people dont like it (Marco, 11/25/08). He referred to a friend of hi s who came from Honduras, cause I have asked people; I used to ask Hey where are you from? Honduras. Do you like when people say Welcome to America since we are already in America? Do you like that stuff? No, I dont (Marco, 11/25/08). Despite his limited English, he was very clear about express ing how he and hi s friend felt hurt by not being considered Americans and that what they read in the READ 180 program conflicted with their cultural identities. The Lack of Culturally Relevant Materials The lack of culturally relevant materials provided additional evide nce that READ 180 did not sufficiently differentiate the learning needs of the ELLs interviewed for this study The findings emerging from the data showed that sometimes READ 180 was not culturally relevant to ELLs because the content had little connectio n to his/her own culture and the cultural representation of READ 180 materials tend ed to focus on the U.S. culture. Additionally, one, Eva, explained that the materials of READ 180 could be misleading because they were culturally generic showing an overge neralization of her own culture. The findings showed that the lack of cultural relevance in READ 180 amounted to little from his/her culture/country and a generic representation of culture. Little from his or her culture or coun try: The f indings from t his study showed that there was a lack of culturally relevant materials because participants expressed that they found little from their culture s or countr ies Eva, Marco, and Xiao Nan reported that the READ 180 materials they ha d read d id not reflect the ir own culture or native country. For example, coming from China, Xiao Nan said that he could not connect READ 180 with his own native Chinese
130 culture, I have not learned about China yet. () (Xiao Nan, 12/15/08). What he had lea rned from READ 180 was a ll about American culture () (Xiao Nan, 12/15/08). H e used an example from a lesson he learned from the Reading Zone, I learned how to do collage into an art. I find it [collage] very interesting. And it s my first time to see it ( ) (12/03/08). In other words, he did not see his Chinese culture reflected by READ 180 and READ 180 introduced topics which were common to American students but not to him. However, he found it very interesting. Coming from Chile, Ma rco also said I read a lot of books from READ 180. There is no book related to Chile. .. So I havent heard anything about Chile (Marco, 11/25/08). However, the book he had read other than those offered in the READ 180 program From Amigos to Friends (Garcia, 1997), was more culturally relevant (see Chapter 4). Similarly, as a Puerto Rican, Eva could not relate READ 180 to her Puerto Rican culture as she said that they [READ 180] dont really talk about my country [culture]. She further explained, T here isnt so much about Puerto Rico. I just learn it from my Mom and what I remembered from Puerto Rico (Eva, 11/25/08). Each of them reconfirmed his or her comments related to the cultural relevance of READ 180 as I conducted the member check s In o ne case, Isabel said : I have been learning a lot from my culture from READ 180. She explained that a book that she had read entitled Quinceanera M eans Sweet 152, specified that the main character was from Puerto Rico. From Isabel s point of view, READ 180 seemed to provide culturally relevant materials for her. In contrast Eva, who also came from Puerto Rico, commented that READ 180 did not adequately represent her culture. The reason was that Isabel perceived the 2 Quinceanera is a well known celebration for girls who turned to the age of 15, which is a significant event within the Hispanic culture.
131 book Quinceanera M eans Sweet 15 as a representation of her Puerto R i can culture, whereas Quinceanera is a common celebration in the Hispanic culture. A generic representation of culture: Eva noted that there is a generic representation of Hispanic culture in READ 180 because people in so m any South and Central American countries speak Spanish: Sometimes they [READ 180] use it [my culture] for other countries cause they speak Spanish so basically almost the same thing but sometimes it doesnt (Eva, 11/25/08). S he acknowledged that her c ulture differs from other Hispanic culture s but stated that the READ 180 program over -generalized the culture of Spanish speakers. As a Spanish speaker, she further explained that words in Spanish could mean different things that you really don t know in different Spanish -speaking countries (Eva, 11/25/08). Eva also acknowledged the general representation of the immigrant lesson : It [READ 180] just talks in general, like how many people from different countries (Eva, 12/15/08) come to the U.S. as im migrants Thus, the findings of the study suggested that cultural over generalization was an issue with the READ 180 software program. Not Connecting to Prior Knowledge ELLs prior knowledge was culturally shaped as knowledge and was grounded in their prev ious experience. Differentiated learning occurred when instruction became connected to ELLs prior knowledge or previous experience. However, READ 180 was not culturally relevant because topics were unfamiliar for ELLs or irrelevant to their life experie nces. The t opics that they identified were extreme sports and dramatic topics, which greatly caught their attention but did not speak to their prior knowledge Extreme sports: The ELLs interviewed in this study thought that R EAD 180 provide d topics r elated to extreme sports in order to capture the attention of its readers. Both Eva and Isabel described they felt scared when they read about dangerous sports in the READ 180
132 software program. Eva had never snowboarded in her life. When being asked if she was familiar with snowboard ing she said : I am not at all (Eva, 12/19/08). She continued : Because I dont see the snow when [until] I was two years old and I never [ went ] snowboarding in my life. She felt that snowboarding was a dangerous sport a nd that one had to practice as much one could and gear up in order to snowboard safely She added that, In the software, its kind of danger [dangerous]. To snowboard, you need to have a lot of practice... the right gear (Eva, 12/19/08) When watchi ng a video clip about kayaking while using the READ180 program Isabel had never tried kayaking and would never want to try it as she said, Im a girl who is interested in sports a lot but I would never do kayaking. Its scary (Isabel, 01/21/09) Her s election of the kayaking topic may be the result of her interest in sports; however she became too scared to consider kayaking because it seem ed life threatening to her. As an alternative interpretation to account for Isabels frightened state the instr uctional design of READ 180 may be orient ed more to boys preference with a focus on adventure in representing sports lesson s Dramatic topics: As they reflected on some of the things they ha d read in the READ 180 program the four adolescent ELLs express ed their feelings about these dramatic topics with words such as scared/scary (Eva, 12/15/08; Isabel, 01/21/09; Marco, 01/21/09), emotional (Isabel, 01/21/09), gross (Marco, 12/11/08), and yuck (Marco, 12/11/08) to express their negative responses to what they ha d read or seen. On the surface, their responses indicated that READ 180 materials ma d e them feel emotionally uncomfortable. On a deeper level these topics were detached from their actual life experiences. For example, Marco described one of books that he had chose n to read en titled Oh! Yuck! fro m Scholastic Inc. He reflected on what he had read in his reading log, Really gross! Really yuck!
133 In notes, I put Mummys = [means] no organs They have no organs. Okay, next day I read O h, yuck! then thats how I am finishing it. The worms are really awesome. They crawl, they...they are under the ground and then some people eat those and then they giggle (Marco, 01/21/09) Both in oral and written forms, Marco expressed that the book ma de him feel disgusted as he said really yuck! (Marco, 01/21/09). As he reflected on the book Moby Dick of which READ 180 provided a simplified version he commented on how bloody and awful Moby Dick of READ 180 was (Marco, 01/21/09). In this study, Marco described a bloody scene from Moby Dick of READ 180 where people were stabbing into the whale. Moreover, in discussing another READ 180 book that he had read titled Odd Jobs he described Alligators are creepy (Marco, 01/21/09). As another example of the dramatic topic s contained in the READ 180 materials Isabel described some adventurous experiences as she reflected on the materials of READ 180 Isabel recalled a topic that she read in a READ 180 book about how people stay in a submarine for 48 days under the water without seeing sunlight. Its about how people go without sunlight, how people go underwater. The U.S. machinery ... how they go, like, 48 days, under the low sea, and they dont see day or night (Isabel, 12/01/08) Although they c aught ELLs attention, t hese types of topics were not what ELLs could relate to their own life experiences. Non -responsive : Language READ 180 did not respond to the four ELLs linguistic needs because of the diverse English language levels and various l inguistic backgrounds. Both created instructional challenges to meet each learner s linguistic needs. Beginning level learners needed extra language support, while advanced -level learners wanted more challenged texts to read. All of the ELLs interviewed encountered reading comprehension difficulties, at the text and word levels. Moreover beginninglevel ELLs indicated a need for conversational language, whereas
134 the READ 180 software focused primarily on reading. The overemphasis on oral reading disen gaged them in reading and levels of understanding. The READ 180 books responded to the needs of the beginninglevel ELLs but not to that of the advanced ELLs. As such, they sought other avenue s that responded to their cultural and linguistic needs and interests. The learner profile s of the participants in the study also showed that these adolescent ELLs were passionate readers who had diverse interests and were actively engaged in reading. They valued reading and they read books that interested them. Experiencing Reading Comprehension Difficulties While participants were using READ 180 materials, they experienced difficulties with respect to their comprehension of English, indicating that they needed more support for reading comprehension. The difficu lties with r eading comprehension experienced by these participants occurred on two levels : the text -level and the word-level. All of the study participants experienced text -level difficulties, indicating that their linguistic needs for comprehending the t ext, such as coherence, inference making, and identifying main ideas were not adequately addressed by the READ 180 program Beginningand intermediatelevel ELLs experienced word -level difficulties, indicating that READ 180 did not sufficient ly scaffold users for understanding word meanings To accommodate their linguistic needs, respondents demanded concrete examples and visual aids that supported both text -level and word level comprehension. Text -level: Each of the participants revealed in their inte rviews their linguistic needs in relation to increasing their reading comprehension as they encountered text -level difficulties. As READ 180 provided a fill -in -the -blank exercise to assess students text level reading comprehension in the part of the prog ram called Success Zone, you pretty much gotta read the passage really well so then on the Success Zone you know what to fill in (Eva, 01/21/09). However, t he participants f elt that th ese questions were hard (Eva, 11/25/08, Xiao Nan,
135 11/25/08) or c onfusing, so that they could not get it right (Marco, 12/01/08). Eva reported that she sometimes d id not know what word the program was asking for, any one [word or phrase] could go in to the blank (Eva, 11/25/08). They really don t know which one goes into the blank and she reported that I sometimes take a guess. (Eva, 11/25/08). In other words, she was not good at making inferences Indicating that his skill in this area was weak on the Success Zone, Marco reported that I guess right but th e first time, I got it wrong. The second time, I got it wrong again. The third time, I got it right Isabel found that the visual aids were not sufficient to support her text level comprehension Although READ 180 provided video clip s to help reader s understand the topic s (as described in Chapter 5), Isabel did not find the video clips helpful in identify ing the main idea as she said that, some of the video has not enough information [for the passage]. Some videos are a minute long and they tell you all those things [too much information] (Isabel, 12/04/08). She continued to say that, they [videos] dont tell you the main idea that you want to know (Isabel, 12/04/08). According to Isabel finding the main idea of a passage was a challenge and ext ended language and visual support through the use of video was occasionally helpful to students in order for them to discern the meaning of the passage. Both Eva and Xiao Nan also experienced text level comprehension difficulties when reading some of th e READ 180 books. Having difficulty with seeing a specific text as coherent, Eva described that she could not understand a READ 180 book that she had read called Wait until Dark It was confusing to her because it told you something that starts with different stories (Eva, 01/21/09). She assumed that the book was about a scary story but it was not as scary as she thought : It was supposed to be horror but it was not that scary (Eva, 01/21/09).
136 This indicates that she had not obtained adequate exa mples or evidence to see the story as scary and had difficulties conceptualize the new knowledge. In another case, Xiao Nan reported that his limited English prevent ed him from reading a book that was beyond his comprehension level but that nonetheless ap pealed to him. Xiao Nan specifically mentioned that he had avoided reading READ 180 books that he could not understand. He put it back () after he found that he could not understand ( ) Terror, when he saw that it was not [his] level ( ) (Xiao, 12/03/08). The book Terror was categorized as Level Four whereas Xiao Nan had been ranked between Level Two and Three by READ 180. I wont read them [books] even if I want to. It must be something I can read () (Xiao, 12/03/08) As soon as he found a text that was hard to understand he chose not to finish reading it. ( ) (Xiao Nan, 12/15/08) H e was discouraged when reading this READ 180 book because it only met his interest but not his level of language pro ficiency Word level: W ord level difficulties were expressed by the lower -level ELLs interviewed for this study, indicating the need for more support in vocabulary building within the READ 180 program While the Reading Zone included both buttons as aid s for pronunciation and definition, Xiao Nan reported that he did not find the word definition buttons helpful or understandable It [Reading Zone ] explains words well but its just not clear to me. ( ) (Xiao Nan, 01/15/09). He felt that his limited English was what prevented him from understanding word meanings as he emphasized that the READ 180 program explains words well but I still dont understand some words even when the com puter [READ 180] explains to me. ( ) (Xiao Nan,
137 01/15/09). Thus, he wanted more scaffolding for understanding, such as the addition of more detailed explanation s of words. This indicated that simply providing word explanation s was insufficient to help ing him understand a word. On the other hand, the other three ELLs (all Spanish -speaking students) were satisfied with the definition buttons and found them beneficial in aiding them in learning English. Marco also described his w ord level difficulty as he reported that he could not understand some words : Sometimes I know the word but sometimes I dont and I have no idea what it means (Marco, 12/19/08). When encountering a word he did not know, he turned to a dictionary for its meaning, when I dont know the word, I go to get the dictionary (Marco, 12/19/08). However, the use of a dictionary was not an adequate strategy for him. For example, Marco approached the teacher for the meaning of groundhog, c ause I didnt know th e word [g roundhog ] but when I am looking [looked] up in the dictionary, they say wood chuck and then I didnt know. I looked up the meaning of wood chuck. Xiao Nan also described the way that he used an electronic Chinese -English dictionary whenever he encountered word level difficulties. He reported that [Creature Infest L ocal S chools ] was kind of hard, I ha d to use the electronic dictionary to look up some words ( ) (Xiao Nan, 11/25/08). His electronic dictionary was bilingua l, which offered him a translation from English to Chinese. These examples indicated that lower -level ELLs demanded more supports for understanding word meanings While READ 180 provided some scaffolding strategies in order to promote reading comprehensi on, these w ere not sufficient for Marco and Xiao Nan, the lower -level ELLs included in the participant sample Needed concrete examples : Because of the insufficient aids to support his learning with words, Xiao N a n specifically noted that he needed more concrete examples for word level comprehension. READ 180 provide d word definition s that were not sufficient for Xiao Nan. He
138 said that, It would be better to have an example to explain the word. () (Xiao Nan, 01/15/09) Conversely, he also d emanded that, I can understand it [word definition] if it is in English. But you need to give me some examples. ... For example, I didnt know what bother was. If you could give me an example, like, I am working. Dont bother me ( bother I am working. Don t bother me.) (Xiao Nan, 01/15/09) In other words, he felt that his current English proficiency did not prevent him from understanding word definitions, but rather that the lack of examples provi ded by READ 180 posed a problem for him In expressing a desire for more concrete example s Xiao Nan suggested that READ 180 add more word explanations () adding that he wanted READ 180 to provide him with more explanations rather than mere definitions. He said that words can be explained to be more specific and concrete (Xiao Nan, 01/15/09) It would be easier to understand () (Xiao Nan, 01/15/09) As an alternative, he wished for some simple sentences that are easy to understand, or explain the word better. ( ) (Xiao Nan, 01/15/09) The comments of the ELLs interviewed for this study therefore reinforced the need for more concrete examples within READ 180 materials. Need vis ual aids: Although visual aids were available as a scaffold for the ELLs interviewed in this study in order to meet their l inguistic needs, they were not always available or adequate in some parts of the READ 180 program to support their text level and wor d level reading comprehension. To support her text -level comprehension, Isabel suggested that They
139 [READ 180] can make.. the video a little longer so that we can know what they are talking about cause sometimes if you dont get the exact thing [the main idea of a passage] then you dont know (Isabel, 12/04/08). To support his word-level comprehension, Xiao Nan suggested that if it had some pictures, it would have been better to understand it [a word]. ( ) (Xiao Nan, 01/15/09) Need for C onversational Learning The data from this study also suggested that READ 180 did not respond to ELLs linguistic needs because the current opportunities for speaking practice were limited to read ing a passage aloud through a recording In contrast, t he beginning and intermediate -level ELLs interviewed expressed their desire for oral language --conversational English. The reading aloud practice was criticized by Xiao Nan, Eva and Isabel, who reported that it disengage d them from reading and that they preferred to read silently. Additionally, Marco and Xiao Nan identif ied their need to practice their oral English skills more extensively The opportunities for participants to speak occurred when they were asked to record a word or a passage themselves; in contrast the participants wished that they had had opportunities to practice their spoken English with the aid of a computer. Oral reading: While the recording practice of fered by READ 180 allowed learners to practice their oral read ing skill s (see C hapter 4), these ELLs specifically indicate d that the recording practice of Reading Zone left them feeling disengaged from the material Xiao Nan said that he felt bored with reading aloud ( ) (Xiao Nan, 12/01/08). In a follow up interview, Xiao Nan made the additional comment that I prefer to read silently to read aloud ( ) (Xiao Nan 03/16/09) Th ese feelings were also echoed by Eva : I dont like to read it out loud. I just like to read it to myself I guess
140 it kinds of helps you to read it faster if you practice it. (Eva, 01/21/09). In Evas estimation reading fluency can be achieved without doing much oral reading. In a similar vein, Xiao Nan indicated that I used to do that [read aloud] but I found that its not h elpful ( ) (Xiao, 12/03/08) He felt that the read ing aloud exercises did not help him understand a text better than silent reading or, at least, he felt he needed to be more focused on reading comprehension than on articulation. Reading along silently allowed him to focus on contextual cues and to use a dictionary. Xiao Nan continued: I could know the meaning in that sentence. If not Ill look it up in the electronic dictionary ( ) (Xiao Nan, 12/03/09). Xiao Nan reported that the r ecording or reading aloud exercises w ere unhelpful because he already knew most word meaning s: I know most of the words so I think its kind of a waste of my time [if I have to read the whole passage in Reading Zone]. ( ) (Xiao Nan, 01/15/09) In other words, he found the oral reading practice un helpful. Moreover Isabel reported that she disliked having to record herself because it disengaged her from the readin g process: I like reading a whole lot of stuff but [except for ] the Reading Zone cause you have to record it. I don t like recording (Isabel, 01/21/09) S he continued that, I dont like recording. ...I dont like it It s weird and she further explained that, I never record it that much and it w as w eir d for me to record (Isabel, 12/01/08) In other words, Isabels use of the word weird indicated that reading aloud [recording] wa s not a familiar language task that she had previously experienced with and that for her it had no value. However, this could also possibly mean that she was just uncomfortable with hear ing her voice through the recorder and her complaints about this section had little to do with the quality of the technology offered by READ 180.
141 Conversational English: The b eginningand intermediate learners in this study Xiao Nan and Marco, perceived their linguistic needs as focused on speaking practice; however, the READ 180 software was designed to focus on reading practice rather than on speaking practice Xiao Nan expressed that his linguistic needs existed more in writing and speaking than in listening and reading: I can only listen and read in English. I cant speak and write. ( ) (Xiao Nan, 12/03/08). He also reported that READ 180 did not help him with speaking and writing (Xiao Nan, 12/03/08). When asked how this program could be improved to meet his ELL needs Marco said he would add a new zone called Conversation [Zone] (Marco, 01/21/09). He wanted the computer component of READ 180 to provide him with the opportunity to practice his conversational English. He noted that READ 180 doesnt help me how to speak [conversational] English (Marco, 12/19/08). Although participants worked with the teacher and other peers in their rotations, most of the time they worked on READ 180 rBook worksheets and provided feedback to students in their reading logs rather than engaging in group discussion s (see Chapter 4). Marco expanded on his l inguistic needs by further describing his idea of a Conver sation Zone : I would add a new zone called, C onversation For example, they [the computer] talk to you and you, with the microphone, got to answer and then they record it (Marco, 01/21/09). He felt that he was not given opportunities to practice his c onversational English when using READ 180. He wanted dialogical practice such as, Hi! My name is John. How are you? Good, my name is Maria. And then they say How old are you? Im 15. What about you? And then they answer back until its fin ished (Marco, 01/21/09). The process of using language socially involves cognitive thinking and Marco said he used a computer program in another class that had a component that was similar to his idea of a Conversation Zone. He further explained:
142 We ha d to put them [sentences] together and the words, we say it and we record it and then the computer says it. We check if its the right way how to say it. If its yes, we put Yes. If it isnt, we put No (Marco, 01/21/09) Marcos idea of a Conversat ion Zone thus delineated having interaction with the computer which could actually respond to him verbally. The Passionate Reader s The learner profile s of these four ELLs indicated that they were passionate readers who had strong and diverse interest s in different types of texts and were engaged in reading. However, their interests and experiences with reading came from popular teenage literature rather than from the READ 180 materials. In fact, the advancedlevel ELLs clearly expressed the view that REA D 180 books w ere not as engaging as were long chapter books. Furthermore, this response indicated that READ 180 paperback books did not cor respond with the interests of ELLs with more advanced English language proficiency due to its simplified texts. Lik e to read: The ELLs interviewed in this study were passionate readers because they already liked to read and they had strong motivation and engagement in reading. T hree participants expressed that they enjoyed reading outside of the READ 180 program Xi ao Nan expressed this explicitly by saying that, I like to read () (Xiao Nan, 01/27/09). When I asked Xiao Nan whether READ 180 made him want to read more, he said that, I cant like reading more because I already like to read a lot. I cant like more than that. ( ) (Xiao Nan, 01/15/09). Dur ing his member check interview Xiao Nan confirmed that READ 180 d id not motivate him to read, but rather it helped him understand a text : I dont think that the program motivates us to read. It does help me expand vocabulary and understand it better. ( program program ) (Xiao Nan, 03/16/09). Eva also stated that she
143 liked to read and that she read at home (Eva, 01/27/09) and whatever she didnt finish reading at school, she would continue to read at home In response to the question of whether he was an engaged reader, Marco responded with emphasis : Yeah. Yes. I do. I do like to read (Marco, 01/27/09). ELLs were also were motivated to read by searching for texts that fit their interest s Eva, Marco and Isabel describe d their engagement as they wanted to read books recommended by their peers or to read long chapter books. They described both their intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. For example, Isabel said she was intrinsically motivated to read as sh e [doesnt] want to stop reading (Isabel, 12/04/08). I wanna read thick book s (Isabel, 12/04/08). While it took her three weeks to finish a long chapter book, she expressed her excitement about having a new book to read : Its good cause now I have new books to read (Isabel, 12/04/08). Isabel continued to express her desire to read the popular teenage Twilight fiction series (Meyer, 2005), There is another book that I wanna read. Its Twilight. However, she did not have access to it but my fri end has it [ Twilight] so I can borrow it from him. He said I can borrow it. This illustrated her motivation and desire to read for her own enjoyment and as a result of peer influence, Everybody is kind of reading the book. I got curious... I started re ading it [ Twilight] (Eva, 01/21/09). Enjoyed reading non-READ 180 chapter books : As passionate readers, t he four participants enjoyed reading non READ 180 chapter books that met their individual interest s in the ESOL class during the study period. In fa ct, this was largely due to the fact that READ 180 books did not cor respond with the interests of ELLs interviewed particularly those who had better reading proficiency. For example, Eva and Isabel both commented that they do not like to read the READ 18 0 books Eva said that, Sometimes I dont like to read books over there
144 [meaning READ 180 paperback book] (Eva, 12/01/08). She would also avoid re reading the READ 180 book s: I dont want to read the books [READ 180 books] again (Eva, 12/01/08). She further explained her lack of interest in READ 180 books, commenting that, They [READ 180 books] are pretty easy for me. ... The books over there [referring to READ 180] are short, not long (Eva, 12/01/08). Similarly, Isabel expressed her lack of intere st in reading these books without a specific critique of the books : The READ 180 books are good but I dont think I am interested in them that much (Isabel, 01/21/09). Isabel further expressed that she attempted to read some of the READ 180 books but fo und them boring For example, I read the book, like some pages, and I am not that interested so I dont read them [READ 180 books] (Isabel, 01/21/09). Her reading logs also indicated that while she only read two READ 180 books, Love Letters and The Good Fight she also read six nonREAD 180 books, including Twilight (Meyer, 2005), Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Brashares 2003), Diceys Song (Voigt 1982), Homecoming (Voigt 1981) Ruby Holler (Creech 2002) and Princess Academy (Hale & Holzbrinck, 2005) Although Marco did not express his lack of interest in the READ 180 books, he agreed with Eva that they did not take me that much time (Marco, 01/21/09). He liked to read books from READ 180, particularly the graphic novels. However, he read bo oks from library as well. For him, the library books and those included in READ 180 were even because both had their advantage s and disadvantage s : Sometimes I like the READ 180 books, [but] sometimes not. .. and the library books sometimes. Yeah, I guess I like both of them so. [The library comic books] dont have color but here in READ 180 does. So thats kinda one disadvantage of the library [books ] and but an advantage of READ 180 books. Yeah. That kinda makes them even. (Marco, 01/27/09) Instead, p articipants such as Eva, Isabel and Marco were all currently enjoying reading chapter books. Eva noted that I like chapter books...long chapter books (Eva, 12/01/08). She
145 expressed how seriously engaging the Twilight book series was as she began read ing one book and ended up reading the whole collection. I ended it [up] reading the whole collections [of Twilight]. It was really good (Eva, 01/21/09). Isabel described another book she was reading: it [a chapter book] was really fun reading (Isabe l, 12/04/08). Although Isabel expressed her uncertainty about her reading abilities with respect to reading chapter books she challenged herself, stating that, At first, I wasnt sure cause I havent read a book with 26 chapters before but after spending three -week s reading on it, she said it was really fun reading (Isabel, 12/04/08). Marco expressed how reading the chapter book Indiana Jones (Jones, 2008) was more engaging than was seeing the movies made from the books. When describing Indiana Jone s Marco said that the movie did not follow the plot of the book very closely: I read the book, a part of it. Then I watched to the movie. ... I like it better when I read than watch some movie (Marco, 01/27/09). With less dense and complicated linguist ic structure s the READ 18 0 reading materials m et the needs of ELLs for lower level reading comprehension practice. This was particularly true for Marco and Xiao Nan, who seemed to increase their comprehensible input with reading a simplified text. Howe ver, this was not the case for advanced ELLs such as Eva and Isabel. Eva wanted more books from READ 180 while Isabel avoided reading READ 180 books because they were too simplified to meet her language learning needs Both of them chose to read long cha pter books from the library, which provided them with richer vocabulary and dense r sentence structure s with which to meet their linguistic needs. Non -responsive: Technology -Not Synchronize Learning Pace While technology provided a potential to individua lize learning, the findings from the data showed that READ 180 did not always synchronize the learning pace s of the ELLs interviewed
146 First of all, they did not have the choice to skip the part that they found disengaging. Second, the feedback for their oral reading performance was not helpful because it only measured their rate rather than accuracy. Finally, the mono -speed narration made it difficult to respond the diverse language levels. Limited choice : The responses of the participants in this study suggested that ELLs disengaged when READ 180 did not synchronize with their learning pace s The f indings of this study showed that students did not experience enough choice when using READ 180 software or the audio books. Although the data from this s tudy suggests that READ 180 allows ELLs to do it by yourselves (Marco, 11/25/08), some of the students felt that the ir choice s were limited. For example, Eva used the phrase have to read several times to describe her disengagement from READ 180 when s he felt that she was forced to read She remarked: It pushes you to read even if you dont want to (Eva, 01/27/09). She further explained that, within the context of the structure of the Reading Zone section, she was disengaged c ause like from the Rea ding Zone...the program... you have to read it and understand it, and answer the question. Even if you dont want to, you have to do for the good (Eva, 01/27/09). In other words, when some students felt forced to complete all of the assignments in the p rogram, they became disengaged from the materials. In a follow up interview Eva explained that, I do n t feel like reading but I still have to because it s a requirement for READ 180 (Eva, 03/24/09. Marco did not comment that he felt pushed to read but rather he said that when he became tired and lazy the reading task became difficult for him to complete (Marco, 12/01/08). Eva and Xiao Nan revealed that their sense of disengagement result ed from feeling as if they had limited choice s in their in structional options. The most salient example of this was in
147 regard to the use of the recording part of the READ 180 program. Eva explained that her disengagement from the program was exacerbated by the fact that she has to read. Given the fact that students have to either listen to or r ecord the passage s they are working on she felt that her choice s were limited: I f you dont want it to read to you, you gotta record it, so you still have to read (Eva, 01/27/09). Similarly, Xiao Nan stated that the use of the READ 180 recording device did not offer him ownership, [be]cause I learn after reading it [the passage] a few times. But I have to read it every time I am in it Otherwise, I cant do the questions ( ) (Xiao Nan, 12/01/08). Thus, the limited choice of reading materials appeared to discourage ELLs engagement with the READ 180 program. Inaccurate feedback: Additionally, respondents received inaccurate feedback to their read aloud task because it only measured their speech rate rather than accuracy. They reported that the feedback on their speech recording was not as helpful or in some cases, made no sense to some of them For example, Marco commented that the fee dback he had received after he completed his recording in READ 180 was problematic because it only showed him how quickly he read a passage per minute (rate) without measuring his accuracy. He jokingly expressed that READ 180 did not recognize whether he had missed reading something : [After doing recording], it [READ 180] says that I always do it right even though sometimes I miss something...and like...I miss something...they [READ 180] say Ive tried and everything. Its very cool (Marco, 01/21/09). In other words, READ 180 only measured the speed of the users speech without recognizing the parts that the user skipped. Eva shared this view as did Marco who remarked that, If I did [miss reading a sentence while recording], it [READ 180] wont say a nything. This seemed to suggest that the feedback for a n individual learner s read aloud task
148 was not only limited but also that its measurement wa s problematic in that it did not provide accurate feedback for learners As opposed to ELLs identificatio n of synchronous learning, the next section illustrate s the ways in which READ 180 failed to synchronize the ELLs learning. Not follow the audio narration : The emphasis on read aloud practices disengaged the ELLs from their reading. A ccording to the tes timony of the participants in this study, t he use of audio CDs that provided audio narration for the READ 180 program was not necessary for advanced language learners. Eva and Isabel revealed that they preferred not to have the auditory support when they read because they did not follow the audio narration. For example, Eva said that, I dont like when the program [READ 180] reads to me (Eva, 01/27/09). She tried to do it once but the pace of the CD seemed slow to her implying that her reading spe ed was faster than that of the narrator (Eva, 01/21/09). Eva described her inattention to audio narration: I am not following it [audio CD]. I just want to read the book (Eva, 01/21/09). This indicated that not only did she not follow the narrator bu t also that her reading speed was faster than the narration Furthermore, Eva and Isabel expressed that they did not like audio books. Isabel noted that I dont like audio books (Isabel, 01/21/09) and she would rather read them [books only] (Isabel, 12/01/08) She further mentioned that she preferred not to have this kind of auditory support : It [audio CDs] helps me how to say the word but I think if I can figure it out myself, I know I have accomplished something. Thats how I feel good about mys elf. (12/03/08). The phrase how to say the word indicated that Isabel thought that the audio CD provided more scaffold ing for decoding than what she felt she needed. The findings from this study indicate that availability of audio narration met the nee ds of beginning and intermediate level ELLs, such as Xiao Nan and Marco. However, the narration did not offer them enough choice in order to accommodate their individual learning pace s
149 Because he did not have the choice to select the part on which he w ould like to focus, Xiao Nan did not follow the narration line by line. Instead, he selectively listened to it by focusing on the meaning s of unknown words: When it [the narrator] reads to you, Ive known most of the words in a passageonly a couple word s that I dont know. I can just focus on the meaning of these new words. ( ) (Xiao Nan, 01/15/09). In other words, Xiao Nan was more concerned with his understanding of a word than with its pronunciation. Marco enjoyed reading with audio books that included an audio CD. However he was sometimes distracted by the narrator because he did not have the choice to skip a part to which he did not want to listen. He said that, I kind of listen to it and do something else, l ike, I do things like [using his gestures to show that he likes to play around when he reads ] (Marco, 12/11/08). He became distracted when there were breaks or when the narrator did not read the lines of a text but instead asked questions that w ere not shown in the book, cause there are breaks that are not in the book. [For example,] w hen they [audio CDs] go like Ding! a nd then they [Audio narrators ] said something about the book, not reading on the book. So I go like that [meaning he is w a ndering] (Marco, 12/11/08). In other words, he was only able to follow the narration when he had the choice to skip the part of which he did not want to listen. Conclusions This chapter described a theory of the ways in which the four adolescent Englis h Language Learners interviewed in this study perceived their use of the READ 180 software program The theor y, Differentiat ed Learning represented an understanding of the ways in which READ 180 me t or failed to meet, the four participants individual n eeds and interests. This study found that the four participants had different experiences with the READ 180 reading program However,
150 the data showed that students were engaged with the reading program as the program responded to their needs, whereas the y were disengaged as it failed to respond to their unique cultural and linguistic needs as well as to their interests T he responsive aspect showed that s tudents cultural needs includ ed the ways in which READ 180 responded to some students cultural backgrounds and their immigrant experiences. However, the non responsive aspect showed they were disengaged due to cultural conflict, the lack of culturally relevant materials and the lack of connection to their prior knowledge or previous experiences T he responsive aspect showed READ 180 provided repeated reading practices and scaffold ing on both decoding and comprehension. In t he nonresponsive aspect the reading comprehension difficulties encountered by the participants suggested that they need ed more support for comprehension. Beginning or intermediate level ELLs desired more opportunities for conversational learning. T he responsive aspect indicated that t he integration of technology in READ 180 provided an incentive to motivate ELLs and synchroni zed their learning pace s with choices and feedback. T he non responsive aspect indicated that technology did not sufficiently synchronize their learning pace because of limited choice in instructional functions inaccurate feedback, and the redundant audit ory supports. These findings, which I conceptualized as culture, language, and technology, will be discussed in the next chapter.
151 CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION Introduction This qualitative study was designed to explore the perceptions of four adolescent Englis h Language Learners (ELLs) with respect to their use of the READ 180 reading intervention program The theory that emerged from the findings showed that adolescent ELLs experiences with READ 180 were informed by their cultural and linguistic backgrounds The way in which the D ifferentiated L earning theory is situated within the READ 180 context is essential to understanding the needs and interest s of ELLs. Moreover the discrepancy between responsive and non -responsive aspects showed that meeting the cu ltural and linguistic needs of ELLs may be oversimplified if teachers only focus on the aspect that READ 180 responds to their needs. The se findings are essential to fill ing the gap existing in the current literature on READ 180 as none of the previous st udies focused on the use of the reading program and its application with culturally and linguistically diverse students In th is chapter, I argue that the diversity of backgrounds and the diverse levels of language proficiency among the ELLs in this study made it difficult for READ 180 to provide differentiated instruction in order to respond to the ELLs un ique needs. The Differentiated Learning theory inspired educators to rethink the ways in which READ 180 responds and do not respond to the unique needs and interests of ELLs. Th is chapter is structured to discuss the major findings from the following three perspectives: (1) culture (2) language, and (3) technology. Culture The findings from this investigation indicated that the READ 180 program was responsive when the ELLs who participated in this investigation were engaged in learning about immigrant experiences in the New Americans lesson of READ 180, whereas it was not
152 responsive as there was some cultural conflict among the participants interview ed questioning the cultural appropriateness of the content materials in READ 180 ( Hoover & Patton, 2005; Rothenberg & Fisher, 2007; Tomlinson, 2003). In this section, I ma k e an attempt to address the relationships between ELLs identity development and th eir learning from culturally relevant pedagogy (CREDE, 2002; Gay, 2000; LadsonBillings, 1995). I argue that READ 180 materials may oversimplify the cultural needs of ELLs and, as the nonresponsive aspect indicates, the materials need ed to be culturally specific in order to meet their needs. Culture, Identity and Learning Nieto (2004) noted that culture is integral to the learning process, but it may affect each individual differently (p. 148). She further explained that culture is important to stude nts and something that they are usually proud of, but that, students also learn that culture is unimportant in the school environment (p. 320, emphasis in original ). This insight about the unimportance of culture is reflected in the findings of this stu dy : some participants reported that, although READ 180 was designed for ELLs, it offered limited culturally relevant materials. Additionally, some participants experienced cultural identity conflict. Finally, topics that were about extreme sports and dra matic topics prevented participants from connecting the READ 180 materials to their life experiences. Research indicates the importance of affirming the cultural identity of immigrant children as a way to meet their cultural needs and to promote their lit eracy engagement when learning English as a dditional language (Cummins, 2000; Nieto & Bode, 2008). Cummins (2001) noted that the degree of incorporation of ELLs native language and culture into classroom curriculum can be a significant predictor of acade mic success Consistent with research that addresse s the importance of cultural identity in ELLs literacy practices, the findings from this study showed that these participants described their understanding of the importance of integrating cultural
153 ident ity as part of their learning experiences with READ 180. As one participant, Isabel, stated, Its important to know where you are right now but its also important to know about your own culture She also expressed a sense of pride about her multi cultu ral experiences and recognized them as resources that not all individuals share: I have more stories to tell people [as a result of my experience here in t he U.S ] Simila rly, Marco said that, I would like to have people know about Chile and the culture He expressed his cultural needs through the books that he chose to read such as From Amigo to Friends (Garcia, 1997) and the READ 180 book, The Star Fisher both of which were about immigrant children in the United States. The ways in which the cultur al needs of the ELLs interviewed for this study were expressed through the attempts to negotiate their cultural identities with in their new learning environment supports the research claims of several scholars in the field ( Cummins, 1996, 2001; Cummins et al., 2007). As an example of ELLs attempts to connect to the READ 180 topics, the findings from this study showed that ELLs valued the input of integrating a unit about U.S. immigrants into the New Americans lesson in READ 180. This lesson however, created both opportunities for and challenges to the identities of these young participants. When READ 180 is responsive, the opportunity provided by this lesson invited the students to explore their understanding of immigrant trends within the United States in a way that allowed them to reflect upon their own immigrant experiences A s Isabel noted, I like it [the immigrant lesson] cause Im an immigrant Learning about the experiences of other immigrants seemed to reassure the se ELL s about their own imm igrant identities However, the findings of this study showed that READ 180 was nonresponsive by showing a general representation of immigrant s that were more concerned about life in the
154 United States than about the lives of fellow compatriots back in t heir own native countr ies Nieto (2004) delineated her ideal lesson for teaching about new Americans when she wrote What is American is neither simply an alien culture imposed on dominated groups nor an immigrant culture transposed indiscriminately t o new soil. Neither is it an amalgam of old and new. What is American is the result of interactions of old, new, and created cultures. These interactions are neither benign nor smooth. (p. 319) Nietos words explain that the complexity of a new immigrant experience, which should not just begin with general experiences but rather with a deep understanding of the cultures that immigrant students have had both in the United States and in their countries of origin. Such general expression s of immigrant e xperiences shed light on assimilation into American culture rather than making an attempt to understand immigrant experiences from the perspective of ELLs home culture. As an example, Marco expressed his resistance to the READ 180 materials as he felt th e lesson in READ 180 tried to assimilate him into American society : Here in America, we do this stuff and this stuff and this stuff, too, since we are in America; not in other countries. ...And I dont like [the way they say it] Presenting immigrant experiences on the new land without exploring their past stories seemed to devalue their home culture and may create tensions for them to fit into American society. While the ELLs interviewed for this study echoed the difficult lives that immigrants share d, three respondents did not perceive that the New American s lesson represented their individual realities. Each of their statement s contrasted to READ 180s defin ition of the immigrant as a person who moves from one country to another (Scholastic Inc 2005, p. 9 ). First of all, Marco was resistant to accept ing the ideolog ical framework presented in READ 180 in that the phrase "United States" was used synonymously with the word "America:" Why do they say that United States is America? He explained th at referring to the United States as America was misleading and that he felt as if it positioned his native country as subordinate to the United States. It
155 [referring to the U.S. as America] makes us...our country, like, a little bit, like, lower. His remark s indicated his self awareness and cultural identity and his knowledge of the asymmetrical power relations between the U.S. and other countries located in the Americas, such as Chile (Freire, 1990; Freire & Macedo, 1987). This echoed Bourdieu s (19 86, 2000) notion that language is indeed a symbolic capital and using America and United States interchangeably was a form of symbolic violence which make a Chilean student felt emotionally hurt (Shannon & Escamilla, 1999). Perhaps because he did not see his native culture reflected in the materials Xiao Nan was un interested in learning about immigrants in th e aforementioned READ 180 lesson, due to the fact that he did not consider himself an immigrant. He viewed the word immigrant as referring to someone who planned to stay in the United States permanently, and, in contrast to this, he only intended to be in the country for a temporary period of time He refuse d to identify with an immigrant identit y when he sai d that, I don t think I am an immi grant. As such, he resisted reflecting on the New Americans lesson : I don t care what it says. I don t care. Really, I don t It s [the immigrant lesson ] just an article. The meaning that Xiao Nan constructed about immigrants revealed an understa nding of different types of immigrants in the United States, depending on the length of their stay. To echo his identity, a lesson that reflected their immigrant experiences should delve into ELLs diverse cultural backgrounds. The experiences of Marc o and Xiao Nan suggested that they both ha d as strong sense of themselves and their respective cultures, whereas the message s that they were receiv ing from the READ 180 materials challenged their confidence by simplifying the immigrant experience, ultimate ly making it generic. This kind of schooling experience often leads to resistance on the part of ELLs as Nieto (2004) explained
156 Although students from dominated groups might partially internalize some of the many negative messages to which they are subj ected every day about their culture, race, ethnic group, class, and language, they are not simply passive recipients of such messages. They also actively resist negative messages through more positive interactions with peers, family, and even school. (p. 3 21) This quote illustrates how Xiao Nan s and Marco s resistance can be underst ood as a way in which they actively sought to maintain their pride about their cultural identities Although she encountered similar challenges to those of other immigrants, th e third participant, Eva, did not perceive herself as an immigrant in the manner that READ 180 assumed. This is because she was from Puerto Rico and thus had U.S. citizen ship status Zentella (2000) used the term in -migrant to refer to Puerto Ricans an d those like Eva who come from colonies or territories of the United States (p. 141). Based on their experiences with READ 180 materials and their responses to their own immigration statuses, Marco, Xiao Nan, and Eva showed that the meaning s of the terms immigrant and America are both culturally and political shaped. As an expression of their cultural needs, all three students wanted their individual, unique, and reflective identities to be made clear, rather than to have the READ 180 materials catego rize them all as American immigrants Cultur al Knowledge The non responsive aspect indicated that some cultural needs of the ELLs interviewed for this study were not met because there wa s a disconnection between the ELL s cultural knowledge and the REA D 180 content materials. In other words, students cultural needs may not be met because there was some cultural discontinuity between the READ 180 content materials and the participants life experiences (Hoover & Patton, 2005; Rothenberg & Fisher, 2007; Tomlinson, 2003). This finding is especially important since READ 180 is marketed as a program that offers culturally and linguistically diverse materials for students from all non -
157 English -speaking backgrounds. Prior research however, has not investiga ted the representation of cultur al diversity in the READ 180 program materials an issue indicated in the problem statement in Chapter 1. The types of topics offered in the READ 180 software package and the ways in which the participants described these t opics illustrated the ways in which R EAD 180 did not respond to ELLs cultural needs For example, READ 180 topics were not designed in a way that connect ed the readings to the ELLs prior knowledge or previous experiences Many of the topics were dramat ic or adventurous in a similar manner to those commonly known and enjoyed by American adolescent s. However Eva noted that she was not familiar with topics such as snowboarding This indicated that the READ 180 materials were unrelated to the ELLs life experiences. Topics such as extreme sports, dramatic events and uncommon life experiences were distant from the ELLs cultural knowledge or their funds of knowledge (Moll et al., 1992, p. 132). Moll et al. (1992) contended that the school curriculum n eeds to integrate students knowledge as a way of scaffold ing them in order to assist them in learn ing a new knowledge. The f indings of th is study also raise d the issue of adopting reading materials made by corporate companies for adolescent learners, an d whether or not the topics generating by these companies were appropriate for ELLs Research ers ha ve questioned the appropriateness of integrating books selected by corporate companies (Lamme, 2003). Lamme contended (2003) Since most children prefer books about their own culture and experiences, it is important to provide minority students with large numbers of books by minority authors and about minority issues.... It is impossible for teachers to tailor their classroom libraries to accommodate individu al children s book preferences if the books are pre -selected by an outside corporation. (p. 39) The way s in which Marco and Isabel described some of the READ 180 books such as Moby Dick Oh! Yuck! and The Good Fight as being violent or having disturbing i mages seemed to support Lamme s (2003) criticism. This has called into question about the quality of
158 modified materials designed by corporate companies on students reading engagement. Some of the books, as modified from authentic literature, seemed to keep ELLs away from reading the classical piece and books that reflect their own culture and experiences. Language READ 180 responded to the linguistic needs of the ELLs interviewed for this study in that they learned about the English writing system (e. g. spelling, word recognition) through repeated practice exercises with a variety of scaffolding strategies (e.g., auditory and visual aids) (Bender, 2002; Rothenberg & Fisher, 2007). These scaffolds certainly demonstrate differentiated instruction by pro viding support for language learning (Herrera & Murry 2005; Hoover & Patton, 2005; Rothenberg & Fisher, 2007; Tomlinson, 2003). However, both the diversity of the learners and the diversity of the language learning needs made READ 180 a challenging task in terms of respond ing to all of the learners needs Some of the ELLs interviewed, such as Eva and Isabel needed to have a more sophisticated language learning opportunities while others, such as Xiao Nan and Marco, w ho possessed less advanced spoken En glish skills, needed to develop their oral language skills (Herrera & Murry 2005). Thus, in this language section, I will discuss issues related to scaffolding ELLs in order to meet individual ELLs needs, the need for learning conversational English. A dditionally, I will expand my discussion to second language reading comprehension in order to address the needs of ELLs in reading in regard to the reading difficulties they had encountered when the READ 180 failed to respond to their linguistic needs. Sc affolding ELLs S caffolding for compre hensible input and language production is essential to meet ing the linguistic needs of ELLs (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2000; Fitzgerald & Graves, 2004) In order to make input more comprehensible (Krashen, 1982, 1985), multiple forms of information representation are essential for ELLs in order to take what they have learned and transform it into
159 knowledge. Stephen Krashen s (1985) notion of comprehensible input ( i + 1) suggests that ELLs need to be able to understand what they have received through sight and sound They also need to be challenged on their current level of knowledge, but with adequate academic supports. Consistent with Krashen s (1982, 1985) argument, the responsive aspect show ed that the ELLs who pa rticipated in this study learned about the English language system and experienced a variety of scaffolding strategies with READ 180. These strategies include d non -linguistic (auditory, visual aids, identifying the main idea via graphics) as well as lingu istic (questioning) aids to promote ELLs text comprehension. Video clips offered scaffold ing for ELLs in order to make input more comprehensible by connecting the new concept to the ELLs background experience A s Marco stated : t he video makes the topi c and me [connects me to the topic] without reading Graphics help ed ELLs to construct a text ; as Isabel stated : We read a story together and after that we made a web and in the middle, its about the main idea and on the web you have to support the mai n idea That help s me find what the story is mainly about. The q uestions they described were multiple -choice and were intended to assess students' reading performance. However, the participants described they were helpful in promot ing their higher orde r thinking. A s Xiao Nan noted You have to think very hard on some exercises to get it [answers to the questions ] right t hese scaffolding strategies were helpful to the ELLs in foster ing the ir understanding of texts as confirmed by the literature (Der ewianka, 1990; Echevarria, Short, & Vogt, 2004; Fitzgerald & Graves, 2004). However, nonresponsive aspect indicated that the scaffolds provided by READ 180 seemed to be inadequate in meet ing ELLs diverse linguistic backgrounds and language levels (Herre ra & Murry 2005; Hoover & Patton, 2005; Rothenberg & Fisher, 2007; Tomlinson, 2003). The b eginning and intermediate level ELL s demanded more support in learning vocabulary
160 while their advance level peers wanted more challenging books. For example, as a beginning level ELL, Xiao Nan indicated that he need ed more concrete examples for his vocabulary development because the current support provided by READ 180 was not sufficient for him Although READ 180 introduced and emphasized key vocabulary for him, these scaffolding strategies were not adequate for him to understand the meaning and he demanded more connections between key words and their context s through his use of the exemplary word bother. He desired multiple scaffolds, both visual (picture s ) and linguistic ( exemplary sentence s ), to help him understand new word meaning s Xiao Nan s language difficulties may be the result of his native language, Mandarin Chinese, not sharing a linguistic relationship with English. As a native Chinese speaker, his language seemed to create additional challenge s compared to that of the three Spanish speak ing students (Birch, 2007). Birch (2007) pointed out that the logographic systems of the Chinese language ma k e it difficult for Chinese ELLs to learn the Engl ish alphabetic system. Hence, there should be extra scaffolds available for vocabulary learning and text comprehension for ELLs whose native language contains a different writing system from that of English. Although studies showed the significance of us ing a variety of scaffolding strategies for ELLs (Gibbons, 2002), there is a lack of literature exploring the relationships between scaffolding strategies and the various language levels and differen t native languages of ELLs. Another dimension in which READ 180 failed to differentiate the needs of the ELLs interviewed for this study was in the use of simplified texts because it only met the needs of beginning and intermediate level ELLs. The ELLs in this study perceived that the READ 180 books were rela tively short and easy compared with library books. McKay (2006) cautioned teachers who worked with ELLs that research in L2 reading indicate inconclusive findings
161 toward the use of simplified materials ; these materials have both strength s and limitati ons. One strength i s that a s impl if ied text may provide the opportunity for beginning or intermediate level ELLs to comprehend a text better through less complex sentence structure s and more common words ( Crossley, Louwerse, McCarthy, & McNamara, 2007 ). However, the less complex lexical and syntactic feature s of a s impl if ied text may prevent learners from being exposed to the elegance of authentic materials and create a disadvantage for them in develop ing their academic language, particularly in their wr iting ( Hinkel, 2003). In this study, the challenge that READ 180 created may have disengage d the ELLs from their reading. For example, commenting on READ 180s simplified version of Wait until Dark Eva did not feel that the book was as scary as she had originally thought it might have been. This might be explained by either her inability to understand the text or the result of simplifying the text in a way that it prevented her from understanding the essence of the story. Conversational Language T he pa rticipants of this study especially Xiao Nan and Marco, who both came to the United States less than two years before the study indicated a need for developing their oral language skills However, one of the reasons that READ 180 failed to respond to the linguistic needs of ELLs was because speaking practices were limited to oral reading fluency, whereas the ELL students interviewed desired more conversational English in an authentic environment. Differentiated instruction for culturally and linguistic ally diverse students begins with an understanding of second language acquisition principles showing that ELLs need both oral and academic proficiency for social and academic purposes (Rothenberg & Fisher, 2007). Cummins (2003) made a distinction between conversational language and academic language. H e termed the former as Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skill (BICS) and the latter as Cognitive/Academic Language Proficiency (CALP). According to the research, conversational
162 language takes at least two years to acquire, while academic language takes five to eight years to reach the same level as that of native English speakers. The primary implication from th is finding is that ELLs need to develop both academic and conversational oral language in Englis h. Indeed since he came to the United States a year and half ago, Marco expressed greater urgency in his language learning needs than did Eva and Isabel who demonstrated more advanced oral proficiency. The imaginary Conversation Zone suggested by Marc o illustrated his need and desire for practicing his English -speaking skills and developing his communicative competenc ies. Marco described what he expected to do in the Conversation section: We had to put them [sentences] together and the words, we say it and we record it and then the computer says it. This may indicate that he wanted to have the opportunity to use the language with the computer in a social context. The special focus on reading in READ 180 at the cost of speaking in an ESOL curriculu m is mentioned by Harper, Platt, Naranjo and Boynton s (2007) study. Harper et al. (2007) show ed how the accountability feature of the federal education law, the No Child Left Behind ( NCLB ) A ct (2001) has narrowed the language learning curriculum to mere reading skill s and discarded the integration of other language skills. Students in this study reported that the s peaking practice in the READ 180 software was limited to repetition or read ing aloud passage s, rather than allowing for speaking for authentic communicative purposes (Lotherington, 2005) Given the fact that most studies of READ 180 focused on its use with struggling readers ( e.g., Brown, 2006; Caggiano, 2007; Papalewis, 2004), th e lack of conversational language, as a significant feature of EL Ls linguistic needs has not yet been addressed in the literature related to READ 180.
163 Understanding Reading Comprehension Promoting ELLs reading comprehension is an important goal for ESOL instruction and a way to meet the linguistic needs of ELLs. The view on comprehension in the literature varie s in three main ways : top down (Goodman, 1968; Smith 2004), bottom up and the interactive model (Birch, 2007). The top -down model focuses on a readers background knowledge that help s hi m or her to attain higher level reading comprehension abilities which are also known as high -level reading strategies. The bottom up reading model emphasizes lower level processing strategies such as sounding out words and word recognition as a way to promote higher level r eading comprehension. The ideological discrepancy between top down and bottom up reading models ha s created tensions in reading policy, a conflict which was termed as The Reading Wars (Allington, 2002; Loveless, 2001; Krashen, 2004, 2008; Pearson, 2004). The third model, named the interactive model, perceiving reading as the interaction between the reader and the text in both L1 ( LaBerge & Samuels 1974; Rumelhart 1977; Stanovich 2000) and in L2 reading (Birch, 2007; Carrell & Eisterhold, 1983). Accord ing to the interactive reading model, a successful reader use s both high -level and low level reading strategies to read. Examining the reading comprehension difficulties that ELLs had in this study help s understand their linguistic needs in order to fa cilitate their reading comprehension. The responsive aspect showed that the bottom up reading model dominated within READ 180, as respondents identified their absorption of the English language system, including decoding, spelling, and word pattern identi fication. It was also through repeated reading practice designed to develop automaticity and to promote fluency that the ELLs attain ed reading comprehension. These strategies are also considered low level reading strategies. However, these ELLs readi ng difficulties may have reveal ed that they need more high level reading strategies than low -level ones. The nonresponsive aspect indicated that the ELLs
164 studied continued to encounter text -level reading comprehension difficulties while they were in the Success Zone, which was aimed at assess ing their reading comprehension skills after they had demonstrated the low -level reading strategies. For example, it took Marco three attempts to choose the answer that best summarized the original passage. This imp lied that he needed more practice with the passage summary, which was one of highlevel reading strategies. In a similar vein, Isabel mentioned her difficulties in identify ing the main idea of a passage even after she had watched a video clip that provide d her with background knowledge. As an advanced learner, Eva s difficulty with the assignment was her inability to see coherence of the book Wait until Dark as she read the story as two separate stories. However, as an alternative explanation, her readi ng difficulties may be a result of the fact that the text wa s too simplified to show the complexity of the story, particularly when she felt that it was not as scary as she thought, as I discussed earlier These difficulties that the ELLs encountered may indicate that they need high level reading strategies In addition, beginningor intermediate level ELLs, such as Xiao Nan and Marco needed more lexical strategies as they expressed their comprehension difficulties at the word level. These implied that they need ed more vocabulary support from READ 180. In a word, the linguistic needs of all of the ELLs interviewed indicated that they need ed highlevel reading strategies and the lower -level ELLs need ed more support for building their vocabulary base in addition to fluency and comprehension. Technology The f indings of this study indicated that the use of technology in READ 180 provided the opportunity to respond to ELLs needs and interest s In the previous section, I noted that READ 180 (including technology and nontechnological aspects) met linguistic needs of the ELLs studied with scaffolds to help them read more effectively Beyond the cultural and linguistic needs of ELLs this section will explore the ways in which the technological component of
165 READ 180 promoted ELLs interest level and learning preferences with respect to their motivation and individualized learning. Motivation All of the ELLs interviewed described their affective engagement with the READ 180 software. Specifically, the integra tion of technology in READ 180 motivated all ELLs with the access to a multitude of topics that appeal ed to them, spelling practice exercises and a sense of accomplishment to contribute to their reading engagement. As Marco noted, The computer part is wh at I like the most cause with the computer you hang out and its so cool Such affective engagement may be explained by Kra s hen s (1985) affective filter hypothesis, which indicated that a computer can provide ELLs with a low anxiety learning environment. Krashen s (1985) affective filter hypothesis suggested that the emotion of a language learner influenced their language learning experiences. Thus, a safe and low anxi ety learning environment contributes to ELLs language acquisition experiences. X iao Nan provided another example to support Krashen s Monitor Model (1985) that a safe, secure learning environment reduces a language learner s anxiety and could promote his/her language learning. Xiao Nan was obviously at the initial stage as he stated that, I can only listen and read in English. I cant speak and write Thus, he was more able to comprehend (listen and read) than to produce (speak and write) English T hose ELLs who were at the silent period, such as Xiao Nan may have been more comf ortable interact ing with the computer because they were less intimidated by the errors they made while using it (Hasselbring, Goin & Taylor, 20 00; Kra sh en, 1985; Swain, 1985). Learning with the computer seemed to offer the se ELLs a comfortable and low an xiety environment. As noted in Chapter 2, most of the literature related to READ 180 focused on the motivation and achievement aspects of the program as it is used for struggling readers as well as
166 for ELLs (Barbato, 2006; Brown, 2006; Campell, 2006; Gent ry, 2006; Kratofil, 2006; Papalewis, 2004; Wiktowski, 2004; Woods, 2007) While several studies showed positive influences on the ways in which READ 180 motivated struggling readers to be more engaged, no prior studies focused on READ 180 and its effect o n motivating ELLs to read However, Short and Fitzsimmons (2007) indicated that there are differences in motivation between native -English speaking struggling readers and ELLs: the former group tended to exhibit weak intrinsic motivation and needed extri nsic motivation, while the latter group, ELLs, demonstrated both strong intrinsic and needed extrinsic motivation. The findings of this study confirmed their study in a way that ELLs w ere attracted to learn ing with READ 180, as a demonstration of extrinsic motivation, and that they already had an intrinsic motivation to read and learn English (Drnyei & Schmidt, 2001). The responsive aspect demonstrate d that these four ELLs were passionate about reading in the broade r context of their everyday li ves For example, Eva, Marco, and Xiao Nan all considered themselves avid reader s as they continually said they like to read Eva reported that she read at home thus marking herself as a genuinely engaged read er. Xiao Nan did not consider himself a more passio nate reader as a result of his use of the READ 180 software program. Isabel enjoyed reading the popular fiction Twilight s eries (Meyer, 2005). She was also willing to challenge herself by reading difficult texts All respondents were self -engaged readers because they found pleasure in reading. With their intrinsic motivation, these ELLs chose to read books that interested them without being limited by the READ 180 books. Eva and Isabel were engaged in reading popular novels such as the Twilight series (Meyer, 2005). Marco was interested in reading literature related to immigrant experiences, while Xiao Nan was the one who read the largest number of READ 180 books. In a similar fashion to that of Guthrie (2004)
167 th is study showed that these four ELLs w ere engaged in reading at school outside the context of READ 180. In other words, th ey ha d already developed intrinsic motivation to read since they were already avid readers. If it is true that ELLs are motivated to read, then providing an incentive to read should be an option not a necessity as the READ 180 publisher had assumed (Scholastic Inc., 2009c, n. p.). Individualized Learning The role of technology provided an individualized learning environment for students to learn at their own pace ( Keeler, Richter, Ander -Inman, Horney & Ditson, 2007; Rothenberg & Fisher, 2007). A w ell paced learning environment benefits learners because some learners may need extra time to understand and learn vocabulary than do other s (Rothenberg & Fisher, 2007). When RE AD 180 responded to their needs, it seemed to synchronize their learning pace s with choice s and prompt feedback. These findings affirmed the conclusions from the NRP (2000) report that technology can be an empowering tool for reading instruction. The f in d ings of this study showed that ELLs were self paced with the assistive learning tools (e.g. definition and pronunciation aids) available to them while interacting with the computer. However, the nonresponsive aspect also indicated that some of the choice s were limited and that the feedback was inaccurate. The discrepancy between responsive and non -responsive aspects informed readers that they should consider the challenges of the current software design of READ 180 in order to support ELLs learning First of all, the software design of READ 180 may fall short of meeting an ELL s learning preferences. The programmed nature of the reading materials followed by the completion of multiple -choice questions did not adequately engage the study participants Suggesting an improve ment to the READ 180 software, Xiao Nan expressed he would be more engaged if the design allowed him to play an adventure game during which he could earn small reachable goals His words confirmed Gee s (2007) contention that a goo d
168 computer game usually engaged and motivate learners by allowing them to solve problems or overcome obstacles. Marco seemed to be more engaged in doing role -play when he proposed his imaginary Conversation Zone. According to Keeler, Richter, Anderson Inman, Horney, and Ditson (2007), differentiated instruction using technology involves three elements : multiple forms of representations, modes for self -expression, and means for engagement. It appeared that the design of READ 180 only offered multiple fo rms of representations whereas ELLs desired more means for engagement. Having the choice to decide which support aids they need was also important to the ELLs interviewed for this study Although the integration of audio narration provide d phonological s upport for readers in order to develop their reading fluency, advanced learners such as Eva and Isabel found it disengaging. While they had the option not to read audio books, they seemed to choose not to listen to the audio narration. The advanced ELLs reported that audio narrations were redundant or unnecessary because ELLs may already acquire a mastery of phonological awareness without the use of audio narration While READ 180 provided multiple forms of representation in order to meet a learner s nee ds, individualized learning should mean making choices available for ELLs in order to fit their learning preferences. Finally, the findings of this study showed that the self -measurement of READ 180 in terms of ELLs oral reading fluency might be problema tic. The ELLs interviewed for this study noted that the software only provided feedback on their rate on the oral reading aloud task without informing them of the ir accuracy on the task However, this measurement was not aligned with the definition of the NRP report (2000), which indicated that Fluent readers are able to read orally with speed, accuracy, and proper expression (p. 11). Furthermore, the scholarship argued
169 that the assessment of reading fluency must consider both rate and accuracy, rathe r than one or the other (Altwerger, Jordan, & Shelton, 2007). In this study, using technology to promote a n English language learner s oral reading was only accomplished through recording s in which learners could practice their oral reading skills. Howev er, the READ 180 software program was not able to detect the quality of an ELL s oral reading and determine its accuracy. The validity of measuring students oral reading performance may not only call into question but also mislead ELLs to focus on their reading rate more than on their accuracy or comprehension. Conclusions In this chapter I have discussed the key findings of this study and related them to the current literature with respect to four adolescent ELLs learning experiences with the READ 180 software program. From the findings that emerged from the data collected in this investigation I have argued that the diverse backgrounds and linguistic levels of ELLs make the READ 180 reading program less able to differentiate their learning needs. Fr om a cultural perspective, the READ 180 reading program need ed to more adequately offer the ELLs culturally specific teaching and learning practice. Also, READ 180 need ed to integrat e more culturally relevant materials for ELLs. From a linguistic perspec tive, the current instruction of READ 180 did not respond to beginning and intermediate level ELLs in developing their conversational language. All ELLs needed more support for highlevel reading strategies more than for low level ones. From a technolog ical perspective, the use of technology in READ 180 motivated and engaged the ELLs in learning English In addition, READ 180 needed to individualiz e learning in order to accommodate each learner s preference s and provide accurate feedback. In the next c hapter, I will provide a number of conclusions based on the issues I have raised and indicate the
170 implications for second language acquisition and pedagogy. I will also provide recommendations for further research.
171 CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS Introduction Th i s study described how four middle school ESOL students reflected on their experiences with using the READ 180 software program The study investigated the perceptions of four eighth grade English Language Learners ( ELLs ), two from Puerto Rico (U.S. territ ory), one from Chile, and one from China, in one ESOL class at a middle school using READ 180. Using student interviews as the primary data and classroom observations and documents as secondary data, the findings of this investigation showed that the dive rse backgrounds and language levels of the ELLs under study made it difficult for the READ 180 reading program to meet their individual needs. READ 180 was unable to respond to the unique needs of the ELLs. I have used culturally relevant pedagogy (Au, 1 980; Gay, 2000), literacy engagement (Cummins, in press; Guthrie, 2004) and differentiated instruction (Tomlinson, 2003; Rothenberg & Fisher, 2007) as conceptual frameworks to examine the way s in which the READ 180 reading program addressed the needs of cu lturally and linguistically diverse students. In this chapter, I will summarize the key findings of the study. Then I will draw pedagogical implication s from the findings Finally, I will provide some practical suggestions for future research investigat ion. Summary of Findings The main research question explored the way s in which the READ 180 reading program reflected the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the ELLs under investigation This inquiry was driven by the three sub questions concerning the ways in which the ELLs participating in this study ELLs perceived READ 180 in terms of its reflection of their cultural and linguistic backgrounds and the ways in which their perceptions we re aligned with the READ 180 objective s This study found that the four participants had individual experiences with the
172 READ 180 reading program The diversity of the cultural as well as the linguistic backgrounds and language levels of the ELLs studied made it difficult for one reading program, READ 180, to respon d to the unique needs and interests of all ELLs. The Differentiat ed Learning theor y represented an understanding of the way in which READ 180 me t the four participants general cultural and linguistic needs and interests and failed to meet respondents unique needs and interests. This theor y was insightful in help ing to explain the usefulness of READ 180 for different levels of ELLs. The research question explored the ways E LLs perceived their cultural backgrounds as being reflected in READ 180. The th eory indicates that ELLs cultural backgrounds were met in general but were not met to their unique cultural backgrounds. The ways in which the New Americans lesson included in READ 180 responded in a basic way to some of the students cultural background s was in echoing their general immigrant experiences in the United States. The ELLs interviewed for this study were engaged in learning about these shared experiences, which illustrated and highlighted the difficulties of li fe in the new land for newly ar rived immigrants However, READ 180 did not sufficiently correspond with the ELLs cultural backgrounds because some of ELLs experienced a sense of identity conflict in which they s aw their identities in contrast to the culturally relevant materials and they disagreed with the notion that they fit into the stereotypical categories of immigrants presented in the materials The nonresponsive aspect indicated that READ 180 was not culturally relevant because the content had little connection to the ELLs v arious culture s and tended to focus on the culture of the United States ELLs were exposed to topics that were not familiar to their life experience s, suggesting that there was little connection to their backgrounds.
173 The research ques tion b explored the ways ESOL students perceived their linguistic backgrounds as being reflected in READ 180. The responsive aspect indicated that the READ 180 reading program provided repeated reading instruction and scaffolding strategies to ELLs. Th e repeated reading exe rcises showed that that READ 180 provided fluency and practice toward understanding for the ELLs in this study These practice exercises were on both decoding and comprehension. However, the non-responsive aspect indicated that the ELLs under study encountered reading comprehension difficulties which suggested that the ELLs need ed more support for comprehension. All of t he research participants indicated a need for high -level comprehension; the lower level ELLs in the study also needed more word -level c omprehension support in order to expand their vocabular ies Additionally, the b eginning or intermediate level ELLs interviewed expressed their needs for more opportunities for conversational learning Finally, t he way s in which the ELLs participating in this investigation encountered reading comprehension challenges indicated that they need ed highlevel text comprehension strategies more than low level ones. Research question c investigated the use of technology in facilitating middle school ESOL studen ts learning. The responsive aspect showed that the READ 180 software program motivated and engaged participants with topics that were intrinsically interesting to them and provided them with an individual learning environment. T he integration of technol ogy in READ 180 provided an incentive to motivate ELLs and synchronized their learning pace s with choices and feedback. However, the nonresponsive aspect showed technology did not sufficiently synchronize their learning pace because of limited choice in instructional functions Feedback for their oral reading fluency may be inaccurate because it only measured their rate rather than
174 accuracy. Moreover, the audio narration in the software program and audio CDs seemed to be redundant for advanced ELLs. Pe dagogical Implications Closing the achievement gap for culturally and linguistically diverse students involves consider ing the ways in which curricula can best meet the needs and interests of these students (Au, 2006). However, the meaning of the phrase mee ting the need is subject to a variety of interpretations that the publisher and the users of READ 180 may not share Based on the findings of th is study, I will provide some practical suggestions for teachers and administrators who have integrated the READ 180 software program into their curricula Some of the suggestions are also intended for teachers who work directly with ELLs. A number of questions emerge from this study: What do the data from the interviews with these four ELLs inform teachers ab out their cultural and linguistic needs and interests? What forms of technological use would be ideal for culturally and linguistically diverse students? In discussing these questions, I follow the three dimensions in my findings and discussion chapters: culture, language, and technology. Culture As the READ 180 reading program was originally sold for both ELLs and struggling native -English speaking readers, with the assum ption that the needs of ELLs and those of struggling readers are one and the same, this study illustrates that there is a vital need for teachers to differentiate between the needs of ELLs and those of struggling native -English speaking readers. Reeves (2004) reminds teachers who work with ELLs that equality does not necessarily lead t o equity if the former is interpreted as the same as the latter; that is, if all groups receive the same treatment and instruction To promote educational equity for ELLs, the curricula for ESOL classes need to address the cultural diversity among the E SO L student
175 population by reflecting ELLs diverse cultural backgrounds. A program designed for ELLs that dos not acknowledge their unique cultural backgrounds inevitably falls into the fallacy of treating all students the same The practice of sameness d o es not lead to equity is strongly indicated in the findings of this study There are three suggestions for teachers to consider in terms of meeting the cultural needs of ELLs. First, culturally relevant pedagogues suggest that teachers knowledge of the ir students identit ies must be an integral part of the learning process (Au, 1980; Cummins, 2000). Without considering students cultural identities in their learning context, teachers run the risk of marginaliz ing their students As such, a reading pro gram intended for use in ESOL classrooms should reflect the priorities of a democratic society by engaging students in mak ing meaning of their existing world, rather than providing eye -catchy dramatic topics such as the ones commonly used in the READ 180 software program. Moreover culturally relevant materials have to offer to ELLs a way to connect their prior knowledge to new knowledge (Au, 1980; Cummins, 2000). A program that teaches how to read should invite all learners (not limited to culturally a nd linguistically student population) to read the word but also to read the world (Freire & Macedo, 1987). W hen topics are introduced, they should allow learners to think critically about social issues. That is, topics should allow learners to reflec t on their role s as adolescents but also requires a deep reflection on the social and psychological aspects of being adolescent learners. Third, a lesson about immigrant experiences is certainly an opportunity to engage ELLs in explor ing their identities. As educators, we may assume that all of our new -arriving students in the United States are immigrants. However, these four newcomers revealed in their interviews that their experiences and identities were unique. This reality which emerged from the data
176 contrasts with the definitions and ways in which immigrants are commonly described in textbooks and software programs, such as READ 180. T eachers should keep in mind that social constructs such as immigrant or America are not objective and sta tic ; r ather, they are subjective dynamic, and relate to a student s cultural experiences. Discussing these concepts with students can be a great opportunity for teachers to understand ESOL students perceptions and experiences in the United States Teachers would be wise to understand and respect the ways in which students perceive their immigrant status es; for example Marco and Xiao Nan represent a majority of ESOL students who come to the United States without pursuing U.S. citizenship. They may main tain a stronger sense of identity to their own country and culture than those who consider themselves U.S. citizens, such as Eva and Isabel. Although they are both Puerto Ricans, their perceptions of their immigrant status could influence their bicultural identities and learning experiences. Language With the growing number of immigrant students in the United States, working with ELLs with diverse backgrounds and language levels is an issue that all teachers face. Harper and de Jong (2005) suggested tha t effective ESOL instruction means that teachers must understand that the cultural and linguistic needs of ELLs vary as they exist at different developmental stages in order to provide appropriate scaffolds and accommodations for ELLs. In the following discussion, I will provide three suggestions for teachers in order to meet the linguistic needs of ELLs. First, providing comprehensible input for ELLs is one of the goals for ESOL instruction (Krashen, 1985). This should not exclude using an ELL s nativ e language particularly for those ELLs who have acquired an adequate level of English (Cummins, 2000). Therefore, READ 180 should take advantage of their L1 as a way to scaffold their text comprehension and vocabulary development. Although the READ 180 program included five languages in the software
177 components, the current linguistic support did not include Xiao Nan s native language to meet his needs as a Mandarin speaker. Next, developing ELLs communicative competence need s to be part of the ESOL curr icula because it creates learning opportunities for ELLs to socially interact with both native and non native speaking peers (Schulz, 2006). Cummins (2003) BICS/ CALP distinction informs teachers that ELLs require both conversational and academic language practice. When READ 180 is integrated, it directs the curriculum to academic English with an emphasis on reading skills with limited conversational English and peer supports. Teachers need to allow ELLs to use the English language in different social se ttings and these students requested this as part of their overall reading and language acquisition program Finally, the New London Group s (1996) concept of multi literacies inspire s educators to re think the literacy practice for culturally and linguis tically diverse students. That is, literacy practice should not only include reading and writ ing in English but rather should be broad enough to encompass both ELLs in -school and out of -school literacy practices, with their native language absolutely inc luded. The context of this study (see Chapter 4) indicated that these students had engaged in multiple forms of literacy including reading novels in their native language, searching for information, building an online community with others, and playing g ames. However, these practices were not reflected in READ 180s reading materials, nor were they integrated in school experience As the New London Group pedagogues (1996) remind us : negotiating the multiple linguistic and cultural differences in our so ciety is central to the pragmatics of the working, civic, and private lives of students (p. 60). It is with this goal that literacy education can empower culturally and linguistically diverse students. Technology As the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act provides funding to improve students reading achievement, one of the common use s of NCLB funding is in purchasing reading software
178 programs that often cost school districts thousands of dollars. However, the findings from this study showed that READ 180 did not respond to the individual needs of ELLs, especially those at higher English language levels, and thus it is questionable whether or not to recommend that schools to purchase programs like READ 180. The f indings of this study seem to confirm Krashe n s (2004) suggestion that allowing students to have access to books that interest them is always the best way to promote reading. Administrators are encouraged to consider both the strengths and the limitations of the READ 180 reading program when making executive decision s for using it in an ESOL classroom or for English language learners. They way s in which computer technology is used for ELLs is an issue of educational equity ( Warschauer, Knobel & Stone, 2004). Warschauer (2005) noted the role of technology for language learning is that of more than just a tool, ...t he c omputer should not be viewed as an end in itself but rather as just another tool to promote language learning....Both teachers and researchers need to take into account both how t his mediation occurs at the micro level and also how it intersects with, and contributes to broader social, cultural, historical, and economic trends. (p. 48) For those teachers whose school districts ha ve adopted READ 180, it is important to understand and evaluate the strengths and limitations of the program as indicated by the comments of the ELLs interviewed in this study However, it is more important to consider the learning opportunities that have been excluded due to the implementation of READ 180. For example, the context of the study showed that these adolescent learners reported that they had already been engaged in researching and social networking for academic and leisure purposes despite that fact the frequency of these activities was unknow n. For administrators or teachers who are making executive decision s about whether to purchas e a particular type of educational software with school funding, it is important to consider the pedagogical orientations of educational software (Niederhauser & Stoddart, 2001).
179 Educational technology for ELLs may not only scaffold reading but also allow s students to construct their understandings of the text (Cummins, Brown, & Sayers, 2007). It is equally important for all teachers to know how technological i ntegration reflect s their teaching philosoph ies As Cummins et al. noted, [t] he failure to realize the educational potential of technology has much more to do with pedagogy than with technology itself (Cummins et al., 2007, p. 91, e mphasis in original). The integration of technology could possibly amplify existing forms of inequity (Cummins et al., 2007, pp. 96 -97). Thus, teachers who use of technology to promote literacy practices for culturally and linguistically diverse populations must seek an un derstanding of the ways in which technology can be a tool to empower students by increasing the opportunity for social interaction, identity development, and collaboration (Cummins et al., 2007; Murray, 2005). When selecting educational software for cultu rally and linguistically diverse students, a reading intervention program has to be culturally sensitive in order to reflect the diversity of the student population (Guzman, 2002). As such, when adopting a reading program or integrating technology, teache r educators need to critically question the degree to which the content materials reflect ELLs cultural identities. Gee (2007) reminds teachers that good games are good for your soul when you play them with thought, reflection, and engagement with the world around you (p. 8). In considering the ways of using technology, both Xiao Nan and Marco suggested that the use of simulations was a way to keep them motivated and engaged. In Xiao Nan s case, the adventure gaming environment contained a list of sm all achievable goals reflect ing his intrinsic motivation. Marco s imaginary Conversation Zone suggests that role play game s engage him in learning. These ideas convey the same idea that a good game makes them feel like they are active agents (producer s) not just passive recipients (consumers) in the imagery world (Gee, 2007, p. 30).
180 Future Investigations The findings of the study inform Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) professionals about the way in which culturally and ling uistically diverse students perceive the use of the READ 180 reading program. On the macro level, the insights of the student experiences would contribute to the TESOL field in terms of computer technology helps meet ELLs cultural and linguistic needs and interests. It also help s TESOL professionals understand issues related to the second language reading process. On the micro level, the use of the READ 180 reading software program reveals the tensions between research and the production and marketing o f commercial software A s Cummins et al. (2007) pointed out current research related to commercial reading programs such as READ 180 are biased as they are often funded by publish ing compan ies This study attempted to provide evidence to better understa nd the tensions between the development of reading software programs and their use in the classroom However, this study contains several limitations and will need future research in order to continue to develop this topic in the following directions. Fu ture research could (1) use a critical theory research paradigm to investigate the cultural and linguistic bias of content materials of READ 180; (2) examine administrators and ESOL teachers experiences of using READ 180; (3) conduct an experimental research to explore the effectiveness of READ 180 on both struggling readers and English language learners; and (4) investigate the perspectives of teacher and administrators using READ 180 programs. First, using America and the United States interchangeably created cultural conflict for ELLs who come from South or Central America. Additionally, there was a generic representation of Hispanic culture in the READ 180 software These issues emerging from the data collected in this study suggested that the re may be a cultural bias or cultural overgeneralization that exist s in the content materials of READ 180. Future research could focus
181 on the socio -cultural and sociopolitical aspects of READ 180 on culturally and linguistically diverse students. As an a lternative, a theoretical framework of critical theory is recommended to allow researchers to examine the content materials of commercial software through the lens of culturally relevant pedagogy in order to view the ways in which the ideolog ical elements contained in the content materials of READ 180 shapes students perceptions of social realities. Second, the findings from this study also noted that READ 180 purports the use of technology as a means to measure students oral reading fluency. The use of recording was a way to measure students reading rate accurately with an immediate test result for learners. However, t his oral reading assessment did not reflect the students reading performance levels because it could only measure the rate of their flu ency but not its accuracy. Altwerger, Jordan and Shelton (2007) remind teachers that reading fluency assessment should reflect students rate, accuracy, and comprehension. Furthermore, future research could investigate the ways in which ELLs accents aff ect the oral reading fluency assessment. The result s of the students performance on this assessment is often misleading if the teacher considers integrating it into his/her grading system. Future researchers should be encouraged to explore the appropria teness of the reading assessment component of the READ 180 reading program. Third, as the READ 180 reading program is sold for both struggling readers and ELLs, the findings also showed some of the materials of READ 180 software program fail ed to respond to the unique needs of ELLs. Herein, I have speculated that the READ 180 program favored struggling readers over the needs of ELLs in terms of the materials relate to the decoding skill. As the literature of READ 180 conflated struggling readers with EL Ls, there is a need for studies to investigate the delineation of these two groups. While a majority of studies explored ELLs by comparing them to their mainstream English -speaking peers, few studies have focus ed on the
182 ways in which ELLs and struggling r eaders are different in terms of their learning needs and backgrounds. As mentioned in Chapter 1, both groups may encounter decoding difficulties: however, while a majority of struggling readers often have weak intrinsic motivation and need appealing mate rials to sustain their engagement in reading ELLs usually possess both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (Short & Fitzsimmons, 2007). Meanwhile, oral language development is not necessarily a concern for struggling readers ; it is a key issue, however, for ELLs. When the READ 180 reading program is sold for both populations, the publisher assumes that the software program can meet their needs at the same time There seems to be a need for the public, including program designers, educators and researcher s to clearly understand the different learning needs between struggling readers and ELLs. Future researchers should be encouraged to use an experimental study design in order to investigate the effectiveness of READ 180 on both student populations. Final ly, this study was limited to the understanding of the way s in which culturally and linguistically diverse populations used the READ 180 reading program; it did not question why the school purchased and used it. As the findings of this study indicated tha t READ 180 did not respond to ELLs individual needs, it becomes necessary for future research to investigate the perspectives of administrators related to their decisions to integrate READ 180 reading program into their school districts curricula To wh at extent do they perceive that it helps with their students learning and achievement? Conclusions The starting point of this dissertation was my desire to explore the ways in which the READ 180 reading program reflected adolescent English Language Learn ers cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Students in their interviews indicated that the diverse backgrounds and language levels of ELLs made it difficult for READ 180 to respond to their unique cultural and
183 linguistic needs. Students in this study demo nstrated both an intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to learn English. Such finding s are essential as they distinguish ELLs from struggling native English speaking readers (Short & Fitzsimmons, 2007). Although the READ 180 reading program provided scaffol ds and repeated reading practice, the learning needs for both groups cannot be assumed to be the same. As such, there is a need for READ 180 program to make distinction s between these two very distinct groups. Teachers should integrate culturally releva nt pedagogy in order to meet the cultural needs of ELLs. In selecting educational software, teachers have to consider the pedagogical orientations embedded in the software program and must modify instruction to differentiate learning for ELLs different l anguage ability levels. More importantly, teachers need to avoid viewing language learning as merely learning discreet language skills. Rather, they need to take multiliteracies (New London Group,1996) in to account by providing a learning environment tha t allow s ELLs to learn English, their native language, and technology at the same time.
184 APPENDIX A INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD OF PROTOC O L UFIRB 02 Social & Behavioral Research Protocol Submission Title of Protocol: English language learners (ELLs) pe rceptions of using READ 180 Principal Investigator: Chiu -hui (Vivian) Wu UFID #: 11841963 Degree / Title: Doctoral student Department: ESOL/Bilingual Education School of Teaching and Learning Mailing Address: 306 Diamond Village Apt 2 Gainesville, F L 32603 Email Address & Telephone Number: email@example.com (352) 8704287 Co Investigator(s): UFID#: Supervisor: Dr. Maria Coady Ph D. UFID#: Degree / Title: Assistant Professor Department: School of Teaching and Le arning Mailing Address: 2415 Norman Hall PO Box 117048 Email Address & Telephone Number: firstname.lastname@example.org (352) 392 9191 ext. 232 Date of Proposed Research: November 1, 2008 to October 31 2009 Source of Funding (A copy of the grant proposal must be submitted with this protocol if funding is involved): None Scientific Purpose of the Study: This study aims to understand the experiences and perceptions of E LL (English Language Learner) students who are using READ 1 80 a software program for struggling readers Describe the Research Methodology in Non Technical Language: ( Explain what will be done with or to the research participant.) This study will use qualitative research techniques, including semi -structured in terviews classroom observations and document analysis. A total of 4 middle school, English as a second language students will be asked to participate in six 30-minute interview s The interviews will be conducted individually either during or after scho ol at the students convenience. All interviews will be audio taped and transcribed. Please see the attached interview protocols. T he goal of the first interview is to obtain information regarding students' experiences with software, computers, and techno logy. The second interview will be based on the first observation that will take place The third and the remainder of the follow up interview s will follow a similar format to the second, i.e., questions will be based on the previous observation of the st udents interaction with the R EAD 180 software. As for the observation, a maximum of 30 hours will be spent observing how participants use READ 180. Please see attached for the observation protocol. Documents, including READ 180 program related electroni c and print materials, and
185 s tudents journals and logs, related to the use of READ 180, will be collected and analyzed. Data will be used only for this study and will not be used for any other reason. All audio recordings will be destroyed upon completion of the study and no identifying information will be retained upon completion of the study Describe Potential Benefits and Anticipated Risks: ( If risk of physical, psychological or economic harm may be involved, describe the steps taken to protect partic ipant.) Benefits: The results of the study will inform E SOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) teacher education regarding the use of READ 180 to promote literacy for ELLs. Risks: There are no known risks associated with this study. Describe How Par ticipant(s) Will Be Recruited, the Number and AGE of the Participants, and Proposed Compensation: The age range of students is 12 15 years old. No compensation will be provided for participation. Describe the Informed Consent Process. Include a Copy of the Informed Consent Document: First, t he principal investigator will contact the c ount y school district and submit required documents (copies of IRB approved protocols and consent forms). The district will then contact the school principal for permission to conduct research and data collection in the classroom. Once permission has been granted, the PI will contact the teacher and will distribute the consent and assent forms at school. Before conducting interviews or observations, and collecting any docu ments, participants and their parents will sign informed consents and students will sign informed assents. Once signed, a copy of each consent and assent form will be provided to the families. Participation in this study is completely voluntary. There i s no penalty for not participating in this study. English Spanish, and Chinese versions of the i nformed consent will be provided for the parents of the participants, depending on which language in which they are able to read and write Principal Investi gator(s) Signature: Supervisor Signature: Department Chair/Center Director Signature: Date:
186 APPENDIX B TEACHER INFORMED CONSENT Dear Educator: I am a doctoral student in the College of Education at the University of Florida conducting research for my dissertation on English language learners (ELLs) experiences of using READ 180. I am conducting this research under the supervision of Dr. Maria Coady. The purpose of this study is to understand E nglish Language learner s experiences of using READ 180. With your permission, I would like to interview and observe some of your students These interviews will last about 30 minutes and will be scheduled at your convenience as well as the convenience of your students. With your permission, I would like to audiotape these interviews. Only I will have access to the audiotapes, which I will transcribe personally, removing any identifiers during transcription and replacing all names with pseudonyms. Also, I would like to do observations in your classroom f or four weeks; four times per week. During the observations, I would like to take field notes. All confidential material will be stored in a locked drawer in my office. There are no anticipated risks, compensation, or other direct benefits to you as a pa rticipant in this study. You are free to withdraw consent, and you may discontinue your participation in the study at any time without consequence. If you have any questions about this research protocol, please contact me, Chiu Hui (Vivian) Wu at (352) 8 704287 or email@example.com. You also may contact my faculty supervisor, Dr. Maria Coady, at (352) 3929191 ext. 232 or firstname.lastname@example.org Questions or concerns about your rights as a participant may be directed to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611, (352) 3920433. If you would like to participate in this study, please sign and return a copy of this letter to me. A second copy is provided for your records. By signing this letter, you are agreeing to be part of this study. By doing so, you are giving me permission to use the data I collect from you r students The findings from this data will be reported and published as my dissertation. Al so, by signing, you are giving permission to use these data in future academic presentations and publications, with the understanding that your identity will be kept confidential. Thank you, Chiu -hui (Vivian) Wu Date __________ ___ I have read the procedure described above for the study entitled, English language learners perceptions of using READ 180. I voluntarily agree to participate in the study and have received a copy of this description. Your name Date
187 APPE NDIX C STUDENT ASSENT FORM Dear Student, I am a student in the College of Education at the University of Florida. I am doing a research project to understand how you use READ 180. I am looking for students to take part in the study. If you agree, I wou ld like to watch you while you are working with READ 180 for four weeks, four times per week I will take notes about what I see and interview you about your experience with READ 180. Depending on my observations, I will do up to six interviews with you. During these interview s I will ask you questions about your experiences using READ 180. These interviews will be tape recorded and last no longer than 30 minutes. The interview s will not interrupt your daily class schedule; they will take place after your school day or at your convenience. I would also like to collect some of your school work, such as your journals or logs related to READ 180. This study will help me understand how you work with READ 180. It is completely your choice whether or not you decide to participate in this project, and there will be no penalty if you choose not to participate. There is no money or other forms of compensation given for joining in this study. This project will not affect your grade in your class in any way. I will use a fake name so that your real name will not be shown in any of my project study. I would like to ask for your agreement. You also have the right to stop participating in the project at any time. I am really looking forward to learning from you about how you work with READ 180. Thank you for your help. Chiu Hui (Vivian) Wu
188 APPENDIX D PARENT CONSENT FORM -ENGLISH Dear Parent, I am a doctoral student in the College of Education at the University of Florida conducting my dissertation for the u se of the READ 180 software with E nglish language learners (ELLs) I am conducting this research under the supervision of Dr. Maria Coady. The purpose of this study is to understand E LLs experiences of using READ 180. I am asking your son or daughter t o participate in this study because I would like to know about students experiences of working with the READ 180 software. I would like to do observations for four weeks, four times per week. I will observe him/her during class when he/she is using the R EAD 180 software. I will take field notes during these observations and I will conduct a maximum of six interview s with your son/daughter that will serve as data for the study. The interview s will be tape recorded and last no more than 30 minutes and wil l be scheduled with the teachers permission and at the convenience of your son or daughter. I will not conduct any interviews until I have received permission from you in the form of a signed consent. The tape recording will be kept in a locked drawer in my office and will be destroyed after transcription. I may also collect some sample reading and writing work from your son or daughter. Your son or daughters identity will be kept entirely confidential as required by law. There are no anticipated risks compensation, or other direct benefits to your son or daughter as a participant in this study. Your child is free to withdraw from the study at any time without consequence. Also, your childs school grade will not be affected by this study regardless of their participation. If you have any questions about this research protocol, please contact Chiu -Hui (Vivian) Wu at (352) 8704287 or email@example.com. You also may contact my faculty supervisor, Dr. Maria Coady, at (352) 3929191 ext. 232 or firstname.lastname@example.org Questions or concerns about your childs rights as a participant may be directed to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611, (352) 3920433. If you agree to have your son or daughter participate in this study, please sign and return a copy of this letter to me. A second copy is provided for your records. By signing this letter, you are giving me permission to collect interview and o bservation data with your son or daughter. The data from this study will be submitted as part of my doctoral dissertation. Additionally the data from this study may also be used in future presentations and publications. Thank you, Chiu -hui (Vivian) Wu Date ___________ I have read the procedure described above for the study entitled, English language learners perceptions of using READ 180. I voluntarily agree to have my child to participate in the study and have received a copy of this des cription. Parents name Date
189 APPENDIX E PARENT CONSENT FORM -SPANISH Queridos Padres de Familia, Soy una estudiante haciendo mi doctorado en el Instituto de Educacin de la Universidad de la Florida. Estoy conduciendo una investigacion para un proyecto de curso cuyo objetivo es estudiar el uso de lectura (READ 180) para estudiantes de ESOL. Estoy conduciendo esta investigacin bajo la supervisin de la Dra. Maria Coady. El propsito de este estudio es el de entender cules son las perspectivas de los maestros y de los estudiantes concerniente a un programa especfico de computadora de lectura. Estoy preguntando si su hijo/hija puede participar en este estudio porque nos gustara saber acerca de las experiencias de los estudiantes con el program a de computacin de lectura. Con su permiso, me gustara observar a su hijo/hija por el trmino de cuatro semanas. Durante estas cuatro semanas, observare a su hijo/hija cuatro veces cada semana. Lo observare durante el transcurso de tiempo que la clase u se el programa de lectura. Durante estas observaciones tomaremos notas de campo y conduciremos un mximo de seis entrevista con su hijo/hija. La informacin recolectada servir como datos para el estudio. La entrevista ser grabada en un cassette de audio y no durara ms de 30 minutos. Estas entrevistas sern planeadas con el permiso de el/la maestro(a) tan pronto hayamos recibido una copia de este consentimiento firmado por usted. Asimismo, estare recolectando algunas muestras del trabajo de lectura y escr itura de su estudiante. La identidad de su hijo/hija ser guardada de manera confidencial como es requerido por la ley, remplazando todos los nombres reales por nombres ficticios. Dos meses despus de finalizar este estudio, todos los cassettes con las ent revistas sern destruidos. Adems, la decisin de participar o no en este estudio no afectara de ninguna manera las calificaciones de su hijo/hija. No hay ningn riesgo anticipado, ningunas compensaciones, u otros beneficios directos hacia su hijo/hija c omo participante de este estudio. Su hijo/hija es libre de retirar su consentimiento y puede descontinuar su participacin en cualquier momento sin ninguna consecuencia. Si tiene algunas preguntas acerca del protocolo de esta investigacin, por favor con tacte a Chiu Hui (Vivian) Wu al (352) 870 4287 o a su correo electrnico email@example.com. Usted tambin puede contactar a mi supervisora de facultad, Dr. Maria Coady al (352) 392 9191 ext. 232 o a su correo electrnico firstname.lastname@example.org Cualquier pregunta o preocupacin acerca de los derechos de su estudiante como participante pueden ser dirigidas a la oficina de UFIRB, Universidad de Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611, (352) 392 0433. Por favor firme y devulvame esta copia de esta carta. Una copia adicional ser proveda para sus registros. Al firmar esta carta nos esta dando permiso para recoger datos de entrevistas y observaciones de su hijo/hija. Al firmar, tambin me da el permiso de usar los datos de su hijo/hija en presentaciones y publicaciones acadmicas. Se lo agradegco, ChiuHui (Vivian) Wu Date ______________ He ledo el procedimiento descrito arriba para el estudio titulado, La percepcion de l os masestros e estudiantes de segundo idioma sobre un programa de computacin de lectura (READ 180). Acepto voluntariamente que mi hijo/hija participe en este estudio y he recibido una copia de esta descripcin. Parents name (Nombre del Padre/Madre) Date (Fecha) Childs name (Nombre del Estudiante) Date
190 APPENDIX F PARENT CONSENT FORM -CHINESE READ 180 Dr. Coady READ 180 READ 180 (352) 8704287 email@example.com Dr. Maria Coady (352) 392 9191 232 firstname.lastname@example.org The UFIRB office Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611 (352) 392 0433. READ 180 READ 180
191 APPE NDIX G STUDENT INTERVIEW PROTOCOL First Interview The first interview is to obtain information regarding students' experiences with software, computers, and technology. Introduction: Thank you for participating in this study. I would like to ask you a few more questions about your experiences with software, computers and technology. Do you have any concerns before we begin? 1 Tell me about yourself. 2 Have yo u been using reading software at home? 3 What kind of things would you do on the computers at home? 4 What kind of things do you do on the computers at school? 5 Tell me what you think of Reading Zone of READ 180. 6 Tell me what you think of Word Zone of READ 180. 7 Tell me what you think of Spelling Zone of READ 180. 8 Tell me what you think of Success Zone of READ 180. 9 What kind of books do you read in independent reading station? 10. Which parts of the READ 180 rotation (teacher/computer/independent reading station ) do you like best? Why? 11. Which parts of the READ 180 rotation (teacher/computer/independent reading station) do you not like at all? Why? 12. Which parts of the READ 180 rotation (teacher/computer/independent reading station) are most helpful for you? Why? 13. Which parts of the READ 180 rotation (teacher/computer/independent reading station) are least helpful for you? Why? 14. If you could change READ 180, what would you change? 15. Is there anything you would like to add?
192 Sample s econd interview protocol (Mar co) 1 Tell me what you have put in your binder related to READ 180 (reading logs). 2 I saw you sat in front of the computer and reading the book called The Star Fisher. How was the book? Was it a READ 180 audio book? 3 Why did you prefer to read an audio book to a paperback book? 4 I also saw you were chatting with the boy who sat on your right, did this mean you were bored with the book (what were you talking about)? 5 I saw you worked with Eva on the worksheet on Wednesday Do you like to learn English with othe rs better than being alone? 6 How do you see READ 180 help you speak English? 7 How do you see READ 180 help you write in English? Sample t hird interview protocol (Isabel) 1 Tell me about what you put in your binder related to READ 180. 2 Tell me what you put in your reading log. 3 How did you like the book you just read Love letters ? 4 Eva told me that she had read all the READ 180 books, have you got a chance to read all the books? 5 Yesterday, I saw you were doing the skill of READ 180. How do you feel about the wor ksheet that helps you understand English grammar? 6 What did you do in the small group discussion? How did you feel about this activity? 7 (I know they were working on finding the main idea and the supporting ideas but would like her to tell me.) 8 How do you se e READ 180 help you speak in English? 9 How do you see READ 180 help you write in English? Sample f ourth interview protocol (Eva) 1 I saw you picked up a book from the READ 180 shelf, what did you read on Thursday?
193 2 I thought you were more interested in Inksp ell because you were reading it the other day, why didn t you continue to read Inkspell on Thursday? 3 How did you feel about Marco who was trying to share the video he saw from a READ 180 lesson? 4 Tell me about how you think of the article The act of sharing. 5 Tell me about the immigrant lesson that you learned with Ms. Anderson on Thursday. 6 How did you think of the concept of immigrant? 7 How did you think of the content that talks about U. S. citizen? Sample f ifth interview protocol (Isabel) 1 I saw you che cked out books from the library, how do you compare books from the library to the READ 180 books? 2 I saw you were reading the book The Good Fight the other day, w hat do you think of it? Whats the book about? How do you like this kind of books? 3 In your las t interview, you mentioned that The band is the least favorite book. Why dont you like this kind of books? 4 I saw y ou were at In Search of Rain. How do you think of the content? 5 You mentioned that you dont record yourself that much in your last interview What do you think the purpose of recording your voice? Do you know why you are asked to record your voice? 6 How do you think the READ 180 program prepare s you for the FCAT? 7 Lat time you told me that Reading Zone is not your favorite ( Its not my favorit e but I like it. ) What do you mean by that? 8 How do you see READ 180 help you write? 9 Have you experienced any technical problems when you use READ 180? How does it influence your learning? 10. Are you concerned about your score in READ 180? 11. Have you learned some strategies from READ 180 that you know how to read better in English? 12. You mentioned that sometimes the program go slow, can you tell me more about how it happens? How does the READ 180 software influence your learning?
194 13. How do you see READ 180 help you learn science and social studies? 14. Ive never seen you using audio books of READ 180, have you ever read audio books? Why or why not? 15. In our last interview, I ask ed you questions If you could make one change of READ 180, what you like to have? Youv e said that you would like to make the video longer. Is there anything you would like to remove? Sample sixth interview protocol (Xiao Nan) 1 What are the things you do in the skill section? 2 When you record your speech, have you skipped any sentences or w ords that you dont know? 3 Most of the time, the program tell you what is right and what is wrong. Do you have the experience that you may mispronounce a word, but the program does not tell you that is wrong? 4 Last time you told me that you would like READ 180 to add more activities Can you tell me a bit more it?
195 APPENDIX H STUDENT OBSERVATION PROTOCOL The total of observational hours: 10 hours/per student ( approximately 5 or 6 visits) Observation date: _____________ Class period of using READ 180: ______________ The predetermined observation checklist for this study is: A detailed description of the natural context in which READ 180 is being used; A detailed description of how each ELL interacts with READ 180 A detailed description of how the ESOL teac her uses READ 180 (e.g., what do participants do in each rotation?); and A focus on how teachers implement READ 180. Things to observe: 1 Descript ion of the teacher being observed (race, gender, appearance, etc.) 2 Descript ion of the setting in which the stu dent is being observed (e.g., interacting with the READ 180 software, independent reading, and small group discussion) Topic CD s/he used: Books she read: 3 Time that the student uses READ 180: a The whole group discussion (20 minutes) b Small group discussion (20 minutes) c READ 180 software (20 minutes) d Independent reading (20 minutes) e Whole group (Wrap up) (10 minutes) 4 Interaction and actions of the student in the classroom: The use of L1 Acts of engagement (e.g., on task, attention in text, writings, enjoymen t, etc.) Acts of disengagement (e.g. distraction, working on something else, off task, etc) Others
196 APPENDIX I OBSERVATION FIELD NOTES Date: 12/1/08 Isabel She first worked on Reading, Word, and Spelling Zone. Words she practiced in Word Zone included: embark, provide, abroad, above, able, ocean, salad, taken, members... Spelling Zone: wolves, genuinely, crowding, board, themselves relief, reception, exceptional, temperature, winds. Success Zone : she could not identify the word genuinely. She only di d it for 10 minutes and then she left for getting the ice and never get back to the computer station. Acts of disengagement: I noticed that she got distracted by her peers sitting next to her. Another girl went to talk to her and then she talked to anothe r boy. So I asked her how she felt when she was interrupted. Also, she checked out what the teacher was doing while she was doing READ 180 and then left the room. Later in my interview with her, I realized she broke her ankle and she was not comfortable d oing it. She discontinued the program in order to get some ice to cover on her foot. Acts of engagement: Isabel was doing the success zone. In the success zone, she was expected to choose the correct words from the passage. She got every words correct. She finished up the session. Then she moved to the Reading Zone, then the Word Zone, and then the Spelling Zone. I noticed that she have completed typing 40 words correctly in the Spelling Zone. It s not difficult for her. Questions to ask: 1 Tell me about t he book you read yesterday. 2 How did you like the book? 3 Why did you talk to other peers when you were at the Computer Station? 4 D id you feel when you w ere disrupted by M arco ? 5 You were doing recording with the computer yesterday, how d id you feel about doing recording? 6 How did you feel about your spelling task yesterday? 7 Tell me what you learned about the topic The law: No passing yesterday. 8 How do you feel about the topic ? 9 How do you feel about the video session A driver s license ? 10 How do you think you understand the passage A driver s license ? Marco He was doing the session The Performing Art in Art Attack and he seemed to be engaged in READ 180 today. For example, I noticed that he would read aloud when he did the content passage. He would talk to the computer Oh! I should do it again! He had a self talk. Then I heard him say I m tired as he finished the program. So I asked him whether he got tired because of the program. Occasionally, I noticed that he would check out the screen that Maya w as at. I was not sure why he did that. Then I asked him the reason in the interview, he told me that he was trying to check out Maya s score. He was competing with her. He mentioned to me again that he failed in science. He was very concerned about it. A cts of disengagement: No t recording.
197 APPENDIX J STUDENT READING LOGS
201 APPENDIX K THE TOPIC LIST OF READ 180 Content Topic title Unit s People & Culture Art Attack Crop art Halls of fame Young at art Stomp Help Wanted Jump start In the funnie s Building dreams Blast off! Beating the odds Feel the beat Second chance Little rock nine Write direction Science & Math Disaster! Flood! Earthquake! Avalanche! Volcano! Show me the money! Making money Bogus Bill Fighting forgery Mangled money Extr eme sports Extreme snowboarding Extreme biking Extreme kayaking Extreme surfing History & Geography Survive Braving Alaska Out of the dust In search of rain T ake a dive You and the law Ban the boards What curfew? No passing Taking mom to the mall The whole world watched A dark day in Dallas One giant leap Freedom in South Africa The peoples princess
202 APPENDIX L TRANSCRIPT CONVENTIO N (...) Empty parentheses indicate talk too obscure to transcribe. Dots inside such parentheses indicate the transcrib ers best estimate of missing words. [ ] Words in brackets indicate transcribers comments, not transcriptions, to the speakers incomplete sentence. (3) Numbers in parentheses indicate periods of silence in seconds. (Word) Italicized words in par enthesis indicate the participants language in order to contextualize the participants previous comments. ((Smile)) The double parenthesis indicates the event behavior .... A series of dots indicate a lengthening of the sound just preceding them, pr oportional to the number of colons. Underlining indicates stress or emphasis (for example, I like to read). = An equal sign (ordinarily at the end of one line and the start of an ensuing one) indicate a latched relationship --no silence at all betwe en them.
203 APPENDIX M CODING TRAIL Open coding Focused coding Selective coding Has to work hard A difficult life Understanding Immigrant Experiences Immigrant life is tough Hard to get into a new country Being hard for the first year i n the U.S. Speaks no English Start over is hard Agree with the content that being an immigrant is hard. Interested in learning about immigrants G ood to learn about how immigrants go through don't care what it says Not considered Puerto R ican an American immigrant Not an American immigrant Identity Conflict Not seeing him s elf as an immigrant Not intend to settle down Already born here in America United States is not America Using South America & North America s eparately Should say United States, not America. Do as Americans as in America Other people dont like got really mad Does not like "Welcome to America Learning Puerto Rican culture from her mom Little from his/her country/culture The lack of culturally relevant materials Not so much about Puerto Rico No book related to Chile nothing from China nothing from Puerto Rico Not talk about my country Nothing from Chile S howing the growing number of immigrants A generic representation of culture talks in general Us e one culture for another P eople fell down and screamed while snowboarded
204 Open coding Focused coding Selective coding Feeling snowboarding is dangerous Extreme sports Not connecting to prior knowledge Kayaking shows how scary a rough river is Kayaking is dangerous no organs Dramatic topics Wrote "Really gross!" in a reading log A topic about people stay in submarine for 48 days "Oh! Yuck!" "Really scary" in Trapped Video helps with main idea Visua l aids Scaffolding strategies Video helps understand the topic Comic book ha s color Thinking the meaning of new words through the audio CDs Auditory aids CD teaches explanations Audio CDs explain things he doesnt know Audio narrator helps understanding V oice [that speaks the main idea] helps understand Audio CDs teach him new words know what you read well Questioning Questions helps attention "think hard" helps understand the passage better Reading log h elps Identifying the main idea Finding main idea and details Learn how to find main idea and details rBook h elp s H elp how to say the word Decoding how a word is pronounced Recording helps pron unciation Word Zone prepares you for the spelling Spelling Learn how to spell a word in Spelling Zone
205 Open coding Focused coding Selective coding learn how to spell Understanding English Language System Help spell out difficult words Spell long words prefix and suffix Word pattern identification Finding patterns in words Helps organize words antonyms and synonyms click on a word for its definition Word meaning Gives definition Learning a word within a sentence (context) Having some clue explain words so good Reading Zone helps understa nd the meaning of words Checks the meaning of long words Recording Repetition for fluency Repeated Reading repeating a word with the program Read it next time Improves reading speed Silent reading helps fluency Re read the passa ge to find the answer Repetition for understanding Reread the passage to do the questions Re read the passage help "get the basics" Understand more if she reads twice not familiar enough w hen read it once Tricky questions Text level difficulty questions are confusing Got confused Not sure which word is correct Questions on the Reading Zone are hard Avoid read ing something he can't understand Not fi nishing reading The Terror Word explanation not clear
206 Open coding Focused coding Selective coding Hard to understand a word meaning Word level difficulty Experiencing Reading Comprehension Difficulties E xplanation in Reading Zone n ot clear Using electronic dictionary to look up words Using dictionary Asking teacher More s pecific and concrete examples Needs concrete examples Prefer a concrete spe ci fic explanation Prefer simple sentences to understand Needs examples for understanding Prefer an example to explain the word Needs examples for understanding Video does not help with main idea Needs visual aids Video is not informative Wanting video to be longer to help understand T o identify the main idea Prefer pictures for understanding recording function prevents her from reading a lot Oral reading (read aloud) Need for Conversational Learning N ot like recording Feeling bored when being asked to read aloud Reading aloud as not helpful as silent reading Feeling weird to record Wants to know how to speak English Conversational English Adding a new zone called "Conversation" Need to speak and write Putting messed words in order Prefers conversational interaction with the computer
207 Open coding Focused coding Selective coding Computer says after him Like Spelling Zone Engaged in spelling Motivation L ike doing spelling L ike computer Spelling Zone helps spelling in FCAT Topics are interesting A variety of topics "Show me the money" good Finding topics about teenagers interesting Unpredictable Getting higher score means learning more Wanting to show off his work Feeling accomplished don't care feel good about himself Feeling accomplished Helps build on the confidence wanting to have a prize Could add several small reachable goals H ave a s ense of accomplishment Multiple reachable goals Getting rewards Feeling motivated to reach the end Correcting Prompt feedback Synchronizing with Learning Pace Correcting misspelled Identifying misspelled Telling how one reads and understands Do it yourself Choice Clicking for word definition Using the word function for vocabulary help Checks the meaning of long words Pushed to record Limited choice Not Synchronizing with Learning Pace Pushed to read al oud Not freely choose a topic Must read Feeling have to choose one or another Must do the program
208 Open coding Focused coding Selective coding Feedback on recording as inaccurate Inaccurate feedback Dislike the narration Not following the audio narration Prefer to read books without audio Reading things not in audio books distracts him Listening to audio book s and doing something else B reak distracts him Not following the CD Focus on unknown words with narration CD "go slow" when it reads the story
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Chiu H ui (Vivian) Wu was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan She received her B achelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature from Providence University, Taichung, Taiwan, in 1998, and received her Master of Arts degree in TESOL from New York University, New York, in 2000. She taught English as a fore ign language for elementary and secondary school students at Joy Language Institute in Taichung, Taiwan, for one year and taught college -level English courses at Fuyin University of Technology, Kaohsiung Medical University and Open University of Kaohsiung, as an adjunct lecturer in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She is a doctoral candidate in the ESOL/bilingual education program at the University of Florida. Her research interests include second language literacy, qualitative research, and critical pedagogy. H er res earch goal is to teach English for social justice, publish scholarship related to English language education, and empower student teachers for social change through English language education. During her time in the doctoral program, she has published sev eral articles in the field of ESOL education with colleagues and faculty. She has also presented at several state, national, and international education conferences, including American Educational Research Association (AERA), National Association of Bilin gual Education (NABE), and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).