An Ethnographic Study of Literacy Practices among a Florida Mexican Immigrant Family and Their Children's Elementary Teachers

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An Ethnographic Study of Literacy Practices among a Florida Mexican Immigrant Family and Their Children's Elementary Teachers
Sen, Diana
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[Gainesville, Fla.]
University of Florida
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1 online resource (169 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Educational Leadership
Educational Administration and Policy
Committee Chair:
Behar-Horenstein, Linda S.
Committee Members:
Doud, James L.
Vandiver, Frances M.
Coady, Maria R.
Graduation Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Child psychology ( jstor )
Classrooms ( jstor )
English teachers ( jstor )
Homes ( jstor )
Learning ( jstor )
Literacy ( jstor )
Parents ( jstor )
Schools ( jstor )
Students ( jstor )
Teachers ( jstor )
Educational Administration and Policy -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Greater Orlando ( local )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
born-digital ( sobekcm )
Educational Leadership thesis, Ph.D.


This study explored the literacy practices of a Central Florida Mexican immigrant family, their three elementary school age children, their teachers, and how the children integrated the practices between the home and school environments, Participant observations were conducted at the family's home and in the teachers' classrooms and during, informal conversations. All of the participants were interviewed several times. This study illustrated the problems among English language learners who have acquired an English social language, and their struggle to acquire English academic language. The findings showed how the sociocultural historical context of the family and the teachers? literacy practices could be integrated by orchestrating a parent-teacher-student conference forum in which parents, teacher, and student negotiated meaning to benefit the students? academic progress. The findings showed that when given opportunities by teachers,that the participants introduced their home literacy practices and previous knowledge in the classrooms. These opportunities also offered students affordances to acquire the English academic language. ( en )
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In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
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Includes vita.
Includes bibliographical references.
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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Adviser: Behar-Horenstein, Linda S.
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by Diana Sen.

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2 2008 Diana Margarita O. Sen


3 To the memory of my parents, Mariano Albi no Ortega and Yolanda Gonzalez de Ortega, who inspired me to be the best that I could be; a nd to the memory of my maternal aunts: Diana, Consuelo, Olivia, and Celia Gonzalez, who never married but who were the best second mothers to my siblings and me. To my loving husband, Thomas G. Allocco, fo r 26 years of dedicati on and support and for convincing me that its never t oo late to accomplish your dream! To my son and daughter, Surya and Diana Sagor ika Sen-Ortega, for always making me proud and for being better than I could have ever imagined! To my brothers and sisters, Mariano Albino, Yolanda, Maria Tere sa, and Luis Carlos OrtegaGonzalez and their families, for making me f eel that I always have a home in Mexico. To my step children Devon, Lynev, and Frank Allocco and their families for their constant love and support. To my participant family: Josu, Soledad, Eduardo, Salma, Selena, and Delia FernandezGutierrez, who welcomed me into their home with open arms, and to all the families like them, to whom I have dedicated my life.


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would lik e to express my sincere apprecia tion to my major professor, Dr. Linda S. Behar-Horenstein for being a scholarship role model for me. Dr. Behar-Horensteins wisdom, knowledge, guidance, and encouragement have b een most valuable. Her constant support assisted me to achieve my educational goals. I would like to thank my committee members (Dr. James Doud, Dr. Fran Vandiver, and Dr. Maria Coady) for providing me valuable guidan ce during this project. Each one of them was a constant source of support and encouragement throughout this project. I also would like to thank, Dr. Linda S. Hagedorn, for her leadership and support. I am grateful to Ms.Vivian Wu who helped as peer reviewer and the three part icipant teachers who assisted me because they thought my study might help them become better teachers of Mexican immigrant students. I especially thank Dr. Mae O. Clemons and Mr s. Dora Luz Quiroz de Carrillo for their longtime friendship and support. An d finally, I want to express my appreciation to my brother, Dr. Mariano Albino Ortega-Gonzalez, who has been a constant inspiration throughout my life.


5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ........10 DEFINITION OF TERMS............................................................................................................11 ABSTRACT...................................................................................................................................13 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................14 Research Problem...................................................................................................................15 Purpose Statement.............................................................................................................. ....18 Research Questions............................................................................................................. ....18 Significance................................................................................................................... .........18 Limitations.................................................................................................................... ..........19 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.......................................................................................................20 Literacy...................................................................................................................................20 Concept of Literacy......................................................................................................... 20 Theories of Literacy........................................................................................................ 21 The autonomous theory............................................................................................21 The ideological theory.............................................................................................. 22 Theories of Biliteracy...................................................................................................... 23 Behaviorist perspective............................................................................................ 23 Nativist perspective..................................................................................................23 Interactionist perspective..........................................................................................24 Childrens Biliteracy Development........................................................................................ 25 First Language Acquisition.............................................................................................25 Second Language Acquisition......................................................................................... 26 Thought and language..............................................................................................26 Influence of personal characteristics........................................................................ 27 The affective filter....................................................................................................28 Comprehensible input and output............................................................................ 28 Oral language development......................................................................................29 Social and academic language development............................................................ 30 Reading comprehension...........................................................................................32 Writing in the second language................................................................................ 33 Literacy Practices of a Mexican Immigrant Family............................................................... 33 Family Members Teach Each Other................................................................................34 Education and the Familys Concept of Educacin..................................................... 35 Parental Involvement....................................................................................................... 36


6 Teachers Beliefs and Practices.............................................................................................. 38 Teachers Pedagogy.........................................................................................................39 Teachers Literacy Methodology.................................................................................... 41 Autonomous theory literacy approach..................................................................... 41 Ideological theory reading approach........................................................................ 41 An ecological balanced approach to reading............................................................ 42 Summary of the Literature Review......................................................................................... 43 3 METHODS.............................................................................................................................44 Theoretical Perspective........................................................................................................ ...44 Methods..................................................................................................................................44 Participant Observation................................................................................................... 44 Classroom Observations.................................................................................................. 44 Field Notes.......................................................................................................................46 Interviews........................................................................................................................46 The Setting.................................................................................................................... ..........47 Obtaining Permission......................................................................................................47 Data Collection.......................................................................................................................48 Research Site..........................................................................................................................49 Participants.............................................................................................................................51 The Family..................................................................................................................... ..51 The Childrens Teachers.................................................................................................. 53 Data Collection.......................................................................................................................54 Data Analysis..........................................................................................................................54 Researchers Subjectivity Statement...................................................................................... 55 Validity and Reliability...........................................................................................................56 4 FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS............................................................................................... 57 Research Question 1: What are the Lite racy Practices of a Mexican Imm igrant Family in Central Florida?........................................................................................... 57 The Fernndez Family Home................................................................................................ 57 The Familys Living Room............................................................................................. 57 Religious Icons in the Home........................................................................................... 57 The Other Rooms in the Mobile Home........................................................................... 59 The Books that Eduardo Had Written............................................................................. 60 The Importance of Family...................................................................................................... 61 The Parents Life in Mexico, as Children.......................................................................61 The Familys Life in the United States............................................................................ 62 Ms. Fernandez Mothers Illness.....................................................................................62 The Blessing of Being Parents........................................................................................ 63 Childrens Cared for Each Other..................................................................................... 64 The Fernndez Work Ethics.................................................................................................. 65 The Parents Childhood...................................................................................................65 Fern Cutting in Central Florida....................................................................................... 65 Additional Work..............................................................................................................66


7 The Mothers Additional Chores.....................................................................................66 Eduardos Work Ethic..................................................................................................... 67 The Fernandez Familys Catholic Religious Practices........................................................... 68 Devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Baby Jesus.................................................... 68 Attending Mass on Sunday.............................................................................................. 69 The Fernandez Parents Church Wedding Video............................................................ 69 Mrs. Fernandez Home Remedies.......................................................................................... 72 Family Entertainment.............................................................................................................73 The Fernandez Relations with the Mexi can and Am erican Co mmunities at Parsons........... 74 Relationships with the Mexican Community.................................................................. 74 The Fernandez Relationships with the Am erican Community...................................... 75 A close American friend..........................................................................................76 American aquaintances at school............................................................................. 76 American acquaintance at the park.......................................................................... 77 Research Question 2: What are the Me xican Imm igrant Parents Notions of Educacin and Literacy?.............................................................................................. 78 The Fernndez Familys Notion of Educacin................................................................... 78 Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez Respect for their Parents......................................................... 78 Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez Remembered their Formal Education...................................... 79 The Fernandez Taught Good Manners to Their Children............................................... 79 The Parents Taught Good Values to Their Children.......................................................80 The Parents Taught their Childre n to Respect Their Teach ers........................................ 80 Literacy at the Fernandez Home............................................................................................. 81 The Familys Listening and Speaking Practices............................................................. 81 The Familys Reading Practices...................................................................................... 83 The Familys Writing Practices....................................................................................... 84 The Children Maintained their Nativ e Language While Learning English .................... 85 Eduardo Translated for his Parents.................................................................................. 86 Research Question 3: How does the Family Participate in the School Life of its Children? ......................................................................................................................87 The Parents Assisted Childr en with their Hom ework............................................................ 87 The Parents Received Their Children s School Communications......................................... 88 The Parents Attended Their Ch ildrens School Meetings ...................................................... 88 Mrs. Fernandez Prepared Food for Ms. Drurys Culture Lessons..........................................89 Research Question 4: What are the Teachers Educational Philosophies, Their Literacy Beliefs, and Practices? ...................................................................................90 Teachers Educational Philosophies....................................................................................... 90 Teachers Philosophy of Education................................................................................. 90 Teachers Literacy Beliefs...............................................................................................91 Teachers Literacy Practices...................................................................................................92 Reasons for Becoming Teachers..................................................................................... 92 Importance of Their Curriculum and Standards.............................................................. 93 Reasons for Teaching Mexican Immigrant Students....................................................... 94 Challenges Teaching Mexican Immigrant Students........................................................ 94 What Teachers Think About Parental Involvement........................................................ 95


8 Research Question 5: What Specific Met hodologies and Strategies do Teachers use to Teach Literacy to Imm igrant Students?................................................................... 97 Teachers Literacy Methodologies......................................................................................... 97 Utilizing an Ecological Ecl ectic Literacy Model ............................................................97 Teachers Strategies with Mexican Immigrant Students ........................................................ 98 Inclusion of Mexican Cultu re into the Curriculum ......................................................... 98 Utilization of Spanish Vocabulary.................................................................................. 99 Research Question 6: How do Teachers and Students Interact in the Teaching/Learning Process? ...................................................................................... 100 Teachers and Students Interactions in the Teaching/Learning Process ............................. 100 Ms. Drurys Relations with Selena................................................................................100 Ms. Cross Relations with Salma.................................................................................. 102 Ms. Richs Relations with Eduardo............................................................................... 104 The Children Respected their Teachers......................................................................... 106 Research Question 7: How do Home and Sc hool Literacy Practices Influence the Students C onstruction of Knowledge?..................................................................... 106 How Selena and Ms. Drury Constructed Knowledge........................................................... 106 How Salma and Ms. Cross Constructed Knowledge............................................................ 108 How Eduardo and Ms. Rich Constructed Knowledge..........................................................108 How the Parents, Teachers, and Children Constructed Knowledge..................................... 110 Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences............................................................................ 110 Ms. Cross First Parent-Teacher-Stu dent Conference................................................... 111 Salma was in danger of being retained in third grade............................................ 111 Plan for Salma to improve her reading comprehension......................................... 111 Ms. Cross Second Parent-Teacher-Student Conference..............................................111 Salmas great improvement.................................................................................... 111 Ms. Cross encouraged Salma to go to college....................................................... 112 Ms. Cross has many strict rules in her classroom.................................................. 112 Ms. Richs Parent-Teacher-Student Conference........................................................... 113 Eduardo being a good student, but having an academic problem.......................... 113 Brainstorming to find strategies to help Eduardo im prove his reading comprehension.................................................................................................... 113 Eduardo is college material.................................................................................... 115 Accomplishments Achieved as a Result of the Parent-T eacher-Student Conferences. 116 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION.................................................................................. 117 Summary of the Findings...................................................................................................... 117 Literacy Practices of the Mexican Imm igrant Family...................................................117 Creating a stable life for the family in Parsons...................................................... 117 Symbolic representations in the familys home..................................................... 118 Parents taught their child ren to be industrious ....................................................... 118 The familys conceptions of educacin and literacy.......................................... 118 The Fernandez believed in life long learning......................................................... 119 Parental involvement with the school.................................................................... 119 The Teachers Literacy Practices.......................................................................................... 120 Teaching the Curriculum............................................................................................... 120


9 Preparing Students for the State Test............................................................................ 120 The Teachers Improved their Perceptions of the Children during the Study................ 121 The Teachers Literacy Methodologies......................................................................... 121 An ecological balanced approach........................................................................... 121 The Teachers Strategies with Mexican Students......................................................... 123 Teachers and Childrens Constructi on of Knowl edge in the Classroom............................ 124 Ms. Drury and Selena....................................................................................................124 Ms. Cross and Salma.....................................................................................................124 Ms. Rich and Eduardo...................................................................................................125 The Childrens Literacy Development................................................................................. 126 Selena............................................................................................................................126 Salma.............................................................................................................................127 Eduardo..........................................................................................................................128 Integration of Familys and Teachers Literacy P ractices.................................................... 129 Bringing Their Literacy Pract ices to the Classroom ..................................................... 129 The Children Reflected Their Literacy Pr actices in Their Young Authors Books ...... 130 Knowledge Construction during the Pare nt-T eacher-Student (PTS) Conferences....... 131 Developing a student academic plan for Salma..................................................... 131 Follow-up PTS conference to review Salmas improvement................................. 132 PTS conference with Ms. Rich...............................................................................132 The Researchers Role.......................................................................................................... 134 The Leadership in the Education of Mexican Imm igrant Children...................................... 135 Implications for Theory........................................................................................................ 136 Recommendations for Further Study.................................................................................... 141 Summary and Conclusion.....................................................................................................141 APPENDIX A TABLE OF FAMILY LI TERACY PRACTICES ................................................................ 143 B CLASSROOM OBSERVATION PROTOCOL................................................................... 151 C PARTICIPANT INTERVIEW QUESTIONS...................................................................... 153 LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................156 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................169


10 LIST OF TABLES Table page 5-1 Summary of home and school literacy practices ............................................................. 133 5-2 Findings of study based on theoretical fram ewor k/perspective.......................................139


11 DEFINITION OF TERMS Academ ic language: The type of conversation used to facilitate the acqui sition of subject matter in formal schooling contexts. Additive bilingualism: A process by which individuals develop proficiency in a second language subsequently to, or simultaneous with, the deve lopment of proficiency in the primary language. Affective filter: A students response to what th ey perceive as a threatening environment that mitigates their receptivity to learning. Bilingual/Bicultural: A person who speaks a nd understands two languages and performs effectively within two cultures. Construction of knowledge: Creatio n of new meanings and understandings that are developed during social interactions. Constructivism: A process of sense making that o ccurs through the social interactions at home, in the community, and during teaching and learning. Critical literacy: Power relations between groups in the utilization of readi ng and writing that helps students understand their ow n history and culture, and how th ey fit into it, and how they can shape their own so cial structure. Culture: A set of basic assumptions, beliefs, values, and ways of perceiving, thinking, and acting among a particular group th at distinguishes itself from other groups (Schein, 2004 p. 17). Cultural literacy: Knowledge of a si tuation and context that is requi red to perform successfully in a specific culture. Deficit theory: Abelief that so cio-culturally diverse, lower socio-economic students are not prepared to learn what the middle class, mainstream teacher has to offer them. Ecology: The interrelationship and reciprocity of an organism and its environment. In this study it relates specifically to the in terrelationship of reading and wr iting between the home and school environments. Educacin: A Hispanic cultures concept a bout developing integrity as a human being, developing intellectually and morally, demonstrating respect for elders, honoring the family, displaying self-pride, self-respect, politeness and social graces (D elgado-Gaitan, 2004). Funds of knowledge: The specifi c practices of a community that have been acquired through their culture, work history, family relations, in teractions and adaptation to their world (VelezIbanez & Greenberg, 2004). Integration of literacies: The manner in which a st udent incorporates the primary discourse of the home with the secondary discourse of the school.


12 Literacy: Knowing how to listen, speak, read, write, think, and comm unicate verbally and nonverbally in all varieties of la nguage, that are, used for differe nt purposes, and having sufficient background knowledge about culture, so cial and conversational mores. Literacy event: An actual instance in which peopl e use verbal and non-verb al communication in their daily lives. Literacy practices: The way that members of a community exchange ideas, interact with each other and learn together in order to survive and have an acceptable life. Native language: The first language learned and used by students. Multiliteracies: The multiplicity and integration of many different modes of meaning-making where the textual, visual, audio, spatial, behavioral, are related (New London Group, 1996). Oral expressive language: The students ab ility to produce a verbal output from the comprehensible input he has receiv ed through listening or reading. Passive receptive language: The language that a student can comprehend from listening or reading, but cannot nece ssarily produce. Philosophy: Beliefs that individua ls have about the world, themse lves, and others, as well as ways of obtaining knowledge, the ideals and objec tives of their profession, and their life goals. Reading comprehension: The proc ess of extracting and constructi ng meaning through interaction with the written text (Snow, 2002). Spanish Graeco-Latin origin words: Since Spanish derives from Latin and Greek and many English academic words come from Latin, ther e are many Spanish and English cognates in common. Thought and language: An individuals intellect ual subjectivity that through their social interactions within a group over time becomes ob jectified as the language of the culture and the sum of a groups culturalexperiences that have become signified (Berger, 1966). Word recognition: A reading method used to help children understand the correspondence between written language and the sounds of the spoken language, according to the alphabetic principle.


13 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy AN ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY OF THE LI TERACY PRACTICES AMONG A FLORIDA MEXICAN IMMIGRANT FAMILY AND THEIR CHILDRENS ELEMENTARY TEACHERS By Diana Margarita Ortega Sen August 2008 Chair: Linda S. Behar-Horenstein Major: Educational Administration and Policy This study explored the literacy practices of a Central Flor ida Mexican immigrant family, their three elementary school age children, their teachers, and how the children integrated the practices between the home and school environm ents, Participant observations were conducted at the familys home and in the teachers classroom s and during, informal conversations. All of the participants were interviewed several times. This study illustrated the problems among English language learners who have acquire d an English social language, and their struggle to acquire English academic language. The findings showed how the sociocultural historical context of the family and the teachers literacy practices could be integrated by orchestr ating a parent-teacherstudent conference forum in whic h parents, teacher, and student negotiated meaning to benefit the students academic progress. The findings showed that when given opportunities by teachers,that the participants introduced their ho me literacy practices and previous knowledge in the classrooms. These opportunitie s also offered students affordances to acquire the English academic language.


14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Educational researchers have suggested that st udies concerning the lite racy practices of the hom e and the community are needed if educators are to have a better understanding of the way students constructed knowledge, as well as insight to learner s active participation in the development and integration of meaning at school (Dixon-Krauss, 1996; Gee, 1990; Moll, Amanti, Neff & Gonzlez, 1992, 2005). One goal of this study was to explore how Mexican parents passed on their home literacy practices to their children, how Mexican children and teachers negotiated litera cies in the classroom, and how teach ers and parents communicated with each other concerning the child rens literacy development (D elgado-Gaitn, 2004). Literacy practices were the unit of anal ysis in this study. Another goal of the study was to portray an integrated understanding of the personal and interpersonal literacy practices as they developed among individuals and their lear ning processes within a socioc ultural institution (Cole, 1995; Goodnow, Miller & Kessel, 1995). By utilizing multiple analytical perspectives (personal, interpersonal, and community levels), the re searcher tried to provi de a better understanding ofhow literacy practices could be used to fost er more effective teaching and learning (Rogoff, Baker-Sennett, Lacasa & Goldsmith, 1995). Thr ough a study of family and school literacy practices, it was hoped that notions about how students constructed literacy, might become more clear. Practices are meaningful actions that took pl ace routinely in everyday life. Shared by group members, they carried expectations about how things should be done. Practices were also a peoples recurrent, meaningful actions that identified them as a community (Moll et al., 1992, 2005). They were situated in a sociocultural historical context, which became evident to observations and interviews (Larson & Mars h, 2005). Based on B ourdieus (1977, 1989)


15 writings, practices became habitual and automatic They were repeated continuously; yet, the original reasons for their inception became difficult to perceive. Practices are not neutral. However, they conveyed values and guidelines a bout what was natural, mature, morally right, and aesthetically agreeable (Goodnow et al., 1995). Research Problem Education scholars have expressed the need for context-specific ethnographic research studies to explore the literacy practices of minority families. Mexicans are the largest group of immigrants in the United States. They have ha d a long-standing history of being academically unsuccessful in the public school system (Shannon & Escamilla, 1999). Mexican immigrant children as a group are the most vulnerable of all Hispanic students. Many have had schoolrelated problems because of being poor, disadvantaged, and migratory. Many have limitedEnglish language proficiency have experienced school interr uptions due to their migrant life style (NAWS, 2000). This student group has often encountered negativity from the mainstream United States community members ba sed upon the negative pe rceptions that they hold (Shannon & Escamilla, 1999; NAWS, 2000). Mo st schools understand very little about Mexican immigrant childrens literacies. This lack of understanding has lead to misconceptions and generalizations about Mexican immigrant students. Many practitioners and researchers assumed that had literacy deficiencies. Learning students home literacy practices has helped educators learn how to implement a more rele vant curriculum by incorporating the children language and cultural in sights (Delgado-Gaitn, 2004). Learni ng more about the children has helped them debunk the literacy deficit myth. The literacy practices am ong Mexican immigrant families have been explored extensively in studies conducted in California, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Delgado-Gaitn (2004), for example, discussed her ethnograp hic study of the home


16 literacy practices among 20 Mexican Califonian immi grant families, and their schools literacy practices. She documented the empowerment that took place while parents organized and talked with the teachers and school ad ministrators in an effort to understand school literacies. In Funds of Knowledge: Theorizing Practices in Households, Communities and Classrooms, Gonzlez, Moll & Amanti (2005) reported findings from t eacher/researcher studie s of Mexican immigrant families in Arizona. Some of the families litera cy practices they discovered were incorporated into their classroom curriculum. In another study, Lpez (1999) explor ed the literacy practices of migrant Mexican and Puerto-Rican children in Pe nnsylvania. She described the conflict observed between home and school discourses experien ced by three fifth grade boys. Lpez recommended that researchers study family literacies in an effo rt to help students integrate the contradictory discourses of home and school. Gu erra (1998) explored the variet y of linguistic, cultural, and rhetorical abilities in an adult Mexican commun ity in Chicago that made them capable of surviving and progressing in their daily lives. Ka lmar (2001) also studied the literacy practices utilized by another Mexican immigrant community in the Chicago area. The findings from that study led to the development of an adult educat ion program that was designed to help others learn English in a phonology study program that dem onstrated, the way it really sounds (p. 1). Each of these studies demons trated how developing an under standing of the participants literacies aided educational pursuits Most recently, in Solamente libros importantes: Literacy, ideology, and engagement in Migrant family ho mes (Coady, in press) studied the literacy practices of five migrant families (three Mexican, one Salvadorian, and one Nicaraguan) in North Central Florida. She conducted particip ant observations, interviews with mothers and children, and document analysis. The findings indicat ed that the children in the five families lacked access to a wide variety of print, and some of the reasons that Spanish publications were


17 unavailable to them. Following her study, Coady or ganized university students to provide books and tutoring to the 51 migrant children in the area. This study focused on the literacy practices of a single Mexican immigrant family (the family did not qualify as migrant according to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001). The family lived in the town of Parsons in Central Florida, in a large Mexican community established to provide a labor force to s upport a yearlong ornamental flor al fern harvesting industry. Researchers have agreed that literacy practices are constantly evolvi ng (Moll et al., 2005). Studies of the Mexican communities in the Ca lifornia, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Pennsylvania differ from the sp ecific area in Florida where this study was conducted. Also, Mexican communities differ in their history, time of migration, proximity to the Mexican border, the types of occupations held by their populations, and the size and closeness of the community (Moreno, 2005). In this study, the ethnographic obse rvations of the family s interactions at home and the parental interviews were simila r to those previously conducted by Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzlez (1992), Guerra (1998), Kalmar (2001) and Lpez (1999). However, the focus was strictly on language interact ions in which speaking, listen ing reading and writing were utilized. Classroom observations and teacher inte rviews in this study were conducted in a manner similar to Lpez (1999), but from a different theo retical perspective. While Lpez utilized a critical literacy approach, this study was c onducted through the lenses of a socioculturalhistorical approach (Rogoff et al., 1995). Literacy interactions that took place in the home and in the classroom and the development produced by the participation at the personal, interpersonal, and community levels were also explored. At th e interpersonal and pers onal levels, this study focused on the familys literacy practices at hom e and the teacher/student s literacy practices at school, as they went about thei r daily routines. Also, the study focused on the practices that


18 affected the individuals and th e group. At the community level, this study focused on and described the changes that school literacy produced in the familys literacies and other changes produced as a result of school and family interactions (Rogoff et al., 1995). Purpose Statement The purpose of this study was to describe the literacy practices of a single Mexican migrant family with at least thr ee children enrolled in an elemen tary school in a small town in Central Florida, the literacy pr actices of the childrens classr oom teachers, and the construction of knowledge that took place in the classroom betw een each child and their teacher. This study was conducted in Parsons, a predominantly Me xican immigrant community that has been established within the last 30 years (Moreno, 2005). Research Questions 1. What are the literacy p ractices of a Mexican immigrant family in Central Florida? 2. What are the Mexican migrant parents notions of Educacin and literacy? 3. How did the family participate in the school life of its children? 4. What arethe teachers educational philosophies and their literacy be liefs and practices? 5. What specific methodologies and strategies did teachers use to teach literacy to immigrant students? 6. How did teachers and students interact in the teaching/learning process? 7. How did home and school literacy practices influence the students construction of knowledge? Significance This study contributed to the body of resear ch concerning the liter acy practices of a Mexican immigrant family, the li teracy practices of teachers e ducating the Mexican immigrant students; and the construction of knowledge between the Mexican immigrant students and their teachers, the immigrant community and the schoo l community. This study gave credence to the Mexican immigrant parents funds of knowledge, a perspective that seeked to promote a positive rather than a deficit attitude toward their childre n. Previous studies have shown that the teachers deficit attitude toward childrens parents teacher s suggesting that the teachers believed that


19 culturally diverse parents had nothing to contri bute to their childrens education (Gutirrez & Rogoff, 2003). Illuminating a knowledge of these fa milys literacy practices has helped schools integrate the students home literacies into the school curriculum, and build on their previous knowledge while promoting academic achievement (Gonzlez et al., 2005). Hopefully, this study will encourage other researchers to develop simila r studies to explore the literacies of other ethnic groups living in specific so ciocultural historical contexts living in the United States. Limitations A qualitativ e research study is spec ific to a sociocultural historical context and findings may not be generalizable.


20 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW The purpose of the study was to describe the l iteracy practices of a single Mexican m igrant family with at least three child ren enrolled in an elementary sc hool in a small town in Central Florida. Also, explored were th e literacy practices of the childrens classroom teachers, and the construction of knowledge that was taking place in the classroom between the children and their teachers from the point of view of the children. The review of literature is presented in three sections: (a) Literacy: concept of literacy, theories of literacy, and literacy development in the bilingual children; (b) the Mexican immigrant familys litera cy practices: concept of educacin and parental involvement; (c) and the teachers l iteracy practices: teachers beliefs, teachers literacy pedagogy, and strategies for Mexican immigrant children. Literacy Concept of Literacy The word literacy originated from the Latin literatus and the late medieval English term literate that first appear ed in texts in the 1450s. The Latin adjective litteratus means knowing how to read, write, and to become learned and critically skilled also, the definition of the English term, literate is a close synonym of educated or cultured (Moulton, 2004 pp. xii-xiii). Literacy has both narrow and broad definitions. In the narrow sense, it means the ability to read and write text in the nati ve language of a specific culture. More broadly it refers to the ability to co mmunicate effectively, read and write, and when speaking to gesture in specifi c contexts codes of social communication (Moulton, 2004). The ancient definition of literacy is a broader one, dating back to the 1450s, when it meant to be a person familiarized with letters and with cultu ral sophistication, at a time when access was denied to persons who were not members of the aristocracy, while the narrow definition,


21 able to read and write, dates from the late nineteenth century, when for the first time literacy was seen as universally desirable (Moulton, 2004, pp.xiixiii). The concept of literacy broaden during the last decade when United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Orga nization (UNESCO) expanded their notion of literacy beyond the view of reading, writing an d calculating skills, to include human rights related to development and integrated life ski lls. Later UNESCO approached literacy as a new culture of learning which foster ed the acquisition of knowledge, values, and attitudes for life, based on the four pillars of lear ning: to know, to do, to live together, and to be (Delors, 2008). Todays new broad concept of literacy refers to a persons culture, life philosophies, and adjustment to a sociocultural context, in which reading, writing, lis tening and speaking are used in comprehending, interpre ting, analyzing, responding, and in teracting with a variety of sources of information in order to communicate with a variety of audiences (Moje, 1996). Theories of Literacy The autonomous theory This theory, also called the transm ission model, originated from the cognitive psychological approach in which attention is paid to individu al development. This is a hierarchical model in which st udents are introduced to skills, knowledge, pr ocesses, with the understanding that reading and wr iting would be introduced at sp ecific ages (Larson & Marsh, 2005). From this viewpoint of lite racy, the teacher has control of who learns what, since they hold the power to distribute knowledge. The goals of the autonomous are the acquisition of the official standard, monolingual, monoc ultural language (New London Group, 1996; Wink, 2001).


22 The ideological theory During the late 1970s and early 1980s, liter acy scholars challenge d the autonom ous model when they defined literacy as a set of social practices of literacy which were historically situated, dependent upon shared cultural understandings, and linked to a settings power relations (Gee, 1996; Irv ine & Larson, 2001; Street, 1995) Thus, ideological literacy refers to understanding the role that language plays in all types of learning, reading, writing, oral communication, listening and viewing, in multimodal contexts that are continually expanded to accommodate social and technol ogical changes (Kress, 2003). Under the ideological theory of liter acy there are four models: The new literacy studies model states that lit eracy occurs in both formal and informal settings, in or out of school and in everyday interactions for the purpose of building and maintaining social relations, and that there is not a single literacy, but multiliteracies that accommodate multiple communication channels with increasing cultural and linguistic diversity in todays world of multiple discour ses of power (Gee, 1996; Cope & Kalantzis, 2000; Lankshear & Knobel, 2003; Larson & Marsh, 2005; New London Group, 1996; Street, 1995). The critical literacy model is rooted in th e tenets of critical th eory promoted by the Frankfurt School, and Paulo Frei res critical pedagogy program in Brazil. The Frankfurt School was a Marxist oriented institute for social research developed for scholars who were exiled from Frankfurt, Germany to Columbia University in New York City from 1923-1950. This model is based on explanatory social research, normative critique of social reality, and philosophical reflection (Crotty, 2003; Freire & Macedo, 1987; Janks, 2000; Schwandt, 1997). The techno-literacy model refers to new information and communication technologies that have changed the nature and use of literacy, shifting away from the dominance of writing to the dominance of image, and aw ay from the dominance of the book as a medium to the dominance of the screen (Kress, 2003; Larson & Marsh, 2005; Spiro & Jehng, 1990). Finally, the sociocultural-hist orical literacy model base d on Vygotskys (1962) theory of constructivism postulates that literacy is so cially constructed, as literacy is used in specific contexts for specific purposes (Scribner & Cole, 1999). Vygotsky (1962) studied the relationship between thought a nd speech where the primary function is communication in social interactions where by word meanings are mutually constructed (Larson & Marsh, 2005). According to Vygotsky (1978) all thought begins on the interpsychological plane during social interaction, and then moves to the


23 intrapsychological plane as the child a ssimilates knowledge. The language of the primary discourse, or the langua ge related to the family, a nd the secondary Discourse of the school (Gee, 1996) is a mediating tool in the construction of identities, in the home and the school. It serves in the co-const ruction of literacy practices (Bakhtin, 1981; Larson & Marsh, 2005; Lee & Smagorinsky, 2000). Theories of Biliteracy Many students are exposed to two languages at an early age and acquire the second language as well as the first language. However, most children like the participating students in this study were only exposed to a second language when they started school (Ovando & Collier, 199 8). In order to understand students bilingual development, it is necessary to analyze the theories of language development and the relationship be tween first and second language acquisition. The three first and sec ond language acquisition pe rspectives are the behaviorist perspective, the nativist perspectiv e, and the interactionist perspective (Soltero, 2004). Behaviorist perspective This perspe ctive of language acquisition is based on Skinners theory of conditioned learning. According to behavioris ts, the acquisition of verbal and non-verbal language takes place through input reception from speakers and th e associations made in during processing in the environment. Learners receive encour agement for their correct productions and corrections for their mistakes. However, this theory does not explain everything that takes place in language acquisition; for example, when children produce utterances which have not been modeled by adults (Lightbow n & Spada, 1999; Soltero, 2004). Nativist perspective This perspective of language acquisition, based on Chom skys (1957) theory of language acquisition, states that children have the capacity to acquire language from birth because human beings are genetically disposed to acquire and transmit language. In


24 Chomskys (1957) theory, his main postulate is that human beings have a language acquisition device (LAD) built in the brain with a mechanism to infer the universal rules of language, stimulated by spoken language. This pr ocess explains the development of language competence and knowledge of complex syntax (Brown, 2000; Hakuta, 1986; Lightbown & Spada, 1999; Soltero, 2004). However, nativists do not take into consideration the contexts in which language develops beyond internaliza tion and grammar rules (Soltero, 2004). Interactionist perspective Interactionis t theorists combin e both, behaviorists and nativists beliefs plus they add the constructivists belief that children construct knowledge during social interaction (Lightbown & Spada, 1999; Ovando & Collier, 1998; Soltero, 2004) This theoretical pers pective states that language is produced by both gene tics and the sociocultural envi ronment. Advocates of this perspective believe that human be ings are born with the capacity to acquire language by utilizing their genetic abilities and by interacting with ot her humans in sociocultu ral contexts (Lightbown & Spada, 1999; Soltero, 2004). This socio-psyc holinguistic theory, based on Vygotskys (1978) constructivism asserts that childrens first language acquisition ta kes place through parental assistance. By the age of five years old, a child is expected to master the basic syntax of oral language and the acquisition of phonology, vocabul ary, grammar, semantics, and pragmatics (Berko Gleason, 1993; Ovando & Co llier, 1998; Soltero, 2004). The behaviorist, innatist, and interactionist theories e xplain a different aspect of childrens language development. Behaviorist may explain the acquisition of vocabulary and grammatical morphemes. Innatists explai n the acquisition of complex grammar and Interactionists explain how children interact in conversations to relate form and meaning in language (Lightbown & Spada, 1999).


25 Childrens Biliteracy Development First Language Acquisition Lightbown & Spada (1999) asserted that first language acquisition is similar among children all over the world. Child rens earliesr sound productions help them demonstrate hunger or discomfort. Soon babies are able to expre ss contented sounds when they are physically satisfied and enjoying their discove ries of the world. Then, they start to imitate sounds made by their caregivers. By the end of their first year they begin to understand frequently repeated words. They also continue to learn more word s and by the end of two years, babies can produce at least fifty words and two or three word sentences. Then, by th e age of four years old, children have mastered the structures of the language and can ask questions and give commands. A dramatic development in metalinguistics occurs when the children begin to learn to read. Because, many children in the world are exposed to more than one language, evidence suggests that if they are continuously exposed to tw o languages, that they can become successful bilinguals. However, when children begin school and are submerged in the second language for long periods of time and are bei ng practically cut off from th e development of the family language, that they begin to lose their native language before th ey can develop an age-adequate mastery of the native language (Lightbown & Spada, 1999). Unfortunately, schools often do not encourage parents to promote their native language at home. Thus, children often begin to lose their native language because of the pressure to learn English, and the l ack of opportunities they have to study their native language in school (A da & Zubizarreta, 2001). This is referred to as subtractive bilingualism (Cummins, 1981) and can have serious negative consequences for minority children. In some cases, children seemed to be caught between two languages: not having mastered the second language, and having not continued to develop the first (Ligthbown & Spada, 1999, p. 3).


26 The solution is to encourage the parents to con tinue teaching the native language to their children and to continue to express knowledge and idea s in a more elaborate ways. Cumminss (1981, 1984) model of the common underlying proficiency (CUP ) states that literacy-related aspects of a bilinguals proficiency in the two languages ar e seen as common or interdependent across languages. Snow, Burns & Griffin (1998) suggested a need to study the relationship between the native language and seco nd language literacies. Research in bilingual education has indicated that English language learners who are also able to read and write in thei r native language perform better in standardized written tests in English (Ramrez, 1992; Collier & Thomas, 2004; Thomas & Collier, 1997; Willig, 1985; Greene, 1998). Second Language Acquisition Thought and language Sociocultural theory (Vygot sky, 1978) argues that alt hough thinking and speaking are separa te, that they are also tightly interrelated in a dialectic unity in which socially constructed speech completes individual initiated thought (L antolf, 2000). Vygotsky (1981) identified and differentiated two types of mental behavior, the lower mental behavior, such as elementary perception, memory, and attention shared with animals; and the higher cultural mental behavior such as logical memory, decision making, se lective attention, and comprehension of language which are a product of mediated activity (Dixon-Krauss, 1996). Thought is an individuals intellectual subject ivity that through group social interaction over time becomes objectified in language of the culture and language that is the sum of the groups cultural experiences that have become signified (Berger, 1966). Even though, thought cannot be explained without taking into consideration how it is manife sted through linguistic form, and


27 linguistic expressions, it cannot be understood without being seen as a manifestation of thought. For example, the bilingual child may not be able to express all that he thinks (Bakhurst, 1986). Language is a system of vocal signs whose foun dation is the human intrinsic capacity for vocal expressivity. However, When vocal expressions have become capable of detachment from the here and now of subjective statesThe common objectifications of everyday life are maintained primarily by linguistic signification ..Language makes mor e real my subjectiv ity not only to my conversation partner but also to myself.L anguage provides me with a ready made possibility for the ongoi ng objectification of my unfolding experienceThrough language an entire world can be actualized at any mome nt (Berger, 1966, P. 37-39). Language forces us into its pa tterns. We cannot apply the ru les of Spanish syntax, when we speak English. We must take into account prev ailing standards of proper speech for various occasions (Berger, 1966). English languages vo cabulary, grammar, and syntax are organized into semantic fields of meaning that are constantly reviewed through the years and are transmitted from generation to generation. A foreigner will not recognize this community-shared knowledge of language (Berger, 1966). Influence of personal characteristics Given the sam e contexts and the same input s, students acquire different levels of proficiency in the second language. For example, there are personal differences that influence second language acquisition, such as, the age at which students learn the second language, their motivation, aptitude for learning languages, co gnitive style, multiple intelligences, attitude toward learning, degree of literacy in their native language, and previous knowledge. Also included in the individual differen ces are, learning strategies, personality variables such as anxiety, self-esteem, self-concept, competitivenes s in the classroom, the level of metalinguistic awareness, knowledge about the world, and leve l of self-consciousness in committing mistakes (Baker, 2001; Curtain & Dahlberg, 2004; Ligthbown & Spada, 1999; Ovando & Collier, 1998).


28 The affective filter In his discussion of the aff ective filter, Krashen (1981) em phasizes the importance of emotions in the second language acquisition proce ss when students resist learning, when learning is painful or when they are in a coercive enviro nment. Also, it is well known that students have an ability to learn more readily those things they like (Curtain & Dahlberg, 2004). Therefore, when the English language learner feels threatened, the affective filter prevents input from reaching the language acquisition device in th e students (Chomsky, 1965). Several researchers have hypothesized that affective f actors may be responsible for th e students failure to acquire some aspects of language. For learning to occur, language acquirers need to be open to the input, or have a low Affective filter (Dul ay & Burt, 1980; Dulay, Burton & Krashen, 1982). Also, when language acquirers are anxious, or put on the defensive, alt hough the input may be understood, it will may not reach those parts of the brain that are responsible for language acquisition. Therefore, a block by the affective filte r keeps the input ou t (Krashen, 2004). Comprehensible input and output There is general consensus am ong applied lingui sts that sufficient comprehensible input (Krashen, 1981), the processing of meaning, in the target language n ecessary condition for second language acquisition (Cummins, 2001). Wh ile comprehensibleiInput is necessary in language acquisition, there are other important factors like the skil l-building hypothesizing which asserts that practicing consciously learne d rules of the language makes them automatic (McLaughlin, 1989). The output plus correction hypothe sis, assigns importance to the students production of language and the corrective feedback from the teacher. The comprehensible output hypothesis claims that learning occurs when the student has opportunities and struggles to make himself understood, by adjusting his output and internalizing rules that prove successful (McLaughlin, 1995). Swain (2000) has expanded the concept of students output to include its


29 utilization as a socially-constr ucted cognitive tool. Dialogue se rves second language acquisition as a tool by mediating its own construction and the construction of knowle dge about itself by its internalization and facilita tion of knowledge through speech. Oral language development Mexican childrens practices of oral language are different at hom e than at school. At home, most queries between parents and children take place, In the context of conversati ons about objects, people or events that are tied to the participants immediate time frame (Vas quez, Pease-Alvarez & Shannon, 1994, p. 62). Many of these children have become great c onversationalists at home. However, the same children can be much less involved in adult-child in teractions at school. At school, children need to learn about themselves and the cultural world around them through a knowledge of the English language, as well as gain functiona l knowledge of the English writing system by analyzing the spoken English language structure (Celedon-Pattichis 2004). Savignon (1997) reports that the development of learners co mmunicative abilities does not depend on grammar lessons but on the opportunities stud ents are given to express, in terpret, and negotiate meaning. In a mainstream classroom, the teacher is the role model for language emulation (Snow, 1990), because, both the language acquisition and th e development of communicative competence by the English language learning (ELL) students depend on meaningful interaction with the teacher and the native English language speaking stud ents (Wong-Fillmore, 1991). Therefore, acquiring language requires that the ELL be given the opportunity to use it in a meaningful context with speakers of the target language in a variety of situations. In and out of school, limited English proficient students should be able to practice English at the level they have acquired and practice to experience continuous growth in their language acquisition (Lindholm-Leary, 2001). As English language acquisition researchers have discovered, the fluency an d grammar ability of


30 most mainstreamed English language learners does not develop automa tically through subject matter instruction alone (Harley, 1986; Lindholm-Leary, 2001; Swain, 1985; Swain & Lapkin, 1986). Therefore, the instructor must deliberately and systematically plan meaningful interaction contexts between teacher and students to develop the structures of the language (Gibbons, 2002). Teachers can teach oral skills directly through repetition, modeling, backward buildup, and suing the strategy of the answer prec edes the question practice. Also another way to encourage the development of speaking competence is through the performance of skits, dramatics, songs, presentations and performances (Curtain & Da hlberg, 2004). Thus in order to promote highly proficient oral language skills, it is necessary to provide bo th structured and unstructured opportunities for oral production (Lindholm-Lear y, 2001). The natural approach (Krashen & Terrell, 1983) outlines a useful se quence of teacher questions to m ove students from the listening mode to the speaking mode using the following st rategies: (a) students re spond with a name, (b) yes-no questions, (c) either or question, using nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs, (d) what, where, when, who questions, (e) students answer with the entire senten ce or action (Curtain & Dahlberg, 2004). Social and academic language development Second language acquisition requires the developm ent of both social language and academic language. Cummins (1979) hypothesized that there are two very different types of second language proficiency: Ba sic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) and Academic Language Proficiency (CALP). BICS is everyd ay conversational language where meaning is negotiated through a wide range of contextual clues, such as non verbal communication (Cummins, 1979; Ovando & Collier, 1998). CALP is context-reduced, cognitive language used in classrooms, academic texts, and literary work s. The development of BICS is relatively easy for most second language learners while the de velopment of CALP is a more complex task,


31 because research has shown that when students receive instruction excl usively in English, it takes from 5 to 10 years to attain grade leve l academic performance (Thomas & Collier, 1997), and it takes even longer for English language le arners who did not have a basic academic development in their native language before th ey began to learn English (Chamot & O'Malley, 1994). McSwan & Rolstad (2003) suggested that instead of BICS a nd CALP a different construct called second language instructional competence (SLIC), which does not refer to native language proficiency. Instead, it refers to the stage of second language development at which a child is able to function at grade level in an English only classroom by learning all the registers of all subjects they study in school and understanding the la nguage of instruction sufficiently. Therefore, children should not be considered linguistically deficient by simply lagging in academic achievement, due to an incomplete acquisition of English (McSwan & Rolstad, 2003). Cummins (2001) ha s developed a two-part frame work for academic language learning. The first was the teaching-learning rela tionship between teachers and students that included the strategies and techni ques that teachers utilize to provide comprehensible input, reading instruction, content knowledge and cogni tive growth. The second part referred to the ways in which negotiate identities, who they are in their teachers eyes and what they are capable of becoming. Teachers could accomplish both th rough the establishment of a learning community where all students voices could be heard. For example, Chamot and OMalley (1994) developed the Cognitive Academic La nguage Learning Approach (CALLA) for ELL students in upper elementary and secondary schools at intermediate or advanced levels of ESOL. Using this approach teachers are trained to de velop their students thin king skills and learning strategies at the same time th at their students are learning content language in science, mathematics, and social studies.


32 Reading comprehension Reading comprehension is the process of Sim ultaneously extracting and construc ting knowledge through interaction and involvement with written language (Snow, 2002, p. 11). By increasing vocabulary, enhancing writing skills and the pragmatics of the language, students will become proficient and arti culate as readers and speakers (Caldern & Minaya-Rowe, 2003). According to Halliday & Hasan (1976) in order for children to comprehend texts they must be familiar with two contexts, the context that varies from culture to culture and the context of the situation, depending on the field which refers to the topic of the text, the tenor or the relationship of the writer and reader, and the mode of language utilized (Gibbons, 2002). Snow (2002) suggested that teachers develop their students reading comprehe nsion by, (a) increasing word recognition and fluency to help comprehension, (b) providing students with strategies needed to monitor and foster comprehension, (c) givi ng explicit comprehension strategies, (d) compensating for a history of differential instru ction, (e) providing vocab ulary instruction to foster complex comprehension, (f) contextualizing subjec t matter learning, (g) using a variety of texts, (h) increasing student motivation through choices, challenging task s, and collaborative activities, (i) using strategies thoughtfully and dynamically, a nd (j) providing adequate time to reading comprehension instruction. Wong-Fillmor e (1997) has suggested that teachers help students to develop academic language as well as their reading comprehe nsion by utilizing the written text as comprehensible input. This can be done by guiding ch ildren to make sense of the texts they are reading by help ing them focus on the way lang uage is used, discussing the meaning, interpreting the sentences within the te xt, and discussing the grammatical clues that indicate cause and effect, antecedent and conseq uence, and comparison and contrast.


33 Writing in the second language The ideolog y of the literacy practices in the Mexican context was different than that in the United States. In their study of the literacy practices in two schools in Central Mexico, Jimenez, Smith & Martinez-Leon (2003) conclu ded that students were given considerable freedom in their spoken language. However, read ing constituted a middle ground that placed an emphasis written language that implied that stude nts were not encouraged to write very much. Students whose second language is English may experience writing difficulties in English because they experience a difference in sophistic ation between the oral and written language. For example, students whose native language is Sp anish experience a different written language development than native English speakers because the English discourse expresses itself in a straight line while the Spanish discourse is di vergent and global (Coady & Escamilla, 2005; Fu, 1995). Since different cultures expr esses different conceptions of the world (Whorf, 1956), their discourses are expressed with a di fferent syntax. For example, the English written language as in the case of English discourse also follows a straight line, while Spanish and Chinese communicate in a circular, global, or divergent manner (Coady & Escamilla, 2005; Escamilla & Coady, 2001; Fu, 1995). Literacy Practices of a Mex ican Immigran t Family Literacy practices are actions related to the specific ways in which the modes of language, speaking, listening, read ing, and writing are used in everyday life (Goodnow, Miller & Kessel, 1995) and bodies of knowledge of strategic importanc e for survival are maintained (Vlez-Ibnez & Greenberg, 2005, p. 49). Family literacy practices are defined by the way parents, children, friends, and extended family members use literacy at home and in their community. Literacy practices al so deal with language sociali zation, a tradition that rests on the assumption that language is the primary tool by which children are socialized into valued ways


34 of acting, thinking, and feeling (Gonzlez, Moll & Amanti, 2005). Sometimes, family literacy practices take place naturally during the routines of daily living when adults and children work together to accomplish related tasks get things d one (Morrow, 1995), and provide their own explanations of what they do (Gonzlez et al 2005). Vasquez, Pease-Alvarez & Shannons (1994) research on the home-school literacy practices of Mexi can immigrant children in California indicates that parents that provide extensiv e contingent queries and experiences are most helpful in enhancing their childrens language and literacy development. However, in some elementary schools, adult-child interactions ar e language exchanges that focus on a particular skill or direct instruction. This results in student gaining access to fewer adult contingency queries. Thus, children lack th e opportunities to develop extensive language responses. The end result is that some students achieve less language and literacy development, at school than they do at home. Literacy ac tivities might include making drawings, signs, or notes to share ideas, writing letters to family members, making grocer y lists, reading or following directions, sharing stories and daily happenings through conversa tion, commenting about programs, or viewing pictures on the wall, or singing and dancing to music (Morrow, 1995). Family literacy activities that reflect the ethnic, racial, or cultural heritage may take pl ace spontaneously, may be initiated deliberately, or take place on a continuous basi s. As parents and child ren go about their daily lives, children may question the familys approa ches to certain tasks and may be given the opportunity to provide their input (Velez-Ibanez & Greenberg, 2005). Family Members Teach Each Other In Jim enez (2000), the literacy and the identity development of selected Mexican students provided multiple examples and descriptions of how they interacted with siblings on topics related to literacy. One student provided examples of how his father taught him how to read by saying At first you learn to do the syllables and then you got to read in English as you did in


35 Spanish; another father gave students mone y to buy books and took them to the library following their teachers instructions (Jimenez, 2000). Other students received consejos or advice from their parents about how they shoul d read (Jimenez, 2000). The students commented on how they assumed the function of teachers to their young siblings, I model reading for her and she repeats it. My brother doesnt know how to do his homework. I am teaching him how (Jimnez, 2000). Education and the Familys Concept of Educacin The schools concept of education com es from the Latin word educere which means to lead out. In Greece, Socrates argued that educati on was drawing out what students already knew (Ornstein & Levine, 2006). Broadl y the concept of education mean s to transmit the classical and essential knowledge developed in the past and to equip our presen t students with the desire to acquire further knowledge; to teach students how to think and how to improve their minds, to build character and learning from experiences to enhance students achievement, to produce better and more productive citi zens and to improve society (O rnstein & Hunkins, 1998). Based upon the broad concept of education is the Mexican immigrant familys concept of educacin. It means guiding, nurturing, teaching and indoctrinating children in courtesy and good manners to help them develop physical, intelle ctual and moral abilities in order to perfect and to polish their sensory perceptions. As used by Mexican parents, the concept of educacin is more comprehensive than the genera lly accepted American usage of education. Educacin means the development of family taught values that form the childs character, respect for oneself and others, good ma nners and discipline, family honor, and respect for self and the community (Valdes, 1996; Ward & Franquiz, 2004). Also, included is respeto which manifests itself as havi ng a quiet, internal dignity, that includes a commitment for honesty (children do not lie), to cooperation (helping others is essential), to protect others from injustice,


36 a deep sense of respect for elders (even older brothers or sisters), youths (responsibility for younger siblings), and ones family (to defend the honor of the family is very important) (Ada & Zubizarreta, 2001). Another aspect of respeto is to wait for your turn to speak and to allow everyone in a group to speak first. Also desirabl e is the value of persistence; that is the importance of not giving up, not becoming discouraged; and trusting the teacher (Ada & Zubizarreta, 2001). Included also is being bien educado which means a person who is going to support and respect others, and being deferential to authority. Because Mexican parents believe that the strength of the human being is in th e mind, not in the body. Educacin, a code of ethics followed by Latinos including Mexicans, is viewed as the road to provide a better life for the young (Delgado-Gaitn, 2004; Ramirez & Castaneda, 1974). Ultimately, Mexican parents want their children to become English proficient, su ccessful, and to continue learning and achieve a higher education (Ada & Zubizarreta, 2001). Parental Involvement Parental inv olvement has been identified as an important factor in promoting students success in literacy (Fan & Chen, 2001; Hill & Taylor, 2004; Jeynes, 2003; Moreno & Lopez, 1999; Pomerantz, Grolnick & Price, 2005; Wh ite, 2005). A number of research studies on Hispanic parental involvement emphasize the importance of an on-going school-community involvement with a strong commitment to hom e-school communication in the native language and developing literacy partne rships (August & Hakuta, 1998). One strategy that was effective was helping parents connect with their children through literacy activities, particularly using parent narratives that affirm their knowledge, ideas, and experiences (Ada & Zubizarreta, 2001). Delgado-Gaitn (2004) believes in empowering immigrant parents by organizing them to work together effectively within the school system. Pa rental empowerment enables minority parents to understand the literacies of the school even thoug h they have a different language, culture, and


37 are of a lower socioeconomic class (DelgadoGaitn, 2004). Schools can foster a relationship with parents by removing barriers th at detour disadvantaged parent s from getting involved with the school. For example, like providing trans portation, child care services, and bilingual interpreters (Henderson, Marburge r & Ooms, 1986). In a study with five migrant families in La Joya, Texas, Lopez (2004) it was discovered that home visits played a major role in making the school staff aware of the migran t parents needs. Also, the mi grant families valued the school staffs face-to-face encounters. The parents a nd the school staff both believed that these understandings on a personal level between th em helped their students greatly. Many sociocultural-historical liter acy researchers have suggested that educators implement a new approach to encourage lower socio-economic /minority parental i nvolvement, by bringing parents home literacies to school (Delgado-Ga itn, 2004; Rogoff, 2003; Gonzlez et al, 2005). This recommendation was implemented with great results in Moll, Amanti, Neff & Gonzalez (2005) Funds of knowledge included studies of low-income immigrant families and which focused on naturally occurring home literacy practices that schools were able to use to increase student academic achievement. The funds of knowledge study also showed that minority people are competent and have acquired knowle dge through their life experiences, such as producing traditional arts and cr afts and baked goods. Further, they found that when teachers became aware of their students pa rents literacy practices, they realized that these practices could be utilized as an asset by the school by selling student produced crafts to support studentschool functions (Gonzlez et al., 2005). Ideally the teacher should bring the familys literacies to school so that both the sc hool and home can become equal partners who work toward increasing student academic achievement (Gonzlez et al., 2005; Jimnez, 2000). The best model of parental involvement is a two-way stre et of communication between school and home


38 (Delgado-Gaitn, 1990, p. 168). Caldern & Carren (2000) have worked with family support teams to help parents feel respected and welcom e in the school, in order to make it easier for them to become active in their childrens ed ucation. August & Hakuta (1997) report that in effective schools, teachers have a strong commitment to home-school communication and parental involvement in formal support activ ities. According to Ca ldern & Carren (2000) community out-reach helps parents feel respecte d and welcome in the school to support their childrens education and parents ha ve learned strategies to use w ith their children at home such as reading with their children in their native language. Teachers Beliefs and Practices Professional educato rs teaching practices ar e based on both their educational philosophies and knowledge learned during their training or the ways in which they were taught (Ornstein & Hunkins, 1998). Also, teachers develop teaching styl es through their experience. These styles may be implicit or explicit and may be difficult to change (Ornstei n & Levine, 2006). BeharHorenstein & Seabert (2002) beli eve that qualitative classroom research can give us a better understanding of teaching practices leading to increased studen t achievement. In her study of instructor practices in a K-12 developmental research school, she id entified five teaching behaviors that varied in the de gree of student involvement incl uding, (a) encouraging students to think critically; (b) instructing students in the completion of tasks; (c) providing didactic instruction through teacher talk ; 4) providing passive instruc tion, and (d) unfocused, unclear, irrelevant, or disorganized teaching. These te acher-effectiveness studies were focused on a diverse spectrum of behaviors ranging from cl assroom management strategies to homework and seatwork practices (Eggen & Ka uchack, 1999). Their findings cons istently indicate that the teacher is the single most important factor ou tside the home that affects student learning and development (Joyce, Weil & Calhoun, 2004). When teachers have confidence in their students


39 abilities, the students are more likely to believe in themselves (Celedon-Pattichis, 2004).Teachers, who have clear beliefs and goals, actively strive for learning, and use effective methods are more likely to produce good results (Ornstein & Hunkins, 1998). Also, teachers practices are based on educational philosophy, kn owledge of the learners, knowledge of the subject, the psychology of learning, and curren t life studies (Ornst ein & Hunkins, 1998). Teachers Pedagogy Transm ission models of pedagogy, predominant in the mainstream American classroom as reported by large-scale studie s (Goodlad, 1984; Sirotnik, 1999), affect Hispanic low-income students in a disproportionate manner (Ramirez, Yuen, Ramey & Pasta, 1991). One of the major concerns in Ramirez et al. (1991) is that in over half of th e interactions between teachers and Hispanic English language learne rs, students were only listening or responding with non verbal gestures or actions, by utilizing these limited models of teaching, students decreased their opportunities to develop complex la nguage and critical thinking skill s. The implication of this passive pedagogy on a Hispanic low socio-economic community is disastrous. Hispanic students simply withdraw because they feel margina l, a condition experienced when a learner has difficulty relating to a learning environment a nd profiting from it. If their feelings of marginalization are acute the student may give up on education completely (Joyce, Weil & Calhoun, 2004). Teachers and administrators who have the power to control learning must respect each childs interactive discourses in or der to make the classroom a positive experience for the student (Lopez, 1999). Also, problems arise when education proponents of a more powerful dominant discourse assume that everyone should perceive the world in the same way (Lopez, 1999). Cummins (2001) su ggests that teachers proactivel y affirm childrens linguistic identity by validating their students native la nguage and culture in the classroom, encourage parents to maintain their native language at home, and establish an environment of linguistic and


40 cultural collaboration among the school, parents, and the commun ity (Scribner & Cole, 1999). Moll, Amanti, Neff & Gonzalez (1 992) have reported how teach ers worked successfully with Hispanic migrant parents to di scover the funds of knowledge th at exist in the community and strove to integrate their student s culture into the curriculum (Moll et al, 1992). The teachers knowledge of the childs home literacy is esp ecially important when their students are negotiating literacy learning. The teachers understanding of the students prior knowledge, their interests, achievement levels, and previous skills are helpful tools which the teacher utilizes to expand the students literacy knowledge (Ornstein & Sinatra, 2005). The findings of the study suggest teachers need to crea te zones of possibilities for Mexican immigrant students by making meaningful connections between their home literacies and the classroom curriculum by designing relevant learning ac tivities (Moll & Greenberg, 199 0, pp. 319, 345). Also the findings support the need of teachers to adjust their learning environmen ts to the optimal comfort and comprehension level of their students in order to avoid their feelings of marginalization and instead promoting the constructi on of knowledge through th eir interactions with their teacher and with their classmates (Joyce et al., 2004). The ge nerative and transformative models of learning or critical pedagogy are the models of choice for English language learners because meaning is generated as new ideas are inte grated with previous knowledge and the learning environments are extended from the classroom to the co mmunity (Ada, 1988; Cummins, 2001; Freeman & Freeman, 2006). Classroom compon ents necessary for English la nguage learners are, (a) a motivated student, (b) native English speakers w ho can model for learners, (c) comprehensible input (Krashen, 1982), and, (d) a learning environment that provi des sufficient time for English speaking students and English language learners to work together (Wong-Fillmore, 1991). According to Garca (1997) and Darder (1997), some examples of effective teacher practices for


41 language minority students are: (a) using skillful communication with students, parents, fellow teachers, and administrators; (b) implementing student-centered, colla borative, and process oriented methods; (c) understanding and va luing the minority langua ge and culture; (d) recognizing and respecting the learning that takes place at home; (e) caring and advocating for a democratic education for their students; and (f) incorporating their students home literacy practices into the classroom community. Teachers Literacy Methodology Autonomous theory literacy approach The literacy m ethodology of the autonomous theory is the word recogn ition approach. In a review of experimental research on phonics, th e National Research Panel (2000) concluded that the explicit and systematic teaching of phonics is superior to nonsystematic or to no phonics at all instruction (Gambrell, Morrow & Pressley, 2007; Report of the National Reading Panel, 2000). Stahl, Duffy-Hester & Stahl (1998) also concluded that there are several good phonics instruction approaches, an example is the ge neral approach to phonics which begins with phonemic awareness, learning the letters of the alphabet and th e sounds made for each letter. Then, students learn phonics rule s which are to combine letter s ounds to produce a word and also to memorize sight words that do not follow phoni cs rules (Freeman & Freeman, 2006). In the word recognition approach, the teacher direct ly instructs students on how to pronounce the letters, how to combine letter sounds to pronounc e words, how to write individual words and gradually how to combine words to form w hole sentences (Freeman & Freeman, 2006). Ideological theory reading approach The ideological approach to literacy is the socio-psycholinguistic or whole language approach. T here are six guiding pr inciples of whole language: (a ) Oral and written language development occurs from whole-to part; (b) Lan guage and literacy are soci ally constructed; (c)


42 Literate behavior is learned th rough real and functional language use; (d) Demonstrations are critical to learning; (e ) All learning involves risk taking an d approximation; (f) Learners must take responsibility for their ow n learning (Crafton, 1991). Accord ing to a holistic view point, oral and written language should be taught within the context of complete discourse, or a whole unit of language should be utilized for a specific purpose (Ornstein & Sinatra, 2005). Whole language readers try to make sense of the text by using psychological strategies, phonemic and structural cues, background knowledge and graphophonic cues to predict the text (Freeman & Freeman, 2006). However, in the whole language approach to writing, st udents choose topics related to their backgr ounds and interests and write for real audiences. Also, students are provided with the necessary resources to move from invention to convention (Freeman & Freeman, 2006). An ecological balanced approach to reading A balanced approach p romotes authentic texts and tasks, with a heavy emphasis on writing, literature, response, and explicit instru ction for phonics, word identification, comprehension, and conventional writing (Pearso n, 2004). The goal of reading then, is that instruction according to the bala nced approach is for learne rs to achieve automatic word recognition so that comprehension can be enhanc ed and rich images can be produced without halts in the reading text (Ornst ein & Sinatra, 2005, p. 105). Therefor e, the utilization of both the word recognition and the whole la nguage approaches are essentia l to a comprehensive approach to early literacy because it utilizes explicit phonological guidance and provides a range of opportunities to use print for au thentic communication (Goldenberg, 1998). In whole language learning classrooms, Students are learning phonics all the time as they go about the business of constructing meaning and reading and writing (Crafton, 1994, p. 157).


43 Pedagogical research indicates that an early, focused systematic emphasis is necessary for utilizing highly embedded approaches, such as invented spelling (Cha ll, 1967; Report of the National Reading Panel, 2000; Windsor & Pearson, 1992). Also, an ecological balanced approach respects the existing reading research without excluding major research paradigms and also respects the wisdom of pr actice which exhibits a balanced repertoire of instructional strategies, and pedagogical pract ices. Thus, an ecological balanced approach represents a transformative pedagogy of reading as A process of constructing meaning in re sponse to texts encountered in a specific context(Pearson, 2004, p. 245). Summary of the Literature Review The literature review provides the fram ework for this study. The concepts, the theories of literacy, and theories of biliteracy provide the background fand the tools for this study. For example, the childrens biliteracy development offers standards to compare the participant childrens development. Also, the section on fam ily literacy practices presents some of the discoveries that other studies have contributed to the topic. Finally, the literacy practices of the participant teachers, such as their beliefs, pedagogy, and literacy methodology which they bring to their classroom.


44 CHAPTER 3 METHODS Theoretical Perspective The epistemology of constructionism provi ded the philosophical grounding for the m ethods (Crotty, 2003; Hamlyn, 1995; Maynard, 1994) Constructionism focuses on how human beings individually and collectiv ely construct the social and ps ychological world in specific linguistic, social and historic al contexts (Crotty, 2003). Et hnography was the methodological strategy for the research design that shaped the choice of methods and linked them to the desired outcomes (Crotty, 2003; Schwandt, 1997). Ethnogr aphy was used to document a detailed dayto-day picture of events in the life of the participant Mexican immigrant family across a period of six months. When the researcher had access to the culture-sharing group, a detailed record of their behaviors and beliefs developed over time was kept (LeCompte, Preissle, & Tesch, 1993). Methods The ethnographic m ethods utilized in this study include participant observation, classroom visitation, inte rviews, and field notes. Participant Observation Participan t observation allowed the researcher to observe the ever yday life activities of the Mexican immigrant family. Ten formal 30-minute observations we re conducted at the familys home; in addition, the family invited the researcher to join them to other events which added richness to the research data. Classroom Observations Five classroom observations for each of th e participant teachers were conducted for a total of 15 observations. The obs ervations varied from 30 minu tes to two hours depending on whether the teacher asked for the researchers participation or not. A classroom observation


45 protocol was utilized to record, the teacher s name, date, topic, number of students, demographics, teachers and students activities, teachers and students talk, instructional methodology used, use of ESOL scaffolding if used, inclusion of students language and students literacy practices, a nd the researchers comments. The participant observation continuum was us ed flexibly based on the needs of the participants and the researchers constructionist theoretical perspective (Agar, 1996, DeWalt & Dewalt, 2002, Grills, 1998; Spradley, 1988; Van Maanen, 1988). For example, the researcher participated with the family and served as a re ading tutor for Salma, the third grade participant student, for one hour per day for five days. She al so served as a translator for the Fernandez when they visited the parent center at Parsons El ementary, and as a driver and back up translator for Mr. Fernandez at his courthouse meeting. Th e researcher was also asked by participating teachers, Ms. Cross and Ms. Rich, and the Fernandez parents, to serve as a translator during their three parent-teacher conferences with the Fern andez. The Parsons Elementary principal requested the researcher to act as a translator at the SAC mee ting for the Fernandez and other Mexican parents who attended the meeting. The res earcher was asked by Ms. Cross to participate in a cultural lesson where student s were asked to compare and cont rast two adults of different origins (Ms. Cross and the researcher). Their sim ilarities were that both were teachers whose hobbies were reading and cooking. However, like many of the students themselves, there were also differences, Ms. Cross was born in the Un ited States and spoke English as her native language, while, the researcher was born in Mexico and spoke Spanish as her native language. Finally in Ms. Drurys kindergarte n class the researcher assisted Selena and her classmates in a writing center lesson and in the pre-reading activity finding words with letters v and x in books from the classroom library.


46 Field Notes The researcher utilized a com bination of note taking to record the participant observations, such as jotted notes, expande d notes, logs, and methodological notes and reflections concerning the rese arch (DeWald & DeWald, 2002). Interviews In this study, open-ended sem i-structured and recorded interviews that were designed to give freedom of expression to the participants voices were used (Kvale, 1996). Occasionally there were informal unscheduled interviews, dur ing the observation, that were documented in the field notes (DeWalt & DeWalt, 2002). The partic ipant family, Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez (the parents) and each of their three children were interviewed two times each. The parents chose to be interviewed together and in Spanish. They were asked questions co ncerning their education, community, parental involvement with the school, and educational aspirations for their children. The three participant children also chose to be interviewed in Spanish, but were interviewed individually. They were asked questions concerning their liter acy experiences at home and at school, their favorite class and the reasons for it, as well as their plans for the future. The childrens three classroom teachers were interv iewed in English two times each. They were asked questions concerning their philosophy of education, literacy practices, and how they worked with the participant Mexican immigrant students. Afterwards, the teachers and parents were given the opportunity to member check thei r answers. Instead of having a third interview with teachers, parents, and children, as was or iginally planned, two parent-teacher conferences were recorded.


47 The Setting Obtaining Permission On November 1, 2007, I applied for the Univ ersity of Floridas IRB permission and obtained it on November 19, 2007. On Nove mber 9, 2007 I obtained the County School Districts permission to appro ach the target school s principal. On November 15, 2007, I met with the Parsons Elementary principal to request approval to conduct my research in her school. The principal expressed that she and the district leaders were very interested in my research because they were concerned that they were not relating to the Mexican pa rents as well as they would like to and that the results of my study could possibly help them understand the Mexican parents needs better. On November 21, the principal assisted me by making an appointment with Mrs. Bethel, the migrant recruiter, so that I could ask her to help me select a participant family. Mrs. Bethel took out her migrant recruitment lists and pointed out two nonmigrant immigrant families who qualified for my study. Although both families had three children in the elementary school, I chose the Fernandez family because they had a ch ild in the fourth grade, another in the third grade, and another in kinderga rten, indicating a broader range of school experiences than the second family, the Davila family, who had twins in kindergarten and another child in the first grade. On November 22, Mrs. Bethel contacted the Fernandez family on my behalf and set an appointment for us to meet. The Fernandez mother came to talk to me at the migrant portable and I explained the program to her. She told me that she needed to discuss the familys participation with her husband and promised to return the next day at the same place with her response. On November 23, after school, Mrs. Fernande z returned with Mr. Fernandez and their three elementary school children (the Fernandez have a fourth child in day care that they had not


48 picked up yet). The parents and the three children sat at the c onference table listening to my presentation. Mr. Fernandez had a few concerns about his children who he felt did not display exemplary behavior. I told him that I expected th e children to be themselves, and that I was not going to be judgmental, a nd that at any time, the family could choose to no longer participate in the program if they so desired. Af ter that, the parents accepted to participate. Then, Mrs. Bethel assisted me in identifying the childrens classroom teachers and provided me with the information that the oldest child, the boy, was in the fourth grade-gifted class and was participating in an after school gifted reading class on Mondays a nd Thursdays. The two girls in the third grade and in kindergarte n were participating in a pull-ou t ESOL supplementary services program during school hours for 30 minutes twice a week, with their classroom teachers being in charge of their language arts instruction. Data Collection The research was conducted from December 2007 to May 2008. On December 6, 7, and 8, I visited the Fernandez family at their home where we talked causally and where I observed them informally, in order to become better acqua inted. During this time, I observed the familys daily routines and was able to plan my schedul ed formal participant observations. These three days helped us to bond almost immediately and the children began to feel at ease with me, starting to perceive me as a family member, referring to me as aunt. Also, I approached the parents asking them to sign the Inform Consent and conducted the first parental interview. They indicated that they would like to be interviewed together in Spanish, with each providing their own answers. Fi nally during the last day, I read the Assent to the children in Spanish, as they requested, and th en they signed the Informed Consent.


49 Research Site Parsons (a pseudonym) is an unincorporated town in Central Florida. The Mexican community living in Parson comprises 69% of the population, including some families whose parents and grandparents moved fr om Mexico to Parsons 30 years ago. These families have been followed by relatives and friends, including those who have arrived just recently. Most of the older families became legal residents during the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) immigration amnesty. However, many of the newcomers are undocumented. The Mexican workers have been attracted to Parsons the Fern capital of the world to work growing floral green fern fronds that are harvested and shippe d throughout the world to add to the aesthetics of floral bouquets. Although Parsons has few amenities, the Mexican fern workers have chosen to settle here with their families because the fern industry offers year around employment, so that workers do not need to chan ge residences in order to seek employment. Also, their children benefit by being U. S. c itizens and acquiring a stab le education attending kindergarten through high school in the same to wn. The fern workers are supported by a local branch of the Florida Farm Workers Associa tion, which is supported by the Catholic Church. The association is made up of local workers w ho are dedicated to improving working conditions for those employed in the fern business. Recently, the association persuaded state legislators to pass laws to protect farm workers from unknown insecticides and to he lp with immigration information. Although, in recent years, descendant s of older families in the Parsons Mexican community have attended college and have acqui red employment not associated with the fern industry, many still choose to settle with their fa milies in Parsons. For example, one particular Mexican immigrant and a former student of Pa rsons Elementary has become the assistant principal of the secondary school in Parsons.


50 Parsons Elementary School, the only elementary school in the tow n, is an 80-year old school with approximately 498 students. The stud ent demographics are 73% are Hispanic, 10% black, 13% non-Hispanic white, 3% Asian, and 1% other. Within th e school, 86% are eligible for free or reduced price lunch, considerably higher than the state and district averages, Of the students, 44% receive ESOL services and 54% ar e classified as migrant. Parsons Elementary Schools mission is to work cooperatively with all students, parents, and community members in the development of well educated and c ontributing members of our democratic society (Parsons Elementary Webpage). Parsons Elementary is a monolingual school in an English-only state which provides English for Speakers of Other Languages and Migrant Education support for Mexican immigrant children. The majority of the schools 50 teachers are American born English speakers and the teacher transfer rate is very low. Most of the teachers commute from their homes near the seashore 25 miles away, or from a college city 15 miles south, where there are more facilities available to their families. One road to the schoo l is a two-lane highway and the other road is shrouded with fog almost every morning. Most teachers live near excellen t public schools in the same county school system as Parsons Elemen tary; however, they continue their long, timeconsuming and expensive commute to Parsons year after year. One teacher has taught in Parsons for 36 years, and many have taught for only a few years less. After officially retiring from the district, a former Parsons Elementary principal re turned to Parsons Elementary as a third grade teacher. The current Parsons Elementary principal, who had been a student and a beginning teacher at the school, came back to Parsons Elementa ry as its principal, after serving as teacher and assistant-principal at other schools in the district. Anothe r teacher who earned a doctorate


51 degree ten years prior to this study also chose to continue to teach classes at Parsons Elementary School. Participants The Family The Fernandez family (a pseudonym) is composed of the father, Josu, who is 34 years old; the mother Soledad, who is 33 years old; th e oldest child, a son Edua rdo, who is 10 years old and is in 4th grade; a daughter, Salma, who is eight years old and is in 3rd grade; a daughter, Selena, who is six years old and is in Kindergarten; and a daughter, Baby Delia, who is two years old and goes to the Head Start day care school. Mr. Josu Fernandez (a pseudonym), the fath er was born in Hidal go, Mexico in 1973. He was the oldest son in a family of eight ch ildren. He attended public school up to the sixth grade in Mexico before he came to the United St ates 12 years ago with several of his siblings who presently live nearby. He has expressed th e hardship of not seei ng his parents in a long time, saying to me in Spanish, No he visto a mis padres en doce aos. Los extrao mucho (I have not seen my parents in twelve years. I rea lly miss them). He make s his living cutting floral fern in the fernery farms of Parsons, Florida for ten hours most days. When there is no work in the ferneries, he fixes cars and refrigerators, and raises chickens, turkeys, and a pig for his family to supplement their food supply. Mrs. Soledad Fernandez (a pseudonym), the mother, was born in Zacatecas, Mexico in 1974. She was the oldest in a migrant family of eight children, attending school for only two years in Mexico. She immigrated to the United States with her entire family in 1992, which presently live nearby. She said to me in Spanish, The thing that Josu an d I have in common is that we grew up feeling responsible to help our parents care for our brothers and sisters. I think thats why we are very hardworking and sensitiv e to the needs of others Soledad also works


52 mostly 10-hour days cutting fern. When there is no fern to cut, she work s both selling her crafts and at home from six oclock in the morning to la te at night, attending the needs of her family, cooking, cleaning, and doing the laundry. Eduardo (a pseudonym), the oldest child is a ten-year old boy, born in the Parsons area where he hads attended school si nce kindergarten without interrupt ion. Eduardo is in Ms. Richs fourth grade gifted class. He is an avid read er and very attentive to his family and friends. Eduardo is intelligent. He was observed to alwa ys monitor his sisters' language and behavior, particularly his kindergarten sist er. He helps his parents tend to their livestock, and do the household chores. He is very close to Salma, his eight-year old sister, and Selena, his six year old sister, and helps both them with their academics. He is also very caring and protective of his two year old sister Delia. Salma (a pseudonym), the third grade daughter in Ms. Cross cla ss is friendly, and energetic. She too was born in the Parsons ar ea and has attended Parsons elementary since Kindergarten without interruptions She is quiet and shy, and (as expressed by her teachers), enjoys daydreaming). While, she is very close to Eduardo, she doesn't get along very well with her younger sister, Selena. Yet, sh e enjoys taking care of her ba by sister, Delia and is very enthusiastic when the family plays together. She presently is being taught by Ms. Cross, the same teacher her brother, Eduardo had last y ear. Salma says she likes her teacher. Selena (a pseudonym), the kindergarten da ughter in Ms. Drurys class is rather introverted, and has not made ma ny friends at school. She doesn't seem to get along with either her brother Eduardo or her sister Salma. She is a very curious child. She asks many questions and her father corrects her often. She is very at tached to her mother and hugs her often. She enjoys trying to teach her baby sister, Delia new words.


53 Delia (a pseudonym) is the baby of the family and not a participant in this study. She is two years old and attends the Head Start School th at she seems to love. Everyone in the family pays a lot of attention to her and she smiles all the time. Her father plays with her more than with any of his other children. Although her moth er attends Delias need s well, she is not as demonstrative of her affection for her daughter as her father is. The Childrens Teachers Ms. Drury (a pseudonym), Selenas kindergarte n teacher, is an Anglo in her thirties. She has taught young children for several years in Parsons Elementary and in another state. At home, she is a foster parent. She take s care of several children and on ocassion had to cancel meetings with the researcher because she was needed by her children at home. At school she has been observed to be attentive and to keep the children engaged in instructiona l tasks. At times she ignored Selena during instru ction when it was clear that Selena needed guidance. Ms. Cross (a pseudonym), an Anglo teacher in he r forties, is Salmas third grade teacher. She is the oldest and apparent l eader of the group of three teachers. She has taught for 10 years at Parsons Elementary, first as a special educati on teacher for eight years and after having her reading endorsement, as a classroom teacher for the last two years. Salmas brother Eduardo was her third grade student and represented her class as a Young author, which helped him with his writing skills. Unfortunately, Ms. Cross has been observed comparing Salmas academic accomplishments with her brothers more impressive accomplishments. Ms. Rich (a pseudonym), Eduardos teacher of gi fted fourth grade students, is a first year teacher. Before we met, the principal expressed concern that Ms. Rich might be apprehensive about participating in my study because it was her first year teaching. However she quickly agreed. She is African-American-Korean in he r late twenties and a single parent of a kindergarten daughter at tending Parsons Elementary School. She said, I am not Hispanic,


54 people think that I am, but my mother is Ko rean. She was observed speaking harshly to Eduardo on several occasions. Data Collection The data collected consists of ten 30 mi nute formal participant observations at the Fernandez home and five 30 minute observations in each of the three childrens classrooms. Two interviews were conducted with the parents together, two interviews were conducted with each of the children and, two interviews were conducted with each of the childrens teachers. The researcher developed a question guide for th e parents interviews in Spanish, which were based on: (a) family history and labor history; (b) regular household activi ties (in an attempt to capture their household home literacies); and, (c ) the processes of sense-making and how they saw their function as parents (Gonzlez, Moll & Amanti, 2005). The three children chose to be interviewed in Spanish. Their questions focuse d on their literacy identity development: (a) favorite activities at home and in school, (b) fa vorite books, (c) what they wanted to be when they grow up, and (d) family and friends. The teachers interviews in English were based on questions such as: (a) educatio nal career, (b) philosophy of e ducation, (c) literacy pedagogy, (d) role as teachers of diverse clas srooms and, (e) how they believed th ey worked with the particular Mexican migrant student being studied? All of th e interviews were conducted face-to-face. The researcher was responsible for audio-recording and transcribing the in terviews. In addition, extensive field notes were taken during the st udy (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992; DeWalt & DeWalt, 2002). The names of the school, teachers, parents, and students were changed to protect the anonymity of the study participants in all the data. Data Analysis The coding and analysis process began as in terviews of home and classroom visitation protocols were generated. To be consistent with exploratory-inductive appr oaches to qualitative


55 inquiry, no a priori definitions or strategies were used to dir ect the data collection. Data was gathered and analyzed to produce descriptive ca tegories, themes, and conceptual theoretical understandings (Bogdan & Biklen, 1982; Glaser, 1978; Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Data from the study respondents was coded according to the prin ciples for inductive research and comparative analysis (Glaser, 1978; Glaser & Strauss, 1967). This form of analysis is based on a comparison of each new unit of data including those code d previously for emergent categories and subcategories. After the first week of intervie ws, the researcher analyzed initial findings to develop a working list of domains. The working typology was based on the nature of the questions and responses up to that point. This process enabled th e researcher to look at emerging patterns and to facilitate seeing unexpected patterns or categories. Later, the interviews were analyzed further taking into consideration new data received from pare nt-teacher conferences. Researchers Subjectivity Statement The researcher is a naturalized American citizen born in Mexico. Her teaching career began in Mexico where she taught low socioeconomic students in pub lic schools for seven years. In the United States, the researcher taugh t college level Spanish and French for six years in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Later, the researcher taught at the K-12 leve l for a total of 20 years in a Central Florida public school system, where she taught, Spanish, French, and English for Speakers of Other Languages. She was also an advocate for Mexican migrant students for 13 of these years, and the districts English/Spanish and Spanish/English interpreter and translator doing both oral and written translations. During her experience, she ob served that whenever pr incipals and teachers understood the cultural background, and the academic and linguistic needs of their Mexican immigrant students and their parents; and when the parents understood the schools point of view, a better understanding between each was fostered.


56 The researchers experiences in qualitativ e research includes her five-year tenure as program administrator at the Florida Department of Education in Tallah assee in the areas of English for speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Foreign Languages, and migrant education. In this position, she conducted multiple school distri ct ESOL evaluations and investigations based on parental complaints in which she performed extensive interviewing, classroom observations, and document analysis. Then while a doctoral student at the University of Florida, the researcher conducted several studies, utiliz ing participant observ ation, interviewing, and document analysis while studying the instructional pr actices of a bilingual school in Central Florida, and examining the tenure-track process under gone by assistant professors. Validity and Reliability Validity was established by prolonged e ngagement and persistent observation, triangulation, peer review and debriefing, negative case analysis, rich thick description, member checking, audit trail, and extern al audit (Creswell, 2005; Denzin & Lincoln, 2005; Kvale, 1996; Miles & Huberman, 1984; Schwandt, 1997; Silver man, 2005). A college of education graduate student acted as a peer de-briefer The student reviewed the resear chers data collection process, coding and analysis and report of conclusions. Reliability was pursued under "dependability through careful documentation of the procedures for generatin g and interpreting the data (Lincoln & Guba, 2000), and th rough the utilization of inte r-rater checks on coding and categorization (Silverman, 2005).


57 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS The purpose of this chap ter is to present the findings related to each research question. Research Question 1: What are the Literacy Practices of a Mexican Immigrant Family in Central Flo rida? The Fernndez Family Home The Familys Living Room In order to d escribe the lite racy practices of the Mexican immigrant family (Fernndez family), it is important to provide a descrip tion of their home environment. The Fernndez family lived in an old 20 by 50 feet mobile home that had been reconditioned by the father. The family also owned a large plot of land on whic h their home stood and where they kept chickens, turkeys and a small pig. Recently, they had added a wooden porch to the front of the home where a table, chairs and a hammock were kept (P articipant observations p. 6, lines 124-128). The living room designed with an angular wall, made the room appear larger than it was. The room, recently painted, was partially carpe ted. It had two large matching sofas facing a twenty-five inch televi sion set and a three foot long ster eo. The room had two windows with printed flower curtains that matched severa l artificial flower arra ngements (Participant observations, p. 6, lines 129-132). Religious Icons in the Home In the m iddle wall there were religious icons of the Catholic faith including two one by two feet large oval picture images of the Virgin of Guadalupe, th e patron saint of Mexico. These were located on each side of a two by three feet im age of Jesus Christ being taken down from the cross. There were also some pl astic flowers arranged around the ic ons. On the right side of the wall were four eight by ten inch school pictures of the children: Salma, the third grader, Eduardo the fourth grader, Selena, the ki ndergarten daughter, and th eir baby girl, Delia. On the left side of


58 the wall, were pictures of the parents wedding, the childrens baptism and their Holy Communion. On the other side of the room, ther e was a three feet by four feet photographic portrait of Mrs. Fernndez mother. While refe rring to the photograph, Mrs. Fernndez said, Esa es mi mam cuando estaba joven y delgada (Thats my mother when she was young and thin). On the same wall, left of the mothers portrait, was an eight by ten inch picture of Salma and her kindergarten certificate. Under the pi cture and certificate were the stereo and two of Salmas eighteen inch tall dolls. Salma pointed out, La mueca con el vestido blanco es mi fa vorite (The doll in the white dress is my favorite). Mrs. Fernndez added, Esa fue la primera mueca que le compramo s a Salma (It was the first doll we bought for Salma). On top of the stereo, was a tw o by three feet, orange and white crocheted cloth that Mrs. Fernndez described, Yo misma lo tej (I crocheted that cloth myself). Other decorations in the living r oom were twenty three knickknacks inside the four by six feet china cabinet. On top of the china cabinet, to the right of the mothers po rtrait was a collection of ten dolls ranging from one to two feet tall, five of porcelain and ten plastic. On another four feet by six feet china cabinet on the opposite wall ther e were 25 six-inch souvenirs, specimens for those Mrs. Fernandez was commissioned to make for various family events like weddings, baptisms, confirmations, and quincea eras. Mrs. Fernndez said, Yo hice la mayora de los recuerditos (I made most of those souvenirs myself). Near the stereo, on the other side of the livi ng room, and placed on top of the television were Eduardos two reading medals and six twelve in ch trophies that the ch ildren had received at


59 school (twenty, similarly designe d twelve-inch tall children's tr ophies were also displayed throughout the room). Adjacent to the living room was a 10 by 20 feet kitchen that included a dining area, a three by five feet brown wooden ta ble, and six matching chairs. The kitchen also included green painted wooden cabinets on top and be low, also a refrigerator, a sink, and a stove. On the back wall there were a window and a wi ndowed door leading to the back of the home with white curtains decorated with large red fl owers. The walls were painted light green. The floor was covered with green colored marble designed linoleum. White linoleum with green squares and small black diamond shapes covered half of the living r oom floor (Participant observations, p. 6-7, lines 132-151). The Other Rooms in the Mobile Home I asked the children to guide m e to the other rooms of their home. They agreed and they gave me a tour of the mobile homes three bedrooms, one bathroom, and a laundry room. The first bedroom was the girls room. There were two beds where everyone slept during the cold nights next to a small electric heater because th e family did not have a central heating system. The next room was Eduardos where he had a collec tion of 25 six to twelve inch cast iron trucks and cars. Eduardo showed me his ten reading meda ls and his ten, twelve inch trophies which he won at Parsons Elementary for having read a hu ndred books at various times. He also showed me his five nine by twelve inch drawings and pa intings that were posted on the walls. Finally, he showed me a ten by twelve inch rubber mask th at he used during Halloween, and asked me to take a picture of him wearing it. Next, Salma and Selena guided me to their parents bedroom. Lying on the five by seven feet bed was a 36-inch statue of Baby Jesus dressed in a green silk gown that was lying on a nine by twelve feet orange and white crocheted bedspread made by their mother. Mrs. Fernndez who was in the ki tchen came into the room to explain that her mother had given her the statue of Baby Jesus. Every year on Christmas Day, a lady friend was


60 invited to be the godmother and together they ma de a new gown for Baby Jesus. The girls then showed me their six twelve inch tall teddy bears and their 30 dolls which ranged in size from six to eighteen inches tall. The dolls covered the ch est of drawers. Finally, the children showed me the laundry room with only a washing machine and the only bathroom in the home. Although the bathroom looked very clean, it did not have a toil et seat. All the rooms in the home were newly painted and appeared to be in good repair. The bedrooms, the hall, and half of the living room were carpeted with a tan carpet, while the bathro om, kitchen and half of the living room were covered with linoleum (Participant observations, pp. 8-9, lines 172-199). The Books that Eduardo Had Written When I inquired about the books they had in th e house, Mr. Fernndez said that the only books they had in the house, aside from th e childrens school books were two books that Eduardo had written in the 3rd grade, when he was selected to participate in the Young Authors school program. Mr. Fernndez brought the two six by eight inch ten-page books to me. The two books were printed in English and illustrated by Eduardo were bound with hard covers. The first story told about his fear of a train after the familys dog had been killed by a train near their previous home. Mr. Fernndez explained that this event had prompted the family to move from that area of Parsons to their pr esent home site. The second book was about Eduardos desire to travel to Mexico and visit his grandfather's fa rm. Later, Eduardo read the two books aloud to me in English with great intonation. When I asked him if he had written more books in the fourth grade he said, Todava no (No, not yet). Although Eduardo read his books aloud in English, all our conversations were exclusively in Spanish (Participant Observations, pp. 7-8, lines 158-170).


61 The Importance of Family The Parents Life in Mexico, as Children As children, Mr. and Mrs. Fernndez grew up in Hidalgo and Zacatecas, Mexico. They described the love and respect th ey held for their parents and how they appreciated what their parents had given them. While remarking a bout her childhood, Mrs. Fernndez said, Lo que nuestros papas nos pudieran dar a mi s hermanos y a mi, nos hacia felices (Whatever our parents were able to give my br others and sisters and me, made us happy). Both Mr. and Mrs. Fernndez agreed, Lo que recibimos fue principalmente el cario de nuestros hermanos (We received mainly their love and our brot hers and sisters love), Mr. Fernndez continued, Llegamos a ser personas buenas y felices (We grew up to become good and happy people). Mr. Fernndez said that being a good son helped him become a responsible man. He explained that his childhood experi ences prepared him for life, Yo estaba a cargo de hacer los mandados y de ayudarles a mis padres en los quehaceres de la casa (I was in charge of the errands and I helped my parents with chores). Mr. Fernndez believed that this was the reas on that he learned to be responsible as a husband and as a father helping his wife and children, Yo creo que por esta razn aprend a ser muy responsable ahora como esposo y como padre de mis hijos (I believe th at this is why I learned to be responsible now for my wife and as a father of my children.) (Mr. & Mrs. Fernndez Inte rviews, p. 2, lines 26-38).


62 The Familys Life in the United States In the United States, the Fernndez enjoyed livi ng close to most of their fam ily members, who had imigrated to areas close to Parsons. Mr. Fernndez said, Somos muy afortunados de poder vivir cerca de nuestra familia en Parsons, con la excepcin de mis padres que viven en Hidal go, Mexico (We are very fortunate to live close to most of our family here in Parsons, with the exception of my parents who remain in Hidalgo, Mexico). Working as fern cutters in Parsons, the Fe rnndez work with their relatives, which enables them to eat together at lunch every da y and to celebrate their birthdays and holidays during work breaks. Mrs. Fernndez said, Nos mantenemos muy cerca de nuestra familia (We are very close to each other). Also, they hold a family reunion every Christmas at their home. Mrs. Fernndez remembered, No haba visto a mi hermanita, la mas chiq uita por once anos, hasta que la vi cuando vino de Texas a visitarnos para navidad (I had not seen my youngest sister in eleven years, until she came to visit us fromTexas last Christmas). (Participant Observatio ns, p. 24, lines 529-542). Ms. Fernandez Mothers Illness During the study, Mrs. F ernndez mother had a stroke. Mrs. Fern ndez left immediately to be at her mothers bedside at the nearby hos pital, sacrificing her ea rning power for several days. She said being at her mothers side wa s her most important obligation. She told her husband when she called from the hospital, Aqu estoy con mama en el hospital. Esta mejorcita (I am at the hospital with mama, She is doing much better). Mr. Fernndez helped by going to work and taking care of their children before and after school and told his wife, No te preocupes, qudate con tu mam todo el tiempo que sea necesario (Dont worry, stay with your moth er as long as necessary).


63 (Conversations with the Fernandez, p. 1, lines 19-24). The Blessing of Being Parents Mr. and Mrs. Fernndez agreed that being pa r ents was the most beautiful thing in life, and that they felt very proud of being their f our childrens parents. Mrs. Fernndez said, Ser madre es una bendicin de Dios. Es la ms grande bendicin que hay (Being a mother, is a blessing from God. Its the greatest blessing that there is). As parents, Mrs. Fernndez believ es that it is their obligation, Animar y apoyar a nuestros hijos en las buenas y en las malas (To encourage and support our childre n in good times and in bad times). As parents, they rejoiced when their ch ildren accomplished good deeds and explained that they were there to help them correct their mistakes, A los padres, nos da gusto cuando nuestros hijos hacen cosas buenas y los ayudamos cuando ellos cometen un error (Parents rejoic e when their children do the right things and help them get up when they make a mistake). The Fernndez parents thought th at the best things they c ould give their children was Mucho amor (lots of love), teach them v alores (values), and help them develop confianza en ellos mismos (self confidence). Mr. Fernandez explained that he hoped to help his children develop self -confidence and trust in their parents, Los padres deben darle confianza a sus hijos para que ellos puedan venir con preguntas sobre la vida y poder tener la oportunidad de guiarlos hacia el bien y prevenirlos sobre lo que puede ser peligroso para ellos (Parents need to develop their childrens trust in them, so that the children can come to them with questions about life and the parents can take the opportunity to guide them towards what is good and warn them about what could be dangerous for them). One of Mr. Fernandez most difficult experiences as a father was when he had to leave his daughter Salma in kindergarten for the first time and she cried, Papi, no me dejes! Te prometo hacerte cas o (Daddy, dont leave me! I promise to obey you).


64 He described his best experience as a father, La satisfaccin de ver crece r a mis hijos y verlos aprender en la escuela (the satisfaction to see my children gr owing and learning in school). Mrs. Fernndez responded, Mi experiencia mas difcil fue tener a mis hijos (My most difficult experiences have been giving birth to my children). Because she has had difficult deliveries, but the birth of her children has also been, La experiencia ms hermosa (The most beautiful experience). (Parents Interviews, pp. 6-7, lines 123-158; pp. 9-10, lines 189-221). Childrens Cared for Each Other Their parents influence teach ing to care fo r each other showed. Eduardo, the eldest, felt responsible for his three little sisters, Yo tengo que cuidar a mis hermanitas (I have to take care of my sisters). For example he went to get his sister, Selena fr om her classroom on her first day of school to be sure that she knew where to go at the e nd of the school day. He told Ms. Drury, No quiero que se pierda mi hermanita (I don t want my little sist er to get lost). He also guided Delia, his youngest sister through the slides and swings at the park, No quiero que se caiga (I dont want her to fall). Eduardo taught new words to Selena, his kindergarte n sister. Then when his oldest sister, Salma, was taken to the hospital because she was havi ng trouble breathing, Eduar do told his teacher, I am worried about my sister Salma. Salma also took care of Baby Delia, the youngest sister and guided her like her mother. Also, just before Eduardos teacher-parent conference, Selena gave him a good luck kiss on the cheek. And Baby Delia only two years old was observed to hug her parents and siblings frequently (Conversation with Ms. Drury, p. 1, lines 10-11; Eduardos Interviews, p. 4, lines 65-68; Ms.


65 Richs Parent-Teacher-Student Conference, p. 12, lines 268-270; Participant Observations, p. 22, lines 496-498). The Fernndez Work Ethics The Parents Childhood The Fernndez parents have worked hard to earn a living. W hen they were younger in Mexico, Mr. Fernndez, one of twelve children, worked on his parents small farm growing most of what they ate. However, because he was needed to work, he wasnt ab le to attend school past the sixth grade. Mr. Fernndez said, Me hubiera gustado ir a la secundaria, pero no se pudo (I would have liked to have attended high school, bu t it was not possible). Mrs. Fernndez, one of eight children, follo wed her parents to various farm areas in Mexico, where as migrant laborers they worked fa r from her school. Because of their travels, she wasnt able to receive an education past the second grade. Mrs. Fernndez said, Tuvimos que ir a trabajar a los estados mexicanos de Dura ngo, Coahuila y Sinaloa. Y por eso, aunque haba empezado el tercer grado, no lo pude terminar (We had to go to work in the Mexican states of Durango, Co ahuila, and Sinaloa. And even though I had started third grade, I couldnt finish it). (Conversations with the Fernandez, p.1, lines 13-15). Fern Cutting in Central Florida In Parsons, the Fernndez parents worked as fe rn cutte rs in local fern farms as often as they were needed. Every weekday morning at 7:00 AM, after they dropped off their four children at school, the parents went to work. After they picked up their children from school in the afternoon, they returned to work for a few more hours. When there was no work in any of the ferneries, the parents utilized their time to im prove their home or searched for new ways to provide for their family. One morning Mr. Fernndez said,


66 Hoy no hay trabajo en el lugar donde trab ajamos la mayor parte del tiempo. Sin embargo, hay tantas cosas que necesitamos arreglar en la casa, que est bien tener un poco de tiempo para hacer eso (Today there is no work in the fernery where we work most of the time. However, there are so many things that need to be fixed in our house, that its O.K. to have a little time to do that) (Conversations with the Fernandez, p. 2 lines 24-25; Parents Interviews; Participant Observations). Additional Work Mr. Fernnd ez fixed cars and electrical applia nces for extra income. Mr. Fernndez said, He aprendido experimentando (I have learned by trial and error). With their childrens help, the family raised so me livestock to supplement their food needs. Mr. Fernndez said, Salma les da de comer a las gallinas. Eduardo pone a los pollitos en una caja para protegerlos del fro (Salma feeds the chicke ns. Eduardo places the chicks in a box to protect them from th e cold weather). Mrs. Fernndez also worked fulltime cutting fern. However, to earn extra income, Mrs. Fernndez made little craft souvenirs out of Styrofoam, ribbons, and plastic figures for bautizos (baptisms), quinceaeras" (debutantes) ,primera comunion ( first communions), cumpleaos (special birthdays), and bodas (weddings). Members of the community purchased her souvenirs and gave them to pe ople who attended their cel ebrations. The children learned how to make them by observing their mother and they all helped her meet her deadlines. Mrs. Fernndez said, Eduardo es el que ms me ayuda (Eduardo is the one who helps me the most). Also he seemed to be the most artistic since th e walls of the home were decorated largely with his artwork. The Mothers Additional Chores Mrs. Fernandez did the laundry and rem arked that,


67 Me gusta que los nios vayan a la escuela limpi os y bien arregladitos (I like to have the children go to school clean and well dressed). She cooked her childrens favorite dinners when the ingredients were available. She said, A Eduardo le gustan las quesadillas, a Salma le encanta el pastel y a Selena le gusta el pollo (Eduardo likes quesadillas, Salma love s cake, and Selena likes chicken. I try to prepare those things whenever I can). On her husbands birthday, she got up at 2:00 a.m. to prepare a tu rkey, which they had raised. She had it slaughtered and baked it. Then, they took it to the fernery, so that they could celebrate with their extended family who wo rked with them. Mrs. Fernndez said, Mi esposo y mi familia estaban muy contentos, as que el trabajo extra vali la pena (My husband and my family were very happy, so the extra work was worth it). Ms. Fernndez also made birthday cakes for every family birthday and sent cookies occasionally to her childrens classes (Conversa tions with the Fernandez, pp.1-2, lines 13-18, 2631; Mr. & Mrs. Fernandez Interviews, p. 4 lines 64-75; Participant Observations, p. 24, lines 535-541). Eduardos Work Ethic Eduardo, the Fernandez oldest son, held his parents work ethic. He said, Mi pap y mi mam son muy fuertes. Tambi n se cansan porque trabajan mucho. Yo les ayudo en los quehaceres y tambin les ayudo a recoger las cosas para que no este tan tirado y tambin limpio el patio para que no se vea feo. Despus hago mi tarea, despus vuelvo a ayudar ms en los quehaceres (My fa ther and mother are very strong. They also get tired because they work a lot. I help them do house chores. I also help my parents by picking things up, so the house is not dirty. I also clean the front yard so it doesnt look ugly. Later, I do my homework. And fi nally, I do more house chores). The children worked hard at home and at schoo l mirrored their parents examples (Eduardos Interviews, p. 1, lines 10-12).


68 The Fernandez Familys Catholic Religious Practices Devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Baby Jesus The Fernndez were Catholics following thei r parents and their gr andparents religious trad itions. In their mobile home, the Fernndez had dedicated one section of the living room's wall to religious icons of the Catholic faith. Recently, Mr. Fernndez showed me a new glass picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe illuminated by a fluorescent light that he intended to give to his wife for her birthday. He said, No la ponemos todava, hasta que la bendiga el Padre (We cannot hang it yet, until the Priest blesses it). Mrs. Fernndez told me about the celebration th at they had in their church for the Virgin of Guadalupe on December 12th. Mrs. Fernndez said, Fuimos a misa y todo el da pusimos los discos de las canciones de la Virgen de Guadalupe (We attended mass and we played the Virgin of Guadalupes music all day long). Mrs. Fernndez and her family were very devout to Baby Jesus. The thre e participating children often took turns hugging the Baby Jesus statue on Mrs. Fernandez bed. Mrs. Fernndez explained, Su madrina y yo le estamos haciendo su ve stidito al Nino Dios para navidad (His godmother and I are sewing Baby Jesus little dress for Christmas). During a recent visit, Mrs. Fernndez showed me a video of the Christmas Day celebration when her whole family came to dress th e statue of Baby Jesus with a new costume in the temporary nativity tent built in the front yard of their home. While they were watching the video, Mrs. Fernndez pointed out all of her relatives who had attended (Conversations with the Fernandez, p. 2, lines 24-27; Participant Ob servations, p. 6, lines 132-136, pp. 8-9, lines 182188).


69 Attending Mass on Sunday On Sunday morning March 1st, the Fernndez family attended mass at the local Parsons Catholic Church (St. Josephs Mission). Salma and Selena wore their long white dresses that had been made for them for their Holy Communion day, not long before. Eduardo wore a short sleeved light blue shirt and light blue pants. Baby Delia also wore a long white dress. Also, Mrs. Fernndez was dressed in a blac k and pink pant suit and a pair of white high heel shoes. Mr. Fernndez was wearing black pants and a shor t sleeve black shirt. The mass was delivered entirely in Spanish to a large congregation of Mexican immigrant families. The priest spoke loudly and the parishioners seemed to be very atte ntive. Sitting close to the altar, the Fernndez familys children quietly participated in th e mass. Eduardo, Salma, and Selena listened attentively to the priests sermon as he compared humans to violins and st ated that Jesus was the only one that could make music from us humans Mr. Fernndez took the churchs newsletter, written in Spanish, and spent a short time reading it to his family. After the mass, the children discussed the sermon with their pa rents. Photographs were taken of the family in front of the church, while Baby Delia played in the grass (Participant Observations, pp. 25-26, lines 563579). The Fernandez Parents Church Wedding Video One evening the Fernndez family showed me their church wedding video on their television. Mrs. Fernndez explained that before they got married they had lived together for seven years. Mrs. Fernndez explained, Cuando decidimos formar una familia no nos casamos por la iglesia porque no tenamos dinero (When we decided to live together, we did not have any money to have a church wedding). The Fernndez did not have a place to liv e and had to live with her parents, Mr. Fernndez said,


70 Cuando les decimos a los nios que cuando decidimos vivir juntos no tenamos casa, ellos se ren, porque gracias a Dios, ellos si empre han tenido un lugar propio donde vivir (When we tell our children that when their moth er and I decided to live together, we did not have a house, they laugh because thanks to God they have always lived in a home that belongs to us). The reason why the Fernndez got married wa s because Father Alfredo, the catholic priest for the Parsons area, convinced them to do so. Mrs. Fernndez said with a smile, Nos casamos por la iglesia el 22 de di ciembre de 2001 (We had a church wedding on December 22, 2001). Their three children who were already born were in the wedding video. Eduardo carried the rings and Salma carried the kneeling cu shions. While we watched the wedding video together, Salma and Selena asked playfu l rhetorical questions. Salma asked, Esa soy yo? (Is that me?). Her mother answered, Si, esa eres tu! (Yes, thats you!). Selena continued, Es Eduardo ese? (Is that Eduardo?). Her mother responded, Si, ese es tu hermano (Y es thats your brother). Selena asked, Quien es esa bebita? (Who was that baby girl?). Mrs. Fernndez responded, Esa eres tu! (That was you). Selena continued, De quien es ese pastel? (Whose cake is that?). Mrs. Fernndez continued responding,


71 Es tu pastel porque cuando nosotros nos casam os a ti te bautizamos (Its yours because you were baptized on the same day we got married). Then Mrs. Fernndez pointed out, Ese es mi pap (Thats my daddy). She continued describing the attendees, Esa es mi mam y esa es mi hermana (Thats my mother and thats my sister). Then, she pointed to her brother in-law, Ese es mi cunado, con un parche en el ojo, porque unas substancias le cayeron en el ojo durante el trabajo (Thats my brother-law wearing an eye patch because some chemicals got into his eye during work). Also, Mr. Fernndez asked, Ve a esa muchacha tomando fotografas? Po rque despus quedo paraltica cuando el techo de su trailer le cayo encima de la es palda durante el huracn Charlie (Do you see that girl who is taking pictures? She became pa raplegic when her trailers roof fell on her back during Hurricane Charlie). Mr. Fernndez continued pointing to the video and asked questions, Ve a ese senor sentado en la fila de enfr ente? El muri de diabetes poco despus de nuestra boda (Do you see that man sitting on th e front row? He died from diabetes a short while after our wedding). Mr. Fernndez remembered, Yo estaba tan cansado porque no dorm en toda la noche antes de la boda, porque como es costumbre en nuestro pueblo, tenemos que preparar barbacoa (I was so tired the day of our wedding because I did not sleep during the night before. It is customary in our hometown that my friends and I are ob ligated to cook the wedding barbecue). Mr. Fernndez kept on remembering, Mis amigos y yo tuvimos que quitarle la piel a la vaca, sacarle los dentro, cortarla en pedazos y colocarla bajo la tierra para que se cociera lentamenteLa carne estaba deliciosa.Es bueno tener amigos. (First, we had to skin the cow, take all the innards out, cut it into pieces, and place it onto hot rocks under the ground where it could cook slowly.The meat was deliciousbecause we had many friends to help us).


72 Finally, Mrs. Fernndez explained the grooms and brides first wedding dance that was being shown in the video. Mrs. Fernndez said giggling, El ya no me abraza como me abrazaba entonces (He doesnt embrace me anymore, the way he used to do then). (Participant Observations pp. 20-22, lines 447-483). Mrs. Fernandez Home Remedies Mrs. Fernndez explained that she often treat ed her family with home made remedies that her grandmother had taught her when she was a ch ild in Zacatecas, Mxico. Mrs. Fernndez said that during the previous week she had given Sele na cinnamon tea with additives that cured her sore throat, El t de canela con limn y miel es bueno para el dolor de garganta (Cimmamon tea with lime and honey is a good cu re for a sore throat). Then a while later, Ms. Fernndez said she ha d given Salma onion tea because she had a strong cough, El t de cebolla con ajo y organo es bueno para la tos (Onion tea with garlic and organo is good for a cough). Also, at the end of the spring break Eduardo was complaining that he had a tummy ache. Mrs. Fernndez had something to give him, Una cucharada de aceite de oliva (a table spoon of olive oil), And she rubbed his tummy with Aceite calientito (Warm oil). By the next morning, Eduardo felt better. Anot her remedy that Mrs. Fernndez utilized was peppermint tea for a person who was frightened or nervous, Es necesario darle t de hierbabuena (It s necessary to give them peppermint tea).


73 Finally, Mrs. Fernndez said that when one of her children got ill, she gave them her home remedies for a day or two but if the child di dnt get better, she t ook them to the doctor. Fortunately, in many cases her children got well utilizing her remedies. Recently, Mrs. Fernndez became interested in taking a nurse assi stant training course at a nearby health center, because she had always wanted to become a nurse. However, the person in charge of the program told her, Si usted no tiene su numero del seguro soci al, no puede participar en el programa (If you dont have your social security card, you cannot participate). Because Mrs. Fernandez is undocumented she co uld not register for the training program (Conversations with the Fernandez, pp. 2-3, lin es 43-51; Participant Observations, pp. 19-20, lines 437-443). Family Entertainment Although, the Fernndez parents worked hard to support their fa mily, they also found time to make life enjoyable for their children. For example, they gave their children the toys that they (the parents) never had. Mr. Fernndez said, Yo siempre quise una bicicleta, pero nunca la pude tener (I always wanted to have a bicycle, but I could never have one). For that reason, now each one of the children had a bike. Also, the family visited the Parsons public park often where every child took turns riding the swings, slides, and jungle Jims. Recently the family visited Disney World wher e they visited Cinderellas castle, among others. Also, during the weekends, the child ren were taken to a nearby town to visit and play with their cousins and sometimes they and the extended family went out to dinner where they ate mostly hamburgers and Chinese food. During the weekdays, the family spent time together at home and played A la pichada (A combin ation of baseball and dodge ball, that Mrs. Fernndez invented).


74 The family played together most afternoons in th eir front yard, and the ch ildren liked their times together. Eduardo, thei r oldest son said, Siento muy bonito cuando jugamos juntos a la pichada porque de spus de trabajar tanto, mis padres hacen el tiempo para jugar c on nosotros (I feel grea t when we play a la pichada together because ev en after all their hard work, my parents take the time to play with us). (Conversations with the Fernandez, p. 4, lines 70 -74; Participant Observations, pp. 13-14, lines 286-302). The Fernandez Relations with the Mexic an an d American Communities at Parsons Relationships with the Mexican Community The Fernndez parents had a close rela tionship with the Mexican community at Parsons. Besides meeting at church and at family parties, the Mexican community often met at the local office of the Farm Workers Associat ion, where they shared their knowledge about work, immigration, small investments, school problems, and made informal loans to one another. The office was also an excellent place where me mbers of the community met, laughed together, and talked about immigration a nd economic situations. Also on behalf of the community, the leading representative of the Fa rm Workers Association particip ated in the school districts Latino Committee which met with the distri cts school board and voiced the Mexican communitys complaints that of ten resulted in positive actions. Also, the Fernndez parents consulted with members of the community whenever they had any problems. For example, a few community members advised Mr. Fernandez what actions he should take when he had to appear in court because of a citation he had received for driving without a license (Since Mr. Fe rnandez is undocumented he cannot own a drivers license). Also, Mr. Fernndez fixed some community members cars, and lent and borrowed money from them. Mrs. Fernndez made holiday arts and crafts souvenirs for members of the community and contributed money to members of the community when they became ill and needed to go to the


75 hospital or when a collection was made to take the body of a person who had died to be buried in Mexico. Also the Fernandez contributed with food or money when the community celebrated, with a party, and whenever one of its members re ceived permanent residence or U. S. citizenship (Extended Field Notes, p. 9, lines 195-203). The Fernandez children enjoyed their partic ipation in the Mexican culture and being American citizens. Selena said, Que bueno que hoy vamos a ir a una quinceaera (Its great that today we are going to attend a quinceaera party). Eduardo likes both, to be Mexican and American, Me gusta ser mexicano por mi familia que quiere vivir bien sin problemas y ser Americano porque puedo vivir en paz aqu y tambin sin problemas (I like to be Mexican because of my family who wants to live well without problems and to be an American, because I can live here peacef ully and also without problems). Salma said about Mexico, Me gusta ser mexicana, pero no quiero ir a Mexico, solo hasta Texas (I like being Mexican, but I don't want to go to Mexico, only up to Texas). (Conversations with the Fernandez, p. 5, lines93 -97; Eduardos Interviews, p. 5, lines 74-76; Salmas Interviews, pp. 5-6, lines 75-89 ). The Fernandez Relationships w ith the American Community The Fernndez familys primary relationship with the American public were with those who lived within the Parsons area such as the people that they me t at work, while shopping, or in association with their children at school. Mrs. Fernndez spoke just a few English phrases such as Hello and How are you?, but mostly relied upo n her children to translate for her and her husband whenever they spoke with members of the American community. Mr. Fernndez had learned a few more English phrases and us ed more body language to communicate with Americans than his wife. Mr. Fernndez said,


76 Yo trato de hablar un poco de ingles, pero entiendo mucho (I try to speak a little English, but I understand a lot). (Conversations with the pa rents, 6, lines 13-15). A close American friend Also Mr. Fernndez had been able to develop relationships with his em ployers because of his hard work and his dependability. For exampl e, several years before, the Fernndez parents worked, doing a variety of chores for Mr. Bri ce, an older American man with whom they eventually established a symbiotic relationship. Af ter the Fernndez cleared some land that Mr. Brice was preparing for sale, Mr. Brice in return, offered the Fernndez a large mobile home in disrepair which he allowed them to live in rent free. Mrs. Fernndez said, El Senor Brice es un senor muy bueno que apre ciamos mucho (Mr. Brice is a very nice man and whom we are very fond of). When the Fernndez couldnt find work in other ferneries, Mr. Brice always gave them some work to do for him. As the Fernndez a nd Mr. Brices families became closer friends, Mr. Brice gave them free of charge the mobile home that they had been living in and advised the Fernndez to buy, at a good price, the larg e piece of land on which the mobile home was located. Mr. Fernndez said, Gracias al senor Brice, hemos hecho buenas inversions (Thanks to Mr. Brice we have made good investments). In addition to the Brices, the Fernndez also knew many of the Parsons areas American fernery owners and their wives whom they met at the Parsons Elementary Schools meetings (Participant Observations, pp. 18-19, lines 410-421). American aquaintances at school One evening when the Fernndez fam ily attended a school SAC meeting, an American lady of their acquaintance came to say hello to them and then commented,


77 I congratulate you for your childrens good behavior during the meeting During the following evening when the Fernnd ez discussed both the SAC meeting and the American English speaking community, Mrs. Fernndez said, Me gustara que tuviramos un convivio para sacar fondos para la escuela con los padres americanos y que cada familia trajera un platillo de su cultura (I would like the school to organize a get together in wh ich all parents, both Mexican and American bring a covered dish of food from their culture, with the purpose of raising funds for the school). (Parents Interviews, pp. 13-20, lines 281-385). Later, on a Saturday afternoon, some other fa vorable cultural rela tionships occurred between the Fernandez and several Americans they met, when the Fernndez family visited a playground fifteen miles away from Parsons. While at the playground, Selena and Salma interacted with several American girls. They shar ed the rides, spoke to each other in English, and took turns riding the swings. Salma told the American girls, Now, its your turn. (Participant observati ons, p. 22, lines, 492-495). American acquaintance at the park Also at the sam e time, on another si de of the playground, Mr. Fernndez had a conversation with a middle aged American man who did not speak Spanish. Although Mr. Fernndez spoke very little English, he drew a map of Mexico in the sand with a twig and showed the American man where his state of origin was located by saying in English, I am from here. Although they spoke very little in each others language, they managed to become friends. In summary, the literacy events observed were, view ing the symbolic decorations in the familys home, the transportation of the children to and from school, the family during a home meal, the family playing games together, the family spending a Saturday together visiting friends, the


78 extended family, and eating out, the family attend ing several PTO, Sac, and Head Start school meeting, the parents going to the courthouse, watching the parents we dding video at home, the family at the city playground, watching the familys Christmas video, the family at the schools fund raising spaghetti dinner, and attending the church mass with the family. Also, I had the opportunity to watch the family dance at home. And I also observed the Young Authors party and an award ceremony at school (Extended Fiel d Notes, p. 7-9, lines 143-188; Participant Observations, pp. 22-23, lines 484-515). Research Question 2: What are the Mexican Immigrant Parents N otions of Educacin and Literacy? The Fernndez Familys Notion of Educacin Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez Respect for their Parents In Mexico the notion of education is known as educacin w hich has a broader interpretation than the English term educati on. Educacin, includes parental guidance designed to instill positive personality traits in their ch ildren. Mr. and Mrs. Fernndez traced their notion of educacin back to their youth. Mr. Fernndez described their upbringing and how they grew up to become good and happy people because of their parents guidance.He said, Recibimos principalmente el cario de nue stros padres y hermanos. Tenamos que ayudar a nuestros padres a trabajar todo el tiempo. Tambin, yo estaba a cargo de mis hermanos y esa obligacin me ayudo a aprende r a ser responsable con mi esposa y mis hijos (We received the love from our parents, brothers and sisters. We had to help our parents work all the time. Also, I was in charge of my brothers and sisters, and that responsibility helped me to learn to be responsible with my own wife and children). Mrs. Fernndez agreed with her husband that the best thing they could give their children was love and guidance to help them devel op confidence in themselves, she said, Adems de ayudarlos a desarrollar su auto-es tima queremos ensearles buenos valores (Besides helping develop their self-esteem we want to teach them good values). The Fernndez parents also have encouraged thei r children to continue to study in order to


79 achieve a better life for themselv es (Parents Interviews, p. 2, lines 26-38; p. 7, lines 142-143). Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez Remembered their Formal Education Mr. Fernndez rem embered having limited el ementary school education experiences in Mexico and expressed his feelings, Ir a la escuela es una de las experiencias ms bonitas que uno puede tener en la vida; Como estudiante, yo sent que tenia la libertad de expresar mis pensamientos y mis sentimientos. All fue donde yo aprend a darle valor a las cosas que tenia, y lo que mis padres me haban dado. Fue la mejor poca de mi vida, porque me di cuenta que la vida era mas que jugar y comer (Attending school is one of the most beautiful experience that we can have in life. As a student.I felt I had the freedom to express my thoughts and my feelings. It is where I learned to value the things I had, and what my parents had given me. It was the best time in my life, b ecause it was when I realized that life was more than playing and eating). Mrs. Fernndez opinion of school was, La escuela fue el lugar donde yo aprend a leer y a escribir y fue bueno para mi, a pesar de que mis padres no me pudieron dar mucha education (School was the place where I learned to read and write and it was good for me, even though my parents could not afford to give me a lot of education). Mrs. Fernndez continued saying, Yo solamente pude ir dos anos, pero disfrute mucho del tiempo que estuve en la escuela y sent el cario de mis maestros (I just a ttended school for two years, but I loved the time that I went to school and I felt the love from my teachers) (Parents interviews, p. 3, lines 52-68). The Fernandez Taught Good Manners to Their Children Also Mrs. F ernndez told her children, Traten de ayudar a la gente que los neces ite todo lo que puedan, porque tal vez ms adelante ustedes puedas necesitar la ayuda de otras personas (H elping other people is necessary because you may need other pe ople to help you in the future). The Fernndez parents have also instilled good manners in their children which I observed during my visits to their home Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez gave their children instructions,


80 Saluda a la senora, Trele una silla a la senora, Ofrcele j ugo a la senora, Sintate bien, Sunate la nariz, Sintate bien (Say hello to the Lady, Bring a chair for the Lady, Offer juice to the Lady, and also, Blow your nose, and Sit up straight). Eduardo said that his parents told him to Siempre trata de aprender t odo lo que puedas en la escuela porque el estudio te ayudar a obtener un major trabajo en el futuro (A lways try to learn as much as possible in school because studying will help you get a better job in the future) (Parents interviews, p. 8, lines,159-161). The Parents Taught Good Values to Their Children Salm a said that her parents always told her Que me porte bien, que estudie mucho y que haga todo lo que pueda para que me vaya bien en la escuela (To behave and study hard, and to do her best in school in order to be successful). Also, Mr. Fernndez said, Nosotros les decimos a nuestros nios que sean buenos, que sean honestos, que ayuden al necesitado, al pobre, al enfermo y que sean leales a los amigos y que honren a la familia (We tell our children to be good, honest to help the needy, th e poor, to be loyal to friends, and to honor the family). The Fernndez parents also taught their children by listening to philosophical reflections tapes about appreciation for parents and the value of virt ues that they had previ ously listened to while working in the fields. (Parents Interviews, p. 3, lines 5268; p. 7, lines, 142-146; Eduardos Interviews, p. 2, lines 17-18; Salm as Interviews, pp. 2-3, lines 31-36). The Parents Taught their Children to Respect Their Teachers The Fernnd ez parents had a great respect for te achers and were very appreciative of their childrens teachersefforts. Mr. Fernndez said, Me gustara que los maestros siguieran sie ndo tan buenos como han sido hasta ahora (I would like to tell the teachers to continue being as good as they have been so far). Also, Mr. Fernandez said,


81 Los premios que reciben los nios en la es cuela sirven para motivarlos y animarlos a que sigan aprendiendo (The aw ards that the children receive at school help to motivate them and to encourage them to keep on learning). Mr. Fernndez also, urged teachers, Que sigan dando lo major de ellos mismos pa ra animar a los estudiantes a que continen progresando (To continue givi ng the best of themselves to encourage their students to continue to progress). In addition, Mrs. Fernndez said that they would like the school to know, Que ellos se dan cuenta de todo lo que h acen por sus hijos y por darnos importancia a los padres (That they [the Fernndez parents] appreciate everything the school is doing for their children and for respecting them as parents). At the conclusion of the pare nt-teacher conferences, the Fernndez parents urged their children to thank their teachers for their dedication to their ed ucation, as Mr. Fernndez told Salma at the end of her parent/teacher conference, Que le vas a decir a tu maestra? (Wha t are you going to tell your teacher?). And Salma said to Ms. Cross, Gracias por su ayuda en la practicas de la lectura (Thank you for your help in reading and practice) (Parents Interviews, pp. 3-4, lines 52-75; Ms. Cross Parent-teacher-student Conference, p. 11, line 238). Literacy at the Fernandez Home The Fernndez parents notion of literacy was, Alfabetismo es saber leer y escribir (Literacy is to know how to read and write). The modes of literacy observed at the Fernndez home were as follows: The Familys Listening and Speaking Practices During their interviews and observations Mr. a nd Mrs. Fernndez were articulate and had an extensive vocabulary in Spanish. An exa mple of this is what Mr. Fe rnndez said about the teachers and school,


82 Yo estoy agradecido con los maestros que le s han tocado a mis hijos. Los han ayudado bastante. Y a la escuela, pues ms que nada darles las gracias por todo lo que estn haciendo por nosotros y tomarnos en cuenta. Y que desgraciadamente uno no hace nada por apoyar a la escuela.Que en realidad es lo que hace falta, de cooperar ms con la escuela, para que la escuela salga adelante (I am grateful for my childrens teachers because they have helped them a lot, but mostly I am grateful to the school, for all that they are doing for us and for considering our requests. However we dont do enough to cooperate and support the school). When the family was observed, it was eviden t that the childrens language discourse was limited because they answered to their parents with one word or short sentences. While, the Fernndez family spoke only Spanish at home, only the Fernndez pa rents utilized longer discourses and the children just listened to th em Although the children seemed to comprehend all that their parents said, most of the time they answered with only one or two Spanish words, Si, No, No se, Despus, Ahorita, Maana, No puedo, No quiero (Yes. No, I dont know, later, now, tomorrow, I cant, I dont want). Also during the interviews and phone conversations with the rese archer, the children answered only briefly with no extended dialogue, without explaining their answ er, and without giving many details. For example, over the spring vaca tion, I asked Salma, what had she done during the vacations, and she responded, Jugu (I played). When I asked her what else she had done, she answered, Vi una pelcula (I saw a movie). Then, when I asked her, what movie she had seen, Salma thought for a minute and could not respond (Perhaps because she couldnt translate what she had seen into Spanish). When I asked Eduardo the same question, he answered, Hice un proyecto (I did a project). When I asked him what kind of a project he had done, he responded in Spanish,


83 Animales nativoscomo la pantera (n ative.animalslike the panther), But he could not explain any more, perhaps beca use this topic had not been discussed by his parents before and he was not familiar with related vocabulary. Later, when Eduardos teacher asked him how well he spoke Spanish, he answered, When I was in first and second grades, I knew more Spanish, when I was in third grade I forgot a little and now that I am in fourth grade I have forgotten more. However, when I asked Selena, the kindergar tener, the same question, she answered, Fuimos al Walmart a comprar una lavador a. And then she continued by saying, y tambin tuvimos el cumpleaos de mi papa (We went to Walmart to buy a washing machine and also we had my fathers birthday). Selena spoke with more extensive discourses than her older siblings. The difference in schooling between Selena and Eduardo and Salm a was that Selena had attended the bilingual Head Start School for several y ears and learned some English before attending kindergarten, while Eduardo and Salma had not attended the bi lingual Head Start, they went straight to kindergarten without knowing how to speak any English. (Participant Observations, pp. 26-28, lines 582-592). The Familys Reading Practices The Fernndez fam ily had only two books of their own at the beginning of the study. These were the two books that Eduardo wrote while he was in the third grade. However each of the children brought home an average of thr ee books a day from their classroom library. Although Mr. Fernndez said he di d not read to his children, Para que le voy a decir mentiras, no les leo a mis hijos (I am not going to lie to you, I dont read to my children). However, he encouraged his childr en to read to him and to Mrs. Fernndez, from the books they brought home from school for their homework (Participant observations, pp. 7-8, lines, 159170).


84 Also every Sunday after church, Mr. & Mrs. Fernndez read the Spanish language Catholic Church newsletters to their children. Als o, Mrs. Fernndez often attempted to read from the English language books her children brought ho me from school. She read to her children in Spanish and explained the pictures she saw to her children in Spanish. She explained, Yo les sealo los dibujos y les explico lo que esta pasando en el cuento, especialmente a la chiquita. Tambin les explico a todos en espaol lo que yo creo que va a suceder en el cuento, porque yo no se leer en ingles (I point to the illustrations a nd I explain what is happening in the pictures, especially with my little one. Also, I explain to all of them in Spanish what I think the story is about because I cant read English). Usually, the children did thei r homework which included reading at home. Selena had a kindergarten page to complete using the target letter she had studied at school. Salma did her 30 minutes of reading homework every day. And Edua rdo read for pleasure for two to three hours a day in his room after he had completed his homework. Because they believed Eduardo enjoyed and understood what he read, Mr. and Mrs. Fern ndez encouraged him to read and didnt allow his sisters to disturb him. Also they never asked Eduardo to comment about the books he had read. They felt that the reading awards he had re ceived at school were sufficient evidence that he knew what he was reading. (Participant Observations, pp. 29-30, lines 593-600). The Familys Writing Practices On Friday afternoons after they received their pay, Mr. and Mrs. Fernndez went shopping. They wrote a grocery list of the item s they needed to buy fo r the next week in Spanish, Papas, tomates, leche, jugo de naranja, arro s [arroz], frijoles, mansanas [manzanas] (potatoes, tomatoes, milk, orange juice, rice, beans, apples.). It was observed that they tried to pay atten tion to the correct spelling of the items they needed, but occasionally they made a few mistak es like arros y mansanas instead of [arroz y manzanas](rice and apples). Also, they wrote messages to the childrens teachers in Spanish, again being careful of their spel ling. On one occasion, Ms. Rich, E duardos teacher, asked me to


85 translate a message that Mrs. Fernndez had writt en in the comment secti on of Eduardos report card, Le agradesco [agradezco] mucho todo lo que as e [hace] por mi hijo y por su dedicasion [dedicacin] a la educasion [educacin]) de mi hijo (I am very appreciative for what you do for my son). In contrast, Eduardo, Salma, and Selena prefer to write in E nglish. Eduardo said, Yo prefiero escribir en ingl es porque no se muy bien escrib ir en espaol (I prefer to write in English because I dont know how to write in Spanish very well). Salma said in Spanish without hesitation, En ingles (In English). Selena (just beginning to learn to write in English) nodded her h ead in agreement with Salma. (Participant Observations pp. 30-31, lines 601-602). The Children Maintained their Native Language While Learning English The familys oral interactions were in Span ish and they wanted their children to speak Spanish in complete sentences. However, because some of the teachers told them that children should speak English only, it caused the parents to be confused about the importance of having their children maintain their native language. Wh en their children, Eduardo, Salma, and Selena were younger, Mrs. Fernndez taught them to sp eak Spanish their primar y language, the same way that she had taught her Baby Delia. First, the mother modeled the sentence and the child repeated it, Este es un rbol, Este es un pjar o, Esta es una flor (This is a tree. This is a bird. This is a flower). And continued to compliment and correct the chil dren at the appropriate time. Eduardo and Salma did not go to the bilingual Head Start Sc hool because their grandmother took care of them. Therefore they did not speak any Englis h when they began kindergarten in Parsons Elementary. However, because Selena attended th e bilingual Head Start School for several years


86 before she entered kindergarten, she practiced Sp anish while she learned English during that time before she entered Parsons Elementary. But si nce the time Eduardo, Salma, and Selena had attended Parson Elementary School an English only school, they had grown accustomed to not answering in complete detailed Spanish senten ces at home. Eduardo explained to his teacher during the teacher-parents conference, I used to speak better Spanish when I was in first and second grades, but in third and fourth grade, I am forgetting it and I speak it less well. The Fernndez parents did not make a conscious e ffort to encourage their children to answer in complete sentences in Spanish, perhaps because th ey were very tired at the end of the day and did not have the energy to constantly model for their children. The children had a limited but functional vocabulary in Spanish. They understood everything the parents and the researcher said, but most of the time they answered with a brief response and more body language. (Participant Observa tions, p13, lines 292-293). Eduardo Translated for his Parents Since he has become more English proficie nt, Eduardo has translated for his parents during many parent-teacher conferences and also has translated all the English messages the school had sent to their ho me. Mrs. Fernndez said, A mi me gusta llevar a Eduardo para que me interprete, porque no siento que la secretaria me traduce todo lo que dice las maes tros (I like to take Eduardo to interpret for me because I dont feel that the secret ary tells me all that the teachers say). Another example of Eduardos sk ill as an interpreter occurred when the Fernndez family attended the schools SAC meeting. When the family arrived home, Eduardo said, La escuela no paso porque lo s estudiantes no aprendieron (The school did not pass the Annual Yearly Progress evaluation becau se the students did not learn) (Conversations with Mrs. Fernndez; Extended Field Notes, pp. 23-27, lin es 495-598; Participant Observations, pp. 9-15, lines 200-515).


87 Research Question 3: How does the Family Pa rticipate in the School Life o f its Children? The Parents Assisted Children with their Homework The Fernndez parents encouraged their children to do their homework everyday and assisted them with it in any way they could. They explained math problems, urged them to check things over, or encouraged them emotionally (Mr. and Mrs. Fernndez interviews). Mr. Fernndez corrected his daughters math problems, A veces tengo que decirle, estos problemas no estan correctos y entonces le ayudo a corregirlos (Sometimes, I have to tell her, th ese problems are not correct and then I help her to correct them). Also, Mr. Fernndez, advised his children, Concentrate cuando haces la tarea (Concentrate while you are doing your homework). Then, Mr. Fernndez told a story about Eduard o when he had to do a homework assignment which he could not understand. Because he was almost in tears, his mother told him, Por que vas a llorar? Sigue buscando tus notas y trata de pensar sobre lo que tienes que hacer (Why are you going to cry? Keep on looki ng through your notes and try to think about what you have to do). Also, Mrs. Fernndez said, Yo no le pude decir nada porque no se nada so bre ese tema. Yo solamente trate de animarlo (I couldnt tell him anything because I dont know anything about that topic. I could only try to encourage him). Eduardo kept telling his mother, Tengo que entregar el trabajo maana (I have to hand the project in tomorrow). His mother then encouraged her son by telling him, Vamos a hacerlo, Hijo (Lets do it, son). Finally, Eduardo was able to do his project because of his parents encouragement. (Parents Interviews, pp. 11-22, lines 228-473).


88 The Parents Received Their Child rens Schoo l Communications Mr. and Mrs. Fernndez reminded their childre n to hand deliver all the schools notices that they received, to them. as soon as th e school day ended Mr. Fernndez said, Un da Eduardo puso unos papele s en la silla y yo le pregunte de que son esos papeles? Eduardo me dijo, son mis pruebas que yo no pens que te interesaba verl as. Yo le dije, si estoy interesado en verlas. Y desde ese da si empre me ensea todos los papeles (One day Eduardo put some papers on the chair. So I asked him, What ar e those papers about? Eduardo said, They are my tests. I didnt think you wanted to see them. I answered, Yes, I am interested in seeing them. And ever since that day, he has shown me all of his papers). Mrs. Fernndez added, Tambin cuando yo les pregunto, como les fue en la escuela? Ellos me dan todos los papeles para que yo los vea (Also when I ask, How was school today? They all give me all their school papers for me to look over). (Parents Interviews, p. 5, lines 101-108). The Parents Attended Their Childrens School Meetings The Fernndez parents have attended several general school meeting like the Parent/Teacher Organization (PTO) and the Sch ool Advisory Council (SAC) meetings where they participated by giving their opinions. Als o, they have attended every parent-teacher conference that they were called to, even if it m eant that they had to shorten their working hours on that day. As a result of the conferences, they always tried to follow their childrens teachers recommendations on how their children could be helped to improve academically. Also, they always offered to contribute a food dish or volunteer to help clean the school as part of school fund raising activities or for any clas sroom activities. Mr. Fernndez said, Hace falta, de cooperar mas con la escuela, para que la escuela salga adelante (Its necessary to contribute more to the sc hool, so the school can be better). (Mr. & Mrs. Fernndez In terviews, p.18, lines 395-399)


89 Also, the Fernndez parents liked to talk with members of the Mexican community and make suggestions to the schools principal rega rding how the community could improve Parsons Elementary School. Mr. Fernndez was also very cr itical of himself and members of the Mexican community when they did not attend a school mee ting and were unwilling to be involved in any school activities. He thought that the members of the community should encourage each other to attend meetings by telling them, Saben, no se les olvide que maana es la j unta. Es importante. Tenemos que motivar a la gente para que se junte y hablar (You know dont forget that the meeting is tomorrow and its important to motivate the people to come and talk). (Parents Interviews, p. 15, lines 327-330). Mrs. Fernandez Prepared Food fo r Ms. Drurys Culture Lessons Ms. Drury, Selenas kindergarten teacher, often asked the childre ns parents to send a covered dish, cookies, candies, or paper decorati ons which they prepared and which reflected their culture. One evening, Selena told her mother, Mama, necesito llevar un plato de comida a mi clase manana (Mamma, I need to take a covered dish to my class tomorrow). Mrs. Fernandez responded, Hija, hoy no tengo nada de comida para prepar ar, pero dile a tu maestra que la semana que viene si le mando (Daughter, today I donts have any food to prepare, but tell your teacher that next week, I will send her something). The teacher utilized these contri butions to initiate a dialog ab out Mexican food and crafts. One day Mexican candy sprinkled with chili powder (a de licacy in Mexico) was sent but was rejected by the American children. Ms. Drury explained to her class of Mexican and American children that many children from the Mexican culture en joy adding chili flavor to many foods including candy. However, the American culture usually does not add chili flavor to candy (Parents Interviews, p. 16, lines 348-355; Ms. Drur ys Interviews, p. 7, lines 144-149).


90 Research Question 4: What are the Teachers Educatio nal Philosophies, Their Literacy Beliefs, and Practices? Teachers Educational Philosophies Teachers Philosophy of Education The teachers philosophies of education were basically similar. All the teachers agreed that, All children can learn. However, because each teacher was primarily co ncerned with her own grade level and each had varied backgrounds and teaching experiences, their philosophies differed somewhat. Ms. Drury, Selenas kindergarten teacher was a caregiver of several foster childr en in her home and had taught for a total of 14 years. Th e first ten years, as a pre-kind ergarten teacher in Rhode Island and the last four years as a kindergarten teach er at Parsons Elementary. Her philosophy of education was, I believe that as long as teachers have hi gh expectations for children, they can meet them. Children are limited by what adults thi nk of them. I try to challenge children and give them my encouragement to always go beyond what they think they can do. Also, Ms. Drury thinks that childr en are sponges, the more you give them, the more they can take and grow with.Concerned primarily with he r kindergarten grade level, Ms. Drury said, I think that the more fun you make learning, the earlier you can teac h them that learning is fun, and the more likely they are to carry that into the upper grades when learning is not as much fun, when its more sta ndardized and testing oriented. Thats why, She said she had chosen to teach the younger grades when she went into teaching. (Ms. Drurys Interviews, p. 1, lines 13-21). Ms. Cross an older, married third grade te acher of Salma, had taught primary special education at Parsons Elementary for eight years and two years as a third grade teacher. Her philosophy of education was that,


91 All children can succeed if given the opportu nity, but they will not always accomplish their goals at the same time. But if they ar e given the opportunity a nd the tools, they will accomplish, maybe not at the timeline we think they should learn things by, but eventually they will learn (Ms. Cross Interviews, p.1, lines 6-16). Ms. Rich, a first year teacher of Eduardos f ourth grade gifted class, was a single parent of a younger daughter attending Parsons Elementary School. Ms. Richs philosophy of education was that, All children can learn and if you are teachi ng them and they are not comprehending, and they are not applying what they have learned, then you are not teaching. Mrs. Rich continued and said, We need to find a way to teach children that what they are learning is applicable and can be used in other ways; we need to find the way to make it connect for them. She also would like, To get back to basics, to the core curriculum, to what they really need to learn, and to what they are mentally prepared for. Ms. Rich also believed that both teachers and st udents have responsibility in the teaching and learning process, Definitely students have to put forth the effort and Ill put forth the effort too. ( Ms. Richs Interviews, p. 2, lines 28-33). Teachers Literacy Beliefs Ms. Drury, a kindergarten teacher said, Literacy is the m ost important thing. Children have to be exposed to it in many different ways and print has to be meaningful to children. Also, Ms. Drury believed that it was necessary, To make literacy a hands-on concept in order to make it meaningful and help students have a better understanding of it. Ms. Drury, however, took


92 A phonetically teaching approach, when it co mes to literacy. Also she believed that reading aloud is one of the most important concepts in literacy. ( Ms. Drurys Interviews, p.1, lines 25-28). Ms. Cross, the third grade teacher was concerned with improving the Mexican students oral and reading skills.She said that, Without talking to other English language speaking children, they will not develop oral language skills and without developing reading skills, the students will not be able to understand the concepts of math and science. Ms. Cross thought that Reading is the building block, then comes or al language and writing, and if they master these they can learn anything. (Ms. Cross Intervie ws, pp.1-2, lines 20-30). Ms. Rich, the fourth grade teacher believed that literacy was, Achieving a high level of r eading comprehension, being ab le to answer high level thinking questions and expressing clearly ideas in writing with main ideas and supporting details. Also, Ms. Rich believed that Every learning experience is important b ecause it gets compiled and is going to represent the students educational self. She thought that it was important that student s understand what the teacher was teaching (Extended Field Notes, p. 24, lines 514-517). Teachers Literacy Practices Reasons for Becoming Teachers Ms. Drurys reasons for becoming a teacher was that she thought, Teaching would be fun, particularly in kindergarten because at this level, learning is not testing oriented.


93 Ms. Cross decided to initially b ecome a special learni ng disabilities teacher and later tought that she could use her expertise in teaching special st udents to help Mexican immigrant students who were English language learners, I specialized in learning disabilities because I had a handicap ped niece that I wanted to help. Later, I thought that special learni ng disabilities experience and my reading endorsement would be useful with Mexican immi grant children ( Ms. Cross Interviews, p.1, lines 6-9). Ms. Rich decided to become a teacher because, I have a daughter in school, and being a si ngle parent, I wanted to have the same schedule as my daughter and besides, I like children (Extended Field notes, p. 24, lines 511-513). Importance of Their Curriculum and Standards Ms. Cross and Ms. Rich worked diligently to follow their curriculum that was designed to help their students to reach the Sunshine Stat e Standards, a level of academic accomplishment set by the Florida Department of Education. However, they were especially concerned with preparing their students to score well on the FC AT tests. During Ms. Cross and Ms. Richs classroom observations, I observed the teachers pr oviding a review of the language arts reading and writing benchmarks for Grades 3-5. However, because they covered many topics in a fast succession, it seemed difficult for the students to follow. During Ms. Cross classroom observations she taught the concepts comparing and contrasting, main idea, details, plot, fiction and non-fiction literature, and Greek suffixes. During Ms. Richs classroom observations she asked students two-part critical questions, predicting, extending sentences by adding adjectives, adverbs, students utilized prescribed FCAT work sheets for to fill out individually at their seats. Then, Ms. Rich guided FCAT worksheets revisio n, and also the students practiced individually their FCAT writing worksheets to a prompt. Fina lly, the students took tu rns practicing for the


94 FCAT test on the computer (Ms. Cross Cl assroom Observations, p.2, 45-47; Ms. Richs Classroom Observations, p. 6, lines 152-155). Reasons for Teaching Mexican Immigrant Students Ms. Drury expressed that Mexican childrens ex periences were interesting to her. She added, I also think it is wonderful that these children have an exposu re to two different cultures and that these kids can speak two differe nt languages at such an early age. Ms. Cross stated, Mexican parents trust us enormously. They le ave it to us to do the job and they do their job at home.The children obey because they have so much respect for their parents and their family is so strong. That is one of the best things about my students. I know that strength in the homes carries into the classroom. Ms. Rich confided that she was excited about teaching Mexican students because, Some teachers told her that teaching Mexican immigrant students could be easy. I thought I could help these children because of my e xperience with my mother from Korea who had a very different linguistic and cultural background than the other English-speaking parents. And Ms. Rich continued, I heard that these Mexican students were essentially ha rd-working and respectful and more appreciative of their teachers, and even if they are poor, they are worth working for. (Ms. Drurys Interviews, p. 9, lines 200-209; Ms. Cross interview, p. 13, lines 276-282; Ms. Richs Interviews, p.1, lines 8-10). Challenges Teaching Mexican Immigrant Students Ms. Drury thought it was discouraging that m any parents did not sign the students folders with their childrens class work that she had sent home. She explained, Thats discouraging, because even if its to see what I sent home or to put it on the refrigerator. Parents to give importance to what the children are doi ng. I would like to see more parental involvement (Ms. Dr urys Interviews, p. 9, lines 196-198).


95 Ms. Cross described her biggest problems teaching Mexican students, The thing that I struggle with most is how to make the children aware of what to watch for while reading. I recently asked a child wh at is a carpenter?, and she said, someone who lays carpets. You have to be constantly on guard to make sure that they understand.But at the same time, we have a cu rriculum to follow and we are required to teach so quickly, that I know that not ever y child understands what is going on. That is one of the biggest problems that I see faci ng us (Ms. Cross Interviews, p. 2, lines 4045). Ms. Rich said that after she had accepted the job to teach her fourth grad e gifted students, other fellow teachers told her that Mexican students did not do well on the State tests. The possibility of poor testing made Ms. Ri ch have second thoughts about teaching Mexican students. She feared that she would not be rehired if her students did poorly on the FCAT test. Then she added, Even though, the non-English speaking students are given more time on the FCAT test, my Mexican students, all speak Englis h and do not qualify for the testing accommodations. My Mexican students were placed in my gifted class because they were overachievers, not because they had passed th e intelligence test and other requirements asked of my American students. However, my class is expected to perform as a gifted class earning the highest FCAT scores, ev en though my class is comprised of both American and Mexican students (Ric hs Interviews, pp. 4-5, lines 82-93). What Teachers Think Ab out Parental Involvement Ms. Drury said that she doesnt m eet with parents when the students are doing well because their parents were on a tight schedule at the fe rnery, even using the kids to help cut fern on weekends. She said, Its a shame that (parents) have to choose between taking time to be with their children or working extra time to earn money to pa y for their childrens basic needs. Also, Ms. Drury referred to Mexi can parents when she said that she believed that in the Parsons area, Once they get established, they have to wo rk even harder to keep what they have. Mexican families are very hard workers and th ey instill that in their children. Whether its a behavioral issue or an academic issue, parents are usually supportive because they want their children to do well.


96 Ms. Drury said that she tried to invite parents to come to her cl ass, but she didnt get much of a response. However, when the Fernandez parents a ttempted to make an appointment for a parentteacher-student conference with her, Ms. Drury was not availabl e. Ms. Drurys opinion of Ms. Fernandez was that, Selenas mom does a wonderful job signing her daughters 100 book challenge form and giving her child what she needs(Ms. Drurys Interviews, p. 9, lines 200-206). Ms. Cross said that it was difuc lt to communicate with parents, Communicating with Mexican parents is on e of my biggest problems which I dont know how to solve.When parents requested a conference I have to call an interpreter to schedule their conference. I have to show the interprete r my schedule and then we have to work it out with the parents and even though the school has an office secretary, several ESOL teachers and the migrant advocate who translate, parent -teacher conferences, it is still difficult to schedule conferences. When Ms. Cross called parents to ask for their support, They are more than willing to discipline their child, or encourage their child to read, or to help them with their math. Usually, she could see immediate results in the positive direction. Howe ver, a problem that Ms. Cross saw was that, A lot of parents have achieved a very low leve l education either here or in Mexico and they dont feel confident about wo rking with their child. Ms. Cross believed that parents feel insecure because they dont speak English. Although she tried to provide a bridge, It is very complicated because of the comm unication problem, and utilizing our resources is difficult. Ms. Cross believed that education is important for Mexican parents. She realized that, It cannot take the place of an important home survival task, such as when some children have to stay home to take care of their younger siblings (Ms. Cr oss Interviews, pp.7-8, lines 156-173).


97 Finally, Ms. Rich said that she is not very much into parental involvement in class because she doesnt have time to do that. But she thinks that, Eduardos parents are doing a great job, because they always respond when I request their presence when I have a problem (Richs Interviews, p. 6, line 135). Research Question 5: What Specific Methodol ogies and Strategies d o Teachers use to Teach Literacy to Immigrant Students? Teachers Literacy Methodologies Utilizing an Ecological Eclectic Literacy Model Ms. Drury said, I teach literacy to m y predominantly Mexi can immigrant kindergarten class, by teaching them phonics, beginning by letter sounds and sound games. Also, she read aloud to the children so that they ca n hear the change in the tone of her voice. In this manner, Ms. Drury models the English lang uage to the English language learners. By changing her tone when she reads she identifies the importance of each word in the story and by dramatizing the story the students become more interested. Also, she explained the importance of conducting whole group instru ction, repeating the sounds, so students can remember them. And she also tried, To improve my Mexican stude nts oral language by havi ng them communicate with English speaking children and matching the kids that could read sentences with the nonreaders. (Ms. Drurys In terviews, pp. 2-5, lines 46-116). Ms. Cross believed that in a third grade class, Literacy should be developed by teaching phoni cs in a whole language way and [that] the more students read, the better readers they will be. Also, Ms. Cross believed that if children master ed oral language, readin g and writing, they could continue learning everything. Also, she worked with small reading student groups, To detect difficulties with pronouncing word s, I utilize whole language to immerse students into a variety of reading materials to increase their vocabul ary, particularly in science, social studies, non-fiction books, and magazines.


98 In each book she had available for students to read she inserted, A chart of questions that th e students could find answers to in the books and where they found an answer, they place a s ticky note there so they can read the answers later, this way they dont have to do a lot of writing. While I did not observe any writ ing activities in Ms. Cross cl assroom observations, at a later time, she sent me a copy of Salmas story at the Young Authors Program. (Ms. Cross Interviews, pp. 4-6, lines 80-132). Utilizing a Direct Instruction Model Ms. Rich said that she taught literacy to her gifted fourth grade class in the following manner, I start my lessons by letting my students know exactly what I want them to learn, so that they can plan how to connect the skill. Wh en students are reading, they get into small groups, and discuss things that they dont understand. Then Ms. Rich gave them strategies, to break down words and to look at the sentence around the word that they didnt understand. Also, she emphas ized thinking things through. Afterwards, they review it and try to make it in to a little lesson. If Ms. Rich was converting a unit of measurement from a bigger to a smaller measurement, students ha d to write, down and fill in the sentence so that it sticks in their h eads. Finally, she tried to make it fun and easier for them to digest (Ms. Richs Interviews, pp. 2-4, lines 40-66). Teachers Strategies with Mexican Immigrant Students Inclusion of Mexican Cult ure into the Curriculum Ms. Drury tried to incorporate Mexican culture in to the curriculum as much as possible in her kindergarten class, By using stories concerning Hispanic cultur es, although not Mexican specifically. Also we compared how different cu ltures celebrate the holidays and invited parents to share their experiences, photographs or other Mexican family projects.


99 Ms. Drury also sent home, Christmas tree decorations and turkey shapes for the family to decorate. Selena brought back her Christmas a nd turkey shapes which were decorated by the family with bright colors similar to those f ound on Mexican objects. (Ms. Drurys Interviews, pp. 6-7, lines 131-151). Ms. Cross tried to make things interesting for Mexican immigrant students by using, A gimmick or a hook technique that make s them remember a grammar concept. Then, she reinforced the concepts, With lots of practice and paper work going on in her work centers (Ms. Cross Interviews, pp. 2-4, lines 36-38, and 92). Utilization of Spanish Vocabulary Ms. Rich co mpared the Spanish vocabulary with the English vocabulary. An example was the English word carnivorous or a meat eating animal, and the Spanish word carne which means meat also. Ms. Rich said that she utilized the comparison of Spanish verbs in the present participle that ends in ando like cantando which means singing, with the English progressive tenses ending in i ng, like singing. Other strategies that Ms. Rich utilized were trying to incorporate vocabulary and to explain it by using visuals, and to utilize the buddy method, where two students cooperated on a proj ect. Finally, in addition to reading stories written in English, Ms. Richs class had read so me Spanish literature stories this year (Ms. Richs Parent-teacher-student Conference, p. 3, lines 50-57).

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100 Research Question 6: How do Teachers and Students Interact in the Teaching/Learning Process? Teachers and Students Interactions in the Teaching/Learning Process Ms. Drurys Relations with Selena At the beginning of the study during the or ientation meeting with the teachers, Ms. Drury, the kindergarten teachers initial remark concerning Selena was about Selenas clothes rather than with her academic performance. She commented that, Selenas clothes did not match. In addition, during Ms. Drurys fi rst classroom observation she did not seem to notice that Selena for most of the class time sat quietly in a corner without interacting with the other students. However, later when Ms. Drury approa ched and complimented her because she was the first one to be seated in her place, she said, Selena knows where her place is. Selena responded and immediately became more i nvolved in class. During the second classroom observation when the class was studying the letter V, Selena ra ised her hand to give a word with the letter V, she said, Ms. Drury, I know! Oval has the v sound! Ms. Drury responded, Good job, Selena! I am glad that you rec ognized that oval had the v sound in the middle of the word. From then on, Selena began to show her seat work to her teacher often, and Ms. Drury responded with a compliment that made Selena smile. (Ms. Drurys Classroom Observations # 2, p. 4, lines 95-97). During another class observation, when the kind ergarten students attempted to write a story about the tooth fairy, Selena showed he r work to Ms. Drury, but Ms. Drury did not seem

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101 to understand it. Then Selena came over to me (the researcher) and showed me her story. She had written about el ratn (the mouse). (At that moment, I real ized that in Mexico, children who have lost a tooth expect the mouse instead of the tooth fairy to place money under their pillow in exchanged for their tooth). I encouraged Selena to explain the cultural difference to the teacher. But Selena answered shyly, No, yo no puedo. Dgale usted (No, I cant do it. You tell her). When I explained Selenas story to the teacher, the teacher asked the class, Who has received money from el ratn in return for their lost tooth? All the Mexican children raised their hands and laughed. From then on Ms. Drury seemed to understand Selena better and encouraged he r to continue writing her stories. Also, Ms. Drury sent Selena to show off her work to the other kindergarten teacher next door who congratulated her. Because of her t eachers recent attention and support, Selena appeared to be gaining self-confidence every da y. In addition, Selena began sounding the words and writing more utilizing at fi rst invented spelling which was encouraged by the teacher. Later however, Selena told her teacher, I want to write it the way it is supposed to be, in ferring that she was ready to write with correctly spelled words (Ms. Drury Cla ssroom Observations # 3, p. 6, lines 139-148). Also, the next day when Ms. Drury asked quest ions about the story th at she had read to the class the day before, Selena was the only studen t that was able to explain the story accurately to her class. Ms. Drury said, Selena did a good job remembering the story. In response, Selenas self-esteem seemed to increase because of her teachers encouraging words. Selena became more involved in her cla ss and her academic progress increased. Selena

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102 also continued to learn the letters of the alph abet and became more confident of her writing skills. Soon after, Ms. Drury said, I have selected Selena as one of the two students who will represent my class at the schools Young Authors program this year. Two children are selected from each class as program participants. They received special training and were guided to write and illustra te an original story that later was bound professionally into a ten-page book (Ms. Drur ys Classroom Observations # 4, p. 8, lines 215216). Ms. Cross Relations with Salma During her first classroo m observation, Ms Cross, the third grade teacher, reprimanded Salma several times, saying, Salma, pay attention! Fo cus! Sit up straight! However at this time, the researcher observed th at Salma and several other students were seated in their assigned seats with their backs to the teacher and to the blackboa rd, causing the teacher to be in a position where she could not see Sa lma adequately. However, soon after Salma was observed matching three word definitions correctly, Delightful means very happy. Tender means eas y to chew. And reread means to read again. Also, Salma answered a question about th e plot of Little Red Riding Hood story, The wolf had tried to eat the Little Red Riding Hood (Ms. Cross Classroom Observations # 1, p. 2, lines 37-41). Later, when the teacher assigned homework which required students to transfer words from cursive handwriting to print, some of the students said they did not know how to do it. However, Salma was the only student to notice that on the next page of the same text there were illustrations that taught how to transfer cursive handwritten words to printed words. Ms. Cross

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103 thanked Salma for informing the class that they could follow the transcriptions samples on that page (Ms. Cross Classroom Observations #3, p. 6, lines 156-159). The following day at the end of the Classroom observation # 4, Ms. Cross told me that she was thinking of retaining Salma and asked me to set an appointment for a parent-teacher conference the next day at the end of school w ith Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez to discuss Salmas being retained ( Ms. Cross Classroo m Observations # 4, p. 8, lines 212-235). Then, the next day in the morning, I had the opportunity to listen to Salma reading Lon Popo, the Chinese version written in English of Little Red Riding Hood. Salma was reading with her partner, Ashley. Salma read well and dramatized the story w ith good intonation. Salma also invented a reading and answeri ng game with Ashley. Salma said, If you or I get the answer ri ght according to th e back of the book, we keep on answering the questions until we get one answer wrong. Ashley agreed to the game and they play succ essfully for ten minutes (Ms. Cross Classroom Observation # 5, p. 9, lines 251-255). However, although Salma was observed to be progressing well academically (and not as Ms. Cross had perceived her), during their parent -teacher conference Mrs. Cross told Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez (while Salma was present), Salma is not as intelligent as her brother Eduard o, or as self-motivated, or as independent. Ms. Cross had taught Eduardo the year before an d had chosen him to be the Young Author of her class. During a conversation with the researcher, Ms. Cross said that she had the suspicion that Salma had taken things form the classroom but she had no evidence to support her belief (Ms. Cross Classroom Obse rvations, p. 4, lines 120-123). Also, before the first parent-teacher conf erence, Ms. Cross asked the researcher to inform Salmas parents that,

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104 If Salma did not pass the FCAT, she wa s going to repeat the third grade. Then, during the first parent-teacher conference between Ms. Cross, Mrs. Fernndez and Salma, Ms. Cross told Salma that one of the reasons she was at risk of failing was because whenever she chose books from the classroom library to be read at home, she chose very easy books, instead of picking books that were on her reading level. In response, Salma told Ms. Cross, I thought I could choose any book I wanted to read. Also, Ms. Cross repeated several times that she thought, Salma had a serious problem not understanding that Walt Disney was the man that Disney World was named after. Also later in the parent-teacher conference, Mrs. Fernandez told Ms. Cross that she had taught Salma the multiplication tables at home. However, in response Ms. Cross commented that Mrs. Fernandez could not teach Salma (because of her second grade education). The researcher explained to Ms. Cross that Ms. Fernandez had a lot of knowledge from her life experience that she could teach her children. Th en, after Salma completed a six weeks of reading intervention program, Ms. Cross told Salma that she had improved 100% in her reading achievement and asked Salma, Do you feel that you are a very different person from the person you were before? Unexpectedly, Salma answered, No, I am the same person (Ms. Cross Cl assroom Observations # 5 [Parent-teacher Conference], p. 10, lines 288-308). Ms. Richs Relations with Eduardo During Ms. Richs fourth grade classroom obs ervations, the class was preparing for the upcoming FCAT test. During the first classroom observation when Eduardo attempted to answer Ms. Richs questions. Ms. Rich said, Eduardo, answer the question.

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105 Eduardo had difficulty giving answers to two-part critical thinking questio ns and answered with hesitation. Ms. Rich said, I dont see that at all, Eduardo. We need to be aware of the question and answer every bit of it. Finish? You need to go back to the text. Take your time (Ms. Richs Classroom Observations #1, p. 2, lines 25-31). At the end of the class, Ms. Rich and I di scussed Eduardos reading achievement. Ms. Rich said that, Eduardo is the student who had read the most books in my class. He is an amazing boy. He is very intelligent. He got the highest score in the FCAT grammar practice test in the class (91%). Ms. Rich stated that Eduardo was, Reading all the time, even sometimes while on line going to the cafet eria or to special areas. However, Ms. Rich also stated that, Eduardo doesnt not seem to reflect on his r eading because he has difficulty retelling the story and answering questions about the storys charac ters and other implicit information. Also, Ms. Rich was not sure if Edua rdo comprehended everything he read, Because he has difficulty expressing his idea s clearly both orally and in writing (Ms. Richs Classroom Observations #2, p. 4, lines 106-113). During another classroom observation during guid ed reading when Eduardo was trying to answer a question, Ms. Rich said, Oh, no! Eduardo where did you get that? Ms. Rich asked Eduardo a question concerning the plot of a story he had just read. She said, You have to predict who took the CD players batteries, Eduardo! Eduardo did not know the answer and started biting his nails. (Ms. Richs Classroom Observations # 4, p.8, lines 199-204).

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106 The Children Respected their Teachers During the classroom observations, the Fernandez children were very polite and respectful toward their teacher s. As Ms. Cross indicated, Having respect for their teachers is one of the greatest attributes these children have (Ms. Cross Intervie ws, p. 13, lines 279-281). The Fernandez children were also respectful of their teachers opinions and they looked to their teachers for approval. Also at home, the Fernandez children always referred to their teachers in a loving way. Edua rdo said about Ms. Rich, Ella es una buena persona y tambin es bonit a (She is a nice person. And she is also pretty) (Eduardos Interviews). Selena said that Ms. Drury, Mi maestra es buena (My teacher is good) (Selenas Interviews, p. 6, line 137). Finally, Salma said with emphasis about Ms. Cross [from a girl who never emphasized anything], Mi maestra es bien Buena (My teacher is very very good) (Salmas Interviews, p. 11, line 164). When I shared Salmas comments with Ms. Cross, she said, Really? I never would have imagined that! (Extended Field Notes, p. 25, lines 529530). Research Question 7: How do Home and School Literacy Practices In fluence the Students Construction of Know ledge? How Selena and Ms. Drury Constructed Knowledge Ms. Drury has taught Selena em ergent liter acy utilizing an ecol ogical reading method that utilized phonics at the very beginning a nd later word recognition instruction in a whole language environment. Also, Ms. Drury taught phonics and sight words to her students in meaningful context, which provided a print rich classroom environment that shared oral and

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107 written personal narratives, jour nal writing every day, and reading aloud daily to her students, using familiar books, read-alongs and sing-alongs. Ms. Drury also said that Selena was an emergent reader who could sound most of the word s she tried to read an d had learned most of her sight words. As Selena expressed, I know all my sight words but one. Also, Selena liked to read books, Me gusta leer libros con muchas fotos. Cua ndo los libros tienen pocas palabras puedo leer mejor. Pero a veces hay palabras que no se (I lik e to read books with lots of pictures. When books have few words I can learn them better. But sometimes there ar e words that I dont know). During classroom observations, Selena was attempting to read some additional books that were in her class by sounding the words that she did not understand. She wr ote stories that could be understood by children her age. Ms. Drury said that Selena just loves to read and write stories in her free time, thats why I selected Selena as one of the two students, representing my cl ass at the schools Young Authors project where one of her stories would be printed and bound into a book (Ms. Drurys Interviews, pp. 4-5, lines 92-116). Selenas ESOL teacher who met with her twice a week for 45 minutes said that, Selena is a very good student who is doing extremely well in the English Language Learning Program, an oral language development system. Also, Selena is a leader who expresses herself very well in English and reads sight words well (Informal conversation with the ESOL teacher). Ms. Drury thought that the only thing that Selena needed in order to continue to be successful in literacy at this level is to continue writi ng and sharing her stories with he r family. Selena said she would like to be an animal or a person doctor when she grew up, Quiero ser doctor de animales y cuando no puedan respirar ponerl es algo para que respiren y tambin a la gente quiero que respiren mejor (I want to be a doctor. When some animals are not breathing I put on something to help them breat he. Also to the people, I want to help them

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108 breathe better (Her sister Salma recently wa s taken to the hospital because she could not breathe one night) (Selenas In terviews, p. 7, lines 165-167). How Salma and Ms. Cross Constructed Knowledge Ms. Cross also utilized a balanced read ing m ethod with Salma and her third grade classmates. According to Ms. Cross her class is at a point where, Phonics are brought up into the picture when they are needed, but otherwise a whole language instruction method is used. This approach is in agreement with most of reading researchers (Cummins, 2001; Pearson, 2004). During classroom observations, Salma read fluently, answered questions about the readings, and negotiated meaning effectively. She also asked a nd answered questions of her reading partner. Salma said, Me gusta leer los libros de mi clase (I like to read my classrooms books). Salma also felt that she had learned to write better this year because, He aprendido ms porque antes no sabia como es cribir las letras (I have learned more, because before, I didnt know how to write th e letters). (Salmas Interviews, p. 4, line 52; p.15, lines 253-254). One day, Salma described what she had read at school to her father. She said, Fjate, pap que hace muchos anos haba dinosaurios con la boca de barredora que coman mucho (Daddy, a long time ago ther e were dinosaurs with a vacuum cleaner mouth that ate a lot) (Participant Observations p. 32, lines 603-608). When I shared with Ms. Cross about Salma sharing the dinosaur knowledge with her dad, she was impressed (Conversations with Ms. Cross). How Eduardo and Ms. Rich Constructed Knowledge Eduardo loved to read freely. He said, Me gusta leer libros con m uchas palabras para aprender a leer mas acerca de cosas diferentes (I like to read books with lots of words and to learn to read more about different things) (Eduardos Interviews, p. 3, lines 35-37). Ms. Rich said that he is,

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109 The student in my class who has read the most number of book sect ions. He has read 1,200 fifteen minutes reading sections. But also Ms. Rich had a doubt that perhaps, He is just reading many books to win awards. E duardo also received the class highest FCAT pre-test score in grammar, a 91%. However, Ms. Rich reminded Eduardo that he was in a gifted class without having qualified for it so he had to work much harder to maintain his status in the class. (Ms. Richs Classroom Observations, #2, p. 4, lines 106-113). Ms. Rich perceived Eduardo as Acting rambunctious at times, a nd having language articulation pr oblems. It is evident when he was asked critical thinking questions, he canno t think clearly as he searches for the proper English words. Ms. Rich also was critical of Eduardos writing because she detected organizational problems in his writing, even though he had great ideas, Eduardo doesnt write so great, because he stubb ornly wants to put the elements he wants in the story. However, he was willing to revise his story ten, or twenty times, or as many times as she had requested (Ms. Richs Interviews, p.6, lines 120-122). However, Eduardo said he liked to write, Me gusta escribir acerca de cuando mis primos y tos vienen a visita rnos para celebrar navidad juntos. Tambin me gusta escribir de los regalos que ellos nos traen. Tambin me gusta escribir sobre las cosas buenas que me han pasado y las cosas que he recibido de mi familia (I like to write about my cousins, uncles and aunts when they visit us to celebrate Christmas together. Also, I like to write about the gifts they bring us, the good things that have happened to me, and the things that I have received from my family). Also, Eduardo discussed his future, Yo creo que cuando crezca me gustara ser pint or y ganar mucho dinero con mis cuadros (I think that when I grow up, I would like to be an artist and paint a lot and earn money for my paintings (Eduardos Interviews, p.3, lines 46-49; p. 16, line 253). Ms. Rich said that other teachers have pointed to Eduardo and said, Look at his face. Hes always looks worried.

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110 And the teachers continued by saying to Ms. Rich that she should not encourage him to go to college because possibly he could not take the pressure (Ms. Richs Interviews, p. 8, lines 169174). How the Parents, Teachers, and Children Constructed Knowledge Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences Since the Fernndez parents desired their chil dren to succeed in school, they requested a parent teach er conference with each of their childrens teachers to ask their advice about what they could do to help their children improve academically. Although Ms. Drury was unable to meet with the parents for the conference, she requested that the researcher conveyed to the parents what they could do to help. In re ference to Selena, Mrs. Drury said that Although Selena is doing well, she could do be tter. Mrs. Fernndez did a wonderful job acknowledging and signing Selenas 100 book cha llenge and it gives her what Selena needs. Also, Selena just loves to read and that her parents sh ould continue to give her the encouragement to read and to write stories during her free time, and to give Selena the pencils and crayons and papers to write and il lustrate stories with, because I think she has a lot inside of her. However, Ms. Drury recommended that the Fernndez work with Selena to help her express her Young Authors story better, It takes a little bit to get it out of her. But if they can enc ourage her and let her read to them and let her share, she will improve ( Ms. Drurys Interviews, p.10, lines 213-221). The Fernndez responded by buying Selena the writing and drawing materials that she needed and they also encouraged her to prepare for the Young Authors program by urging Eduardo, her brother, to help he r write her story. As a result, Se lena worked harder and improved academically at school (Conversations with the Fernndez, p. 5, lines 104-107).

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111 Ms. Cross First Parent-Teacher-Student Conference Salma was in danger of being retained in third grade Ms. Cross and the Fernndez had two parent-te acher conferences where they discussed Salmas academic progress and utilized the researcher as translator at both times. During the first conference, Ms. Fernndez and Salma met with Ms. Cross who explained that the reason for the meeting was to inform Mrs. Fernndez that Sa lma was in danger of not passing the FCAT and therefore in danger of not bei ng promoted to the fourth grad e. Ms. Fernndez responded by asking Ms. Cross advice as to how she could help Salma pass the FCAT tests. Plan for Salma to improve her reading comprehension Ms. Cross said that Salm a needed to read for 30 minutes each day at home. And, she also suggested that Salma should discuss the books she had read in class with her brother, Eduardo, who had read the same books the year before when he was Ms. Cross student. Also Ms. Cross said that she was going to change Salmas classr oom seating arrangement, so that she would be facing Ms. Cross and the front of the room. (Ms. Cross Classroom Observations # 5, p. 10, lines 288-308). Then Ms. Fernndez requested the resear cher to tutor Salma, (which I did every day for a week). A few days later, Ms. Cross info rmed the Fernndez that during a Child Study Team meeting, Salmas academic progress was disc ussed, and it was decided that Salma was to receive reading intervention assistance instead of her present ESOL services because she had passed the IDEA Basic English Test (Conversations with Ms. Cross). Ms. Cross Second Parent-Teacher-Student Conference Salmas great improvement About six weeks later, Mr. and Mrs. Fernnd ez had a second parent-teacher m eeting with Ms. Cross where they inquired if Salma had impr oved in her reading skill s. Ms. Cross said,

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112 Salma has made a 100% improvement. When the researcher came into the picture and focused on Salma and then when we switched her to the reading interventions program. She became motivated. Because, she has made great improvement, I can only think that its because of the attention that has been focu sed on her. Also, she is really trying harder than ever. Salma was chosen for the Young Authors Program. Ms. Cross informed the Fernndez that Salma was going to be one of the Young Author representative s from her class and that if she passed the FCAT test, perhaps she could spen d her summer being involved in some kind of group activity like the Girl Scouts where she woul d have the opportunity to learn to speak English better by interacting more with American girls her age. Ms. Cross encouraged Salma to go to college Ms. Cross said that because of her academ ic improvement, she was definitely college material. The Fernandez parents responded that they would do their best to help her attend college. Salma looked very happy. Ms. Cross has many strict rules in her classroom At the end o f the parent-teacher-student c onference, Salma asked for a piece of candy from Ms. Cross reward jar, because she usually gave a piece of candy to students when they had accomplished something special. Instead Ms. Cross said, Salma, you know that I dont give candy when students ask for it. Her remarks were followed by a moment of silen ce, so Ms. Cross took out a toy treasure chest and said, I am going to give a little prize to each of the Fernandez children for their good behavior during the meeting. Selena, Baby Delia, and Eduardo ran to pick up their prize. However, Salma stayed behind quietly until Mrs. Fernandez urged her to pick something (Ms. Cross Parent-teacher-student Conference, pp. 1-10, lines 5-246).

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113 Ms. Richs Parent-Teacher-Student Conference Later, M r. and Mrs. Fernndez met with Ms. Rich, Eduardos fourth grade teacher. Although they thought that Edua rdo was doing well based on the many reading awards and medals he had received, they were interested in finding out how else they could help him academically. Also present at the conference was the researcher who served as translator. Eduardo being a good student, but having an academic problem Ms. Rich said, I am very proud of Eduardo. He just got another award today for his reading. He is very very bright, but he has to learn to articulate better, which means that he has to be able to choose words better. Then Ms. Rich attempted to demons trate Eduardos difficulty by saying, Remember, instead of saying migrant, you said pioneer we were talking about a person who goes from place to place. But you did not connect the word to the thought. In response Mrs. Fernandez explained Edua rdos use of the word. She said that, En la casa usamos la palabra pionero en relacin a peon y tambin relacionamos la palabra pionero a trabajador migrante (At hom e we use the word pionero in relation to peon (the worker) and we also relate the word pionero to migrant worker). Therefore, Mrs. Fernandez believed that Eduard o confused the word pioneer for pionero a term that the family gives to a migrant. When Ms. Rich asked the parents if Eduardo had problems expressing himself in Spanish. Mr. Fernndez replied, Nosotros entendemos todo lo que dice en es paol (We understand everything that he says in Spanish). Brainstorming to find strategies to help Eduardo improve his reading comprehen sion Mr. Fernndez wondered if Ms. Rich was im plying that Eduardo needed to take a Spanish course. Instead, Ms. Rich suggested that the parents shoul d teach Eduardo to learn more Spanish. She said,

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114 Most of the Spanish words spoken are Latin rooted anyway. So that if he understands the prefixes, he can very much look at a word and comprehend what its saying. Also, one of the other things he can do to increas e his vocabulary in E nglish is that you can work with him to increase his vocabulary in Spanish first. You know, there are easy words in Spanish like the word fcil which in Spanish means easy which is related to facile in English taken from Latin. Ms. Rich also suggested that Eduardo trie d to learn a couple of vocabulary words a day,(and if his parents helped) he should have a bigger vocabulary by the end of the summer. She also asked the parents to encourage Eduardo to utilize harder word synonyms for easy words and to also encourage him to talk often by as king him questions. Mr. Fernndez responded, No se porque no habla en la escuela, porque en la casa si. Yo le pregunto de qu se trata la pelcula? Como va la hist oria? Que es lo que va a pasa r? Y el nos dice (I dont know why he doesnt explain things in school because at home he tells us when we ask him, What is the movie about? What is going on in the movie? And what is going to happen in the future). Then, Mr. Fernndez suggested, Cuando esta leyendo no lo interrumpimos en su lectura, solo cuando tenemos que hacer algo de la familia. Pero de ahora en adelante creo que vamos a tratar de hacerle ese tipo de preguntas (When he is reading we dont in terrupt his reading, unl ess we have to do something with the family. But from now on, I think we are going to ask him those kind of questions). Ms. Rich showed the Fern andez a booklet and said, I got this booklet about the hi erarchy of questions from the gifted class. It goes through the levels of difficulty of thinking. And on the first level are simple questions. Next level would be compare and contrast. Referring to the highest comprehensi on level, Ms. Rich asked Eduardo, Whats the main idea of the whole Harry Potter movie, Eduardo? (Eduardo tried to answerHe was thinking.). Ms. Rich said to the parents, Did you see how long it took him to answer this question? When he gives a high comprehension answer to the question, the pr ocessing thats taking place in his mind is

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115 building his intelligence. Every time he makes these connections in his head, the message is moved faster and he creates a new connection. Mrs. Fernndez interjected, Porque en la casa cuando Eduardo esta vi endo telenovelas en la televisin tambin contesta a preguntas difcile s acerca de los personajes que les hacemos (At home, when Eduardo is watching Mexican soap operas on televisin, he also answers more difficult questions about the characters that we ask him about). Ms. Rich responded, So you know those are some of the things he can do at home. He has to work increase his vocabulary a nd making those connections faster. Ms. Rich shares a personal experience to help Eduardo. Referring to Eduardos need to increase his vocabulary, Ms. Rich told the Fernandez about a reading problem she had experienced sometimes, When I am reading and I got distracted and I lost the thread of the story. Then, when I realize it, I go back and read the passag e again. I think this may happen to Eduardo sometimes, like me, he reads and doesnt understand the story but keeps on reading. He has to become aware of when he has lost the storys meaning and stop and go back. The solutions that Ms. Rich suggests are th at Eduardo can look up the words he doesnt understand in the dictionary or break down these known words into smaller words that he understands. Finally, Ms. Rich gave Eduardo a book and explai ned the book to his parents, Its a book with Spanish word exercises that could help Ed uardo learn academic English words during the summer. Ms. Rich seemed convinced that if Eduardo unde rstood what the words mean in the stories he could succeed in making high comprehension connections. Eduardo is college material Then as the conference was concluding, Ms. Ri ch advised the Fernndez parents that Eduardo should go to College and she explained som e of the various kinds of financial aid available after he graduates from high school. In response, Mr. Fernandez said,

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116 Si Eduardo tiene inters en estudiar en el la universidad, nosotros haremos todo lo que sea posible por apoyarlo (If Eduardo wants to study at the university, we will do everything that we can to support him in th is endeavor). (Ms. Richs Parent-teacherstudent Conference, pp. 1-13, lines 1-273). Accomplishments Achieved as a Result of the Parent-Tea cher-Student Conferences Several things pertaining to the Fernndez childrens academic achievement were accomplished during the teacher-parent-student c onferences. Primarily, the parents were made aware of how they could help th eir children. Although, Ms. Drury wa s not able to meet with the Fernndez family, the message that she sent with the researcher disclosed the things that the parents could do for Selena which resulted in the eventual positive effects on Selenas motivation and parental help. Ms. Cross parent-teacher c onferences resulted first in the parents being informed of Salmas risk of being retained. Howe ver, when she began to receive help from the reading intervention program, her parents, a nd the tutoring by the researcher, her initiative increased. And she made academic improvement. Th e teacher reported that she felt that Salma would perform well on the FCAT tests and recomm ended that Salma participate in the Girl Scouts. Finally, in the case of Ms. Richs parent-teacher conference wi th the Fernndez, the teacher informed the parents of Eduardos difficulty with oral expression, and a need to increase his vocabulary in English and Spanish. The Fe rnandez parents consented to help Eduardo overcome what Ms. Rich perceived as Eduardo s problems, because based on their concept of educacin they believed that in order for thei r son to succeed that had to follow teachers instructions. Also, appreciating Ms. Richs efforts, Eduardos pa rents agreed to support him in any way they could so that one day he could be able to attend college.

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117 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION The purpose of this study was to describe th e literacy practices of a Mexican imm igrant family, their hree elementary school aged children, and childrens teachers. The familys socialization practices and the te achers educational practices were also described to provide a contextual background and to explain how the children constructed meaning from them. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a summary of the findings, to descri be the theoretical and practical implications of this study, and to provide suggestions for further study. Summary of the Findings Literacy Practices of the Mexican Immigran t Family Creating a stable life for the family in Parsons Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez literacies w ere based primarily on their early family life. As poor farm laborers in Mexico in their youth, they ha d few luxuries. However, they had a close-knit family life where they were taught educacin, a c ode of literacy, which was to work hard, help each other, and show respect for their parents an d others. Mr. Fernandez, one of twelve children, who worked to sustain his familys meager fa rm, was unable to earn an education beyond the sixth grade. Mrs. Fernandez, the oldest child in a family of ten migrant farm laborers, moved often living in sub-standard housing supplied by the farm owners. She did not acquire an education beyond the second gradeHowever, now liv ing in Parsons, Florida the couple have chosen to work as farm laborers, cutting floral fern year around in the local ferneries. Because the Fernandez no longer need to move to fi nd employment, they have created stability for themselves and for their children (Riley, 2002). Th ey presently own a large reconstructed mobile home on a large lot in a quiet part of town (Riley, 2002).

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118 Symbolic representations in the familys home The observa tions of the dwelling reflected the familys literacies. The walls were covered with photographs of the ch ildren, awards, and artwork (Tenery, 2005; Velez-Ibanez & Greenberg, 2005). Photographs of the extended family and of the parents when they were married were also visible. In the center of one wa ll, there was an area dedicated to religious icons that reflected the familys catholic religion (Tenery, 2005; Co ady, in press). Throughout the home there were the daughtersdolls, the sons miniature cars, and various examples of the mothers crafts products which she and her childr en produced to sell to the community (Moll et al., 2005). Parents taught their children to be industrious The father s pent much of his time, repairi ng the familys home and vehicles and raising livestock which he used to supplement the familys food supply. Both parents were unselfish in spending time and effort so that they could provide a good life for their family. In return, the children learned their parents ed ucacin: To be hard working, cooperative and to be respectful of their parents at home and of their teachers at school (DelgadoGaitan, 2004; Moll et al., 2005). Their teachers comments confirmed the childrens strengths such as respectfulness, politeness, hard working and that they admired their student s parents guidance (Teachers Interviews). The familys conceptions of educacin and literacy The concept of educaci n that the parents pr omoted was inherited from their culture and taught to them by their parents. Teaching educac in included teaching children to be good, wellmannered people who are honest, industrious, and school oriented. A person with educacin is described a good, well-mannered person who is honest, loyal, sincere, trut hful, industrious at school, and oriented toward achieving a su ccessful career (Browning-Aiken, 2005; DelgadoGaitan, 2004). The Fernandez parents concep t of educacin strongly emphasized ethical

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119 behavior. They expressed that having respect for other people was the most important thing they could teach their children (Delgado-Ga itan, 2004; Tenery, 2005; Valdes, 1996) The Fernandez believed in life long learning The Fernand ez familys concept of literacy knowing how to read and write in their native language, was the traditional view of liter acy (Street, 1995). Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez showed their eagerness to continue learning when they recently showed their interest in reading a book about the history of Mexico. Also, they were observe d to listen carefully an d to show interest in what their children had learned at school. One ex ample of their interest in learning was seen when Mrs. Fernandez tried to register for classe s to become a nurses aid. Unfortunately she was unable to do so because of her undocumented status (Tenery, 2005). Parental involvement with the school When the Fernandez drove their children to and f rom school, they often stopped to talk to school personnel concerning school procedures. The Fernandez of ten contributed food and other things that the school needed and attended fund ra ising activities. When th eir childrens teachers called them for assistance, they always attended the parent-teacher conferences that the teachers had requested (Delgado-Gaitan, 2004; White, 2005) Also, the Fernandez family frequently participated in parental activities at the school such as Parent-Teachers Organization (PTO), the School Advisory Council (SAC) meetings, and othe r school activities such as spaghetti dinner fund raising programs and eating breakfast with their children on the schools Eat with your children day (Delgado-Gaitan 2004). However, th e Fernandez did not know enough about how the school system worked. They were unacquain ted with the schools discourse, and did not know enough English. Thus, they interacted cauti ously with the teachers and school personnel, and kept their distance, some teachers perceived them as not caring about their childrens education (Valdes, 1996). Fortunately, as obser ved during parent-teacher conferences between

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120 teachers, parents, and students these meetings allowed them to understand each other better (Amanti, 2005). For example, the positive conferences that took place between Ms. Cross and Salma and Ms. Rich and Eduardo and thei r parents, Mr. & Mrs. Fernandez. The Teachers Literacy Practices Teaching the Curriculum The three p articipant teachers literacies were based primarily on teaching their curriculums to their class and hoping to prepare th em adequately to pass the states FCAT tests (Peabody, 2005). Because Parsons Elementary School is presently experiencing a negative academic status on the federal Annual Yearly Progress report (No Child Left Behind Act of 2001), Ms. Cross, the third grade teacher believe d that she had to hurry to include all the curriculum before the FCAT test was given. S hu rried although she believed that some children were unable to grasp all that they should. She sa id that she did not have time to help each child individually. Preparing Students for the State Test Ms. Rich, th e fourth grade teacher, was worri ed because she was a first year teacher without tenure and her evaluati on was going to be based primarily on her students FCAT test scores. Unfortunately she had been told by othe r teachers that Mexican students traditionally did not do well on the FCAT test. Because both teache rs felt rushed to satisfy their curriculum demands, they misdiagnosed their participant students needs. Perhaps, Ms. Drury, the kindergarten teacher, was not concerned with pr eparing her students to pass the FCAT test, because kindergarteners are not required to take the test. She chose not to help Selena during the first class observation.

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121 The Teachers Improved their Percepti ons of the Children during the Study Ms. Drury was observed ignoring S elena during the first class observation when Selena experienced some shyness and did not want to cooperate with her cla ssmates. Perhaps another reason why the teachers misdiagnosed the participant children was that they were applying the deficit theory (Coleman, 1990). This theory is evident among many educators. According to researchers some educators assume that mi nority (Mexican) people are unable to learn adequately from others efforts (Peabody, 2005). G onzalez et al. (2005) described the change in attitudes and behaviors among teachers when th ey become involved in learning the literacy practices of their Mexican immigrant students. Through traini ng, the teachers acquired a better understanding of their students literacy practices which al lowed the teachers to understand, appreciate and accept their Mexi can immigrant students more (Gonzales et al., 2005). Among those changes that Amanti (2005) expressed was a change in the partic ipant teachers in the funds of knowledge. The specific example of this circumstance in this study was when the teacher learned that her lack of understanding was due to culturally embedded knowledge, like the mouse rather than the tooth fairy who gives money for a loose tooth according to the Mexican folklore (Ms. Drurys Classroom Observations). The Teachers Literacy Methodologies An ecological balanced approach All ofThe participant teachers in Parsons Elem entary utilized an ecological balanced approach to literacy, a combina tion of whole language and phonics whenever needed, which has been recommended by most reading scholars (Crafton, 1991; Cummins, 2001; Ornstein & Sinatra, 2005; Pearson, 2004). However, thei r methodology was geared toward the native English speakers who comprised 24% of the sc hools population, while the majority Mexican immigrant student populations (76%) literacies were not considered and they were expected to

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122 achieve grades at the same level as the Englis h speaking children. The participating children (ELLs) were initially enrolled in the ESOL program to help them acquire Basic English language social skills. However during the study, only Sele nas ESOL classes continued. In the middle of the study, Salma passed the IDEA test and was allo wed to transfer from the ESOL to a more advanced reading interventions program. A lthough both Salma and Eduardo were no longer enrolled in ESOL, they still were in the proce ss of developing their English academic language skills. This process typically takes from 5 to 10 years provided that ther e is native language support. This process takes even longer for students of an English immersion school such as Parsons Elementary School (Thomas & Collier, 1997). English academic language development The participant teachers did not indicate that they were aware of the need to continue helping the children in their pr ogress toward English academic language acquisition after the students had completed their ESOL training. Thomas & Collier (1997) recommended that teachers take a four component process approach to help their students acquire English academic language development, including, sociocultural, linguistic, academic, and cognitive processes. For example, the sociocultural process takes into consideration individual variables such as selfesteem, anxiety, and the literacy pr actices of the students. The linguistic process includes the oral and written systems of the English language across all domains. The academic development process includes the vocabulary n ecessary for learning language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies vocabulary for each grade. The cognitive process includes a knowledge-based progressive thinking developm ent (Ovando & Collier, 1998). To continue developing English academic language and to become good readers, capable of comprehension, students need to master

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123 Sophisticated vocabulary, complex linguistic materials and disc ourse structure (Cummins, 2001, p. 92). And to feel ownership of the English langua ge by being creative with its utilization ( Snow, 2002). The Teachers Strategies with Mexican Students In kindergarten, Ms. Drury said sh e utilized her student s cultures by comparing the ways that Am erican children and Mexican immigrant children celebrated holidays so that she could inspire the students to write their own family stories. In the third and fourth grades, Ms. Cross and Ms. Rich said they tried to utilize Sp anish to facilitate the learning of the English academic language in which they said both were derived from Gr eco-Latin words as well as their pre-fixes and suffixes (Cummins, 2001). However, it was observed that when the Spanish vocabulary was introduced, the words were used out of context. Thus if the students were unfamiliar with a particular Spanish term and experienced difficultie s, this could have made the participants feel less capable of utilizing Spanish to facilitate their learning of English. Ovando & Collier (1998) suggested that teachers of Englis h language learners should plan their lessons to include their students literacy practices or previous knowledge so that it can lead to the discovery of new knowledge through interactive tasks. For exampl e, including the students home literacy practices in the classroom cu rriculum like the funds of knowle dge project would represent bona fide resources for classroom teachi ng and learnin(Moll, 2005, p. 277). Amanti (2005) gave a testimonial on what it meant to her when she visited her st udents homes in her participation in the funds of knowledge research. Through home visits we become real people to each other. The impact on personal relationships in the educa tional setting goes unrecognized. I go out of my way for students whose homes I have visited (pp. 139-140).

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124 Teachers and Childrens Construction of Know ledge in the Classroom Besides teachers methodology, Cummins (2001) explained that the image the teacher conveys to the students is Who they (the students) are in the teacher s eyes and what the teachers believe the students are capable of becoming (p. 21). The participant children were eager to learn and cooperate with their teachers (Delgado-Gaitan, 2004). However, during the interac tions between the teachers and th e participant students, it was evident that at first, the teacher s reactions were not positive. Ms. Drury and Selena Ms. Drury seem ed to ignore Selena when she was first observed, later, Ms. Drury began to urge Selena, in a pleasant way to join her classmates. However when Ms. Drury recognized Selenas shyness, she chose to initiate an important positive action to encourage her to participate. Selena responded by s howing a new interest in learning Ms. Cross and Salma In the case o f Ms. Cross, Salmas third grade teacher, because she was in a rush to cover her curriculum, it appeared that she didnt have ti me get to know her students. During the first observation, Salma and several othe r students were sitting at their desks with their backs to Ms. Cross and the board. Ms. Cross was observed re primanding Salma by saying Pay attention! Focus! and Sit up straight! But during the study, Ms. Cross later corrected her mistake by providing Salma with a chair and desk that faced her and the board. During the time that Salma was seated incorrectly with her back to her teacher, Ms. Cross sent Salmas parents several notes accusing Salma of being a day dreamer and not paying attention in class ( Ms. Cross Classroom Observations, p. lines 37-41; Ms. Cross Parent-teacher-student Conference, p.1, lines 6-7).

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125 Later, Salma passed the ESOL test and wa s placed in the more advanced reading interventions program. Ms. Cross didnt adm it she had misdiagnosedSalmas intellectual potential Instead, Ms. Cross credited Salmas mo tivation as being new because of the recent school interventions she had been experiencing When the researcher came into the picture and focused on Salma and then we switched her to Dr. Carter (the reading interventi ons teacher), she has probably made more improvement in the last six weeks than duri ng the whole beginning of the year. Because she is really, really motivated now, it can do it for her. Later however, in a separate conversa tion with Dr. Carter, she added that, Salma had received 26 Harcourt Intervention pr ogram lessons correla ted with Ms. Cross lessons. These lessons included phonics skills, vocabulary words, fluency, comprehension skills, main idea, details, facts and opinion, compare and contrast, and summarizing. Then finally we tied everything together. During later class observations, Salma appeared to have considerably more self-onfidence and academic skills since her seat was changed. In addition, Salma had been chosen by Ms. Cross to represent her class as one of the two participants to write orig inal stories for the Young Authors program, a much-honored award. Unfo rtunately, in the most recent classroom observation, the researcher discovered that half of Ms. Cross students (nine) were still seated with their backs to Ms. Cross and to the board. Placing students with their ba cks to the teacher or the board, places students at a considerable disadvantage. Ms. Rich and Eduardo Finally, during a classroom observation with Ms. Rich, Eduardos fourth grade teacher, the researcher observed her reprimanding him several times. She also inferred that he had a mental problem because he could not express himself well enough when she asked him to explain the plot of a story he had just read. She said, I dont see that at all, Eduardo! Oh, no, Eduardo where did you get that? Eduardo, be quiet!

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126 Eduardos response was the same. He couldnt an swer her questions, looked frustrated and started biting his nails. Fortunately, later Ms. Ri ch realized Eduardos problem during a parentteacher-student conference. She realized that he needed to increase his English vocabulary. Because he did not understand many of the words he read, his limited vocabulary hampered his ability to comprehend th e stories he read. Even though, the re searcher agrees that all English language learners who are developing their E nglish academic language need to continue to expand their English vocabulary, in the case of Eduardo, Ms. Richs demands and lack of wait time probably caused Eduardo to become too anxious to participate. The Childrens Literacy Development Selena Selena acted shy at the beginning of the study and was not participating actively in her kindergarten class. After Ms. Drury began enc ouraging her, S elena responded well to Ms. Drurys balanced readin g method. The method utilized phonics and sight words in a meaningful context which is recommended for emergent lit eracy kindergarten students (Au, 1993; Perez & Torres-Guzman, 1996; Tinajero & Huerta-Maci as, 1993; Ovando & Collier, 1998; Pearson, 2004). Then, when Ms. Drury expressed, Selena is making good academic progress. She ha s reached the bench mark for the highest level of accomplishing for kindergarten. She knows all of her sight words and is blending words by sounds when reading books. I think she will do well in th e first grade. But toward the end of the study, Ms. Drury reported that, Selena seems to be less shy than she was at the beginning of the year but her self-esteem still has room to blossom even more. However, at home Selena was observed as sel f-confident and assertive. At school, her positive self-concept seemed to lessen, somewhat (Celedon-Pattichis, 2004; Cummins, 2001).

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127 Salma Salm a read fluently and answered correctly many of the questions she was asked in her third grade class which demonstrated to the observer that she had good reading comprehension. Her teacher, Ms. Cross said, Salma is a good reader. Although, not the best r eader in the class, but she is one of the better readers in her group. He r problem is in dealing with understanding the vocabulary and connecting the title of the reading with the storys key words and what she knows about this country. In an informal conversation, Dr. Carter, Salmas second grade teacher and her present reading interventions teacher said, Salma reads quickly, however, she lacks prosod y and needs to adjust her reading rate to the text in order to understand what she reads. Also, Salma has improved in her ability to summarize a story. But she needs to continue to improve in her reading expressiveness and her answers to critical questions. Dr. Carter added that although, Ms. Cross stated that Salma was a day dreamer and did not express empathy for other people. Dr. Carter said instead, I never had a problem with Salma being distra cted or not on task, during the time she was with me in second grade and during th is years reading interventions. The effects of this situation are explained by Dulay, Burton, & Krashen (1982) who reported that when a second language learner student doesnt feel at ease, or had been falsely accused as was in the case of Salma, the affect ive filter prevents comprehensible input from reaching the students language acquisition de vice (Chomsky, 1965) which was evident during the first half of the year. However, although the FCAT scores were unavailable, during a recent inquiry Ms. Cross had given Salma a summer scie nce application suggesting that Salma would benefit from participating in the program this summer.

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128 Eduardo Ms. Rich Eduardos fourth grade teacher, per ceived that Eduardo had a thinking problem that caused his oral language expressi on to suffer. English language acquisition experts recomm end that classroom teachers develop their students oral English la nguage skills by teaching in context and systematically the e ssential linguistic structures th at are introduced within the language arts curriculum. Teachers should provide both structured and unstructured opportunities for oral production, in order to promote highly proficient oral language skills in students. Students who have been immersed in English language instruction do not develop fluency and grammar ability through subject ma tter instruction alone (Lindholm-Leary, 2001; Swain, 2000). This was seen in Eduardos behavior. He had difficulty with advanced reading comprehension of texts that included knowledge of low frequency vocabulary, primarily from Greek and Latin sources, complex syntax, and abst ract expressions. His difficulty stemmed from a need to develop his ability to interpret a nd produce increasingly complex written and oral language and to learn metalinguistics so that he could plan his own l earning, develop cognitive strategies, and manipulate the material to be learned while feeling positive about himself (Cummins, 2001; OMalley & Chamot, 1990). At one point, Eduardos teacher implied that he was reading too much. This made his parents consider controlling his reading. But finally, Ms. Rich made it clear that he should continue readin g as much as he had because extensive reading for pleasure ould expose to a broa der vocabulary (Krashen, 2004). Also, in order for him to learn new vocabulary words, he needed to encount er each new word many times (Cummins, 2001; Krashen, 2004). Another problem that Ms. Rich pe rceive that Eduardo wa s having while reading without comprehension, is as Snow (2002) recognized that (ELL) children need to learn strategies on how to learn new concepts, to get deeply involved in what theyre reading, to evaluate critically what th ey read, and to apply their new knowledge to solve practical as well as intellectual problems (p. 5).

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129 Instructional programs that promote reading comprehension emphasize extensive and varied exposure to meaningful print and provide instru ction to help students develop metacognitive and metalinguistic strategies to recognize words and compare the native with the second language (Cummins, 2001). Integration of Familys and Teachers Literacy Practices Bringing Their Literacy Pr actices to the Classroom In this stud, the par ticipant children brought their literacy practices to their school. For exam ple, when Selena wanted Ms. Drury to know that it was el ratn (the mouse) and not the tooth fairy that brought money to the Mexican children in exchange for the childrens fallen teeth, she wrote a story about el ratn(the mouse) and showed it to her teacher. Also another example of the childrens home literacy practices is educacin which includes parental respect and caring for the members of the family, was wh en Ms. Cross recently presented her third grade class with a Young Authors party where Salm a, a recipient of th e award, read her book Flowers to her class and to her inv ited parents. Salma, although happy to be the center of attention, took the time to be re spectful to her parents. She asked for Ms. Cross permission to act as a hostess and be the one to serve her parent s plates of snacks and cups of soft drinks. In the fourth grade classroom observation, Edua rdo showed his educacin literacy practices when he told his teacher, Ms. Rich, how much he cared for his family. Eduardo told her he was worried because his sister Salma had been taken to the hospital because she was unable to breathe. Later when the Fernandez came to the parent-teacher conference meeting, Mr. Fernandez sat Salma on his lap, but Ms. Rich tried to tell Salma to go to the back of the room and read a book during the meeting. Then, Eduar do took the initiative to explain to Ms. Rich,

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130 that Salma was the sick girl (la enfermita) on that day, thats why the family had to treat her in a special way. Also, during Eduardos parent-teacher meeting with Ms. Rich, Selena gave her brother a kiss on the cheek. Eduardo explained to Ms. Rich, Selena wants to wish me good luck in the conference. Other examples of the participant childrens liter acy practices were their work ethics. Ms. Rich said, Eduardo doesnt mind correcting his stories, ten, twenty times if necessary, until I tell him that his work is well done. Ms. Drury said that Selena worked on her storie s with great dedication, until she felt that she had thoroughly expressed her ideas. Also, when Salma found out that she was in danger of failing the third grade she worked harder to improve her reading comprehension and was recognized for her improvement The Children Reflected Their Literacy Pr actices in Their Young Authors Books Eduardo, the oldest wrote two Young au thors stories when he was in 3rd grade. His first story was about his dog who was rundown by a train which prompted the family to move away from the railroad area of Parsons. The sec ond book was concerned with his grandparents. Because he had never traveled to Mexico to see his grandparents and the small farm, his imaginary trip to see them showed his interest in his extended family and exploring his roots. Salma, the third grade student wrote about he r interests in belonging to an American and Mexican girls club. Although one of the parents refused to allow his daughter to participate in a sleep over, eventually the parent agreed and th e girls club called Flowers had their first sleep over party. Recently Salmas dad rejected her t eachers idea that Salma should join the Girls Scouts, because he did not want her to sleep away from home.

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131 Finally, Selena, the kindergarten girl wrote about her desire to be a mother like Mrs. Fernandez and cook like her mother and sip her fa vorite potato soup with her sister Salma on the mobile homes porch. Also she would like to live in a large home with a big backyard where a family of giraffes lived. Selena has always identi fied closely with her mother and has said that she wanted to be the mother of a baby girl when she grew up. Knowledge Construction during the Pa rent-Teacher-Stud ent (PTS) Conferences The parent-teacher-student conference promot es affirmation for children and parents and it is the best forum to integrat e both the familys and teachers literacy practices to benefit the students academic achievement. The Fernandez had three parent-teache r-student conferences with Ms. Cross and Ms. Rich. Also the Fern andez attended Ms. Cross third grade Young Authors party. Developing a student academic plan for Salma The first parent-teacher-student conferen ce took place am ong Ms. Cross, Ms. Fernandez and Salma with the researcher as a translator. The purpose of the meeting was for Ms. Cross to notify Mrs. Fernandez that Salma was in danger of being retained in the third grade. Ms. Fernandez prompted a discussion of possible wa ys Salma could be assisted academically to improve. Ultimately, the decision they made resu lted in the three of them signing a compact initiating an academic plan which included a change in Salmas seating arrangement, the exploration of Salma being tran sferred from ESOL to the read ing interventions program. Salma also began checking out books whic h were on her reading level from the classroom library so that she could read at home for at least 30 mi nutes every night. In response, Mrs. Fernandez agreed to supervise Salmas reading. Then, Salma and her mother left with the hope that if Salma did what she was supposed to do, she would be promoted to the fourth grade.

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132 Follow-up PTS conference to review Salmas improvement Six weeks later, a second parent-teacher-s tudent conference took place among Ms. Cross, Salm a, her parents, and her siblings. Ms. Cross happily told them that everyones efforts to help Salma had succeeded because she had improved 100% and she was no longer in danger of failing the third grade. Ms. Cross also explained that she felt that it would benefit Salma if she joined an organization like the Girl Scouts during the summer that would allow Salma to associate with English speaking girls her own age who would m odel English for her and help Salma improve her English usage. PTS conference with Ms. Rich Later, Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez scheduled a meeting with Ms. Rich to discuss Eduardos progress. Du ring the parent-teacher-student conference among Eduardo, his parents, and his teacher, Ms. Rich told them that Eduardo had a problem answering critic al questions about his reading and that perhaps he did not understand what he was reading. She also said that he rushed through his reading and answered many of the co mputer test questions incorrectly. Ms. Rich suggested that Eduardo was interested in just accumulating awards and not primarily interested in learning the storys content. When she asked Eduardos parents if he had the same difficulty perceiving the meaning of storie s at home. They explained that he had no difficulty explaining anything that the family discussed or w ith what he had observed on television. After the parents input, Ms. Rich began to speak in a more negotiating way, and changed the abrupt tone of voice that she had been observed using with Eduardo in class. It appeared that, as a result of her increased effort to understand E duardos problems in school, she decided to talk about her own reading problem when she was a younger person. She explained that because she was frequently distracted, that she lost track of the storys plot. However instead of continuing, she went back and re-read the part she had missed. In response, the Fernandez parents showed

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133 their appreciation for what Ms. Rich had shared with them and they suggested that Eduardo should double-check what he had read in order to understand his stories better as Ms. Rich had done. Eduardo agreed to try. In order to help Eduardo understand the words he had missed when he read, Ms. Rich shared an advanced vocabulary booklet with him, which he could utilize for the rest of the year and during the summer. This negotiation resulted in the teacher realizing Eduardos problem. By discussing the matter with the parents who were also interested in Eduardos welfare, they came to understand that it was natural that an English language learner needed to develop a wider vocabulary in orde r to fully understand what he had read. Table 5-1. Summary of home a nd school literacy practices Home Literacy Practices School Literacy Practices Sociocultural Literacy Practices. There are many literacies according to the sociocultural context Do it may way. There is only one literacy, the American mainstream literacy in general, and the FCAT, specifically. Affirmation of childrens identities. Negation of Childrens identities. Importance of family and social relations. Children wanted to be liked by teachers and receive their teachers approval. Importance to curriculum, standards, tests and classroom control. No ESOL strategies observed. No knowledge of the Florida Consent Decree (1990) was evident. Parents encouraged children to learn. Children were working very hard to learn. Teachers did not have time to check for student understanding. Children wanted to learn Academic English language. Teachers did not utilize home literacy practices. Did not understand their students English language acquisition process. Children were perfect for their parents. Teachers had a deficit orientation toward their Mexican students.

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134 Table 5-1 Continued. Parents perceived children as obedient, caring, intelligent, and hard-working. Teachers perceived children as lazy, distracted, daydreaming, unfocused, non-empathetic, and having problems with their thinking. Parents wanted to be involved in meaningful parental involvement, like improving student learning. School did not encouraged parents to attend meetings because they did not provide translators. The Researchers Role While positive interactio ns that take place between the Mexican immigrant students and their teachers are central to st udents success, negative interacti ons overt, covert, intentional or unintentional can disempower students and thei r families (Cummins, 2001). During the study it became an ethical necessity for th e researcher to become an advo cate, to interact, validate, and affirm the participant students id entities, because inaction from th e part of the researcher would have been detrimental for the participants (C ummins, 2001). The researcher had to intervene when Salma was in danger of being retained. The researcher explained to Ms. Cross that Salmas self-esteem would be diminished and it would increase her risk of dropping out of school in the future. Also the researcher had to become Se lenas voice so Ms. Drur y could understand what Selena was writing about. When Ms. Drury acknowledged Selenas cultural contribution to their writing activity, Selenas self-e steem was heightened (Cummins 2001). Finally, the researcher was asked by the teachers and the family to act as a translator and homeschool liaison during the parent-teacher-student c onferences in order to contribute to an understanding of the childrens academic problems that otherwise could not have taken place without the researchers assistance. The researchers status as a high achieving Hispanic and Mexican woman may have prompted the teachers to pay closer attention to the par ticipant family and childrens needs than if the researcher had not shared cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

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135 The Leadership in the Education of Mexican Immigrant Children In this study, the school leadership did not seem to be visi ble or highly involved. Thus as the findings indicated, it is neces sary that schools instructional leadership becomes aware of the vicious circle, the findings indicated that are taking place in th e school in the interactions between teachers and Mexican students. In these interactions, elements of the teachers deficit orientation toward Mexican stude nts add negatively to the fa milys concept of educacin creating a vicious circle which is detrimental to the education of Mexican children. The teachers approached Mexican immigrant students with a defi cit orientation because their literacy practices differ from those of mainstream America (C oleman, 1990). The parents seemed to accept the teachers deficit attitudes but responded with thei r literacy of educacins practices of excessive respect for teachers. Parents saw teachers with symbolic investiture, with a high status in the educational structure, and with pow er and authority to fail students Parents were unaware that in the American culture parents had the right to question teachers perceptions (Bolman & Deal, 1991). The teachers, who expected a behavior congr uent to American literacies, felt that the excessive gratitude from parents was an acceptan ce of the teachers deficit orientation negative views toward their children. These actions lead the teachers to confirm their unconscious and unquestionable deficit orientation. In order to br eak this vicious circle the teachers need to change their deficit mental models. The parents also need to change their mental models to learn to assert themselves to teachers and school pers onnel. One such example occurred in this study when Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez resp onded to Ms. Rich at the pare nt-teacher-student conference that Eduardo did not have a mental problem b ecause he communicated perfectly with them in Spanish at home (Argyris & Schon, 1974, 1978, Schein, 2004). An institutional change would be necessary to break the vicious circle school wide and help develop a virtuous circle in the opposite direction. This cultural change at the school would

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136 require structural and process adjustments incl uding the school personnel, as well as parents. Schoolwide training on the Mexican immigrant familys literacy practices would have to take place. The school personnels mental models, values, premises, and assumptions about the deficit theory have to be questioned and changed. Also, the school vision needs to be expanded. Time and resources would be needed so that personnel could generate activitie s. It will also be necessary to revise teachers and support personn els job descriptions. Finally, parents will need advocates/mentors to guide them through the chan ge, one family at a time and to help them continue constructing knowledge during parent-teacher-student conferences (Argyris & Schon, 1974, 1978; Schein, 2004; Senge, 1990). Implications for Theory The findings in this showed how the child ren constructed knowledge while integrating the familys and teachers literacy practices Knowledge in this study was understood by the childrens successful acquisition of literacy of both the native and English languages at home and in school while integrating and re lating their two liter acy practices to thei r own life experiences (Velez-Ibanez & Greenberg, 2005). In general, the literacy practices observed in this study of a Mexican immigrant family in Central Florida, confirms what has been doc umented by most scholars of Mexican immigrant families (.e.: dedication to their family, work ethics, sense of community, religion, and values, and concept of educacin (Coady, in press; Delgado-Gaitan, 2004; Guerra, 1998; Lopez, 1999; Moll et al., 2005; Riley, 2002). Th e literacy practices of the Fe rnandez in their specific sociocultural historical context were geared toward survival. These circumstances included the availability of year around agri cultural work, living close to th eir extended family, and being able to provide a stable home and a good edu cation for their children, while under the cloud of fear of deportation because of their undocumented stat us. The parents hope for the future is that

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137 their children who are American citizens will experience a successful education and ultimately will attain successful careers in the United States. The teachers did not seem to be aware of th e Florida Consent Decree and childrens home literacies. The teachers literacy practices were their use of a ba lanced eclectic literacy method while using direct instruction as their primary model of delivery (Behar -Horenstein & Seabert, 2002; Ramirez, 1992). The teachers covered the mainstream English language curriculum without utilizing many of their Mexican immigrant students literacy practic es or their previous knowledge, even though the Mexican immigrant population was in the majority at Parsons Elementary School (Joyce, et al., 2004; Moll & Greenberg, 1990). Also, it was observed that the teachers did not indicate if they had knowledge of the processes of first and second language acquisition even though the partic ipating children (ELLs) struggl ed with academically. The participant students had received ESOL basic social language in struction, but they needed assistance from their classroom teachers or from sp ecialist teachers to con tinue to develop their English academic language, background knowledge, explicit reading comp rehension skills, and metacognitive and metalinguistic skills (Cummins, 2001; Lindholm-Leary, 2001; Ovando & Collier, 1998; Snow, 2002). Initially, the three teachers did not seem to have a positive perception of the participant students. They did not display a welcoming attitude toward them and they failed to provide the emotional support that the three participant children needed. Ho wever, later in the study, the teachers developed a more favorable perception of the participant students in their classes. In turn, the teachers newly formed positive attitu des contributed to two of the participating students self-confidence and ultimately to their extensive academic achievements. These findings indicate that the school system should evaluate their teachers training in English

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138 language development and multicultural educati on and should identify how the resources for diverse students will be utili zed before new teachers begin teaching at Parsons Elementary School. Despite their childrens diffi culties in the interact ions with teachers, this Mexican family was very invested in their childrens education. At the school level, it was discovered that Parsons Elementary School needs to provide professional development for teachers about the Florida Consent Decree, and Mexican childrens literacy practices. It is also nece ssary for the school to evaluate the benefits and disadvantages of the extrinsic reading rewards utilized and consid er initiating an intrinsic reward system that would develop students pleasure of reading. The participant stude nts in the third and fourth grades were given awards based on the number of lin es they read which seemed to distract them from discovering the intrinsic re wards associated with understa nding and acquiring the pleasure of reading (Coady, in press; Krashen, 2004). The school should provide materials in a language that the family can understand, whereas they did not. The studys contribution to theory is how th e parent-teacher-student conference aided the integration of familys and teachers literacy pr actices as seen in the childrens construction of knowledge. A conference, where parents, teachers, and students meet face to face is necessary, in order to understand nonverbal literacies and to learn each others verbal and cultural practices with the goal being to provide a more inclusive and relevant education for culturally diverse children. Parents come to the conference with the e xpectations that meaningful interactions will occur. Because the literacy prac tices of the Mexican people stress the importance of freedom of expression through the use of oral language, th e parent-teacher-stude nt conference is the communication of choice for the family (Jimenez et al., 2003). In addition to the parents, the students should also have the opportunity to attend the conference and be allowed the freedom of

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139 oral expression so that they can present their point of view. Facilita ting the construction of knowledge between parents, teachers, and students is needed so that the school can provides a facilitator who is bilingual, bicultural, and know ledgeable of education and educacin, of the school systems functions, and how they re late to the Mexican immigrant community. The study showed how participa ting children as lite racy practice agents, actively brought their literacy practices from home to the classroom through their writing and through their speech. The childrens concept of ed ucacin, expects them to be respectful to their teacher, and not to interrupt or contradict what their teachers say. In retur n, the teacher should be informed about the importance of providing th e student with the opportunity to talk about the things they know and care about. Bringing information about th eir home literacy practices to their teachers at school will encourage the Mexican immigrant student to continue to express themselves verbally, to gain self-respect and ultimately th rive in their academics. The childs literacy practices could provide their teachers with a means to guide students in acquiring academic English beyond the acquisition of English social skills and specific strategies. Table 5-2. Findings of study based on theoretical framework/perspective Key points of theory Findings Theory confirmed or refuted Sociocultural Historical Literacy Approach (Vygotsky, 1978) Literacy practices are developed as a result of social interactions in a specific context in which a public speech is developed. The participant familys literacy practices were developed in a unique way in their specific sociocultural historical context. Confirmed The Funds of Knowledge (Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 1992) People are competent and have knowledge that their life experiences have given them. The participant family had knowledge that they acquired in their country of origin and in their survival in Parsons, USA. Confirmed

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140 Table 5-2 Continued. The Concept of Educacin (Delgado-Gaitan, 1994) Educacin means familys taught values of respect for oneself and others, good manners and discipline, family honor, and respect for self and the community. The participant family followed the concept of educacin taught to them by teaching their children good values, respect, hard work, and helping others. Confirmed Collision of Discourses (Lopez, 1999) Problems arise when proponents of a more powerful discourse assume that everyone perceives the world in the same way. The participant children had problems integrating their literacy practices with the teachers American literacy practices. Confirmed Mexican Children cannot succeed in mainstream practices (Valdes, 1996) Student success grounded on mainstream values does more harm than good. No solutions were given. The participant family believed in the benefit of their children complying with schools requirements and they felt that through negotiations some solutions to their childrens academic problems were reached. Refuted Illegal alphabets and adult biliteracy (Kalmar, 2001) Mexican illegal aliens use an alphabet that they know to chart the sounds of English. The participant family utilized the Spanish letter-sound code to write in Spanish and to read in English. Confirmed Parent-teacher-student conference (PTS) (Sen, 2008) Promotes affirmation of students and parents. It allows parents, teachers, and students to interact face-to face to discuss students academic improvement. The participant parents, teachers and student constructed knowledge in the forum of a parent-teacherstudent conference. Also teachers became acquainted with the familys literacy practices. Confirmed Breaking the deficit-educacin vicious circle (Sen, 2008) Parents are assertive and speak out against the deficit orientation to teachers and school personnel. The participant parents responded to Ms. Rich that Eduardo did not have a thinking problem because he could communicate perfectly in Spanish with them at home. Confirmed

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141 Recommendations for Further Study a) A longitudinal study of revised ESOL training based on the f indings reported in this study for regular classroom teachers that focuses on helping mainstream English language learners after the students had passed th e basic social English acquisiti on training, yet continues their English academic language development for up to ten years in an English immersion program school, like the Parsons sch ool (Thomas & Collier, 1997). b) A study of parent-teacher-student conferences, with a focus on how the school can facilitate this process among immigrant families more e fficiently and how these processes impact changes in students co nstruction of knowledge. c) A study of how a policy that is designed to ensu re that teachers explore the literacy practices of their Mexican immigrant students by visiti ng their homes and a focus on how home visits influence teachers instructional practices and student engagement. d) A study that explores teachers use of student s literacy practices and how this practice impacts students development of English a cademic language skills (Cummins, 2001). e) A follow-up study of this family. f) A study that examines the leadership behaviors/ actions at a school of predominantly Mexican children and how well they do on the FCAT. g) A study that describes the accountability between the role of the Florida Consent Decree (1990), accountability, a nd teachers practices. h) A study that explores principals perspectives about requiring teachers to know childrens literacies. i) A study that explores the congruence between th e reading materials that a Mexican student school population have and need. j) A study that describes schoolwide reform efforts aimed at eradicating teachers deficit orientation. Summary and Conclusion In this chapter, a review of the findings of this study was provided. Also the implications of the results of this study, speci fically as it relates to the integr ation of the literacy practices between the home and the school, were described. Suggestions for furt her research at the classroom, school, and policy levels were given. This study descri bed the literacy practices of one Mexican immigrant family in this sociocultura l-historical context of non-migrant agricultural

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142 workers in Central Florida. The Mexican immigr ant familys concept of educacin and their involvement in the school, the teachers liter acy practices (including their philosophies of education, their literacy methodology, and their strategies for teaching Mexican immigrant students), the participant childrens literacy development, and how the teachers and students constructed meaning were describe d. Finally, how the participant children integrated both their home and teachers literacy prac tices were also described.

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143 APPENDIX A TABLE OF FAMILY LITERACY PRACTICES From : _12/07 To: 5/08 Participants: The Fernandez Family (Josu, Soledad, Eduardo, Salma, and Selena) __ Home dcor: The participant familys home was an old, reconditioned trailer 50 feet long and 20 feet wide with a front wooden porch with a table, ch airs and a hammock. The home was located on a large piece of land with pens for chickens, turkeys and a small pig. The familys living room was spacious, recently painted and partially car peted with two large matching sofas facing a large television set and a large stereo. The room had curtains with printed flowers matching the many artificial flower arra ngements in the room. One section of the living room's wall displayed re ligious icons of the Catholic faith. There were two large oval images of the Virgin of Guad alupe, the patron saint of Mexico, on each side of a huge image of Jesus Christ being taken dow n from the cross. Also, there were some plastic flowers arranged around the icons. On the other wall area, there were school pictures of Salma, the third grader and Eduardo the fourth grader, Selena, the Ki ndergarten girl, and Baby Delia. On another wall, there were pictures of the parents wedding, the childre ns baptism and Holy Communion. Another wall had a huge portrait of the mothers mother. On the same wall, there was a picture of Salma and her Kindergarten cer tificate. Under the picture a nd certificate we re the sound system and two dolls. On top of the sound system there was a crochete d cloth. Other decorations in the living room included knickknacks inside the china cabinets. On the china cabinet, there was a collection of dolls, both large and small, por celain and plastic. On another china cabinet there were souvenirs from friends and family events like weddings, baptisms, confirmations, and quinceaeras. On another side of the living room, on the te levision are some trophies and medals won by the children. The family had three bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen and dining area, and a laundry room. The first bedroom had two beds. The next room had the sons collection of cast iron trucks and cars and ten reading medals and several trophies. Also, his dr awings and paintings were posted on the walls and a Halloween mask. The last room had a large bed with a 36 inch tall statue of Baby Jesus dressed in a beautiful silk gown, lying on a crocheted bedspread. All the rooms were newly painte d and in good repair. The bedrooms and the hall were carpeted The kitchen was a 10 ft by 12 ft. room that includ ed a dining area with a table and chairs. The kitchen had wooden cabinets, a refrigerator, a sink, and a stove. The window and the back

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144 door had white curtains with red flowers. The walls were painted light green and the floor was covered with green marbled design linoleum. Finally, there was a laundry and th e only bathroom in the house th at looked very clean, but it did not have a toilet seat. The bathroom and kitche n and half of the living room were covered with linoleum. Climate: The familys homes climate as well as the ride to and from school was always pleasant. The parents always had a smile and never raised their voices and were always supportive of their children. When the parents picked up thei r children from school they always appeared cheerful and welcoming. The children seemed to have pride in owning th eir home and enjoyed the spaciousness of the house and the yard. Everyday after school, they enjoyed running, jumping rope and riding their bikes. The children seemed very assertive at home, ha ving command of the television, VCR, and stereo and operating them freely. Also, the children were free to get food out of the refrigerator whenever they liked. Literacy events observed: The parents were constantly reminding the children in Spanish how to behave properly: how to behave with visitors, how to sit, how to eat, how to wash their hands, how to clean their nose, and how to comb their hair. The ch ildren responded obedientl y. The parents asked the children everyday for any school corres pondence papers and made sure that the children did their homework. The parents looked over the homework before th ey signed the homework slip. One afternoon, Selena told a story that she ha d learned in school that day. Mr s. Fernandez replied that the story was similar to a story she had learned in school in Mexico. Then they both compared the similarities and differences between the two stories. When the family played together a la Pichada (a combination of baseball and dodge ball), the parents took this opportunity to model the Spanish language for the children. The parents and the participant children made a strong effo rt to teach Baby Delia to speak Spanish correctly. Everybody modeled for her a nd corrected her when necessary. The parents said repeatedly th at they were very proud when they observed their son reading constantly, so they supported his reading a nd encouraged their daught ers to do the same. The family enjoyed watching family videos of the parents wedding, of Christmas holidays, birthdays, baptisms, etc. On Saturdays the children watched childrens movies that they had checked out from the Parsons public library.

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145 The family received and made many telephone calls from their family and friends in Mexico, Texas, and from the Parsons area. They expres sed that there no longer existed the need to write letters. Literacy instruments: During more than half of my home visits, the ch ildren had in their posse ssion at least three books that they had checked-out from the school library. The only books that the family owned were the two books that Eduardo had written in the third grade. The family was excited when I brought 20 books in English and Spanish to them and allowed each member of the family to choose their favorite books. The father enjoyed a book in Spanish about Mexican presidents (I saw him reading it several times sharing it with Eduardo and telling Eduardo about the different presidents during his time). The mother was interested in a primer book in Span ish that she shared w ith Baby Delia. Selena liked some Sesame Street and Dr. Seuss books and Salma was interested in a book about cats. The parents had many Spanish music records fr om Mexico. They also, had audio tapes on religious and philosophical reflect ions in Spanish that they of ten played and discussed with the children. Activities: Parents had a regular place of employment where they cut fern, however, sometimes there was no work available in that particular fern farm and they had to travel to other ferneries. If there was no work for them, then they contac ted Mr. Brice, their me ntor, who always had little jobs for them to do on his property. As a last resort, when there was no work outside the home, they worked on making improvement on their house. The children were aware of this and they expressed their admiration for their parents for being such hard workers. Parental involvement at school was a very importa nt priority for the Fernandez. They managed their work around taking their children a nd picking them up from school. Also their priorities included attending parent-teacher conferences after school; attending school meetings and school fund raising activities; contributing with food and volunteer work, and overseeing their children doing their home work and signing their homework slips. Living in a clean and organized environment was observed during more than half of my home visits at the Fernandez ho me. The parents had a daily r outine of cleaning the house, preparing meals for the children, feeding the live stock, washing the familys clothes and preparing childrens clothes, a nd backpacks for the next day. Relationship with family and friends was a part of every day life for the Fernandezs. The parents, while at work met with their exte nded family members, who worked with them and had lunch together during their half hour lunch time. Also, they maintained close phone communication with relati ves in Mexico and with fr iends and community members in the United States.

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146 The Fernandez scheduled small entertainment activ ities every day. Sometimes, they played a la pichada as a family, other times, the parent s oversaw the children biking and running in the front yard; and playing in the park in the evening. After the children finished their homework, they sometimes watched T. V. soap operas in Spanish, watched familys videos, or danced together in the living room On Saturdays, the ch ildren watched videos that they had checked out from the public library. On Sundays they went to church, grocery shopping, to the park, and visite d relatives and friends. On holidays, the Fernandez parents gave their ch ildren little gifts, such as, candy or coloring books and they took them to quick food re staurants for a hamburger and a soda. Dialogue: Mr. Fernndez often told his ch ildren, Como les fue en la es cuela? (How was school, today), Estate en paz or Tente en paz (Behave your self), No hagas eso (Dont do that), Haz tu tarea (Do your homework), Aydale a tu ma ma (Help your mother), Traele la silla a la senora, (Bring a chair to the lady), O frcelea la senora (Offer to the lady). Ms. Fernandez told her children loving words lik e, Que Linda mhijita (How pretty you are, daughter), Mhijo es muy inte ligente y estudioso, (My son is very intelligent and studious). Mrs. Fernndez informed that she would have to consult her husband,Cuando mi seor venga le pregunto si quiere que vayamos (When my husband comes, I will ask him if he wants us to go), Tengo que preguntarle a mi esposo (I have to ask my husband). Eduardo said, Como esta Sra. Diana? (How ar e you, Ms. Diana). Eduardo told Selena and Salma, Estate quieta (Be quiet), Tu no sabe s jugar (You dont know how to play). To his parents, Si, mama, Si papa (Yes, mam Yes, Sir), Ya hice mi tarea (I already did my homework),Te puedo ayudar, papa? (Can I help you Daddy?). Selena told her mother No quier o barrer (I dont want to sweep the floor), No tengo tarea (I dont have homework), Quiero ms pollo (I want more chicken), Quiero ms jugo de naranja (I want more orange juice), No me bajo del juego (I dont want to get off the playground swing). Salma told her parents, Me fue bien en la es cuela (School was good today) Ya hice mi tarea (I already did my homework), Vamos a jugar a la pichada (Lets play a la pichada), Mi amiga va a venir a jugar conmigo (My friend is coming to play with me). Forms of literacy observed (based on Ornstein & Sinatra, 2006) 1) Visual (i.e.: watchi ng television). The family watched television every day, mostly Mexican soap operas. The family had many family photographs and th e childrens artwork) posted on the walls. 2) Listening (I. e.: radio, conversations):

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147 Children were used to listening to adult conversations during fam ily gatherings and school parent meetings, where they were expected to listen without talking. Most of the time, the children listened to music, videos, and religious ta ped reflections selected by their parents. However, they had the right to request the music they like. The father bought a new musical tape that was familiar to the children. The father taught a Mexican dance to the children, telling them, Aho ra das la vuelta (Now, you give a turn), Ahora, zapateado (Now you tap the floor with your foot). A favorite pastime of the parents, during lunch at work, was to listen to inspirational audio tapes and tell stories and jokes to their group of family and friend cowork ers. It was observed that parents often shared these experi ences with their children at home. 3) Speaking (I. e.: telephone, conversations): Most of the time, the children ran to answer their parents cell phone and brought it to their parents by saying, Es.. (Its such and such). The children stayed near their parents and at the end of the telephone call, their parents shared with them the topics of the conversation. The children were eager to tell their parents the interesting or funny things that happened at school. Each child competed for their fathers attention by trying to make their story the most interesting. The parents always laughed about the stories their children told. 4) Reading (I. e.: letters, brochures, homework): The parents were observed readi ng all the school notices that ar e written in Spanish or asked Eduardo to translate those written in English. 5) Writing (I. e.: taking notes, writing letters, homework): The parents wrote responses to their childrens teachers concerning their childrens report card grades three or four times a year (Ms. Rich, Eduardos fourth grade teacher asked me to translate one of these parents notes and I was able to see the previous notes written on the report card). 6) Visual representation (i.e.: drawing): Childrens art work is displayed throughout the house. Mrs. Fernandez was interested in arts and crafts and influences her children to appreciate making crafts. Recently, Mrs. Fernandez has begun to draw as well. On an occasion it was observed that Eduardo drew and painted a pi cture of the car Santa Claus had brought him and his mother and sisters tried to learn from him by attempting to draw it also. The childrens drawings were displayed throughout their home and in the schools cafeteria.

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148 7) Technology (utilizing computer s, or other gadgets): The family did not have a computer. The family had a large television, a VCR, a larg e stereo, and a cell phone. They have not been able to utilize the telephone message mail box (The researcher called the family on the phone and attempted to leave a message, but th e message procedure had not been set up). Otherwise, children were skilful in the uti lization of all the app liances in the house. Funds of knowledge observe d (based on Moll, Amanti, Neff & Gonzalez, 2005) 1) Agriculture: The children help their parents work at the fern ery after school for about an hour, almost every day. The children had learned from their parents fern cuttings at work. They helped their parents gather their previously cut fern and placed them into boxes. The parents mentioned repeatedly that they were very proud th at their children were such good helpers! 2) Mechanics: Mr. Fernandez supplemented his income by repair ing cars. Eduardo was always interested in observing and helping his father, handing him parts and tools. The father also takes this opportunity to teach his son the names of the parts and tools and how to repair cars. Mr. Fernandez said, Eduardo se sabe todos los nombres en espaol de las herramientas que yo le pido (Eduardo knows all names of all th e tools I ask for in Spanish). 3) Appliance repairs: The father, who was mechanically inclined, had learned a lot about repa iring appliances through trial and error. He told me a story about, when out of financial necessity, he fixed a refrigerator through experimenta tion. Eduardo showed interest in being an apprentice to his father, in which he both helped and learns. 4) Childcare: Parents gave a lot of importance to child care and child wellbeing. The fath er explained that after the familys pet was killed by a train, he search ed to find a safer home for the children. The mother was proud to volunteer at the Head Star t School in exchange for a lower rate for Baby Delias excellent care. She always atte nded the Head Start School meetings and was proud to help prepare the refreshm ents served at the meetings. Eduardo, Salma, and Selena helped take care of the baby. Eduardo, the oldest child, was very protective of his three younger sisters. 5) Household chores:

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149 The mother was in charge of the household chores however, the father and the children helped her most of the time. Mrs. Fernandez told me that Eduardo, Salma, and Baby Delia always helped her clean the house. But Selena was th e only one that complained when asked to help. She, usually responded Por que yo? (Why me?) Por que me castigas (Why are you punishing me?) Mrs. Fernand ez laughed tenderly while saying, Yo no la obligo a que me ayude si no quiere (I dont force her to help if she doesnt want to). 6) Cooking: Mrs. Fernandez was very proud of her cooking skills. She cooked many elaborate Mexican meals quickly like mole, tamales, quesadillas enchiladas, cakes, and stuffed turkey. She often volunteered to prepare food for the head Start and for various Parsons Elementary Schools fund raising activities. The children watched her and learned how to prepare the foods. Also, Mrs. Fernandez took th is opportunity to teach her girls the food recipes, ingredients, measurements, mixing procedures and the names of various cooking utensils. 7) Business: Mr. Fernandez took care of the family finances Occasionally, he lent and borrowed money from various members of the community. One afternoon, when I accompanied the parents to pick up their children, I observed him colle cting money from an acquaintance. Mr. Fernandez smiled when he talked about havi ng been able to make good deals when buying their home and land, and their trucks. He ta lked about feeling good about offering the family the best life he could afford. 8) Religion: Mrs. Fernandez was in charge of teaching the Ca tholic faith to the children. The parents got married by the Catholic Church in 2001. The fo ur children have been baptized and the three participant children have had th eir first communion. Th ese are important accomplishments for children who wish to follow the Catholic faith. Mrs. Fernandez was very devout in her prayers to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Baby Jesus. Her mother gave her the statue of Baby Jesus severa l years ago, that the family prayed to often. Mr. Fernandez gave his wife an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe that lights up, for Christmas. 9) Sewing and Crafts: Mrs. Fernandez sewed very well, fixing every thi ng her family needed. Also, she had crocheted a tablecloth, a bedspread, and the Baby Jesus st atues clothes, and s hoes. The girls were learning to crochet by observing thei r mother and practicing themselves. The mother made crafts to supplement their fa milys income. She asked the children to help. And also took the opportunity to teach the ch ildren the names of materials, measures, utensils, and craft supplies.

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150 10) Herbal knowledge: Parents knew the benefits of plants like the aloe Vera for healing wounds, cinnamon tea for colds. The family had planted several al oe Vera plants to use on wounds and had purchased cinnamon, oregano, honey, onions, and wa rm oil to treat the children when they have colds, sore throat, cough, and stomach aches. 11) Interpreting/Translation: Eduardo, the oldest child translates for his parents. The mother told me that she always liked to bring Eduardo with her when she attends pare nt-teacher conferences, because she did not believe that the bilingual secret ary, who translated at the c onferences, translates every thing she wanted to say. Also, the parents told me that they sometimes utilized Mexican community members, who were high school graduates to translate for them for a fee when they needed to visit a doctor or a hospital because of child birth or serious illness.

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151 APPENDIX B CLASSROOM OBSERVATION PROTOCOL Grade: ____ __ Teacher:_________________Date:_________Time: _______ Topic: __________________________Number of students:_______________ Classroom demographics: Classroom set-up: Classroom climate: Teachers activities Students activities 1) 1) 2) 2) 3) 3) 4) 4) 5) 5) Teachers talk Students talk 1) 1) 2) 2) 3) 3) 4) 4) 5) 5) Teaching methodology: Description: ESOL multimodels/ teaching strategies utilized: Teaching behaviors observed: Description: Examples of culturally responsive pedagogy (use of home literacies):

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152 Materials utilized: Comments:

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153 APPRENDIX C PARTICIPANT INTERV IE W QUESTIONS Participant teachers Interviews Interview # 1 Background and educational philosophy 1. Describe your educational philosophy. 2. Describe your concept of literacy. 3. Describe what teaching a nd learning mean to you. 4. How do you include your students home language and culture in your classroom curriculum? Interview # 2 Teaching Mexican immigrant students 1. What are your feelings about teaching Mexican students? 2. What are some of the literacy pr actices of your migrant student? 3. What are the challenges of teaching this particular migrant student? 4. What strategies do you utilize with these particular Mexican students in your class? 5. What are your expectations for these Mexican students? 6. How are Mexican students unique/dif ferent from other students? 7. What contact have you had with migrant families? 8. Describe successful and unsuccessful stories about Mexican students. Mexican Immigrant Pare nts Interviews (in English and Spanish) Interview # 1 Background and Experience in the United States 1. Describe your place of origin and your childhood. 2. Describe your family. 3. Describe your school ex periences as a child. 4. What do you read to your ch ildren? In what language? 5. What do you write every day? In what language? Interview # 2 Experience as Parents/Beliefs about Education 1. What is your belief about education? 2. What kind of education do you expect for your children? 3. To what extent has been your participa tion in parental i nvolvement in school? 4. What have you helped change in your childrens school? 5. What would you like to change in your childrens school? 6. What are your aspirations fo r your childrens education?

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154 7. What changes have you noticed in the principal or teachers after you ha ve interacted with them? Entrevista # 1 Experiencia en su lugar de or igen y en los Estados Unidos 6. Describa su lugar de origen y su infancia. 7. Describa a su familia. 8. Describa sus experiencias en la escuela cuando era nio. 9. Qu les lee a sus hijos? En que idioma? 10. Qu escribe diariamente? En que idioma? Entrevista # 2 Experiencias con la escuela y conceptos de educacin 1. Cul es su concepto de educacin? 2. Qu tipo de educacin desea para su hijo? 3. Describa su participacin en el involu cramiento de padres en la escuela? 4. Qu ha hecho para favorecer algunos cambios en la escuela? 5. Qu elemento de la escuela de sus hijos le gustara cambiar? 6. Qu aspiraciones tiene para la e ducacin y el futuro de sus hijos? Childrens Interviews Interview # 1 Home and Family 1. Describe your family. 2. How do you help your family at home? 3. Tell me something that your parents always tell you to do 4. What games do you like to play? 5. What do you like to read? In what language? 6. What do you like to write? In what language? Interview # 2 School 1. What do you like best in school? 2. What do you like the least at school? 3. Describe your teacher. 4. What things are diffi cult for you at school? 5. What things would you like to change at school? 6. What do you need to do to be a good student? 7. What do you think you have to do to get good grades? 8. What have you learned at sc hool since the year began? 9. What can you do now that you were not able to do last year? 10. Have you changed your idea about w hat you want to be when you grow up? 11. Follow-up questions. Entrevista # 1 El Hogar y la Familia 1. Describe a tu familia. 2. Describe a tus amigos.

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155 3. Cmo ayudas a tu familia en tu casa? 4. Dime algo que tus padres siempre te dicen que no se te olvide hacer. 5. Qu te gusta leer? En que idioma? 6. Qu te gusta escribir? En que idioma? Entrevista # 2 La Escuela 1. Qu es lo que ms te gusta en la escuela? 1. Qu es lo que menos te gusta de la escuela? 2. Describe a tu maestra. 3. Qu cosas se te hacen di fciles en la escuela? 4. Qu cosas te gustara cambiar de la escuela? 5. Qu piensas de la lectura? Explcame por que es fcil o difcil? 6. Qu se necesita para ser un buen estudiante? 7. Qu se necesita para sa car buenas calificaciones? 8. Cmo has cambiado desde que empez la escuela? 9. Qu has aprendido desde que empez el ano escolar? 10. Qu cosas nuevas puedes hacer ahora, que no podas hacer el ano pasado? 11. Qu cosas te gustan ahora, que no te gustaban el ao pasado? 12. Has cambiado de opinin acerca de lo que degustara ser cunado seas grande? 13. Me quieres contar algo ms?

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156 LIST OF REFERENCES Ada, A. F. (1988). The Pjaro Valley experi ence: W orking with Spanish-speaking parents to develop childrens reading and writing skills at home through the use of childrens literature. In T. SkutnabbKangas & J. Cummins (Eds.), Minority education from shame to struggle (pp. 223-238). Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters. Ada, A. F., & Zubizarreta, R. (2001). Parent narratives: The cultural bridge between Latino parents and their children. In M. L. Reyes & J. J. Halcn (Eds.). The best for our children: Critical perspectives on literacy for Latino students. (pp. 229-244). New York: Teachers College. Agar, M. (1996). The professional stranger: An informal introduction to ethnography (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Academic Press. Amanti, C. (2005). Beyond a beads and feathers a pproach. In N. Gonzales, L. C. Moll, & C. Amanti (Eds.), Theorizing practices in households, communities and classrooms. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence, Erlbaum Associates, pp.131-141. Argyris, C., & Schon, D. (1974). Theory in practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Argyris, C., & Schon, D. (1978). Organizational learning. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Au, K. H. (1993). Literacy instruction in multicultural settings. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. August, D., & Hakuta, K. (Eds.). (1997). Improving schooling for langu age-minority children: A research agenda. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. August, D., & Hakuta, K. (Eds.). (1998). Educating language-minority children (4th ed.). Washington, D. C.: National Academy Pre ss. Los Angeles: Bilingual Education Services, Inc. Baker, C. (2001). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism (3rd ed.). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. Bakhtin, M.M. (1981). The dialogic imagination. In M. Holquist (Ed). M. Holquist & C. Emerson (Trans.). Austin, TX: University Press. Bakhurst, D. J. (1986). Thought, speech, and the genesis of meaning: On the 50th anniversary of Vygotskys Myslenie I Rec [Speech and thinking]. Studies in Soviet Thought, 31 102129. Behar-Horenstein, L. S., & Seabert, D. (2002) Looking at classroom teaching: A missing component in studies of school performance. Curriculum and teaching, 17(1), 21-38. Berger, P. L. (1966). The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. New York: Anchor Books.

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169 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Diana Marg arita Ortega Sen was born in Torre n, Coahuila, Mexico, and is presently a naturalized U. S. citizen si nce 1985. In Mexico, Diana receiv ed a bachelors degree in elementary education and a masters degree at the Normal Superior majoring in French and English as second languages. In addition she was employed by the Mexican Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) for seven years as an elementa ry school teacher. In the United States, Diana earned a masters degree in Spanish Literature in 1973 from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, an Ed. S. in TESOL from Nova Southeastern University in 1992, and an Ed. S. in educational leadership fr om the University of Florida in 1999. During 1974-1976, Diana served as a Spanish and French instructor at Frie ndship Junior College in Rock Hill, S. C. After her two children were born, she and her husba nd and her children moved to Volusia County Florida, where from 1979-1999 she taught Spanis h, French, and ESOL; was a migrant advocate, and the school districts translator. From 1999-2004, she served at the Florida Department of Education in Tallahassee, Florid a, as an ESOL specialist, fo reign language specialist, ESOL program director, and a Title I migrant program di rector. Diana plans to continue her career in educational leadership in Florida se rving the Mexican community.