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Running Head: BILITERACY AND INSTRUCTIONAL APPLICATIONS

Reviewofbiliteracyandinstructionalapplications

KelleyBratcher
TheUniversityofSouthernMississippi

Biliteracy and Instructional Applications

Abstract
ThispaperexplorestopicsinthebiliteracydevelopmentofEnglishasaSecond
Language(ESL)studentsincludingthebenefitsofbilingualism,importantstatistics
regardingliteracyandcurrentresearchinthefield.Thepaperfocusesonthe
incorporationofbiliteracyinlanguageteachingasanovertfacetofinstructionand
learning.ThepaperprovidesanoverviewoftheconceptofbiliteracyintheESL
classroom,anexplanationofhowbiliteracyskillscanbedevelopedthroughinstructional
strategies,andpedagogicalexamplesintheformoftwodevelopedinstructional
applications.

Biliteracy and Instructional Applications

"Hewhohastwolanguageshastwosouls"Anonymous

Thelinguisticconceptofbilingualismandbiliteracy

Introduction
Bilingualismandbiliteracyareskillsthatfosterglobalemployment,improve

cognitivefunctionsandbroadensocialconnections.TargetedinstructionintheEnglishas
aSecondLanguage(ESL)classroomisonewaytopromoteacquisitionofbilingualism
andbiliteracyskills.Since"theU.S.economydemandsauniversallyhigherlevelof
literacyachievementthatatanypriorperiodinhistoryandthatliteracydemandsare
likelytoincreaseinthefuture"thereisnodoubtthatliteracyinmultiplelanguagesisa
benefittotheglobalcitizen(Aaron,Joshi&Quatroche,2008,p.8).Thispaperexplores
topicsinthebiliteracydevelopmentofESLstudents.Theinstructionactivitiespresented
maybeusedintheESLclassroomtopromoteandencouragelinguisticdiversityand
literacy.

Bilingualism
Bilingualismreferstotheabilitytospeaktwolanguages.AsastudybyLauchlan,

ParisiandFadda(2012)showed,bilingualismhasitsadvantages.Thestudyexamined
onehundredandtwentyonechildren,bothbilingualandmonolingual,todetermineany

Biliteracy and Instructional Applications

advantagesofbilingualisminfourareas:cognitivecontrol,problemsolvingability,
metalinguisticawarenessandworkingmemory.Bilingualchildrenfairedbetterthan
monolingualchildreninallfoursubtests(Lauchlan,Parisi&Fadda,2012,p.51).One
caveattotheadvantagesofbilingualchildrenhowever,isthatthespeakershouldbe
equallyproficientinbothlanguagestobenefitfrombilingualism(p.47).Therefore,in
ordertoreceivethemostbenefits,bilingualismshouldbedevelopedequallyinboth
languages(p.53).Althoughbilingualeducationbeginsbeforeformalschooling,teachers
candevelopskillsinemergingbilingualstudentsinordertovalueandpromotetheir
minoritylanguage.Studieshaveshownthatstudentsbenefitfrominstructionintheir
nativelanguage(Fromkin,Rodman&Hyams,2014,p.317).Instructorscanhelpdevelop
balancedbilingualisminstudentsbyencouragingreadinginbothlanguagesathomeand
atschool.

Literacy
Literacyisdefinedastheabilitytoreadandwriteandusewrittenlanguage

effectively(Aaron,Joshi&Quatroche,2008,p.1).Literacyisoneofthemost
fundamentalacademicskillsasitiscrucialtosuccessinmostotherfields.Unfortunately,
theNationalAssessmentofEducationalProgress(NAEP)findsthattheamountof
studentsdeficientinreadingskillsrangesfrom25%inwealthierschoolstoovertwo
thirdsinhighpovertyschools(Ramrez,2000,p.10).BeingthatLimitedEnglish
Proficient(LEP)studentsaccountforasignificantportionofthesestudents,effortsare
neededtoinformandimproveinstruction(Ramrez,2000,p.10).LEPstudentsarealso

Biliteracy and Instructional Applications

oneofthelargestandmostrapidlygrowingsectorsofourtotalstudentpopulation,yet
theroleofbilingualisminliteracyisnotwellunderstood.
Anumberoffactorscontributetoacquiringliteracyskillsincludingphonetics,
pragmaticsandsemantics.Theseelementsdifferintheiracquisitionprocessbasedonthe
language.Researchhasshownthatexplicitinstructioninphonemesimprovedstudents'
initialreadingskillsandspelling.Minoritylanguagefamiliesoftenrelyonteachersto
developtheirchild'sEnglishlanguageabilitiesandtherefore,explicitinstructionof
phonemicawarenessintheclassroomisnecessary(Valds,2011,p.101).Phonics
instructionhelpsstudentsdevelopsoundandletterawarenessforreading.Forexample,
incontrasttoEnglish,vowelsshouldbetaughtbeforeconsonantsinbeginningSpanish
readingprograms(Ramrez,2000,p.17).Thisisduetotheorthographicandsyntactic
featuresfoundintheSpanishlanguage.ProminentbiliteracyscholarK.Escamillaclaims
thatteacherswillnotbeeffectiveinteachingliteracytobilingualstudentsuntilthey
understandhowbecomingliterateinSpanishdiffersfrombecomingliterateinEnglish
(Ramrez,2000,p.24).
Similartophonemicawareness,readingfluencyisimportanttoliteracysuccess.
Afluentreadercanreadaloudquickly,smoothly,correctly,andwiththecorrect
intonation.Metalinguisticknowledgecanalsohelpdevelopreadingskillsandensurethat
bilingualismisnotanobstacletoliteracy.Studentscanusetheirnativelanguageto
advancetheirunderstandingoftheL2.Oneactivitythatcanfostermetalinguistic,
phonemic,semantic,lexicalandfluencyskillsthroughjournalingispresentedinthe
appendix.

Biliteracy and Instructional Applications

Biliteracy
Thetermbiliteracydescribeschildrensreadingandwritingcompetenciesintwo

languages.Teacherscanhelpcreateabalancedbilingualeducationbyfosteringreading
intheminorityandmajoritylanguage.Familiesalsoplayahugepartindeveloping
biliteracyskills.Youngimmigrantchildrenoftenparticipatedinliteracyactivitiesin
whichanoldersiblingscaffoldthelearningbetweenandamongthemselves"(Valds,
2011,p.101).InfindingsbyReyes(2011),playing,"escuelita"(school)amongsiblings
developedliteracypracticesandlanguageacquisition(p.101).Inherstudy,theolder
siblingofaresearchparticipantmodeledhowtopronounceandwriteinEnglishmaking
connectionstothenativeSpanishlanguage.Thistypeofactivityprovideslanguage
learningandsocialization.Inadditiontosiblingsupport,bilingualchildreninReyes'
studybenefitedfromtheirparents'knowledgeofEnglish.
Manybilingualchildren'sparentsawbiliteracydevelopmentasafundamental
aspectforemploymentandcommunication.Therefore,manyparentsattendedESL
classes,readEnglishbookstotheirchildren,andhelpedwithhomeworkassignments(p.
103).MostofthefamiliesinReyes'studiesreinforcedbilingualismathomeinsome
fashion,despitelimitedknowledgeofEnglish.Manyfamiliesexpressedconcern
however,overthemaintenanceoftheirchildren'sSpanishlanguageliteracyandfluency.
Teachercanhelplessenthisworrybyvalidatingtheminoritylanguageandpromoting
biliteracyintheclassroom.

Biliteracy and Instructional Applications

Reyes'researchhighlightstheneedforteacherstolearnaboutthesocialnetworks
ofESLandbilingualchildrenintermsoftheirlanguageacquisitionandliteracy
development.DuetoalackofknowledgeorconfidenceintheEnglishlanguage,the
majorityofprimarycaregiversdidnotpromoteorganizedactivitiesdirectlyrelatedto
bilingualismandbiliteracy.Thisinformationcanhelpteachersconnectclassroom
learningtothehomeenvironmentinanefforttosupportbilingualismandbiliteracy.

ApplicationstoLanguage
Thefollowinginstructionalactivitiesfocusontheincorporationofbiliteracyinto
languageteaching.

Journaling
Journalingcanpromotemetalinguistic,phonemic,semantic,lexicalandfluency

skills.Injournalingactivities,theinstructorprovidestheopportunityforstudentsto
developreadingandwritingskills.EnglishsongscanprovidetheESLstudentample
readingandlisteningopportunities.InthefollowingactivitybyKaoandOxford,the
instructorprovidestheopportunityforstudentstodevelopliteracyskillsbyexploringthe
lyricsofanEnglishsonganddocumentingtheirdiscoveriesinajournal.Theactivity
wouldprogressasfollows:1)thelearnerlocatesasongoftheirpersonalliking;2)the
learneranalyzesthelyricsofthesongandrecordsnewwordsandphrases,questions,
hypothesisandfindingsintheirjournal;3)thelearnerexplorestheculturalbackground
ofthemusicandpresentsfindings(Kao&Oxford,2013,p.119).

Biliteracy and Instructional Applications

Thisjournalingactivitymaintainslearnermotivationandallowsforselfdirected
study.Oneofthegreatbenefitsofjournalingisthatstudentscanexpressthemselvesin
theirnativelanguage.Thenativelanguageisaconduitforlearningandcanbeusedto
posequestionsabouttheL2withoutfearorjudgment.Onewaytoencouragebiliteracy
throughmusicandjournalingistoencouragestudentstolistentomusicintheirnative
languageandcompareittoasongofasimilartopicinEnglish.Forexample,students
couldanalyzesongsofbetrayalsuchastheSpanishsong,"LaMaldicindelaMalinche"
byAmparoOchoaandtheEnglishsong,"Positively4thStreet"byBobDylan.Inthis
way,journalingembracesthediversityoflanguageandstudentsindividuality.
Anotherjournalactivityis'collagewriting.'Carlsonexplains,"Collagewriting
allowsstudentstoexperienceresearchandthereportingofitastheuntidyandoften
contradictoryprocessthatitis,notastheneatlypackagedfiveparagraphessaythatis
oftenrewardedintraditionalclassroom(Carlson,2010,p.66)."Thispressurefreeform
ofwritingencouragesstudentstometalinguisticawareness,progressmonitoringand
reflectionofthetopic.

NarrowReadingActivity
Theteachingofvocabularyandgrammariscriticaltothedevelopmentofstrong

comprehensionskills(Ramrez,2000,p.14,20).Luckily,bothexplicitandincidental
learningofsemanticsandvocabularycanflourishduringastrategycallednarrow
reading.
Narrowreadingimprovesvocabularyandgrammarbyallowingstudentstosee

Biliteracy and Instructional Applications

targetformsinavarietyofcontexts,perhapsinthesamebookseriesorthrougha
connectedthemewithinbooks.Forexample,astudybyCho,AhnandKrasheninvolving
fourthgradestudentsstudyingEnglishasaforeignlanguageinKoreaaskedstudentsto
readandcompleteactivitiesrelatedtotheCliffordbookseriesfortwelveweeks.Subjects
showedgainsinEnglishcompetence,increasedenthusiasmforEnglish,andshowed
evidenceofunderstandingoftheadvantagesofnarrowreading.Theseresultscaninform
theselectionofreadingtextsforESLstudentsandinstructionalstrategiestopromotethe
acquisitionofliteracyskills.
Oneactivitythatcanincreasesbiliteracyandfosterminorityandmajority
languagereadinginputthroughnarrowreadingusesamodificationofPaesani'smodel.
Thecompleteactivitymaybefoundintheappendix.TheactivitiesbyK.Paesani(2005)
encouragetheuseofthesametextsthroughoutthesemestersothatstudentsdevelop
familiarityandgainconfidenceastheirskillsandcomprehensionincrease.
Paesanislessonplanrevolvesaroundatargetlanguagepoemandtherelative
pronounsincludedtherein.Atthebeginningofthelesson,studentsareencouragedto
drawonbackgroundknowledgetobrainstormvocabularyassociatedwiththetitleand
possiblevocabularycontainedinthepoem.Duringthereading,studentsarerequestedto
focusoncontent,andtherefore,theyhavetheopportunitytoinducethemeaningofthe
targetedgrammarform.Inoneactivityforexample,studentsidentifythesimilarfeatures
foundincertainsentences.Afterafewmoreinductivelearningactivities,Paesanis
modelasksteacherstoprovideexplicitinstructiononthetargetedgrammarpoint,inthis
case,relativepronouns.Finally,studentspracticethegrammarusingexplicitactivities

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andengageinseveralpostreadingactivitiesencouragingpersonalizeduseofthe
language(Paesani,2005,p.2021).Anadaptationofthislessonthatspecificallytargets
theESLbeginnerreaderisincludedintheappendix.

Conclusion
AsLudwigWittgenseinsaid,"Thelimitsofmylanguagemeanthelimitsofmy

world"(Fromkin,Rodman&Hyams,2014,p.21).Thatbeingsaid,letussupport
linguisticdiversitysothatourstudentsliveinalimitlessworld.Literacyskillsare
essentialtoprofessionalandpersonalsuccessinthe21stcenturyworld.Biliteracyisone
waytopromoteandencouragediversityinlinguistics.Teachersmustbeactiveadvocates
ofbiliteracyintheclassroombyencouragingindividualitythroughjournaling,and
providingampleopportunitiesforthedevelopmentofliteracyskillsinboththetargetand
nativelanguagethroughnarrowreading.Bilingualismshouldnotbeseenasanobstacle
toliteracydevelopment,butshouldbeatooltoaidinunderstandingandameansfor
expression.

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Appendix
InstructionalActivities
Targetlanguage:English
Gradelevel:912
Proficiencylevel:L2L3
Instructionalobjective(s)ofactivities:

TLWuselanguagetocomparewrittenproductsofcultures.
TLWexplorevariousfablesandcreatehis/herown.
TLWshareinformationaboutafablewiththeclass.

EnglishLanguageProficiencyStandardsaddressed:

Standard1:Englishlanguagelearnerscommunicateforsocial,intercultural,and

instructionalpurposeswithintheschoolsetting.
Standard2:Englishlanguagelearnerscommunicateinformation,ideas,and
conceptsnecessaryforacademicsuccessintheareaoflanguagearts.

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MaterialsNeeded:

Projector/SmartBoard
Copiesoffable,"TheLionandtheMouse"
Accessto:
o http://www.taleswithmorals.com/
o http://www.aaronshep.com/stories/folk.html
Highlighters(2colors)

Outline:
TheseactivitiesaredesignedforthebeginnerTESOLstudentsandwouldoccur
earlyinthecurriculum.TheyrevolvearoundtheAesopfable,"TheLionandtheMouse."
Fablesareagreatfitinthebeginnerclassroombecausetheyeasilyserveasaspringboard
forstudentstosharemythsorfablestheyreadaboutgrowingup.Studentswillconduct
researchonfablesinthenativeandtargetlanguages.

Activity1NarrowReading
Teacherinstructions:
Priortoreadingthefable,theteachershouldconductabrainstormsessionwith
thestudents.Thestudentscouldsuggestvocabularytermsthatcometomindwhenthey
thinkoffables.Theteachercouldaskstudentstohypothesizeonwhatthefablemaybe
about.Theteachercouldalsoaskstudentstorecalltheirfavoritefable.Itisimportantto
discusstheimportanceofboththeirL1cultureandtheL2culture,asthisisacrucialstep
toacceptingbilingualormultilinguallife.
1)nounsandadjectivesthetargetedformispresentedtolearnersincontext

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2)learnerstaketimetorecognizegrammaticalpatternspresentandhighlight
3)theteachergivesanexplanationofthetargetedgrammarform
4)studentsengageinmeaningfulpracticebycreatingaVennDiagramcomparing
charactersof"TheLionandtheMouse"andtheirownfable(fromtheir
culture,oneofAesop's,oronefromanotherculture
http://www.aaronshep.com/stories/folk.html)
5)Havestudentsengageinoralpresentations
6)Allowtimeforjournaling
7)CollectjournalsandVennDiagramsforfeedback
StudentAssessment:
OralpresentationoffableandVennDiagram
StudentActivities
1)Prereading:Listentothefableasreadbytheteacher,participateindiscussion,
completethe'KW'sectioninyourjournal
2)Take10minutestoreadthefableinsmallgroupandhighlightnounsinone
colorandadjectivesinanothercolor
3)Formaruleabouttheplacementofnounsandadjectives
4)Guessthemoralofthefable
5)Usingtheinternet,chooseandreadafabletoldinyournativelanguage
6)Individually,createaVennDiagramcomparingcharactersof"TheLionand
theMouse"andtheirownfable(fromtheirculture,oneofAesop's,oronethey
madeup)

Biliteracy and Instructional Applications


7)Presentyourdiagramtotheclass

Activity2Journaling
PostReadingJournalingActivity
1. Inyourjournal,createyourownfableusingatleast5nounsand5adjectives.
2. Completethefollowinginyourjournal:
o
Translatethefollowingintoyournativelanguage:

Kathyhasabluecar.

Thebighouseisonthehill.

HeryoungerbrotherisnamedBenjamin.
o
Whatistherulefornoun/adjectiveagreementinyournativelanguage?
o
DoesyourL1andL2differinthisrule?Ifso,how?
3.Completethe'L'sectioninyourKWLpageofyourjournal.

FollowupactivitiesUsethefollowingwebsite:http://www.taleswithmorals.com/
1. Studentsreadfablesandsummarizethemoralintheirownwords.
2. Studentsreadfablesandcreatealistofadjectivenouncombinations(i.e.hairy
rabbit,cleverfox)

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Handout1

"TheLionandtheMouse"
Directions:Highlightthenounsin_____(color)andtheadjectivesin______(color).

OncewhenaLionwasasleepalittleMousebeganrunningupanddownupon
him;thissoonwakenedtheLion,whoplacedhishugepawuponhim,andopenedhisbig
jawstoswallowhim.
"Pardon,OKing,"criedthelittleMouse:"forgivemethistime,Ishallnever
forgetit:whoknowsbutwhatImaybeabletodoyouaturnsomeofthesedays?"
TheLionwassotickledattheideaoftheMousebeingabletohelphim,thathe
lifteduphispawandlethimgo.
SometimeaftertheLionwascaughtinatrap,andthehunterswhodesiredto
carryhimalivetotheKing,tiedhimtoatreewhiletheywentinsearchofawagonto
carryhimon.

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JustthenthelittleMousehappenedtopassby,andseeingthesadplightinwhich
theLionwas,wentuptohimandsoongnawedawaytheropesthatboundtheKingofthe
Beasts.
"WasInotright?"saidthelittleMouse.
Moral:_________________________________________________________________

Noun/AdjectiveAgreementRule:____________________________________________

Handout2

K-W-L Chart
What I Know

What I Wonder
(or want to know)

What I have Learned

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Kao,T.,&Oxford,R.L.(2014),Learninglanguagethroughmusic:Astrategyfor
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Lauchlan,F.,Parisi,M.,&Fadda,R.(2012).BilingualisminSardiniaandScotland:
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