Families writing together : the experiences of English language learner families in a writing workshop

Korab, Elizabeth, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Hansen, Jane, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Plaskon, Stephen, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Ferree, Ruth, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Covert, Robert W. Covert, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain a greater understanding of English language learner (ELL) family involvement in school environments through the lens of family literacy. This study was informed by literature from two fields: early childhood writing and ELL family involvement. While some schools have focused on at home reading programs, little has been done to bring parents in as teachers, specifically with writing instruction. In addition, for families of ELL students, the school can be an intimidating and unfamiliar place because of language and cultural barriers; therefore they may not be as involved in school programs.

For this study, I conducted a three-week summer writing workshop for area PreK-2 ELL children and their families. Participants met three times a week for seventy-five minutes each session. Oral stories served as the foundation for drafting written stories. Thus, families—regardless of the language spoken—participated.

Four types of data were collected: field notes, conference logs, family writing
documents, and interviews. Analytical memos were written and shared with my peer debriefer and members of the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) research team.

My study and data analysis were guided by two questions:

• What were the experiences of ELL families in a summer writing

• What did I do as a facilitator that enabled family members to feel

Using Erickson's (1986) model of analytic induction, my analysis of the data
revealed four findings. There were three findings pertaining to the experiences of ELL families in a summer writing workshop: 1) Family involvement varies; 2) Family member investment in the workshop's purpose; 3) All parents are teachers. One finding emerged regarding to my role as a facilitator: I facilitated with authenticity. Expanding on this, I began with the writers and I valued the children's voices.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
family involvement, English language learners

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-02-18 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:34:09.

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