Reading from the Margins: A study of emergent bilingual students’ written responses to text Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Schieman, Beverly
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • There are myriad strategies for teaching literacy to emergent bilingual students that often reduce the amount of English that must be spoken, written, or read by the student so as to facilitate completion of assignments. Such strategies can bar students from meaningful literacy experiences for most if not all of their formal English education. In this study, I explore the use of margin writing in a sheltered middle school English Language Arts classroom for students identified as SIFE (Students with Interrupted Formal Education). The participants are six Karen students who received their early literacy education in refugee camps in Thailand. Over the course of their eighth grade year, they wrote their responses to the class’s assigned texts in the text margins for the purpose of facilitating in-class discussion about the texts. I use text analysis to investigate the students’ interactions with the books they read, and to gain a greater understanding of their reading processes. I also conducted a focus group interview with the students a year after their middle school experience asking them about their personal histories with literacy learning, from the refugee camp to high school. Applying literary response theory and curriculum theory to the interpretation of the data gleaned in this research, I analyze the ways that margin writing freed emergent bilingual students from the constraints of formal English education and opened up their literacy learning. I propose that English language pedagogy that values and encourages open and affective response to text will open doors for emergent bilingual students to access and navigate the literacy curriculum.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Gulledge, Suzanne
  • Dominguez, Michael
  • Grumet, Madeleine
  • Justice, Julie
  • Stone, Lynda
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

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