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The Strategic Reading Abilities and Potential of Five Low-Literacy Latina/o Readers in Middle

School
Author(s): Robert T. Jiménez
Source: Reading Research Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 3 (Jul. - Aug. - Sep., 1997), pp. 224-243
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the International Reading Association
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1

Reading Research Quarterly
Vol. 32, No. 3
July/August/September 1997
?1997 International Reading Association
(pp. 224-243)

Robert T. Jimenez
Universityof Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

The

strategic reading abilities

potential
readers

L

in

of

five
middle

and

Latina/o
low-literacy
school

oftenexperience
difficulties
with
atina/ostudents

U.S. These students have usually been raised entirely in
the U.S., and they have attended school on a regular basis since their preschool or kindergarten days. However,
many have not received quality instruction due to transience, difficulties, delays, outright misidentification as
students with special needs, or, in some cases, placement in classrooms with teachers who were well meaning but uninformed on issues of second-language
acquisition, literacy learning, and multiculturaleducation
(Figueroa, 1989; Rueda, 1991). These students are usually orally proficient in both English and Spanish but read
at extremely depressed levels-far below expectations
based on age and current grade-level placement.
In addition, these students are often identified as
having some sort of learning disability.These disabilities
are often not well specified, and referralfor evaluation
and placement in a program of special education is instigated and justifiedto a large extent on the basis of a failure to maintain expected grade-level achievement (Coles,
1987; McGill-Franzen,1987). Low levels of literacy development characterizemany students identified as having
learning disabilities (McGill-Franzen,1987, Ruiz, 1995).
Adding to the difficulties of these students, the
knowledge base for teaching literacy to linguistically diverse students is, as yet, still in its formative stages
(Bernhardt, 1991; Garcia, Pearson, & Jimenez, 1994;
Weber, 1991). Furtherexacerbating the problem, middle
school teachers traditionallyhave not viewed literacy instruction as central to their mission (Garcia et al., 1995).
As a consequence, many Latina/o students find that they
do not possess the necessary literacy skills to succeed in

literacyin both English and Spanish because they
must contend with less than optimal learning conditions, such as inadequatelyfunded schools
(Kozol, 1991), segregated schools (Valencia, 1991), and
teachers without trainingin second-language acquisitionor
multiculturaleducation (Berman et al., 1992; Nieto, 1992).
The fact that Latina/ostudents often are not able to
benefit from instructionin either all-Englishgeneral education classrooms or all-Englishspecial education classrooms
is not conceptually difficultto understand(Cummins, 1980;
Troike, 1984). Troike's(1981) straightforwardrationalefor
native-languageinstructionwas that "People are more likely to learn anything, including English, if they understand
what they are being taught"(p. 498).
More problematic, however, is the question of how
to meet the academic learning needs of Latina/o students
with special needs who are learning English as a second
language. Students who are recent immigrantsfrom
poor, rural backgrounds often fit this description
(Hamayan, 1995). These students may not have had opportunities to complete in a sequential fashion, kindergarten through Grade 6. In fact, they may have missed
entirely 2 or more years of schooling. As a result, they
often exhibit extremely low levels of Spanish literacy development. Such a situation would obviously impede
transfer of information to later English-language literacy
learning, a key element of bilingual educational theory
(Cummins, 1979).
Other Latina/o students are not recent immigrants,
but their parents may be relatively recent arrivalsto the

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Qualitative bilingualat-riskclassroom Theseinresearchmethodswereemployedforthisinvestigation. Lernprozef dieHerstellung vonBeziehungen.Los estudiantes discursomientras leiantextosfatambienprodujeron miliaresculturalmente y este discursoa menudoformabala base Lasimpliparaaccederal conocimiento previoy hacerinferencias. Die Schlu1ffolgerungen aus Schileraufdieseintensive. fallsm6glich. undLesefertigkeiten an StrategiscbeLesefdbigkeiten vonfiinfleistungsscbwacben Latino-Leserlnnen einerMiddleSchool DIESEFORSCHUNG untersuchtedie strategischenLese. vonlangsamzu literarisierenden Latino-Schtilern zu MiddleSchool. sowie und von der und bei die Lesebei der desTextes ffinf setzen. ESTA lashabilidades INVESTIGACION examin6el conocimiento.la traducde informaci6n ci6n.ctico. trategias: larpreguntas se alent6a losestudiantes y hacerinferencias. die auditiv Diskurs umsicheinenZugang zu ausffihrliche Unterweisungen. y el potencialparala lectoescritura de 5 estudianteslatinos/ascon a la escuelamedia.DieseUnterweisung legteWertaufdreistrategi.andpotentialof fivelow-literacy in Spanish andEnglish.andthis extendeddiscourse oftenformedthebasisforaccessing priorknowlof thisresearchinclude edge andmakinginferences. Sie wurdenbei dieserForschung von derspanischen angewandt: suchungsmethoden gruppemachtenz. alouddatacollectionsessions.andthe use of a formative experimentas partof the researchdesign.Threeof thestudents in a specialeducaof theirinstruction andtheyreceivedthemajority two studentswereselectedfroma tionclassroom. cludedclassroom observations.Befragungen von Schtilern in vielfacher zurVerbesserung derSinnerfassung. de palabras formuresolverlos significados desconocidas. einerzweisprachigen Klasseausgewihltund die wAhrend des formativen leistungsschwachen Lernstrategien. thefocalstrategies thatwereemphasized duringtheforplemented mativeexperiment.Drei entwederin der einen Spracheoder in ihrenbeidenSprachen.s tardeanaltrategias cognitivas quefuerongrabadas larespuesta de losestudiantes izadasparadeterminar a la ensefianza intensiva en estrategias Estainstrucci6n enfatiz6tresescognitivas. to makeuseof theirbilingual abilities. theparticipating studentsimsupport. Tambien a hacerusode sushabilidades comolabsquelingitisticas bilingdes da de palabras de significado similaren ambaslenguas.Die Schtiler Qualitdtsorientierte Experiments Spanischorientiert.colecci6nde datosde sesionesde pensaren voz altay el uso de un experimentoformativocomopartedel diseflode investiformativo consisti6en 8 leccionesde esgaci6n.umdieAntworten aufgezeichnet bestimmte herzustellen. Experiment waroftdieGrundlage.Paraesteestudiose usaron y su lenguadominante de cualitativa que incluianobservaciones metodosde investigaci6n aula.los estudiantes de laclasede edformativo.164.Losotros 2 estudiantes de unaclasebilingtede riesgo fueronseleccionados erael espafiol.The formativeexperiment consistedof eightcognitive lessons. kognitivausgerichteten strategischen der undspateranalysiert schonvorhandenem Wissenzu erschliegen unduminhaltliche wie wurden. Textes BeimLesendes kulturell vertrauten ausgerichteten Experimentmodells Diesesformative bestandaus8 setztensichdie ScholerausfOihrlich unddieser damitauseinander.los estudiantes implementaronlas estrategias focalesque fueronenfatizadas duranteel exPorejemplo.B.13.Gebrauch Muttersprache in derKlasse. questions.higkeiten ineinerMiddle Latino-SchOlerInnen School. transferring andreflecting ontextineitherorbothof theirtwolanguages. indemsie Hinsicht umfagtenBeobachtungen undLehrern.Tresde los esbajoqueconcurrian desempeflo tudiantes eranbilingdesen espafiole ingl6sy recibieron la mayor en unaclasede educaci6n partede la ensefianza especial.bei derSuchenachverwandten Wortern.dieserForschung legeneinOberdenken nahewie ein Jberdenken scheunbekannte dieTechnik dergezielten und derErwartungshaltung betreffendden Wbrter. Fragestellung in der DieSchilerwurdenauchermutigt.Elexperimento en audioy m. language as searching forcognatevocabulary. mation. Implications instructional thelearnrethinking designandexpectations concerning in middleschool. Obermdndliche unter nachverwandten suchtenodersichin Spanisch mitdem Aufzeichnungen Besprechungen.B. Thisinstruction threestrateemphasized items. Strategieunterweisungsprachliche kognitiv Beziehungen derLehrmethode ebenso genauzu erfassen.whichwereaudiotaped strategy andlateranalyzed to determine students' cogresponseto intensive nitivestrategyinstruction. Schreibfihigkeiten Sinnerfassung Sinni'bertragung Schreibf. investigated Latina/ostudentsin middle ties. thinkstudent andteacherinterviews. perimento ucaci6nespecialhicieron usodelespafiolen unavariedad de formas su comprensi6n. Students vocabulary extendeddiscoursewhilereadingculturally familiar text. infortranslating.asking gies:resolvingthemeaningsof unknownvocabulary Students werealsoencouraged.andmakinginferences. such as appropriate. students Latina/o ingof low-literacy Las babilidadesy elpotencialestratdgicosde lecturade cincolectoreslatinos/asde escuelamedia con desempenio bajo. comobuscarvocabulario relacionaquemejoraron do en ambaslenguasy reflexionar sobreel textoen espafiol. von ihrenbilingualen Gebrauch Sprachfihigkeitenn 225 This content downloaded from 163.und beimUbermachen.la transferencia y lareflexi6nsobreel textoen ambaslenguas.163 on Wed. werebilingual school.Se utiliz6textorelevante comobasepara y familiar todala ensefianza. suchas searching forcognate andreflecting alsoproduced on textin Spanish. Conapoyodid. relevant andfamiliar textwasusedasthebasisforallof the Culturally Withinstructional instruction.ABSTRACT Thestrategicreadingabilitiesandpotentialoffive low-literacyLatina/oreadersin middleschool abilithestrategic THISRESEARCH literacy knowledge.z. canciasde estainvestigaci6n los disefiosdidactiincluyenrepensar cos y lasexpectativas al aprendizaje de los estudique conciernen anteslatinos/asde escuelamediacondesempeflo bajo. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Dierestlichen zweiSchOlerInnen wurdenaus des Lehrerserarbeitetensich die teilnehmendenSchOlerdie Firderungsunterricht. Begriffen Einsatz einesformativ alsTeildes Textauseinandersetzten. Forexample.studentsin thespecialeducation classroom madeuse of the Spanishlanguagein a numberof ways thatenhancedtheircomprehension. Theremaining andwereSpanishdominant. undsie Verwendet wurdeein kulturellrelevanter undvertrauter Textals erhielten ihren Unterrichtweitgehend in einem speziellen fOrdie strategischen MitUnterstOtzung Grundlage Unterweisungen. leistungsschwachen in Spanisch derSchOlerInnen warenbilingual undEnglisch. schwerpunktmgSigen in derF6rderwarenOberwiegend Unterbesondersbetontwurden. Forschungsprogramms.

CVA.les elevesde la classed'enseignement specialis&e de differentes leurcomprehenlisel'espagnol fagonspourameliorer ou pourreflechir sion.% r~ ~~it -DOXX?~~~~-~~~t-~A~~ 4 -VORZ*. a traduire. au momentopportun.bTS)Z Lt- Off 5tlJ:. et fairedes inf6rences. cussionsleurontsouventservide basepourmobiliser desconnaissancesanterieures et fairedes inf6rences. a misl'accentsurtroisstrategies: L'intervention trouverla significationde motsinconnus. et d reflechirsurle texte dansune seulelangueou dansles deux.Par giesvisees.cellessurlesquellesla formation ontutiexemple. Lesimplications de cette d repenser recherche invitent lesplansd'intervention et pedagogique les attentes relatives al'apprentissage deseleveslatino-americain(e)s faiblesen lecture-ecriture aucollege.notamment pourtrouverun motequivalent surle texteen espagnol.ABSTRACTS 5"' -5)?5 >(C-L ~1~ai t?Lsv. ' Leselevesontaussiete encourages. M -9 T 'k -c k Ot 0) Ahil-.T7N*U.L'experimentation sur en huitlegonsde strategie tiqueconsistait cognitive enregistrees la suitepourdeterminer la reaction et analysees par magnetophone ' des eleves un enseignementintensifde strategiecognitive. faire a chercher unmotequivalent. Troisdlevesetaientbilingues legelatino-americains. espagnol-anglais et avaientete scolarisesessentiellement dansl'enseignement sped'uneclassebilingue cialise.des sessionsouion demandait ' didacaux lI'vesde penser hautevoix. les participants ont acquisles strateAvecune aidepedagogique.Leselevesontaussiabondamment discute touten lisantuntextequileuretaitfamilier et cesdisculturellement.Lesdeuxautreseleves ' provenaient Ona utid'enfants a risqueet etaient dominante hispanophone. i I~ftL _*-Czb-D tZIItE t~I 4 -3i . transf6rer une information. usagede leurscompetences bilingues.164. 226 This content downloaded from 163.Toutau longde l'interventionon a utiliseunecritfamilier et pertinent surle planculturel. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 0 V.poserdesquestions.des entretiens avecles eleves et les enseignants. Celles-cicomprenaient des observations en classe. avaitmisl'accent.6ojc~~f stratigiquesen lectureetpotentielde cinq INveslatino-amfricain(e)sau colUge Compdtences RECHERCHE a portesurles competences CETTE en lecstrategiques les savoir-faire et le potentielde cinqelevesde colture-ecriture.et une experimentation didactiqueincluedansle plande recherche.163 on Wed.13. des de recherche ce qualitatives pour lise methodes realiser travail. I~~:I I ~ 7s~ yIa~b t t 2~f v 0 -/ ~- )J.%? #~t?)1 i-i-' 5 AQ)~j r>~ Jt Z et t-jkfif MI jtj ~)I rt A0 9t~ ?R~ttcI Sd ~~tz I ") ~~txL 134 /V T ft X` Z Jt:N -f-OD rr~t*-CI t~ M14LO-Dt 3 #A t~ 9 L 1 b 8 -D OD T~~ z Of Cttf ~i MOif~i~~~4ffl?_r le" -3r- T h 6 0 t.

suggests that children and young adults appreciate interesting reading material that makes sense to them (Au. Instructional use of quality children's and young adult literature. Garcia. and potential of bilingual students. Potential components and the means for acquiring this proposed schema are discussed in the following sections. 79). or for others unknown. including how to access what bilingual students know in their primary language. these strategies appear to have great potential for promoting the reading comprehension of bilingual Latina/o students. Reese. 1992). low-achieving students from language-minority backgrounds often pursue finishing the task as their primary objective and believe that reading is synonymous with decoding and pronunciation of isolated words. 1990.Bartolome. 227 Research on reading strategy instruction indicates that it can improve the reading performance of students with learning disabilities (Bos & Anders. transferring information across languages. Less successful bilingual readers view their two languages as separate and unrelated.OK. searching for cognate vocabulary is a reading strategy that draws on the native-language strength of Spanish-Englishbilingual students (Garcia & Nagy. integrating prior knowledge. 1995. To accomplish this task. For example. Williams. 1994). They strategically implement this knowledge in a timely manner while reading. rather than pushing them to emulate monolingual Anglo students. regardless of whether they process text in an oral or silent modality (Jim6nez. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Student:Likecarnivorous. For example.163 on Wed. 1992. have not successfully acquired literacy in either Spanish or English. 1996. In combination.p. strategies used by successful readers are explicitly taught to students with learning disabilities.Jimenez et al. Research. Ideally. In this research project. The dilemma of how to provide these students with the literacy experiences and tools necessary for academic success in middle school and beyond challenges even the most dedicated and experienced of educators.they check to see whether they know a related word in their other language. abilities.. 1987. Langer. For example. and they often see their non-English language backgrounds as detrimental. Mazzeo. In addition. Palincsar & Brown. Strategies that successful bilingual readers share with successful monolingual readers include the making of inferences or drawing of conclusions. 1995. Jimenez. and asking questions when comprehension breaks down (Garner.. what does thatmean in Spanish? (Jimenezet al. low-performing Latina/o readers may need to develop a bilingual literacy schema. 1984). and Pearson (1996) found that successful bilingual readers understand the relationship between the Spanishand English-language literacy systems. when students are confronted with vocabulary items with which they are unfamiliar. 1995.some words. Palincsar & Klenk. 1993. a strategic approach may be enhanced when appealing children's or young adult literatureis used to introduce it. & Phillips. Vaisquez. appears to be a promising direction. To promote comprehension. If they think they have located a potential candidate. as well as the testimony of countless teachers and parents. Toward a research-based instructional program for low-literacy bilingual Latina/o students While the knowledge base for what constitutes optimal literacy instruction for culturally and linguistically diverse students is incomplete.carnivoro. some strategies have been identified within the think-aloud protocols of proficient bilingual readers and may be indicative of an as yet unspecified bilingual schema for reading. 1990. These strategies provide low-performing or low-literacy bilingual students with unique opportunities for improving their comprehension abilities. 1991). They also appear to be indicators of a fairly well-developed Spanish-Englishbilingual schema for reading (Jimenez et al. Many students. Essentially. 1993). they quickly test the item to see if it makes sense. I investigated various ways of meeting the needs of Latina/o readers who for reasons already discussed. 1996). Related bilingual reading strategies include translating. 1991. Harris. Finding ways to help low-literacy Latina/o students think and behave more like successful bilingual readers. Jimenez. Of particularimportance is these students' capability of transferringor applying their literacy knowledge and abilities from one language to the other. The same misconception is typically observed in the reading behavior of low-performing or low-literacy students (Harris & Pressley. In essence.13. 1996). like I know what they are in Spanish. Explicit instruction of strategic reading processes. 1995. 1995.. & Pearson. and they have well-defined strategies for confronting unknown words or unfamiliar expressions in English. who are experiencing difficulties with reading comprehension have erroneous or naive conceptions concerning the purpose of reading. both mainstream and language minority.164. Garcia. or middle school (Smith. and experience into ongoing meaning construction.Low-literacy Latina/o readers Grades 6 through 8.Some words I go. seems to make sense. Campbell. Harris& Pressley. research is beginning to identify and explore the knowledge. Metacognitive awareness of reading strategies.& Lucas. such material would provide students with multiple opportunities to This content downloaded from 163. 1993). information. and reflecting on text in either Spanish or English.

In fact. Stanovich. interviews. Whichever view one adopts.163 on Wed.13.a research study was developed and refined. These schemata might assist readers to attend more carefully to print in the quest for information. But whether these abilities are a prerequisite. Qualitative researchers can use formative experiments to become more actively involved with the participantsand institutions involved in their research.in press) has shown that the reading comprehension of Latina/o students making the transition to mostly English instruction can be improved through the use of high-quality children's literature. 1982). and strategic approaches to text that are characteristicof successful and proficient readers.228 READING RESEARCHQUARTERLY July/August/September create links between their prior knowledge and ideas and concepts found in stories. Smith. Based on the preceding review of the literature. Goldstein (1995) showed how the use of children's literaturecan provide Latina/o students who have special needs with opportunities to make connections between their lived experiences and the classroom. Researchershave a specific educationalgoal in mind and they modifymaterials or social organizationto bringabout a desiredgoal. was the conclusion reached by Spiro and Myers (1984) that these abilities. and thoroughly explore the overall purpose of reading while simultaneously developing their print-relatedabilities. discuss. 1986). A thorny issue within the fields of both reading instruction and reading research is the relationship between quick and accurate word identification and overall reading fluency to reading comprehension. Others view them as the outcome of reading large quantities of text. These students often find themselves in special education programs or other at-risk types of situations (McGill-Franzen. O'Brien. it seems that all agree that quick and accurate word identification abilities and overall reading fluency almost always characterize successful and proficient readers. intermediate level and middle school students who exhibit very low levels of word recognition and reading fluency are a concern to their teachers who are responsible for their overall academic achievement. & McLean. there is theoretical and empirical support for providing students who are learning English as a second language with comprehensible. 1980. Elley and Mangubhai (1983) demonstrated some positive effects of providing students learning English as a second language with an abundance of high-interest story books. especially intermediate and middle school students (Golinkoff. Recent research (Saunders. or an outcome. understanding. and learning potential of low-performing or low-literacy Latina/o students. 321-322) The formative experiment designed for this research study consisted of a series of cognitive strategy lessons. Some have claimed that these abilities are prerequisites to reading comprehension (Adams. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 1990. 1984. (b) a focus on comprehension that stressed key reading strategies. The necessity of helping language minority students access their native-language strengths was emphasized during all phases of the research project. In addition. Perhaps most important. it may be necessary. 1978). a symptom. The use of formative experiments is an option available to qualitative researchers as a component of research design. Garcia et al. or at least the concomitant result of wide reading (Goodman. 1997 32/3 The possibility that word recognition and reading fluency can be improved within the context of a program that emphasizes reading comprehension and the use of strategic reading processes was pursued for this research project. highly motivating books. while necessary for leading comprehension success. to discover. (1994) noted that students who are not provided with familiar.1987).To achievetheirgoals. and (c) provision of opportunities to build reading fluency. and document analysis. Role of word recognition and reading fluency. there was a desire to go beyond the typical qualitative research foci of observation. however. (pp. Thus. Lennon. abilities. predictable. The intent was to document the potential of This content downloaded from 163. are not sufficient to ensure its occurrence.Traditionalexperimentslack ecological validityand descriptive/observational studiesoften tell readersaboutthe way thingsare but fail to providea vision of the way thingscould be. Kleiman. and motivating materials may be denied equal opportunity for developing the metacognitive insights. Jacob (1992) described the use of formative experiments as follows: [S]uchstudiesare explicitlyconcernedwith improvinginstruction.164. Such activity would then form the basis for developing more sophisticated schemata for reading. Creation of instructional contexts that promote the development of the schemata proposed in this research might in turn assist students to apply whatever print-relatedskills they possess. Students' progress in reading and listening comprehension increased at almost twice the rate of students who received more traditionalEnglish as a second language (ESL)instruction. Thus. 1975-1976. Framework for the study: Use of formative experiments This study was conceptualized as a qualitative study of the literacy knowledge. researcherscombine qualitativemethodsof investigationwith interventionsin learningsituations. part of which was an instructionalprogram that included the following components: (a) use of culturallyrelevant and familiar text. especially for older students.

Participating studentsfrom the special education classroom. In essence. The principal read the research proposal and suggested that I observe and speak with Molly Holden (all names are pseudonyms).164. 1991). 533 were students of color. and grounded in students' culture and language. each of them had been placed in at least five differ- This content downloaded from 163. On occasion. My training in the fields of bilingual education and cognitive approaches to understanding literacy provided the essential experiences and information that I used to conceptualize this study. a self-contained special education classroom and a self-contained at-risk bilingual education classroom. personal commmunication. A Spanish-speaking teacher aide was available in their classroom who could translate or respond to student comments in Spanish. Students' low levels of reading ability held true regardless of whether their dominant language was English or Spanish. Research questions This study was designed to address the needs of low-literacy Latina/o students. I found that my experience as a bilingual teacher was valuable for working in the school.Low-literacy Latina/o readers low-literacy Latina/o students to benefit from comprehension-based instruction by systematically recording their responses to the cognitive strategy lessons. the majorityof whom (407) were Latina/o. emphasizes strategicprocessing. An important question that is frequently asked by teachers and other educators about these students is What can teachers do that will not stigmatize these students or deprive them of needed services but instead meet their multiple needs? Specific research questions include: What do lowliteracyLatina/o students in middle school know about reading?What strengths do they possess that might facilitate their literacylearning?How do they respond to instructionthat employs culturallyrelevant text. Parents were asked to accept or decline participation on the part of their children by signing the letter. Latino and bilingual in Spanish and English. Reinking. 1996). The students were drawn from two classrooms. In addition. They became the focal students for classroom observations and interviews. whether they were recent arrivalsor long-term residents in the U. She identified a group of students from which three were chosen. He was finishing his master's degree in bilingual education and preparing to take his first teaching job as a high school teacher. Parent permission was obtained by describing the research project in a letter written in both Spanish and English. 1995. Although they had completed all of their primary schooling within one district. and later participated in the cognitive strategy instruction. could provide important information for the purpose of creating more effective instructional programs. he modeled the use of certain 229 cognitive strategies for the student participants. I was assisted during the cognitive strategy portion of the research study by a graduate student. Of 819 students. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . These responses were then used to shape and modify the experiment in various ways so as to best promote students' comprehension of text (D. they had all been born in the United States and had varying degrees of Spanish and English proficiency. Waggoner. particularly that of integrating prior knowledge with textual information. Participants This study focused on five Latina/o middle school students who were reading up to four grade levels below their current Grade 7 placement when the study began in November of 1994. However. He was also Latino and fluent in both Spanish and English.and communicating with the participating teachers.163 on Wed. and acknowledges their duallanguage abilities or their second-language learning needs? Method Researchers' backgrounds My role in the study was primarilythat of as a university researcher.S. my background and experience led me to believe that well-designed instruction tailored to the specific literacy needs of the participants. These students were chosen to participate after I described the proposed project to the building principal. my ethnolinguistic background. Three students were identified as having learning disabilities and received instruction in a designated special education classroom. All of the students in this study attended a school with a predominantly minority student enrollment. All three of the participatingstudents from the special education classroom had experienced multiple disruptions in their school histories. a special education teacher. October 21.13. All of the students in the two classes who were included in this research project received free or reduced-price lunches. All of the students in the special education classroom were Latina/o. I requested that the teacher identify those students who were experiencing the most difficulty with Englishlanguage literacy. These three were agreed upon after I described the research project to the teacher. has also motivated me to seek solutions to the current overall low levels of academic achievement among Latina/o students (Smith. These students received all of their academic instruction in English. interacting with district administrators.

of a traditionalnature. Addn was an extremely quiet and selfeffacing person. Addn. not uncom- This content downloaded from 163. the use of Spanish for instructional purposes was not absolutely necessary. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .6 on the Reading Achievement Clusteron this Spanish-languagetest. English-language reading was singled out as an area where Addn's performance was borderline. Children referred to these classrooms are considered to be at risk for referralto special education. Students were also observed copying and then correcting grammaticallyincorrect sentences from the chalkboard. Her training was in the area of special education. Aden scored 77 out a possible 223 on the Total Reading Batteryfor the MetropolitanAchievement Test (MAT6. The psychologist determined that Adin suffered from significant weaknesses in oral-language ability. He scored a grade equivalent of 4..0 (test date. The psychologist who administered this test concluded that Sarawas 4 years below current grade placement. Adin then completed first grade in a bilingual classroom. May 1994). a student responding. 1994). and. He has remained in a self-contained bilingual special education ever since. Instruction in the special education classroom was. He scored a language age of 7 years-8 months on the English version of ROWPVT(1985). Gersten. 1988). Holden was a fluent speaker of English. Aden began school in a bilingual general education preschool classroom and moved into a bilingual kindergarten class. are included to provide the reader with a sense of how I saw these students. Adin was also tested individuallyby a bilingual psychologist using the Woodcock Spanish Psycho-educational Battery(Form A. Sara'sTotal Reading Battery score on the MetropolitanAchievement Test (MAT)was 67 out a possible 223. Brengelman. This is a common problem for language-minority students with special needs (Gersten & Woodward. & Jimenez. whenever possible. He spoke so softly that it was often difficult to hear what he was saying. She believed that because the students in her classroom had been raised in the U. a bit of what their teachers thought of them. and he was referred for a psychological evaluation while in second grade. he was referred to what the districtcalled a bilingual developmental first-grade classroom. Form L. Students then discussed the reasons why the sentences were grammaticallyincorrect. a not uncommon occurrence for a language-minority student with a learning disability. Her receptive Spanish language age was 11-8. Addn's language abilities in Spanish and English were tested using the Receptive and Expressive OneWord Picture Vocabulary Tests (ROWPVT. and the teacher evaluating the student response (Cazden. Sara'soral-Englishand English-language comprehension skills were a bit lower than would be expected for students her age. 1994). Sara. In other words. 1986) in Spanish. The teacher in this classroom. After kindergarten. Molly Holden. At the same time. and scored a grade equivalent of 2. along with some descriptive information. Aden completed the test in Februaryof 1994. and bilingual education programs.230 READING RESEARCHQUARTERLY July/August/September ent schools between kindergarten and Grade 7. and her expressive Spanish language age was 6-6 (test date.EOWPVT-R). Adin's language proficiency scores exhibited depressed and uneven language development. Each of the three students from the special education classroom are described below.163 on Wed.13.2 in Englishlanguage reading. These disruptions were caused by assessment and referralprocedures to the various classroom settings of general education. May 1994). special education. 1986) in September 1997 32/3 of 1995. about 4 months after data were collected for this study. Discussions followed the familiarI-R-E pattern with the teacher initiating a prompt or question. Sara also completed the Woodcock Psycho-educational Battery (Form A. approximately7 months before this study began. Sara received a receptive English-language age score of 10-2 and an expressive English-language age of 9-6.4 on the Reading Achievement Cluster (test date. while in Spanish (1987) his score was considerably higher at 11-2. These activities have been discussed and critiqued by special education teachers with respect to their effectiveness for students with special needs and/or learning disabilities (Bos & Vaughn. Sara herself described reading as her least favorite subject. by and large. Their unique characteristics. He began to receive special education services toward the end of his Grade 2 year (March 1990). Sara'steacher stated that Sara had a very difficult time with reading. His English expressive vocabulary was estimated at 8-2 English EOWPVT-R(1990).164. he most often provided the impression of being cooperative. He received a grade-equivalentscore of 3.S. His teacher's statement that he always had the answers to her questions indicated that she appreciated his presence in the classroom. how they saw themselves. February 1994). but she did not speak Spanish. a group-administeredEnglishlanguage test. Sara's Spanish-language proficiency was stronger in the area of listening comprehension than in speaking. had accepted her position at the request of the school district. Both the teacher and students took turns reading orally during those periods designated as reading instruction. and his Spanish expressive vocabulary at 8-0 Spanish EOWPVT-R(1990). 1988. Her grade-equivalent score was 3. 1986).

Her undergraduate university training was in the area of libraryscience and. she was completing coursework required by the state for approval of bilingual teachers.His teacher recommended that he repeat kindergarten. I would concur.The remaining two students who participated in this research received their instructionin a selfcontained at-riskbilingual classroom. Students in the at-risk bilingual classroom also had odd schooling histories.1 (test date. not possible to report his test scores of expressive and receptive Spanish-Englishlanguage abilities. When we first met. but there are indicationsbased on comments made by the parents during registration-that these students may have missed between 2 and 3 years of primary schooling. They also received ESLinstruction for approximately 45 minutes to an hour a day. He could be charming when he wanted to be. during one ESLlesson.164. for approximately6 months and the other for close to 10 months. Instructionin the bilingual at-riskclassroom included some forms of more recent conceptualizations of literacy.These students participatedas the focal students during classroom observations. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . For example. His teacher described him as a perpetual motion machine. Victor provided a 138-word answer to my question as to how he learned to read when other students' answers ranged between 20 and 70 words. and he remained in a comparable setting during Grades 2-6 until the time of this study. and the cognitive strategyinstruction. She held a transitionalbilingual teaching certificate. it is not entirely clear what transpired while they attended school in Mexico. It was. Estradawas a fluent speaker of both English and Spanish. Sara continued in general bilingual classrooms during Grades 2 and 3.He was then placed in a bilingual special education classroom for first grade. and she was placed in a self-contained bilingual special education classroom the following year during Grade 4. They had been identified by school personnel as at risk for referralto special education. believed that these two students were among those strugglingthe most with Spanish literacy.Low-literacy Latina/o readers mon for students from language-minority communities living in the U. Estradaincluded some English-language literacy instruction during her ESL class. Sarabegan school in an all-English.the teacher of the bilingual classroom. therefore. 231 Participating studentsfrom the at-risk bilingual classroom.One of the students had been in the U. His grade-equivalent score in English reading was 3. They also mentioned that they came from rural.S.S. the teacher designed literacy lessons that emphasized story grammarand some cognitive strategy instruction. Form L. Victor began school in a bilingual kindergarten. She went on to say that he had lots of energy that he did not use productively.13. 1986). Because few school records accompanied these students to their new school in the U.which he did in another bilingual kindergarten. These two students received all of their academic instruction in Spanish because they were recent arrivals to the U. She remained in a selfcontained bilingual special education classroom from Grade 4 until the completion of this study. but I would also add that he responded well to instruction in a small-group setting when prompted to stay on task. For example. Victor's parents did not respond to requests for release of his special education evaluation records. Victor was also probably the most voluble of any of the students.S. In fact. at which time she was referredfor another evaluation. The teacher and the Title VII director described them as having low levels of Spanish literacy. at the time of the study. but one student moved as the instructional portion of the study was about to begin and was unable to continue.He was referred for testing for possible placement in a special education classroom during his second year in kindergarten.low socioeconomic backgrounds in Mexico. He received a score of 69 out of a possible 223 on the Total Reading Battery of the MetropolitanAchievement Test (MAT6. Students also worked in cooperative learning groups in which they jointly determined answers to questions about texts they had read. In addition. February 1994). In some respects he demonstrated a willingness early on to think aloud that the other students did not. Victor's reading test scores were at about the same level as those of the other two students.S.163 on Wed. nor was it possible to report his Spanish-language reading test scores. During these times she interacted intensively with her students while they worked to determine pronunciations and meanings of the English-languagewords. The teacher worked hard to collect Spanish-language texts of Mexican origin for her students.. LauraEstrada. Placement in special education was not recommended at that time. I originally worked with three students in this classroom. and Puerto Rico. LikeAden. after kindergartenshe was referredto what the districtcalled a bilingual developmental first-gradeclassroom. Victor. He could also be difficult to work with. She was diagnosed as having a reading and writing learning disabilitywhile in Grade 3. she was referred for a full evaluation while in this setting. initialthink-aloud data collection. students were called upon to orally read the English names of articles This content downloaded from 163.S.general education kindergartenclass. for example.Victor was one of the more endearing students who participated in this project. She had been raised in both the U. however.

When provided with structureand asked to produce a clearly defined product. responded by initially declining Estrada'sinvitation to orally read these words. Felix was not yet in the U. these observations provided informationuseful for answering the major re- This content downloaded from 163. sweetheart. In addition. Felix readily engaged in discussions in his classroom that called for independent thinking or the drawing of conclusions. La Prueba Riverside de Realizaci6n en Espafiol. and an emphasis was placed on capturing their responses. and the students themselves. Gabithen slowly workedher way throughthe 50 words. or sweetheart. In addition. all of whom were performing below grade-level expectations. This placed her at a national percentile of 3. she had warmed up and was willing to think aloud. and after the other procedures. or the instructionalsupport they received while engaging in these tasks. the overall level of success and challenge students experienced. Her discomfort was most evident early in the project when I initially interviewed her and asked her to engage in the thinkaloud procedure.especially with their peers.vengase Gabiy despues Felix. the types of literacy tasks students were asked to engage in were recorded for evidence concerning the language or languages used by the students. As with the students in the special education classroom. However. teacher. This was a challenging activity for these students but one in which most of those chosen engaged enthusiastically. Her teacher described her as a country girl who was very naive and incredibly shy. Javier. He worked better when he was paired with his best friend. She also added that some teachers in the school thought Gabi might have cognitive disabilities. during. Information was recorded that situated observed literacy events within specific contexts. he was as content to look for answers in a text for the purpose of filling out a worksheet as he was to let others do the work for him. by the end of the project. perhaps indicating a desire to learn the language.163 on Wed. Occasionally. Felix. The students from the bilingual at-risk classroom are described individually below.Estrada:Yo le ayudo coraz6n. even using a term of endearment. to literacy learning events.(I'llhelp you. Gabi took the Spanish-language academic achievement test. seeming recalcitrancemay simply have been a desire to hide or deflect closer examination of her low level of literacy ability. blouse.) Ms. Form A. the observations were focused on the participatingstudents. She physically approached Gabi and spoke kindly to her. an attempt has been made to present the students from the perspectives of the researcher.164. Data collection included four in-depth qualitative observations of participating students in their classroom environments. She smiled broadlywhen she finished.jacket. Felix. she still thought that he was experiencing more difficulties in this area than many of her other students. in February 1994. especially her reading and writing abilities. Upon reflection. both verbal and otherwise. More than the other students. These observations were conducted over a period of 6 months. She felt that 1997 32/3 his academic performance was like that of a child in first grade. who surprisinglyperformed successfully-no small feat for a student who was just barely literate in Spanish. The observations helped me to understand the characterof the instruction provided to the students. and each observation lasted between 1 1/2 to 2 hours. These observations also gave me a sense of the ways that the focal students interacted during instruction. She aided Gabi. Gabi: No puedo. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . (I can't. he tuned out of an assignment and simply daydreamed. they provided glimpses of the students' performance that would have been difficult to observe or learn about in small-group settings or individual interviews. when the Spanishlanguage academic achievement test was administered.come on over Gabiand then Felix. Procedure The procedure followed for this research is listed in the order that items occurred.232 READING RESEARCHQUARTERLY July/August/September of clothing such as belt. Although she disagreed with this assessment. Gabi. and raincoat. including terms like cariio.who put her arm aroundher. Regardless. Level 12. was a talkative student. The teacher interviews were an exception in that they were conducted before. ly this though. She stated that she had to work hard to instill confidence in Gabi. Gabi seemed to especially dislike involvement in the project. Gabi. She received a score of 7 out of a possible 30.S. His teacher found him appealing and spoke to him in ways similar to those Latinamothers use with their children. however. she expressed frustration with Gabi's extremely depressed levels of academic achievement.)[Gabistood next to her teacher. Classroom observations. than with two of the girls in his classroom. Although his teacher believed that Felix had made progress in literacy during the past year. Felix persevered in his work. Most specifically.] Estradademonstrated patience and an expectation that Gabi could succeed. Handwritten field notes were used to record classroom activities. As much as possible. Observations indicated that he was willing and capable of working on teacher-given assignments under certain conditions.13. like Victor. Gabi was quite reluctant initiallyto get activeinvolved in the research project.

Students were asked to choose materials that they believed were easy to read. the potential literacy strengths that they might possess.164. My choice of language. finally. The teachers were asked to share their approaches to designing instruction and rationales for choice of reading materials. was predominantly Spanish during the initial phases of the project. The think-aloud data provided a glimpse into the ways students approached text. An overall unit of instruction formed the basis for the formative experiment. We used mostly English while working with this group. transcribed.Low-literacy Latina/o readers search question of how teachers attempt to teach reading and writing to low-literacy Latina/o students. The think-aloud data provided information that was useful for beginning to consider answers to the research questions of what low-literacy Latina/o students know about reading.163 on Wed. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . A total of eight lessons was chosen to provide sufficientinteractionbetween the participatingstudents and me for purposes of continuity. These interviews also provided insight useful for the interpretationof the classroom observations and for determining teachers' understanding of participatingstudents and their literacy abilities. and. The books were TheDay It Snowed Tortillas:TalesFrom Spanish New Mexico (Hayes. but we also used Spanish. as researcher. Because students themselves created the text. and a sense of how they would respond to culturally relevant text. Then we met with the students from the bilingual classroom for the same amount of time. Interviews of the two participating teachers were also conducted.13. Later. These sessions were taped. 1993). To deal with this possibility. These sessions lasted for about an hour. We used mostly Spanish while working with this group. 1992). The three books all fit into a Mexican cuisine theme. A Quetzalc6atl Tale of Corn (Parke & Panik. Because the think-aloud method of data collection is a type of interview technique. the strategies they used for understanding text. These materials included trade books in Spanish or English. I was able to document student response to instructionin an ongoing fashion to a series of lessons.I met with each student individually between February and the middle of March of 1995. they all dealt in some way or form with the Mexican staple food.By meeting with the students over a period of 2 weeks. Think-alouds. In essence. The three students from the special education classroom met with my research assistant and me for approximately 1 hour during each session. provided with a demonstration of the think-aloud procedure. asking the participantto read each line of the text silently. Materialsthat were used included three children's books and a language experience text. Teacher interviews. corn. students also provided an early impression of their language preferences for thinking and reading. some bilingual trade books (text was in both Spanish and English). Think-aloud data were collected prior to the instructional component of the study. The think-aloud procedure consists of presenting a text to a participant. This content downloaded from 163. the interview data provided some clues as to ways that these teachers approached literacy instruction for low-literacy Latina/o students. We especially made use of Spanish when demonstrating the strategy of searching for cognate vocabulary. I met once with all of the students in January as a group to explain the purpose of the investigation. The purpose of the think-alouds was to construct an impression of students' preintervention strategic reading competence. and some information about their fluency and accuracy when reading. Inca and Maya (Baquedano. multiple opportunities were created for probing and eliciting more extended discourse from the students.The graduateassistant and I taught eight lessons designed to increase students' use of cognitive strategiesto the five participatingstudents. and informal interviewing occurred throughout the research project. and later analyzed for evidence of strategic reading processes. I chose Spanish to develop rapport with the students. and allowed to practice the technique with a partner. This information was useful for considering the main research question: What can teachers do that will not stigmatize these students or deprive them of needed services but instead meet their multiple needs? Cognitivestrategyinstruction. however. Use of a language experience text was conceptualized as an important means for introducing cognitive strategy instruction. were frequently encouraged to use whatever language they were most comfortable using. The other four could not successfully read the materials they brought to the sessions. These lessons were taped and transcribedin their entirety.and the transcriptsof these lessons formed the core of the data that were analyzed later. and excerpts from books that contained culturally familiar material. Students were invited to ask questions. Surprisingly. One semi- 233 structuredinterview was conducted with each of the teachers during January. but also can form the basis of a text. More specifically. I made a variety of materials available to the students from which they could choose for reading and thinking aloud. 1985). only one of the five students was able to comply with this request. and Aztec. asking the participantto describe and explain in as much detail as possible what she or he is thinking about during and after reading each line of text. It was chosen to demonstrate to students how their prior knowledge and lived experience are not only important and necessary components of the comprehension process. Students.

that is. These profiles were lengthy. The most salient. Emphasis was also placed on building student reading fluency. You ask themto yourselfand then you find the answers. The process of qualitative data analysis began during data collection itself.164. They had written on issues of assessment. Information from the five student profiles was synthesized into an integrated account. after refining the thematic development of the research. strategic reading processes. and all of the data specific to each student from the instructionalcomponent of the study. such as in the following excerpt: [W]easkedlots of questionswhile we were reading. on occasion students were asked to reread the same portions of the text orally. reading fluency/word recognition. A metacognitive component accompanied most demonstrations of the three strategies. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . initial think-alouds and student interviews. 1997 32/3 I then put all data pertaining to each of the five focal students into a separate file. Emerging themes were then refined by asking three outside readers for their comments and feedback. The next stage of analysis resulted in a refinement and narrowing of the lens through which data were viewed. instruction. This initial cut of the data then served as the basis for continued analysis. This stage of data analysis was best characterized by Glaser and Strauss's(1967) constant comparative method. and compelling examples were identified and used as the basis for writing detailed student profiles. classroom observations. all observation. and the raw data were frequently consulted. Three key reading strategies were emphasized: how to approach unknown vocabulary. going back and forth between the original data transcriptions. before thinking aloud. these profiles were syntheses of all relevant data sources. my assistant and I would model the strategies on a regular basis for the students. how to integrate prior knowledge with textual information. In essence.and simultaneously examining them in the context of the emerging analytical framework. and teacher training for working with students from culturallyand linguistically diverse backgrounds. or both. during which time I kept a reflective journal of my experiences in the field. and literacylearning potential of all the students as a group. interviews with the teachers. analytical critiques and discussions (approximately 15 pages per student).234 READING RESEARCHQUARTERLY July/August/September The actual language experience text was created as follows: I brought in two ears of corn. occasionally two or three times. interview. These outside readers were researchers in the fields of bilingual education. some packages of tortillas. and instructionaldata were transcribed. and Taylor and Bogdan (1984). Data were then examined for evidence of student strengths and weaknesses in the area of literacy. On subsequent days. In essence. Thematic trends and the major issues associated with each individual participantbegan to emerge and were tentatively identified at this point.that is. To facilitate students' understanding of the relationship between attention to print and comprehension. During the next step. A more This content downloaded from 163.13. They were encouraged to implement the focal strategy for the day. These themes and emerging trends were summarized as propositional statements and used as descriptive headings in the results and discussion section. Instruction and student practice were iterative. they were always asked to first read portions of the texts silently before engaging in any other activities. Questionsreallyhelp you understandwhat you'rereading. English. A preliminary framework for analyzing the data began to emerge. All data were also maintained in their raw form for reference as necessary. At this stage of analysis. I continued to consult the raw data as a check on the fit of the resultant framework and presentation. and initial think-aloud data collection had indicated that students experienced significant problems in this area. experiences. strategies were reviewed and demonstrated yet again. and urban education. They were asked to read pertinent text one line at a time and then describe their thinking. and students' understanding of literacy. All of the completed student profiles were then read several times in an effort to identify the themes that best captured the knowledge. Some of the early categories used for coding were classroom context. special education. Qualitative analysis of data Data were analyzed using qualitativeanalysis techniques described by Glesne and Peshkin (1992). I engaged students in discussion of these items and then produced computergenerated copies of their oral texts. Patton (1990). The goal of the formative experiment was to help the students develop a strategic approach to interacting with text. teacher comments. students were taught how to engage in the think-aloud procedure. These data included school records and background information. Because the classroom observations. and students were asked to practice thinking aloud while making use of the strategies.163 on Wed. and a sack of corn flour. I read and reread the data. All strategies were modeled or demonstrated within an overall context of language sensitivity. students were encouraged to draw information from their two languages and to speak in Spanish. and how to formulate questions. Finally. representative. One day was devoted to instruction and demonstration of each strategy. student background information.

these five students could think of little to say in response to questions designed to elicit their understanding of reading. 1995. an average bilingual Latinareader in Grade 235 6. Victor:Readingis the sounds and the words they make. that captured the essence of the thematic findings. Only Sara and Victor seemed to have an understanding of reading that approached that of readers such as Catalina(Jiminez et al. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and interviews. rather than simply comparing them to their peers on a rank-ordered basis. one needed to know both the sounds and one needed "to do it fast. I will provide a discussion of selected potential literacy strengths of the participatingstudents. Results and discussion Reading is something special: Student perceptions of literacy prior to cognitive strategy instruction Surprisingly. 1981) have reported that less successful or novice readers often describe reading in terms of its audible. reading some books. Sara: Readingis somethingyou have to learn. Their answers hint at the view of reading stated more explicitly by less proficient bilingual Latina/o readers who said that the Spanish and English written languages were more different than they were similar and that knowledge of one caused confusion when trying to gain competence in the other (Jimenez et al. vagueness. I still knew little about what they could actually do.) Gabi: Que es interesanteparapoder ayudarsea leer? (Thatit is interestingto be able to help yourselfto read?) Ada. 1978. was then followed by analytical discussion accompanied by sufficient examples for purposes of explanation. and perhaps confusion about what appeared to be a genuine mystery to these middle school students. For example. and they could describe various strategies they implemented to construct meaning."whereas Sara stated that knowledge of the Spanish alphabet was necessary.n's answer seems reasonable. Their overall perceptions of literacy were that reading is an almost complete mystery. These statements capture well the essence of the students' thinking about reading prior to the instructional component of this research. While Ad. Although these students were clearly performing below grade-level expectations. Indications of students' literacy knowledge and abilities surfaced from the data collected during classroom observations.. The format followed was to look for a statement made by one of the participants.n: I don'tknow what readingis. younger. the five readers included in this research project made the following statements concerning reading when interviewed in Februaryand Marchof 1995: Felix: Es algo muy especial paraleer. This statement. These more successful bilingual readers also described how Spanish and English reading were similar. Victor's and Sara'sanswers implied radical differences between the Spanish and English orthographies..n's statement that he really did not know what reading was best captured the generality.163 on Wed. Reading is hard. less experienced readers often describe classroom instructional procedures or decoding operations. and doing worksheets.164. Adin and Gabi seemed to approximate Catalina'sconceptualization of reading. (It is something very specialto be able to read. a reflection of an emic perspective or participant perspective. Victor added that to be a good Spanish reader. and that'sall.Low-literacy Latina/o readers explicit statement of the theme follows the subhead and is italicized for emphasis. who described a good reader as someone who paid careful attention to punctuation. For example. The students did seem to understand that learning to read requires effort (Sara) and that the ability to read is a desirable goal (Gabi and Felix). while Gabi remembered that she had learned to read with the aid of the alphabet. initial think-alouds. With some prompting. 1996). In this section. In essence. Perhaps Ad. 1996). The vagueness and lack of awareness concerning the nature of reading seemed to carry over when these participatingstudents were asked questions specifically dealing with Spanish-language reading. Adin believed that one needed to "reada lot" to become a good Spanish reader. Adn mentioned that reading to him meant doing homework. seems a reasonable approach for developing more This content downloaded from 163. Paris & Myers. either students or teachers. In contrast. it's something you have to learn: Potential literacy strengths All of the students involved in this research project were selected because of the difficulties they were facing with respect to literacy. but their comments also suggest that they viewed reading as a rather mysterious process. 1996). 1984.. These statements differ substantially from comments made by successful bilingual Latina/o readers of English. these students provided numerous subtle indications ofpotential literacy ability. Other researchers (McNeil. Their initial comments seldom even described isolated facets of reading. who stated that reading was a means to learning new information or a possible form of recreation (Jimenez et al. Myers & Paris. Identifying what students can and cannot do.13. 1995. visible characteristicsand social manifestations.

I was surprised.ponerse a ayudara las mamasa hacerlos tamales. Gabi and Felix. Sara. they integrated their prior knowledge of topics with textual information. In summary. provided intriguing commentary on the Spanish text "Making Tamales. but also that itfacilitated their comprehension and learning. one of the lowest performing participatingstudents. and it was interesting that Sara responded in English with what was for her substantial information. you need to readthem. though. Researcher:Why? Sara: Becausethey talkabout[a]love thatwould come back or somethinglike that. with culturallyfamiliartext.En mi casa no nos ayudanmi papa y mis hermanos. several students indicated that culturally relevant and familiartexts provided opportunities for them to interact with text in more meaningful ways (February-March.S. These were topics she was willing to discuss. written by Cisneros (1983) and taken from her book TheHouse on Mango Street. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . appreciated the instructionaluse of Spanish would seem to be obvious. for example. these students provided indications that in a supportive context. text and art are tightly connected. This content downloaded from 163. They're importantand you don'tknow how to read. and discussed literacy in terms of its real-world functions. 'causesome papers are importantand you don't even know. For example. as such. los sefiores."found in the book. Sara'steacher said that she had been told that Sarawas stronger academically in Spanish than in English. It is easy to imagine him becoming very frustratedwhen asked to read and interpretdocuments of a technical nature such as rental agreements or income tax forms. she demonstrated her understanding of a line in the text that discussed Mexican music. all three of them provided indications not only that they appreciated Spanish. Gabi seemed to be especially intrigued by male-female relationships and family relationships.Yet. This text. my fatherand brothersdo not help us. Makesyou want to cry.the gentlemen. The making of tamales is a well-known event for young people from traditionalMexican families. My prompt was in Spanish. initially proved to be one of the more difficult students to engage in strategic thinking. did mention.) Likewise.S. I found it interesting that when Sara did get involved in her learning.163 on Wed.to readit for him. perhaps. Victor's comments too hinted at the possibility that particularaspects of literacy were highly meaningful to him but. Victor may have been discussing his role at home as translatorof documents for his parents. they could discuss printed materials in ways similar to more successful readers. she most often used English but there were Spanish-language prompts or supports present in the immediate conversational environment. before the cognitive strategy instructional component. I believe particularaspects of this text resonated especially with Sara. He responded with the following comment after being asked what one needs to do to be a good reader: Victor:Whensomebodyasks you to reada paper. however. that he appreciated the fact that his teacher here in the U. Sara chose a text to read that she found difficult but whose message she seemed to appreciate. and her feelings toward her Spanish-language name. that he was frustratedby his inability to read and comprehend to the degree necessary to succeed with these tasks. Gabi: Que es muy bien los papas. Family Pictures by Carmen Lomas Garza (1990). could speak Spanish and that she used it to make sure he understood instruction. The first break came on the second day of the formative experiment after I gently pressured Saraby telling her I would not leave her alone until she got involved. Gabi. 1980). She repeatedly refused invitations to think aloud.164. drew conclusions.describes a Chicana girl living in the midwestern U. Both of these students were just beginning to learn English to the degree necessary to communicate basic ideas (Cummins. Estradaexplained to us the calming and reassuring effect that speaking in Spanish had on recent arrivalsto her classroom. by the degree to which the students in the special education classroom appreciated the chance to use and hear Spanish. on one occasion. Early in the project. These students had been raised in the midwestern U. For example. either from the time of their birth or shortly thereafter. Researcher:Whatdoes it makeyou thinkabout? Sara: Aboutlove. Gabi's comments about the text demonstrated familiaritywith this somewhat ritualized procedure.In my house. For example.S.or when they send some papersto 1997 32/3 you. As a result. Felix.236 READING RESEARCHQUARTERLY July/August/September accurate depictions of student literacy knowledge and potential. the overall context is rich and supportive. (Thatit is very good for the fathers.13. You can't approach their spirit if you don't know their background: The role of Spanish in the literacy learning of these students The fact that the Spanish-dominant students. to set aboutto help the mothersto make tamales.1995). in the following interaction. The text is a highly abbreviated explanation of the artwork and.

) Researcher:?Quepiensas?(Whatare you thinking?) Victor: Likewhen some of my familieshave come to visit us. primos. the protagonist. who was both Latinaand bilingual. taciturn nature is revealed somewhat in these exchanges. In the first example. Can we take this story home? Student response to cognitive strategy instruction By and large.n correctly identified a Spanish-language cognate item for an unknown English word while reading the story A Quetzalcd6atlTale of Corn Researcher:Yeah. she asked questions and made inferences that were relevant to the portion of the text she was reading." The students themselves. freely used both Spanish and English when talking among themselves.y comemos diferentescomidas. Individuals learning a second language often expand on their thoughts by making use of their stronger language if such an option is available (Lee. Notice that Adainprovided one of his most extensive utterances entirely in Spanish. (These days we eat with uncles. Researcher: Whatwould they do?Do they bite soft?Is it going to be nice? Cuandopongo el dedo. The use of these strategies did not come easily to Adin. (5/23/95) The following two examples deal with Ad.they sting me and when you don'tfeel anythingthen they don't sting. 1985). 1986.when someone firstarrives like my uncle in our familyand we prepare somethingso that he will be happy. In the following example.What'sleather? Como piel de animal.(05/26/95) Aden: In the second example (seventh day). cousins.) Sara: OK. he used Spanish to answer a direct question I posed to the students in an attempt to prompt their prior knowledge of ants on the fifth day of the formative experiment. Aden reacts to my question requesting more information by translatinghis thinking. and perhaps his ability to engage in higher level cognitive activities. made in response to the instruction This content downloaded from 163. His terse. (. The following is an example of his use of the two languages: Estosdias comemoscon tios. she believed that only English should be used "so as not to confuse the students. Ad in was reading the story TheDay It Snowed Tortillas:Talesfrom Spanish New Mexico (Hayes. On several occasions. Moll.I thinkof music and people are dancing aroundand they are eating. 1992).163 on Wed. (5/17/95) Aden differed from Sara and Victor in that he used a only very few reading strategies during the course of this study. te muerden. (WhenI put my finger. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the students' response to the cognitive strategy instruction was positive.. LimitingVictor's choice of language for discussion may have served as an impediment to his motivation. which prompts his wife to concoct an elaborate scheme to maintain possession of the newfound riches."The teacher agreed by saying: "all of these students have been here since they were born so it is not necessary to be as close to the Spanish as it might be with another class.and that'sit. For example.(5/25/95) Aden: 237 Victor. which occurred on the eighth day of the experiment.and English-language proficiency. Ants were the antagonists in the book A Quetzalc6atl Tale of Corn (Parke & Panik. Sara'swillingness to engage in strategic reading processes such as asking questions and making inferences increased markedly during the final three sessions.and we eat different foods. He required considerable prompting and instruction to implement them.do we know a word in Spanishlike supplemented? Suplemento. Researcher:Leather. as demonstrated by their willingness to try out the various cognitive strategies. however. In an apparent contradiction.n's interaction with vocabulary items. & L6pes.Diaz. The aide also claimed that one could not communicate with these students without using a combination of both English and Spanish. These questions and inferences.. the classroom where these students spent most of their time was characterized by contradictory views on the use of Spanish. Researcher:Whatkind of bags are they? Adin: Leather. Ad. finds three leather bags full of gold. 1980). too. me pican y cuando Aden: no sientes nada que ni pican.) (5/18/95) Unhappily. Some of the more exciting changes in the students' behavior were exemplified by Sara. how can we figureit out?OK. though.her[Text] manos y amigos. appreciated and took advantage of opportunities to use both Spanish and English when discussing a portion of the language experience text he and the other students created (third day).Low-literacy Latina/o readers Te voy a seguirmolestandohastaque me Researcher: hables. perhaps influencing her views.they bite you. In this story.13. This was information she communicated freely to the teacher.(I'mgoing to keep botheringyou until you talkto me. acabade Ilegaralguiencomo mi tio de nuestrafamiliay preparamosalgo especial paraque este feliz.and friends. He struggled with them. the teacher aide. a poor and dull woodcutter.164. insisted that all of the students in her classroom possessed low levels of both Spanish. Estrada. brothers.

cuandoandantodos los hombressembrandomaiz. he made the following statement. In contrast. Sara asked a pertinent question in the first example (eighth day) while reading how the woodcutter's wife successfully duped her husband into believing that tortillas had snowed from the sky (Hayes. (These are preparedwhen meat is not eaten.Now what are you guys thinking? Whatis she gonna throwthe tortillasonto the Victor: groundfor?(5/26/95) Aden also indicated on four or five occasions that he could draw conclusions or make inferences from available information in a text and his prior knowledge. (5/26/95) Victor also improved in his ability to discuss relevant prior knowledge rather than related but unhelpful information.andanalegressembrandomaiz paracomer.or somethingelse.13.(Thatit is very beautiful. 1985). she successfully inferred how the woodcutter would feel when made to attend first grade: Researcher:How does he feel.when all of the men are sowing corn." His inference struck at the heart of this story involving an intelligent woman who was married to a rather slow-thinking man. During our initial interview.asi todaviadonde yo vivia. it was difficult to see how his comments were relevant to information found in the text. She began to succeed in asking herself questions (second day). Whenmy friendis talkingaboutsomething Victor: importantabouta car. Victor was able. and visualizing. or they are going to bringsomeone fromthe familyto the United States. one which she approached cautiously. he had a difficult time verbalizing his understanding.) Gabi: [Afterthe prompt"doyou have any questions?"she asks herselfiYo me pregunto. on occasion.they go abouthappily sowing corn to eat.si siguen comiendo la mismacomida?(I ask myself. 1987). In contrast.238 READINGRESEARCHQUARTERLY July/August/September and overall learning environment created by the research project. The resolution of his question would provide important information about the plot of the story because it probed the motives of the woodcutter's wife. Chow. And everybodyhas to give some money so they can bringhim. I appreciated her reminiscence of her father and brothers working the land in Mexico and the visual portraitthis created: Gabi: Que eso es muy bonito.que se ven todos juntos. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . When she read the language experience text (second day). Sara? Weird. He seemed to understand why the woodcutter's wife deceived her husband by making it appear as though tortillas had fallen from the sky. 1985).164. However.they are in Mexico. he found this difficult to accomplish and at times he was unsuccessful.if where I used to live. In the following example. "so that he can't tell no one. (5/17/95) Gabi also seemed to have understood and implemented my instructionon self-questioning. Researcher:So what do you thinkis going to happen? Whatare you thinkingSara? Whatis she going to do with all thatdough? Sara: (5/26/95) In the second example (eighth day).judging from a statement he made. por [Text] eso la gente come chiles rellenosy tambien se comen pescadosy pollos. One of these follows: Se preparancuandono se come came. He was simply not very verbal. Use of strategic reading processes appeared to be a new activityfor Gabi.why does he feel weird? Sara: Becausehe doesn'tfit in the chairand the kids are gonna look at him. I think part of the difficultywas that Aden had a difficult time expressing himself in English or even in Spanish. strongly suggested that Sarawas actively comprehending the text at hand. & Vidaure. Victor's question indicated that he was monitoring his comprehension (eighth day). thatis why people eat stuffedchili peppersand also why they eat fish and chicken. resolving the meanings of unknown vocabulary items. even though Aden was on track with his thinking. to implement the cognitive reading strategies of asking questions. if they stillkeep on eatingthe same food?)(5/17/95) This content downloaded from 163. Gabi could and often did connect textual information with her background knowledge. I sensed that Aden developed a fairly good grasp of TheDay It Snowed Tortillas. but which she slowly began to embrace. while reading TheDay It Snowed Tortillas:Talesfrom Spanish New Mexico (Hayes. Sara: Researcher:Why?You'reright. when you see all of themtogether. Again. when reading the language experience text created by the Spanish-dominant students (third day) [Text:La familia platica de eso]. invoking relevant prior knowledge and making inferences.163 on Wed. The question signals that he was reading for meaning: 1997 32/3 Researcher:All right. (5/18/95) With prompting and substantial instruction. This story is a Nicaraguan folk tale about the dangers that follow abandonment of traditionalnative values. when Victor discussed the three brothers in the book TheInvisible Hunters: Los cazadores invisibles (Rohmer.

si una muerdea alguienmuere en ese mismorato. Victor: Mixwhat we know. Victor and Sara named and described the strategies of approaching unknown vocabulary and asking questions. Sara: Trythe words out in Spanish.well. especially if the reader kept in mind the word in question until furtherinformation was available. and they do what.how was it that Quetzalc6atlwas able to change into a featheredserpent?)(5/19/95) The naming of strategies.13. Such a strategy would seldom promote comprehension. verdes.(5/23/95) Going one step further.they have a big head. which he then implemented (fourth day). if one is bittenhe will die right then. Felix was probably one of the most interesting students with respect to his ability to verbalize connections to prior knowledge.) Felix: Me hace pensaren un dia cuando limpiabamosla milpay estabaun animal. negros. he appeared to describe a gila monster while reading the language experience text: [Text] Limpiabamosla milpaparaque crecierael elote. pero son negras. the comments ofa metacognitive nature made by the students indicate some rather important shifts in their thinking about reading and literacy. but they are black. They are very bad.but they have colors.you get a picturein your head and you have to do what else? Sara: Tryand look for clues for words you don't know. Researcher:Lookfor clues. blacks... that'sreallysmart. the think-aloud data supported my suspicions that Gabi and some of her friends were content to simply move on through a text. Researcher:YesterdaySarawas tellingme thatshe used to thinkaboutreadinglike what? Sara: I didn'tlike it. such as in Felix's example. Felix: Una pregunta.. though.164. Felix.Son muy malas. Researcher:Whatelse do you need to do when you're reading? Sara: Picturethingsin your head.tienen la cabeza larga. at times. acual?(Yes. named the strategy of questioning.(It makesme thinkof one day when we were weeding the cornfield and therewas an animal. Victor?Whatdo you do to become a good reader? Victor: Imagineit and ask yourselfquestions. Naming of strategies may be an important preliminarystage for low-literacy students before they independently implement reading strategies without prompting. Whatelse. that of simply skipping over the words. it might be somewhat useful. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . which?) Felix: iQue. Felix was especially voluble when discussing the topics of religion and growing corn (second day).]. (We would weed the cornfieldso that the corn would grow. This content downloaded from 163.)(5/17/95) Reading was hard but now it makes a little more sense: Metacognitive development of low-literacy Latina/o students Some of the most interesting data produced by the student participantsduring this project were their metacognitive comments. pero son pintas. even though.They are like lizards. Researcher:Yeah. Researcher:Yeah. including Gabi. Gabi arrived at her understanding when asked what she would do if she came upon a word she did not know and a dictionary were not avail- 239 able.. mentioned use of the dictionary as an aid to dealing with unknown vocabulary.[withwhat they'rereading about. Researcher:Whatdidn'tyou like about it?Whatwas it thatyou didn'tlike?Becauseit was.(A question. The very basic insight that reading requires thinking was verbalized by both Gabi and Sara. Two of the students.Low-literacy Latina/o readers A little of Gabi's thinking was made visible when she dealt with an unknown vocabulary item. and they were extensive. c6mo fue que Quetzalc6atlse convirti6 en la serpienteemplumada?(That. She was just beginning to consider the possibility that her mental efforts could aid her comprehension. for example..163 on Wed. Although relatively few in number. was especially encouraging when students spontaneously named and described strategies for different purposes (seventh day). Researcher:They ask questions.. They have severalcolors. Gabi also indicated what I suspect might have been her preferred method for dealing with unknown vocabulary. Felix could draw from an array of experiences gained while living in Mexico.Tienenpintitosde colores.) Researcher:Si. greens. Researcher:Whatdo you do when you have a problem? Sara: You solve it. students on occasion explicitly labeled their strategy use. Son como lagartospues. Researcher:Tryit in Spanish..they make picturesin theirhead. Her comments on how she viewed reading as an activity were quite fascinating.yeah. Sara also understood that thinking could be useful (fifth day). For example. and how do you solve a problem? Sara: You think. Again.(5/24/95) I was especially impressed by Sara'sseeming change of heart concerning reading itself (eighth day). Felix's descriptions were rich with detail..

sample sizes were purposefully small so as to be able to collect large amounts of data from each of the student participants. especially when the project first began. under the right circumstances.164. Gabi and Felix also made multiple attempts to implement the cognitive strategies that had been modeled for them. were cooperative. one of the themes of this study. Gersten et al. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and the instruction they were provided. specific. a bit apprehensive about being involved. Such an approach did not provide information of a comparative nature--that is. and patience. Conclusions An encouraging aspect of this research is that it has resulted in a more detailed. and I hope convincing. the theme of student response to cognitive strategy instruction as expressed by one of the students. With instruction. provided students with high-quality. more work needs to be done to more completely determine the influence of a wide range of materials. however. of some different possibilities for the instruction and learning of low-literacy Latina/o students. encouragement. The view of reading as a mystery received support from statements made by each of the five participants. The students provided indications of metacognitive development. I specifically wanted to know more about how these students might respond to instruction that emphasized a strategic approach to interacting with text and that made use of culturally relevant children's literature. Sara: Researcher:How come? Becauseit makesa littlemore sense. and willing to work hard to improve their literacy abilities. The instructionalapproach adopted for this research emphasized comprehension. They did so by trying out the reading strategies that were modeled for them. All five of the students. the materials used for this research may not have provided students with sufficient opportunities for thinking aloud. The possibility exists that students involved in this research underreported their thinking. may not have provided students with optimal assistance for engaging in strategic behavior. interaction with culturallyfamiliar text. Sara: Researcher:Hard. all five students began to implement strategies and verbalize understanding of reading that resembled that of more successful bilingual readers. also. culturallyrelevant children's literature.OK.Low-performingstudents are known to have difficulty verbalizing their thoughts while engaged in cognitive activities such as reading (Garner. Both groups of students. A few of them were shy and. The think-aloud method allows the researcher to make inferences about comprehension processes on the basis of comments made by the student participants. sort of. Sara: and I can readbetter.. the materials presented to the students. provided indications that they wanted to improve their literacy abilities. 1987). the students in the bilingual at-risk classroom provided evidence that. however.The findings of this study are suggestive. finely grained portraitof low-literacy Latina/o students in middle school. Instruction. These research findings support proposals for providing teachers with usable. 1992. This content downloaded from 163. This work expands the knowledge base on literacy instruction for low-literacy Latina/o students.it was very hardfor you to read. In addition. Other limitations involve the think-aloud method. While this research provided a starting point for considering the effects that culturallyfamiliartext has on the cognitive processes of low-literacy Latina/o students. This statement stands in stark contrast to some of the initial perceptions of literacy made by the participatingstudents. The primaryresearch question for this study was "Whatcan teachers do that will not stigmatize these students or deprive them of needed services but instead meet their multiple needs?"This question may be partiallyanswered by the recommendation of an instructional approach that provides students with cognitive strategy instruction.. Described by one of their teachers as students other teachers did not want in their classrooms. and abundant opportunities to improve their reading fluency. In addition. between competing instructionalapproaches. they could be motivated to become better readers. those in the special education class- 1997 32/3 room and those in the bilingual at-risk classroom.An exploratory in-depth approach to research design was adopted for this purpose. respectful. They demonstrated their desire by describing some of the reading strategies and by persistently staying with a task that some of them had described in interviews as their least favorite school subject. Saraexpressed this best when she said that reading was hard but now it makes more sense.(5/26/95) Limitations of the study This study was designed to shed light on the major question of how teachers might profitably teach low-literacy Latina/o students. In other words.13.READINGRESEARCHQUARTERLY July/August/September 240 Hard. "Canwe take this story home?"was essentially positive as judged by the amount of extended discourse they produced when interacting with text.163 on Wed. How aboutnow? I kind of like it. 1994). and concrete applications of multiculturaleducation and second-language acquisition research findings (Berman et al. Future inclusion of a broader arrayof instructionalapproaches should help sort out this issue.

Such a view needs to be challenged with information. or situation to another. provided the participating students with further opportunities for developing their metacognitive awareness of reading. place. Capitalizing on student strengths Data collected before the instructional component of the study indicated that there were domains in which these students could and did perform in competent ways. These strategic activities. 1996). and what strengths they possess that might facilitate their literacy learning. 18 Feb 2015 00:44:23 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .and reflecting on text in one's stronger language might be seen as the vehicles of that information. 1996). Those students with English.. procedural. in turn. The use of quality children's literaturealso appeared to facilitate students' integration of prior knowledge with textual information.'s (1994) claim that culturally relevant and understandable text may be an important component for providing an optimal environment for such development. Contexts.163 on Wed.The combination of a strategic approach leading toward the development of a bilingual schemaspecifically strategies that combine declarative. There was no compelling reason. and its incorporation or banishment as a part of the curriculum. tasks.Low-literacy Latina/o readers and was language sensitive. to ascribe students' difficulties with literacy to their ethnolinguistic background. Later. struggled whenever they were asked to read.transferring.13. refers to carryingsomething over from one person. 1995). this research provides suggestive illustrationsof how students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds make connections between text and their own lives. and conditional knowledge-might have potential for This content downloaded from 163.however. that these students provided indications that they were able to profit from instruction..in its most basic sense. 1986). More specifically. The bilingual strategies of translating. It appears that 241 support exists for Garcia et al. and available instructional supports clearly influenced students' performance (Lipson & Wixson. This was encouraging because the early classroom observations had revealed that the students. teachers need training in second-language acquisition and multiculturaleducation to work effectively with Latina/o students. activities. however. and experiences with print that led to the development of more sophisticated conceptualizations concerning literacy. such as reading comprehension test scores. and through advocacy for students (Cummins. and student implementation of important reading strategies. 1988). 1986. Transfer. 1995. 1996). For those students beginning to learn English. 1995. though. It seems safe to conclude. The aforementioned strategic activities form the nucleus of an answer to the research question of how students respond to instruction designed to acknowledge their dual-language abilities or their second-language learning needs. Some promising results were documented in terms of student production of discourse.164. even though the students were incapable of describing literacy and reading in any depth. both those in the special education classroom and those in the bilingual at-risk classroom. there were clear indications that when they found a story interesting because of the inclusion of certain elements such as family relationships. Views on the role of Spanish in learning Teachers' views of Spanish.and Spanish-language proficiency appeared to appreciate and take advantage of opportunities to search for cognate vocabulary (Jimenez et al. The comments of the teacher and the aide in the special education classroom suggested a lack of understanding concerning the role that the Spanish language can play in the literacy learning of Latina/o students. The links that students made between culturally relevant text and their own backgrounds created opportunities for making inferences and asking questions. Information provided by the student participantswas useful for beginning to consider answers to the research questions of what low-literacy Latina/o students in middle school know about reading. they could discuss that information in ways that approximated those of more successful readers. a reasonable hypothesis is that a strategic approach to comprehension instructioncould eventually result in more complete and thorough transferof abilities to their second language when necessary. This definition of transfer provides an apt metaphor for considering what successful bilingual readers do while reading. A concrete instantiation of acknowledging students Spanish-language abilities was to emphasize and work toward the development of bilingual Spanish-English reading schema. A damaging understanding of Latina/o students that emerged could be summed up as a view of language-minority students as languageimpaired students. They were also able to begin implementation of particularstrategic processes that resembled those used by successful bilingual readers (Jimenez et al. It remains to be seen how and in what ways such an approach might translate into more traditional indicators of student learning. encouraging levels of student involvement in learning. They also reflected on and discussed English-language text in Spanish (Moll. While debate rages on the implications of expanding the literarycanon to include multiculturalliterature(Godina.also emerged as an influential element in how instruction was designed and delivered. Ruiz.

C.13. (1979).G. Becoming readers in a complex society. 39... 79-114). Kinzer (Eds. (1992). Their response was gratifying and unusual given the fact that these students initially approached participationin the project with hesitation and skepticism. K. Niles (Eds.P. TX: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.. Such an approach will require the use of an expanded curriculum that.P. Journal of Learning Disabilities. White Plains. PEARSON. Norwood. NJ:Ablex. NY: Longman. finally.T. JIMENEZ.163 on Wed.. (1992). 42nd yearbook of the National Reading Conference (pp. GARCIA.S. 544-551. MCLAUGHLIN. (1996).164. C. GARCiA.L.R. 14. 56. (1994). Yet to be explored is the question of how this approach to instruction for low-literacy Latina/o students in middle school might be used with entire classrooms. In A. The canonical debate-implementing multicultural literature and perspectives.B. NELSON. & VAUGHN. 166-185). Scruggs & B. (1983). Interactive teaching and learning: Instructional practices for teaching content and strategic knowl- 1997 32/3 edge. will be best developed in a collaborative researcher-teacherrelationship. Fort Worth.W.J. 622). STEPHENS.R. & PESHKIN.E.Wong (Eds. & NAGY. Needham Heights. GANDARA. 1-16.A.C.M..D. 27.P.D.V. BERMAN. CUMMINS. Center for the Study of Reading.. MA:Allyn & Bacon. 19. Exceptional Children.K.E. L.S. & ANDERS. NH: Heinemann. & Wixson. (1988). Berkeley.S. TESOLQuarterly. how can monolingual English speaking teachers most effectively promote the comprehension abilities of low-literacy Latina/o students?I hope to add to the discussion on these matters with information gained from current and future work. K. COLES. BOS. CHAMBERS.L.R.S. & MANGUBHAI.G. GLASER. The language minority student and special education: Issues."New York: Pantheon. GOLINKOFF. A comparison of reading comprehension processes in good and poor comprehenders.C. GOODMAN... In D. H. Intervention research in learning disabilities (pp. NJ:Ablex. Linguistic interdependence and the educational development of bilingual children. the whole curriculum..Y. KOENKE. The discovery of grounded theory: Strategiesfor qualitative research. (1975-1976)... HARRIS. & WOODWARD. Language development of low-literacy students.L. and practice. Reading instruction and educational opportunity at the middle school level (Tech. & JANISCH. Strategiesfor teaching students with learning and behavioral problems. Rep. MA:MITPress. Journal of Adolescent &Adult Literacy. REFERENCES ADAMS.G. CUMMINS. Leu & C. Meeting the challenge of language diversity: Volume I.E. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. OLSON.. 11.C. Purves & O. The learning mystique:A critical look at "learning disabilities..E. HAMAYAN.J. Review of Educational Research. (1991). Students demonstrated a willingness to work hard during this portion of the research. New York: Cambridge University Press.R. Portsmouth. 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