A CASE STUDY OF BILITERACY READING ACQUISITION IN TWO NON-PUBLIC SCHOOLS
RIEDLER-BERGER, CAROLE RITA
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The present study of initial reading acquisition in English and the ethnic tongue and of a myriad of related pedagogical process variables was based on 164 ethnographic observations in two schools representative of an (im)migration-based biliteracy tradition. The study yielded ethnographically derived variables and a coding format that provided for the quantification of those variables. Although these findings cannot be generalized, several suggest important implications for bilingual education. English and ethnic tongue reading occurred to similar extents: reading in both languages occurred more than other language skills, and actual reading occurred more frequently than intended; both languages were used in nearly half of the observations, with 82% of such usage being in a non-interfering manner; oral reading strategies predominated; basal readers were used almost exclusively.;Exploratory analyses, including multivariate analyses, suggested significant relationships do exist among reading and process variables, and suggest four independent dimensions of the initial reading acquisition process: English Reading, Class Size, Experiential Approach and Grade Level. The "School" variable functioned the same as the "Class size" variable in the regression analyses, suggesting that differences between schools on study variables were attributable to differences in class size. The Chall-emphasized methods (decoding) and strategies (oral) did not constitute a unitary dimension. Synthetic (decoding), but not analytic (meaning), methods were related to reading and to grade level. Reading strategies were related to class size.;The present study has provided a basis for more structured studies and the possibility of identifying process predictors of reading proficiency. The ethnographic process has high-lighted influences and raised questions for classroom teachers, reading and curriculum specialists, and educational administrators about assumptions that may often be overlooked in beginning language arts programs.
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