Usando nuestros recursos: biliteracy practices of young Latino bilingual learners inside and outside school




Guerra, Myriam Jimena

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This dissertation examines the biliteracy practices of emergent Latina/o bilingual students enrolled in a late exit fourth grade bilingual (Spanish/English) classroom in a Southwestern region of the United States. I used a theoretical framework of sociocultural theory and discourse analysis to conduct a qualitative research study that included a focus on 6 focal students from the fourth grade classroom. Data collected included participant observations in the school and homes of focal students; audio and videotaped classroom interactions; structured and semi-structured interviews with the students, their parents, and their teacher; and students' written work. Findings of this research shed light on the participants' Primary Discourses and suggest there is a rich language variety in the students' homes including Spanish, English, and varieties of Spanish. Bilingual students use their Primary Discourses from home to facilitate their understandings of new concepts and knowledge during reading and writing activities in Spanish and English. In addition, translanguaging was a significant language practice in both home and school. Study's findings suggest outside school children exercise their linguistic freedom and participate in rich literacies practices. Spanish is used to communicate among family members and they used English during interactions in the community, to help out their families translate texts, interpret conversations, and read correspondence. Findings call for educators to foster greater opportunities for children to interact with their peers during class to freely make sense of their new learning and through making connections with their Primary Discourses brought from home, and the Secondary Discourses, learned at school.


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Biliteracy, Emergent Bilinguals, Latina/o Elementary students, Literacy Practices, Primary & Secondary Discourses, Translanguaging



Bicultural-Bilingual Studies