Generation 1.5 readers in high school and college
Allison, Harriett Alasca
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This is a one year multiple case study investigating the high school to college transition of three bilingual language minority students and their understandings of academic reading tasks in both contexts. High school study sites included three schools in one county in a semi-rural southeastern state; college sites included a nearby community college and a large urban university in the same state. Study data included interviews with participants and their teachers and instructors, class observations, and collection of printed course artifacts. The study found that discontinuities between high school and college literacy tasks hindered bilingual language minority participants’ learning in their transition from the former to the latter contexts. The investigation also found that institutional differences in literacy expectations for bilingual language minority students affected participants’ adaptation to and academic progress in college. The study demonstrated that post-secondary academic challenges these students may face can be mitigated if the colleges they attend provide appropriate and accessible instructional scaffolding that accommodates their linguistic and strategic needs. This research reconfirmed that language minority learners are ill-served when they are conflated into a unitary subset assumed to possess the same linguistic and learning characteristics. Pedagogical implications include a need to consider high school ESOL classes as unexploited sites of opportunity for preparing and equipping bilingual language minority students for post-secondary literacy tasks.