Reading the immigrant experience
Smith, Sharon Vitoria
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Reading the Immigrant Experience: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Fifth Grade Students Critically Reading and Discussing Picturebooks about the Immigrant Experience This qualitative study explored 5th grade student’ inquiry into how immigration issues and immigrants were represented in children’s literature in a critical literacy 5th grade classroom. This teacher/researcher action research case study drew upon a critical theoretical framework, which centered upon critical literacy. Fairclough’s three-dimensional model of critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 1992, 1995) was utilized in order to examine the focal groups’ interactions and discourse about immigrants and immigration after reading and discussing picturebooks on these topics. The use of critical discourse analysis helped to make visible the dominant discourses that were operating within the classroom. Four themes including “Social Class Assumptions,” “Troubling Identity,” “Ethnicity versus Citizenship,” and “Language (English) as Power,” emerged in the conversations within and across the picturebooks. This study demonstrated the students’ ideologies, the disrupting of these ideologies, identities that my students assumed in relation to immigrants, and the positioning of immigrants.