SU Dissertations

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    Understanding the English Literacy Development of Linguistically Diverse Middle School Readers Using Collaborative Retrospective Miscue Analysis
    (2023-09) Patricia E. Rainer; Koomi Kim; Heather Porter; Amber Meyer; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    This qualitative, single case study of linguistically diverse sixth-grade students to understand how these students explored and experienced their English literacy development (ELD) by using Retrospective Miscue Analysis (RMA) and Collaborative Retrospective Miscue Analysis (CRMA). In addition, the study explored the roles that families and teachers played in readers’ ELD. Eight student participants were chosen using purposive sampling to participate in the study. Four teacher participants and five adult family members of the student participants also volunteered to participate in the study. Multiple data were collected using student, family member, and teacher interviews; oral readings, aided and unaided retellings; RMA and CRMA sessions; and classroom observations. Additionally, two student participants participated in an eye movement miscue analysis session and follow-up discussion. The findings revealed how linguistically diverse sixth-grade readers understand their experiences and perceive themselves as diverse readers, their co-construction of knowledge, and their ELD. Findings also illustrated the multiple roles the students’ families and teachers play in the development of their ELD. Implications of the study include the benefits of using RMA and CRMA with secondary linguistically diverse readers, the complexities that teachers face in supporting linguistically diverse readers, and the inclusion of families and their home literacy practices in learning spaces.
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    Utilizing Open Educational Resources (OER) and Introducing OER-Enabled Pedagogies (OEP) in a First-Year Composition Classroom at a Historically Black College or University
    (2023-08) Mari-jo Ulbricht; Judith Franzak; Heather Porter; Laurie Henry; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    In the context of a first-year composition course at an HBCU, I explored the potential of Open Educational Resources (OER) and OER-Enabled Pedagogy (OEP) to better understand how the resources and the pedagogical practices surrounding their use might innovate teaching and learning. In this study conducted with 14 participants from online, hybrid, and face-to-face sections of the course, I obtained their perspectives on innovations made possible by OER/OEP. Using a qualitative action research approach, I collected data through syllabi analysis, interviews, digital artifacts, discussion posts, coding memos, and journals. Analysis of the data found that OER/OEP: • highlights the social nature of writing, signifying the value of students’ active engagement within a diverse and supportive community of peers; • promotes culturally responsive pedagogy by actively motivating and challenging students through a culturally relevant curriculum that addresses social justice issues; • supports the writing process by scaffolding with customizable materials and hands-on practice, including interactive multimodal activities, to build confidence; • opens possibilities for a student-centered experience by providing accessible materials, differentiating learning, and empowering students with agency as they engage in co-creating and producing knowledge through alternative assessments. The findings revealed that incorporating OER/OEP is a compelling approach that innovates teaching and learning in the first-year composition course at an HBCU. The study demonstrates the transformative potential of OER/OEP and suggests further research to fully leverage this innovative pedagogical approach.
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    Social Media in Middle School Literacy Instruction
    (2023-05) Wivell, Rebecca; Finch, Maida; Sessoms, Diallo; Williamson, Thea; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    This qualitative case study took place in an 8th-grade classroom and was considered practitioner research which explored an innovative approach to writing instruction utilizing a social media platform. Participants included six, 8th-grade students who were all students in a writing class and helped to seek the answers to the following questions: (a) how do middle school students use Twiducate for academic writing in the classroom?; (b) what is my role as the teacher related to writing instruction using Twiducate?; (c) how do middle school students collaborate and give peer feedback for writing purposes? Formative data analysis was used throughout this study and I used coding to find patterns in my data and develop themes. This study shows how students used social media to write and collaborate and what the teacher’s roles are during those events. Findings include the teacher transitions between four roles: discussion facilitator, feedback coach, writing teacher, and supporter to improve student writing. Students used Twiducate to engage in the writing process and created a class developed artifact to refer to for learning, while collaborating and giving peer feedback throughout the process. Twiducate empowered students to be independent writers and built a community of learners invested in each other’s writing. Findings extend knowledge about middle school writing and ways to integrate social media into classroom settings, while engaging students.
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    Building Bridges: Making Space to Connect Identities in a Newcomer Multilingual Classroom with Writing
    (2023-05) Espíndola Peixoto, Sinélia; Henry, Laurie; Bugdal, Melissa; Franzak, Judith; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    The purpose of this dissertation was to explore ways for multilingual students to draw on their background knowledge and culture during writing instruction. In addition, I wanted to investigate how newcomer multilingual students (Canagarajah, 2013) understood and assessed their writing, the relationship between students’ self-assessments, their writing identities, as well as their understanding of who a writer was. Multiple linguistic repertoires (Garcia, 2009) and writing (Casanave, 2002; 2003) are effective and beneficial resources to empower multilingual students. This practitioner research (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2009) using case study methods (Stake, 1995; Yin, 2018) in a literacy support class helped me, the teacher and researcher, evaluate my own teaching, and explore the writing identities of the whole class (16 participants total), with four focal participants who were sixth grade newcomer multilingual students. The research questions helped me investigate ways to accommodate students’ needs as writers, explore varied assessments, and discover the relationship between self-assessments (Andrade, 2019), writing identities and students’ understanding of writers. The qualitative study data included interviews, writing samples and conferences about those samples, portfolio review conferences, teacher generated artifacts and reflections, as well as students’ self-assessments and classroom audio recordings. Findings from the study showed that by accommodating students’ needs as writers in a space that allowed the fluidity of languages and use of multimodalities (McCarthey & Garcia, 2005; Pacheco & Smith, 2015) most students felt motivated to write, and believed they were learning writing in English. Conferences and self-assessments helped multilinguals learn about themselves as writers in diversified ways, expressing their understanding of their writing, and of their writing identities as complex and seeing growth as writers (Skerrett, 2013). Students became more aware of their needs as writers, tried different ways of helping themselves when facing challenges, and understood writing could be improved with revisions.
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    Getting Those Stories Told; Utilizing Social, Community and Artifactual Literacies to Share Local Black Historical Stories
    (2022-12) Reid, Melissa; Franzak, Judith; Kim, Koomi; Porter, Heather; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    This participatory action research documented ways that historical stories of the Black community were shared in the larger Berlin, MD. community. This act of community literacy was grounded in the belief that literary encompasses many more practices than just reading and writing. These literacy practices are social practices, intertwined with people’s cultural identity, sense of themselves and their world view and knowledge. The group tasked with sharing these stories was made up of Black community elders, along with museum staff and volunteers of the Taylor House Museum, myself included. With the knowledge that dialogue is key to expanding literacy practices, we worked collaboratively to create exhibits in the museum as well as sharing stories in other locations that the participants deemed appropriate. Data collected included meeting minutes, individual interviews transcripts with committee members as well as museum and event visitors. Multimodal data included artifacts, images, and video from the exhibits and events, as well as photographs taken by participants documenting their favorite parts of exhibits and events where the stories were told. Analysis of the data found that participants made meaning with artifacts and narratives by collectively discussing ownership of artifacts and information. They had gifts that they were willing to share with the group in the collaborative actions of sharing local Black historical stories. Participants had connecting networks they utilized to design museum exhibits, and they sought a variety of opportunities to ensure on-going access to local Black historical stories.
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    Exploring the Experiences and Japanese Foreign Language and Literacy Development of University Students in the U.S.
    (2022-11) Cooper, Sean; Kim, Koomi; Porter, Heather; Williamson, Thea; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    This qualitative study of a U.S. postsecondary institution’s Japanese language program sought to comprehend in detail the ways by which university students develop and experience Japanese language and literacy. Utilizing the lens of Sociocultural Theory, three contexts within the single case study were examined in the form of three differently-leveled Japanese classes in the Japanese program. The participation of twelve focus students allowed for exploration of the research question and sub-question: how do university students studying Japanese as a foreign language in the United States learn and experience Japanese language and literacy, and how do these students’ perceptions and interpretations of their Japanese language learning experience contribute to the shaping of their identities? The findings of this study revealed that students underwent a variety of processes while taking a Japanese course: Students relied on experiences with in-class learning through interactions with the instructor and their peers. They used sociocultural resources available to them both inside and outside of class to create opportunities to engage in Japanese learning through multimodal means. Students also brought their own experiences and perceptions in to their learning, with language backgrounds, relationships, and emotion playing a role in their Japanese language and literacy development. This study also illuminated that some students made attempts to integrate aspects of Japanese into their own identity as Japanese language learners. Findings inform instructors of Japanese and other Less Commonly Taught Languages of ways to improve sociocultural language and literacy development.
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    Literacy Practices of Latina Immigrant Mothers at Home in a Rural Area With Young Children from Birth to Age 4
    (2022-12) Bueno, Maria Ines Castro; Williamson, Thea; Kim, Koomi; Meyer, Amber; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    The aim of this research study was to examine how Latina immigrant mothers in a rural area experience literacy at home with their young children from birth to age 4. In addition, the purpose of this study was to explore experiences, perceptions, values, and beliefs about early literacy through the Latina mothers’ stories and testimonios. There were 16 participants, which included eight mothers and their eight children, who live in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. This single case study used qualitative research methods to capture the circumstances and interactions in which literacy practices occurred in the routines of the mothers and their children at home. These literacy experiences were explored from a sociocultural perspective. The findings from the study were: Latina immigrant mothers with young children engaged in reading practices with a variety of books at home; Latina immigrant mothers fostered oral emergent literacy through faith-based, religious storytelling; and Latina immigrant mothers’ perceptions of education and values guided their beliefs about early literacy. The study, which was conducted during fall and winter 2021–2022, contributes to the knowledge about literacy practices that occur in Latina immigrant homes, and it was intended to generate information that will help educators value Latina immigrant mothers’ literacy practices.
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    Understanding the Early Literacy Development of RTI Students through the Application of Miscue Analysis
    (2022-12) Schultz, Diana; Kim, Koomi; Porter, Heather; Wiencek, Joyce; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    This is a qualitative, single case study of primary-grade students receiving reading intervention and primary-grade teachers who have Response to Intervention (RTI) students in their classrooms. This study examined how RTI students in Grades 1–3 developed and reflected on their literacy knowledge and strategies. This study also explored how the RTI students experienced and conceptualized reading through Retrospective Miscue Analysis (RMA). In addition, this study looked at how Miscue Analysis impacted primary-grade teachers’ understanding of the literacy development of their RTI students. Using purposive sampling, seven RTI students and six primary-grade teachers participated in this study to explore the following research questions: 1. How do primary-grade students who are receiving Response to Intervention (RTI) services develop and reflect on their literacy knowledge and reading process? (a) How do primary-grade RTI students experience and conceptualize reading through Retrospective Miscue Analysis? (b) How does Miscue Analysis impact teachers’ understanding of the literacy development of their students who are receiving RTI services? I used multiple data sources to learn about my participants and examine their literacy learning, understandings related to the reading process, and literacy development. Miscue analysis allowed me to explore and observe the RTI students’ conceptualizations of reading, literacy knowledge, and development, as well as teachers’ understanding of their students and their literacy instruction. This study provided empirical evidence of how students and teachers experienced reading and developed literacy knowledge through miscue analysis and RMA. Miscue analysis and RMA helped bring focus to meaning for both RTI students and teachers, while proving to be a powerful tool for learning, teaching, professional development, and literacy research.
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    Developing the Student Reader: An Investigation into the Practices and Perceptions of Stakeholders Within the Context of 100 Book Challenge
    (2022-04-19) Winterson, April; Franzak, Judith; Meyer, Amber; Kim, Koomi; Finch, Maida; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    This qualitative case study explores the practices and perceptions of key stakeholders (administrators, educators, parents, and students) in the development of the elementary reader within the context of 100 Book Challenge. Studying the most influential stakeholders will provide a holistic understanding of the events and beliefs around developing readers. This study revealed that there are routines and habits around securing time to independently read. However, by measuring that time spent reading, it encourages the incentivization of reading which has the potential to undermine the development of lasting reading habits. Additionally, students had access to a wide variety of books and are encouraged to self-select books. Yet, the leveling of books and what is perceived as appropriate reading materials limit and restricts this access. All participants were selected through stakeholder sampling, a form of purposive sampling (Palys, 2008) to recruit key players in the giving, receiving, and/or administration of 100 Book Challenge. Data collection included semi-structured interviews, a focus group interview, observations, and by collecting documents and artifacts (Hesse-Biber, 2017; Merriam, 1998). Data analysis was completed using the computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software, Nvivo in which multi-cycle coding methods were applied. Findings show that stakeholders engage in specific practices and have perceptions around the development of the student reader involving (a) having time to read and accounting for daily reading time and (b) having access to texts and self-selected books while also regulating and restricting reading materials.
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    Understanding Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Disciplinary Reading Practices Using Collaborative Retrospective Miscue Analysis (CRMA)
    (2021-12) East, Meghan; Kim, Koomi; Finch, Maida; Franzak, Judith; Porter, Heather; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    This qualitative, exploratory, single case study of one Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) academic program sought to better understand how members actively engaged and transacted with their disciplinary readings. Using purposeful sampling, eleven members of the MLS disciplinary community (faculty professionals, ascending professionals, and college students) helped to explore the two questions: (a) how do MLS college students, MLS ascending professionals, and MLS faculty professionals co-construct disciplinary literacy knowledge informed by Collaborative Retrospective Miscue Analysis (CRMA)?; (b) how does CRMA between disciplinary faculty professionals, ascending professionals, and college students inform the development of college readers’ disciplinary literacy knowledge? I used Miscue Analysis and data analysis for coding and theming of data sources to look for patterns and to support developing themes. This study provides empirical evidence of how disciplinary literacy practices are enacted in the MLS discipline. This study found CRMA to be a powerful tool toward creating a sense of community in the college disciplinary setting. College student’s self-confidence in their MLS disciplinary literacy practices grew and they felt more connected to their disciplinary community. CRMA allowed MLS community members to co-construct disciplinary literacy knowledge through their creation of a safe learning space. CRMA in this study made implicit disciplinary literacy practices explicit to better support college student development and co-construction of disciplinary literacy knowledge. Findings can better inform current disciplinary instructional practices and learning opportunities for college students.
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    Reading in the Secondary World Language Classroom: How High School Students Enact Their Emerging Literacy with Authentic Text
    (2021-12) Stutzman, Marcia; Finch, Maida; Perret, Sally; Meyer, Amber; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    This qualitative case study of a high school world language (WL) classroom with flexible language boundaries (Cummins, 2012; Creese & Blackledge, 2010; Garcia & Li Wei, 2014; Turnbull & Daily-O’Cain, 2009) examines how proficient L1 readers constructed meaning from authentic L2 text as emerging bilinguals. Grounded in sociocognitive transactional literacy theory (Gee, 2013, 2014; Rosenblatt, 2013; Vygotsky, 1962, 1978) combined with a transdisciplinarity perspective (Douglas Fir Group, 2016), I drew from Ruddell and Unrau’s (2013) model of reading to unpeel the complicated and recursive interplay among readers, the teacher, and WL classroom context. The findings include: (1) WL readers actively build lexicon while reading, using a variety of metacognitive strategies to locate and interpret key words in the text; (2) they continue to build enhanced layers of comprehension with each re-engagement with the text; (3) they depend on the classroom community for cognitive and affective support; (4) and while they engage all their L1 literacy skills, additional strategies are needed for L2 meaning construction. I discuss practice implications for building lexicon with authentic literature, using collaboration as cognitive and affective support for learners, and reengaging with the text in multiple modes. Policy and research implications across the findings include consideration of target language only policy, disciplinary literacy in WL, and the Seal of Biliteracy.
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    Early Literacy Development: A First Grade Teacher's and Families' Experiences
    (2018-05-17) Jack, Carlotta Gray Robinson; Kim, Koomi; Franzak, Judith; Andes, Laurie; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    Emergent literacy values early literacy development through social interaction and experience from birth until a child reaches the developmental level at which time they are reading (Teale, 1986; Tracey & Morrow, 2012). Hence, early literacy development occurs in environments other than schools such as homes and communities. Building relationships with both families and teachers is essential in providing a well-rounded education. Epstein (2011) states “with the lack of partnerships, educators segment students into the school child and the home child, ignoring the whole child” (p. 5). To better understand the teacher and families’ experiences regarding first graders’ early literacy development using a socio-cultural lens, the primary question that guided this case study was: What is an early childhood teacher’s and families' experiences with first graders' home and school literacies practices? With multiple data sources, I gained insight on the significance of an early childhood teacher and families and their involvement in a first grader’s early literacy development. The findings of the study showed a disconnect between the first grade teacher’s theoretical belief and instructional practices. Regarding the families, the data revealed families’ various engaging and meaningful multiliteracies events occurring within the home environment. However, the communication between the teacher and the families was one sided and focused more on school literacies. The teacher and families were not collaborating effectively to form a partnership.
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    Defining Disciplinary Literacy Practices and Evaluating the Professional Identity of Medical Laboratory Science
    (2019-08) Camillo, Christina; Finch, Maida; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    Disciplinary literacy has been a growing area of interest in educational research (McConachie & Petrosky, 2010; Moje, 2007) in the last two decades, however much of the research has remained theoretical. While some studies have examined specific areas of disciplinary literacy, such as reading or writing, and compared that particular practice among different disciplines (Carter, 2007; C. Shanahan, Shanahan, & Misischia, 2011) very few studies have examined the entirety of the literacy of a discipline (Brill, Dohun, & Branch, 2007; Frick, 1990). This research study sought to define and understand the disciplinary literacy practices of medical laboratory science (MLS), an analytical and technical area of healthcare where professionals test patient samples in order to provide accurate data for physicians who are then able to diagnose the patient and provide effective treatment. In addition, this study investigated the professional identity of MLS, which has a long history of being indistinct and unorganized (Evans, 1968; Grant, 2007; Kotlarz, 1998a, 2000), and considered how the disciplinary literacy practices of the profession may contribute to a stronger professional identity.
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    Composing practices of multiracial emergent adult college students: Expressions of identity
    (2018) McFadden, Jenny; Franzak, Judith; Andes, Laurie; Stutelberg, Erin; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    This qualitative multiple case study research design examined the ways in which multiracial emergent adult college students engaged in identity work in and out of formal educational contexts. Through case studies of nine students at three higher education institutions (an open-admissions community college, a Historically Black University, and a four-year, public Predominantly White Institution with more selective entrance requirements), I sought to understand how participants used composing practices to express, negotiate, establish, explore and/or refute racial and other identities, thus adding to the literature on multiracial college students’ experiences in a variety of campus contexts. The focus on composing practices in formal educational contexts revealed some of the ways that educators and academic assignments assisted and encouraged as well as hindered and suppressed these students in engaging in racial (and other) identity work through writing; the examination of composing done outside of such contexts explored similarities and differences in the ways that participants engaged their racial identities as they wrote for different purposes and audiences. Data sources included semi-structured interviews, samples of writing and other compositions self-selected by participants, and reflective journals that offered both records of one week’s worth of participants’ composing practices and their written responses to questions designed to allow them to consider how their compositions allowed or denied them opportunities to engage in identity work. Findings suggested that participants engaged in racial identity work selectively and overtly through composing practices, at times transcending singular or even multiple racial identities.
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    An examination of the literacy practices of high school social studies teachers
    (2018-05-17) Briggs, Frederick; Finch, Maida; Doctoral Studies in Literacy; Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy
    The literacy practices of high school social studies teachers in the Jefferson School District were examined. Common Core State Standards highlight a focus on literacy skills in the content areas while also emphasizing the importance of developing critical thinking. Despite the identified links between social studies and literacy, reading and writing instruction in social studies classrooms has remained minimal. Through a survey and focus group discussions, teachers provided information about the frequency in which they used various literacy-based practices, in addition to discussing the perceived effectiveness of those practices. Furthermore, teachers shared both supports and barriers they believe are in place that impact effective implementation of literacy-based practices. The findings suggest that a variety of literacy-based instructional practices are occurring in differing amounts in high school social studies classrooms with many factors impacting teachers’ use of these practices. Primary and secondary source documents were frequently used by teachers who also deemed these documents as one of the most effective literacy-based practices. Additionally, professional development emerged as both a support and barrier as teachers in the study acknowledged their desire to strengthen efficacy through quality professional development but felt strongly that it needed to be focused on content, involve active learning, and be transferable for immediate classroom use. As the ultimate instructional leader, principals wield influence to create a framework that facilitates effective teacher collaboration and promotes high levels of quality instruction through instructionally focused conversations. From these collaborative conversations, the necessary resources can be identified to provide literacy rich instruction to all students.