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Literature Review on

Low Literate Learners


Missy Sainz
April 28, 2014
Presentation 2
LLT 860

Who are low literate


learners?

Have little or no literacy skills in their


L1

Learning to read in L2

Sometimes have limited or interrupted


formal education

May be immigrants or refugees

Why have they been left


out?

Access
Easier to find participants in formal education settings
Populations generally move frequently, work long/irregular hours, etc.

Recruitment
Must recruit personally

Obtaining Consent
Requires interpreter

Cultural barrier
Gender, Audio/Video Equipment

Bigelow, M., & Tarone, E. (2004). The role of literacy level in second language
Acquisition: Doesnt who we study determine what we know?. Tesol Quarterly,
38(4), 689-700

Current Research Hellerman


2006
Participants
Eduardo
51 years old
Moved from Mexico 14 years ago
Two years of formal schooling
Lives with his daughter
Speaks Spanish at home
Abby
21 years old
Moved from China
Eleven years of formal schooling
Lives with her parents
Speaks Cantonese at home
Hellerman, John. Classroom interactive practices for developing L2 literacy: A
Microethnographic study of two beginning adult learners of English. Applied
Linguistics, 27 (3), 377-404

Current Research Hellerman


2006

Results

History of formal education allowed Abby

to adjust to the literacy practices in English


more quickly
Eduardo showed growth in both oral and

written literacy practices, but was much


slower than Abby

Hellerman, John. Classroom interactive practices for developing L2 literacy: A


Microethnographic study of two beginning adult learners of English. Applied
Linguistics, 27 (3), 377-404

Current Research Bigelow,


Delmas, Hansen & Tarone, 2006

Participants
Recruited from a community of Somali

refugees
8 adolescent/young adult (ages 15-27)
4 obtained the highest score of literacy
measures/4 obtained the lowest score
Most had 0 years of schooling in L1, but 1
participant had 7 years
Years of schooling in L2 ranged from 1.5 - 7

igelow, M., Delmas, R., Hansen, K., & Tarone, E. (2006). Literacy and the
rocessing of oral recasts in SLA. TESOL Quarterly, 40(4), 665-689

Current Research Bigelow,


Delmas, Hansen & Tarone, 2006

Results
More literate group was able to recall recasts with

changes more often than the less literate group


No difference was shown between the groups for
recasts of varying lengths
Contrasts results of previous studies with different
population Philp, 2003
Possibly because these participants showed difficulty with even
very short recasts

More literate group was able to accurately

reproduce recasts with 2 or more changes


Consistent with previous studies

igelow, M., Delmas, R., Hansen, K., & Tarone, E. (2006). Literacy and the
rocessing of oral recasts in SLA. TESOL Quarterly, 40(4), 665-689

Current Research Tarone


2010

Review of published research


Compares how literate and illiterate adults perform oral
language tasks
Asked to manipulate language segments
Literate participants performed better than illiterate participants
Phonological fluency tasks
Literate participants performed better than illiterate participants
Semantic fluency tasks
No difference between participants
Oral Repetition Real words
No difference between participants
Oral Repetition Pseudo-words
Literate Participants performed better than illiterate participants

Tarone, E. (2010). Second language acquisition by low-literate learners: An


understudied population. Language Teaching, 43(1), 75-83

Current Research Tarone


2010

No impact on native oral language


processing in terms of meaning, but a
significant impact in terms linguistic
segments

Researchers can assume that this


impact carries over to L2 processing
and acquisition

Tarone, E. (2010). Second language acquisition by low-literate learners: An


understudied population. Language Teaching, 43(1), 75-83

Current Research

Studies involving low literate


participants consistently see a
relationship between alphabetic print
literacy and oral language processing
Participants have difficulty performing

tasks that involve separating


words/phrases into linguistic segments and
written tasks, but do not show the same
difficulty when performing tasks that
involve semantic elements.

Implications For The


Classroom

Upper elementary, middle, and high


school teachers should know how to
effectively teach basic decoding skills
Teachers should use explicit instruction
with feedback strategies with low
literate learners
Build on students strength of strategic
competence

Bigelow, M., Delmas, R., Hansen, K., & Tarone, E. (2006). Literacy and the
Processing of oral recasts in SLA. TESOL Quarterly, 40(4), 665-689

Implications For The Classroom

Adjust lesson planning according to students


competency
Reading instruction should focus on not only
meaning of the text, but also vocabulary and
syntax
Increased time for reading instruction
Oral and silent reading instruction
Explicit instruction of vocabulary, decoding
strategies, comprehension strategies,
morphology, grammar and text structures

Burt, M., Peyton, J. K., & Adams, R. (2003). Reading and Adult English Language
Learners: A Review of the Research. National Center for ESL Literacy Education
NCLE). 3-47

Conclusion

SLA is working to understand how


everyone is processing language
Continue producing/replicating studies with

low literate populations

Continue researching the relationship


between alphabetic print literacy and
oral language processing
Begin to include more low literate
participants that are in grade school