Audience and the writing development of young bilingual children
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The purpose of this dissertation was to explore how young Latina/o bilingual children’s skill at codeswitching might be leveraged in service of their (bi)literacy learning. This study drew on a cultural modeling framework, guided by sociocultural and translingual theories of literacy. Using a design-based research methodology, I worked with a first grade teacher to implement a pedagogical innovation in her ESL classroom. This innovation involved a curricular focus on audience awareness, including interaction between writers and bilingual audiences. Students’ writing and writing-related talk was ethnographically documented and analyzed in order to see how such an emphasis on audience mediated children’s (bi)literacy development. Such analysis suggested that children’s language choices in speech and writing were influenced by their experiences with the curriculum, as they moved towards using more Spanish, codeswitching and codemeshing. Students articulated metapragmatic awareness that built on their interactions with readers. Students’ awareness of their audience also mediated their rhetorical astuteness, guiding them in choosing between a range of languages and modalities in response to their intended readers. Together, these suggest that writing instruction for young bilingual children should include opportunities to write for real purposes and readers.