Four Korean bilingual children's out-of-school literacy practices in the United States

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Song, Kwangok

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The purpose of this study was to understand the nature of Korean bilingual children’s out-of-school literacy practices. Four Korean-English speaking bilingual children and their parents were participants in this qualitative multi-case study. The children were between seven and nine years old and attended public schools. The families lived in and around a large city in the Southwestern of the United States. In the city, there was a well-established Korean community. Data collection was conducted through multiple methods. The duration of the study was approximately four and a half months per child, staggered across eight months of data collection. Parents were interviewed twice regarding literacy activities with their child, the focal child’s experience of schooling, their perspectives of family’s language use, and their expectations for the child. Participant observation was also conducted at each child’s home to examine her/his literacy activities and interactions with family members. The children and parents were also informally interviewed throughout the data collection. Children’s writing, drawing, and crafts were collected. The children and family members were also invited to participate in a video project in which they video-recorded and took pictures of their activities for two months. Data were analyzed through constant comparative approach, activitysetting analyses, and grounded theory approach. The findings suggest that the focal children engaged in parent-guided literacy activities and self-chosen literacy activities. The parents provided extensive support for children’s academic achievement and learning to read and write in Korean. These activities were derived from parents’ experiences, beliefs, parenting practices familiar to Korean parents, and expectations for their children’s future. Children’s self-chosen literacy activities varied widely. The children drew on various resources from their social and cultural worlds to participate in an imaginative world and imagined future. Therefore, Korean bilingual children’s literacy activities situated in the current moment and space were always globally connected to other times and spaces.



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