There is a notable dearth of interventions that have been specifically designed for Asian English Language Learner (ELL) students, and the existing research on ELL students often lacks population validity and sample diversity. In response to this need, this paper aims to review current research on literacy interventions for East/Southeast Asian ELLs and provide practical recommendations for educators teaching literacy skills to this population.
To identify studies for inclusion in this review, a systematic literature search was conducted of peer-reviewed studies and dissertations were published between 2001 and 2016. Articles were included in the authors’ review, if those described a literacy intervention where the sample was entirely East and/or Southeast Asian ELLs, or, if the sample included other groups, the study provided an analysis of the intervention’s effectiveness specifically for the East or Southeast Asian ELLs in the study. Both quantitative and qualitative studies were included.
The authors’ search yielded seven studies. The authors found three main contributors to effective literacy instruction for this population: culturally relevant instruction, family involvement and encouraging first language (L1) development to facilitate language and literacy in English. Results indicated that interventions that consider a student’s cultural style (i.e. preference toward a teacher-centered classroom) or included cultural familiar themes/texts were found to be more effective. In addition, strategies that encouraged the development of L1, such as the use of dual-language books, explicitly teaching contrastive analysis and providing the same book to be read at home and a school were all correlated with greater literacy gains. Finally, facilitating home-school communication seemed to contribute to the efficacy of several of the interventions.
This paper reveals the need to expand the current knowledge base on effective literacy instruction and intervention for East/Southeast Asian ELL students, especially research on population validity, given the specific needs of this growing population. This review is limited by the small number of relevant studies and the fact that not all East/Southeast Asian languages or ethnic groups were represented. There is still a great need for future research to determine what methods or combination of factors are effective with East/Southeast Asian ELLs of various ages and needs.
The findings from this paper have generated practical recommendations for educators teaching literacy skills to East/Southeast Asian ELL students, such as: tailor literacy instruction to be culturally relevant, design interventions around student’s preferred learning style, encourage parent/family involvement, provide bilingual instruction and bilingual reading materials and provide parents with books and information about the literacy curriculum.
This paper also reveals the need to expand the current knowledge base on effective literacy instruction and intervention for East/Southeast Asian ELL students, especially research on population validity, given the specific needs of this growing population.
Based on an extensive literature search, this is the first paper to review and summarize the research on literacy interventions for East/Southeast Asian ELLs over the past 15 years. This paper provides valuable recommendations to educators and calls for more research on English literacy acquisition specific to this population.
The authors thank Noora Abdulkerim and Stephanie Long for their help in proofreading this manuscript.
Beneville, M.A. and Li, C. (2018), "Evidence-based literacy interventions for East/Southeast Asian English language learners: A review of the research and recommendations for practice", Journal for Multicultural Education, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 50-66. https://doi.org/10.1108/JME-12-2016-0061Download as .RIS
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