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Employing the Gradual Release of Responsibility Framework to Improve the Literacy Instruction of Emergent Bilingual Students in the Elementary Grades

The Gradual Release of Responsibility in Literacy Research and Practice

ISBN: 978-1-78769-448-4, eISBN: 978-1-78769-447-7

ISSN: 2048-0458

Publication date: 26 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to share empirical research with educators and researchers to show how the gradual release of responsibility (GRR) model can support bilingual teachers’ implementation of dialogic reading comprehension instruction in student-led small groups and linguistically responsive literacy instruction with emergent bilingual students (Spanish–English) in grades one through four.

Design/Methodology/Approach – The authors provide brief literature reviews on the literacy instruction that bilingual students in low-resourced schools typically receive, on dialogic reading comprehension instruction, and on linguistically responsive literacy instruction. Then, the authors show how teacher educators utilized the GRR framework and process to support bilingual teachers’ movement from whole-class, teacher-directed instruction to dialogic reading comprehension instruction in student-led small groups. Next, the authors illustrate how a third-grade dual-language teacher employed the GRR to teach her students how to use Spanish–English cognates. Lastly, the authors share three vignettes from a first-grade bilingual teacher’s use of the GRR to facilitate her students’ comprehension of teacher read-alouds of narrative and informational texts and English writing.

Findings – When the teacher educators employed the GRR model in combination with socio-constructivist professional staff development, the teachers revealed their concerns about small-group instruction. The teacher educators adjusted their instruction and support to address the teachers’ concerns, helping them to implement small-group instruction. The third-grade bilingual teacher employed the GRR to teach her students how to use a translanguaging strategy, cognates, when writing, spelling, and reading. The first-grade bilingual teacher’s use of the GRR during teacher read-alouds in Spanish and English provided space for her and her students’ translanguaging, and facilitated the students’ comprehension of narrative and informational texts and completion of an English writing assignment.

Research Limitations/Implications – The findings were brief vignettes of effective instruction in bilingual settings that employed the GRR model. Although the authors discussed the limitations of scripted instruction, they did not test it. Additional research needs to investigate how other teacher educators and teachers use the GRR model to develop and implement instructional innovations that tap into the unique language practices of bilingual students.

Practical Implications – The empirical examples should help other teacher educators and bilingual teachers to implement the GRR model to support the improved literacy instruction of bilingual students in grades one through four. The chapter defines linguistically responsive instruction, and shows how translanguaging can be used by bilingual teachers and students to improve the students’ literacy performance.

Originality/Value of Chapter – This chapter provides significant research-based examples of the use of the GRR model with bilingual teachers and students at the elementary level. It shows how employment of the model can provide bilingual teachers and students with the support needed to implement instructional literacy innovations and linguistically responsive instruction.

Keywords

Citation

García, G.E. and DeNicolo, C.P. (2019), "Employing the Gradual Release of Responsibility Framework to Improve the Literacy Instruction of Emergent Bilingual Students in the Elementary Grades", McVee, M.B., Ortlieb, E., Reichenberg, J.S. and Pearson, P.D. (Ed.) The Gradual Release of Responsibility in Literacy Research and Practice (Literacy Research, Practice and Evaluation, Vol. 10), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 137-152. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2048-045820190000010009

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited