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Immigrant students' out-of-school literacy practices: A qualitative study of Korean students' experiences

, The Ohio State University, United States

The Ohio State University . Awarded


Academic literacy has attracted the interest of many researchers: The emphasis on academic literacy, while understandable, has led second language (L2) literacy researchers and teachers to overlook other types of literacy practices that L2 students engage in beyond the classroom. Given the potential significance of out-of-school literacy, this study examines the nature of the out-of-school literacy practices of adolescent immigrant students, also known as 1.5 generation students. Within a social view of literacy, I conducted ethnographic multiple case studies of five Korean high school students in a midwestern city in the United States. Over a six-month period, I collected multiple sources of data including interviews, out-of-school literacy activity checklists, observations, fieldnotes, formal/informal conversations (online, offline), writing samples, and reading materials. I also served as a tutor for them so as to provide reciprocity. I employed inductive analysis of the data by focusing on participants' engagement with literacy activities in terms of (1) amount, frequency, and purposes of their literacy engagement, (2) uses/choice of language (Korean, English), (3) uses/choice of literacy medium (print, computer), (4) role of online literacy practice, and (5) possible relationships between academic and out-of-school literacy practices.

Findings revealed that when the participants were out of school, they constructed their own ecology of literacy by making unique investments in a variety of literacy activities for diverse purposes in different languages (Korean, English) across different literacy contexts (print, online). One of the major findings is that the participants engaged extensively in online literacy activities. Through online literacy practices, they sought for and/or created their own shelter as well as ways of expressing themselves, at the same time forming a sense of solidarity with other students who shared a similar situation. Given the changing nature of literacy in online (interactive online and public reading and writing, blurred reading/writing), we may need to reconceptualize the notion of out-of-school literacy so that it can portray the nature of daily literacy activities Generation 1.5 students engage. This research has expanded the continuum of literacy research by highlighting an important but unexamined area, out-of-school literacy, and by emphasizing an unexplored population, Generation 1.5 students.


Yi, Y. Immigrant students' out-of-school literacy practices: A qualitative study of Korean students' experiences. Ph.D. thesis, The Ohio State University. Retrieved October 22, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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