Making connections between languages, between cultures, between texts: Intertextuality in bilingual elementary school read -alouds

Diana Lynn Schwinge, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation examines the characteristics of the literacy event of picture book read-alouds in a second grade bilingual classroom and identifies ways that the teacher and students draw on the various resources that are available in their bilingual, bicultural environment to make intertextual connections. The study also considers how various national and local educational, literacy and language policies and programs affect the type of literacy events that occur in urban bilingual classes, and thus encourage or restrict the number or types of intertextual connections that are made. The theoretical orientation of this study is grounded in a socio-cultural perspective of literacy and its acquisition that draws upon literature in New Literacy Studies and on theories of literacy development in multilingual and multicultural environments. The data in this study was collected over a three-year period using ethnographic methods of data collection including participant observation, interviews, and videotaping. The data was analyzed using a variety of methods including discourse analysis and language policy analysis. A close examination of the three literacy programs that were implemented in the school, the characteristics of the read-aloud in the classroom environment, and the ways that the teacher and students used bilingualism as a resource suggest several ways in which bilingual classrooms can be organized to assist students in learning to make appropriate intertextual connections. These include the importance of establishing curricular coherence in bilingual classrooms, organizing text sets and instruction in classroom read-alouds in order to help students explicitly learn to make appropriate intertextual connections, and drawing on cultural funds of knowledge and hybrid language practices as resources for classroom instruction. The findings of this study have implications for literacy learning and teaching in bilingual, bicultural environments.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education|Linguistics|Language arts

Recommended Citation

Schwinge, Diana Lynn, "Making connections between languages, between cultures, between texts: Intertextuality in bilingual elementary school read -alouds" (2003). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3095936.