Perceptions of Elementary Bilingual Instructional Literacy Specialists About Utilizing Multicultural Literature With Recent Arrivals


Background: Today, the United States is experiencing an increase in the flow of immigrants as schools continue to enroll students coming from all over the world. Culture shock is on the rise for students who have left their homes behind to join a nation that hardly mirrors their original birthplaces. Often, schools are not equipped with qualified personnel and also lack the needed materials to instruct immigrant students. Immigrant students need culturally responsive educators who are equipped with tools to assist with an understanding of their first culture. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to inquire about the perceptions of bilingual instructional literacy specialists regarding the use of multicultural literature in the classrooms of recently arrived students. Research Question: What are the perceptions of elementary bilingual instructional literacy specialists about the implementation of multicultural literature in the instruction of recently arrived elementary students? Methods: This study used a qualitative narrative inquiry approach to allow the researcher to share the perceptions of three bilingual instructional literacy specialists’ usage of multicultural literature that portrays the culture of recently arrived students. The stories they shared, along with the journal entries of the researcher, revolved around the time from when they were in the classroom as students and teachers to now when they are the primary support of the teachers they coach in the areas of reading and writing for recently arrived elementary students. Through the interviews, the stories told provided an understanding of what it is like to support teachers of recently arrived elementary students. Data came from three virtual meetings with the participants. During the initial interview, the participants were part of a focus group where they freely conversed about their experiences with multicultural literature with recently arrived elementary students. The second interview was conducted individually using a semi-structured format to allow room for flexibility and to excavate emergent findings. At the final interview, the researcher met with participants for a member checking to verify that the researcher had accurately captured their voices in their transcriptions. The researcher also used weekly reflexive journal entries to collect additional data that served to answer the question of the study. The researcher used participant’s interview data, the researcher’s journal entries, and an expert educator to identify the most significant themes. A bilingual educator checked for researcher bias. Findings: From the data collected, three major themes emerged: 1. The support from administrators is crucial when it comes to using multicultural literature in the classroom; 2. There are negative views regarding a recently arrived student learning English as opposed to a native English speaker learning Spanish; and, 3. There is a high emphasis placed on English language acquisition as opposed to the exposure to culturally responsive teaching for recent arrivals. The findings were corroborated using the experiences from the participants and the researcher, as well as reflexive journal entries. Conclusion: The findings indicate that bilingual instructional literacy specialists of recently arrived elementary students should be provided with assistance in identifying appropriate and engaging multicultural literature.



Elementary Bilingual Instructional Literacy Specialists, Multicultural Literature, Recent Arrivals