A Literature Inquiry: Discussions Involving Translanguaging and Immigration Issues in a Dual Language Classroom

Adriana Goenaga Ruiz de Zuazu


I looked at third-grade students' use of their two languages, Spanish and English, in literacy discussions in a bilingual read aloud from a literature unit, and students’ interpretation of a story about how the characters of the book, who are immigrant children, learned to read and write in a second language and made new friends in new environments. A bilingual read aloud and a whole-group discussion of a book of a literature unit happened prior to literature circles with groups of four to six students.

This study took in consideration that the students’ interactions might reflect and refract from the broader social and historical context (Bloome & Power Carter, 2014) and might include a translanguaging practice. Thus, I looked at the differentiation between discourses (with a lower-case d) and Discourses (with capital D) (Gee, 1996, 1999, 2013) in the discussions between the students in the way they developed and gained agency in interpreting the story, expressing their opinion, and making possible suggestions to promote change in valuing and/or making others value the fact of being and becoming bi(multi)lingual and bi(multi)literate. Additionally, I liked to facilitate an understanding of identity constructions as bilingual and biliterate in the participants through literacy discussions and reflection about power relations between the two languages: Spanish and English. The study mainly benefitted the students in their process to develop their identity as bilingual and biliterate and to become critical thinkers and social activists.

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