Lynch, Julia Clare (2017-05). Storytelling and Retelling and Higher Order Thinking for English Language and Literacy Acquisition (Stella) for Immigrant Students. Doctoral Dissertation.
In this study, I examined the effectiveness of the literacy curriculum known as STELLA (Storytelling and Retelling and Higher Order Thinking for English Language and Literacy Acquisition) for newcomers to the United States in Grade 2. The number of immigrant students in elementary schools in Texas is on the rise, largely due to the geopolitical exodus of tens of thousands of Central American children. While STELLA has been proven to be an effective curriculum for gains in English language learners' (ELL) oral language development in a previous longitudinal research study, the data had not been disaggregated to measure its effectiveness for the subgroup of ELLs - newcomers. In this small-n, mixed-methods study, I found no initial differences for three out of four of the Woodcock-Munoz Language Survey Revised subtests measuring oral language proficiency. On Story Recall, for which there was an initial difference, the immigrant group caught up to the home group nine months later. For Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) Listening, immigrant students entered Grade 2 with a lower ability, but caught up to the home group by the end of the grade; whereas for TELPAS Speaking, immigrant students entered Grade 2 with a lower ability, but did not catch up to the home group by the end of the grade. The context of this study was STELLA treatment classrooms in an urban school district in the Houston metro-area between newcomer ELLs who arrived to the United States within three years of Grade 2 and ELL students who were either born in the United States or arrived more than three years previous to Grade 2. Qualitative classroom observations in this study provide insight for teachers, administrators, and researchers as to what types of events should be occurring in a classroom housing newcomer ELLs.