Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Professional Learning Communities to Support Adult English Language Learners Who Are Emergent Readers

Dalzell, Jennifer (2023) Professional Learning Communities to Support Adult English Language Learners Who Are Emergent Readers. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (3MB) | Preview


The US Census Bureau estimates large numbers of adult English Language Learners
(ELLs) in the US, of which only a fraction is enrolled in Adult English for Speakers of Other
Languages programs. Many of these learners are emergent readers in their first language (L1)
making the development of literacy in a target language challenging, yet high literacy skills are
critical in accessing family-sustaining wages. Two challenges adult ESOL educators face are that
1) second language acquisition theory is predicated upon learners being able to transfer their L1
literacy skills to the target language, and 2) much of the research on building literacy skills is based
on learning in L1. This leaves educators serving adult ELLs, who are emergent readers in their L1,
having to adapt evidenced-based reading strategies and rely on trial and error to learn what works
with this population.

This study attempted to provide a mechanism for professional learning to help build
teachers’ capacity and knowledge in delivering evidenced-based reading instruction (EBRI) in L2
for adult learners who are emergent readers in L1. The mechanism, an optional, literacy-focused
Professional Learning Community (PLC), included a structure by which teachers would 1) engage
with research on EBRI to build their knowledge, 2) discuss the application of the learning given
their context of adult ELLs, many of whom are emergent readers in their L1, and 3) analyze
formative assessment data to understand learner progress and make instructional decisions.

While teachers reported progress in building their knowledge of EBRI practices and
recording learners’ successes in meeting reading comprehension objectives, they lacked a
centralized system to track student learning. Strong data systems are a critical component of a
consistently productive PLC. Effective measurement to support teachers’ practice as they apply
and modify EBRI to match their context of adult ELLs who are emergent readers is needed to
measure what is and is not working. Where these systems do not exist, this teacher-focused activity
can build demand for institutional capacity for effective and appropriate data analysis systems.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Dalzell, Jenniferjcd83@upitt.edujcd83
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDelale-O'Conner,
Committee MemberMonroe,
Committee MemberPerry,
Date: 21 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 18 May 2023
Approval Date: 21 September 2023
Submission Date: 13 August 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 154
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: professional learning community, emergent readers, adult English language learners, adult English language literacy learners
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2023 20:39
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2023 20:39


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item