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Date of Award

1995

Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Marilyn E. Draheim

First Committee Member

Elmer U. Clawson

Second Committee Member

Robert D. Morrow

Abstract

Daily journal entries completed by ten first grade bilingual Hmong children were collected and studied. The Hmong children were of interest because their cultural back ound involves the use of oral traditions, and a newly developed written language system. This study investigated the ability of the Hmong children to use the English written language to document their thoughts and feelings through daily journal writing. One hundred journal entries for each of the ten students were considered in this study. Children completed their daily journal independently, and freely selected the topic of their journal. Writing samples were categorized in various stages of writing as described by many child development experts. The stages include: 1) pre-communicative, 2) semiphonetic, 3) phonetic, 4) transitional, and 5) correct stage of writing. Three other stages were added to account for all journal entries. They include: 1) non-writing, 2) copying, and 3) application. The degree to which invented spelling occurred in the journal entries was investigated. Results indicated that the Hmong children were able to document their ideas through writing in English. The Hmong children experienced all of the stages of writing except the correct stage. Although invented spelling was evident in the journal entries, no more than twenty-six percent of the words were invented. Thus, a conclusion of this study is that this sample of Hmong children had the ability and interest in spelling words correctly, either through copying or memorization. Daily journal writing was an activity in which the Hmong children had the opportunity to express themselves freely through written language, and it provided the teacher insights into the English writing development of the first grade Hmong children.

Pages

103

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