Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Gabrielle Strouse, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dyanis A. D. Conrad, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Angela Helmer, Ph.D.


English Learners, Pre-Literacy, Spanish, Upper Midwest, High School

Subject Categories



The purpose of this research is to catalog the observed effects of pre-literacy on high school English learners (ELs) in the rural Upper Midwest and propose solutions on a local level. A phenomenological research design was implemented for this study. Participants were high school teachers who teach English learners in their classes. Participant demographics include four teachers, one who teaches an EL English course, one who teaches an EL algebra course, one who is an EL teacher, and one who is a Spanish teacher. Participants were interviewed until saturation was reached. The interviews were then transcribed as de-identifiable data (if participants chose not to use their real names), and that data was then analyzed using the five phase explicitation process provided by the phenomenological research design. The main results/findings of our study included the perceived effects of pre-literacy on these students’ education (i.e., difficulty with academic reading/writing), the perceived effects on these students’ emotional life (i.e., feelings of shame and embarrassment), the perceived effects on these students’ social life (i.e., these students being generally disconnected from the school and community), and the perceived effects on these students’ home lives (i.e., difficulty communicating home). The main results/findings of this study also included some proposed solutions, including the use of native language materials and the need for more adequate training, to name a few. The specificity of this study (namely, that it be for high school ELs in the rural Upper Midwest) and the list of cataloged effects (from the perspective of the teachers) were the main implications/significance of our study.

Included in

Psychology Commons



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