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"Spanglish" as Literacy Tool: Toward an Understanding of the Potential Role of Spanish-English Code-Switching in the Development of Academic Literacy

Ramón Antonio Martínez
Research in the Teaching of English
Vol. 45, No. 2, RESEARCH ON LITERACY IN DIVERS EDUCATIONAL CONTEXTS (November 2010), pp. 124-149
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40997087
Page Count: 26
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
"Spanglish" as Literacy Tool: Toward an Understanding of the Potential Role of Spanish-English Code-Switching in the Development of Academic Literacy
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Abstract

This article reports findings from a qualitative study of Spanish-English code-switching—or Spanglish—among bilingual Latina/Latino sixth graders at a middle school in East Los Angeles. Analysis of the data revealed significant parallels between the skills embedded in students' everyday use of Spanglish and the skills that they were expected to master according to California's sixthgrade English language arts standards. In particular, students displayed an impressive adeptness at (1) shifting voices for differentaudiences, and (2) communicating subtle shades of meaning. It is argued that this skillful use of Spanglish could potentially be leveraged as a resource for helping students to further cultivate related academic literacy skills. The article concludes with a discussion of specific implications for how teachers might begin to leverage Spanglish as a pedagogical resource by helping students to recognize, draw on, and extend the skills already embedded in their everyday use of language.

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