Capstone/Dissertation Title

Using nonlinguistic representations to support the oral and written expression of fourth grade students





Degree Name



The research question addressed is, how can nonlinguistic representations support the expressive oral and written language of fourth-grade students? The study was motivated by one teacher's search for strategies that would promote speaking and writing. Teaching students how to make and use nonlinguistic representations is one of the instructional strategies identified by Marzano et al. (2001) as effective for increasing student achievement. The paper describes the use of nonlinguistic representations such as drawings, kinesthetic activity, and models, as part of a process that involved students in representing their thinking, talking about their representations in a small group, and writing about them. In a focus group of five ELL students, nonlinguistic representations supported students' increased use of complex sentence structures in their oral and written language. These structures matched students' purposes for speaking and writing.

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