Date of Award

Summer 7-28-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Donald Halquist


The population of English as a second language (ESL) students in K-12 public schools continues to grow with every school year. I conducted this study in a rural elementary school in western New York in order to determine ESL students’ and teachers’ perspectives of effective ESL literacy instruction. During the four week study I conducted interviews with and observations of two ESL teachers and four ESL students.

The findings indicate that effective literacy instruction provides ESL students with rich literacy opportunities, which includes the use of students’ interest to promote their engagement. The use of hands-on activities during literacy instruction keep ESL students engaged. In addition, effective literacy instruction involves the teacher’s use of a variety of decoding strategies to support student success. The findings also indicate that effective literacy instruction that involves the teacher’s use of multiple sources of information and learning activities that are fun increase ESL students’ participation and engagement.