Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Maria Thomas-Ruzic

Second Advisor

Kathy Escamilla

Third Advisor

Patricia Mosele


English language learners (ELLs) in the United States begin school with a lower proficiency in English written language skills compared with their native-English speaking peers. According to testing data, this difference in proficiency levels is by and large unchanged by the time ELL students reach the eighth grade. The stated goal of ELL literacy research, i.e., research in ELL reading and reading related practices, has therefore long been to reduce the gap in literacy outcomes that exists between ELL and native English speaking students. To this end, ELL literacy researchers have discussed ELL written language skills in terms of linguistic factors. Though linguistic factors certainly play a role in determining ELL literacy outcomes, they are not the only factors that do. Notably, research into first language literacy has shown that certain home literacy environment factors have an association with literacy outcomes of native English speakers. Yet these other factors have yet to be examined within the context of ELL literacy. This paper will explore and investigate literature on first language home literacy. It will then go on to detail how the methods being used to measure associations in first language research could be incorporated into the work being done with ELL subjects. Finally, a preliminary study using these incorporated methods will be presented.