Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Blaine E. Smith

Second Committee Member

Mary A. Avalos

Third Committee Member

Luciana de Oliveira

Fourth Committee Member

Mileidis Gort


This comparative case study investigated integrated reading-writing instruction (IRWI) as an approach for writing instruction implemented after the adoption of Common Core State Standards (NGA & CCSSO, 2010a). Specifically, I explored the nature of IRWI through video-recorded observations of writing instruction, teachers’ perspectives towards this approach, and features of critical knowledge (Fitzgerald & Shanahan, 2000) utilized by five teachers in five fourth grade English Language Arts classrooms with emergent bilingual students. This study was guided by the following three research questions: 1) What is the nature of integrated reading-writing instruction in 4th grade ELA classrooms with emergent bilingual students? 2) What are teachers’ perceptions of integrated reading-writing instruction for emergent bilingual students? 3) What types of critical knowledge do teachers use when implementing integrated reading-writing instruction? This study analyzed videos collected within the frame of an Institute of Education Sciences-funded research-study, Writing for English Language Learners (WELLs): Exploring the Relationship between Writing Instruction and Student Outcomes (Gort, Howard, & Caswell, 2013). Additional data were also collected for this secondary study: teachers’ interviews and play-back sessions. The findings from this study indicated that the teachers’ instruction was built around three areas of the Florida Department of Education’s state assessment rubric: 1) Purpose, Focus, Organization; 2) Evidence and Elaboration; and 3) Conventions and Grammar. The investigation of classroom instruction showed how teachers paid particular attention to those aspects of writing that were explicitly stated in the assessment rubric. The five teachers saw a number of IRWI disadvantages, which included absence of creativity and genre variety, the approach not corresponding to a 4th grade developmental level, absence of an accurate picture of writing performance, and mismatch between assessment rubric and anchor papers. The teachers suggested a number of adaptations of IRWI, which, from their perspectives, would improve the current state of writing instruction, such as starting IRWI from kindergarten and throughout lower elementary grades, including more genre variety, writing in L1, among others. This study also contributed to the understanding of which elements of critical knowledge were present in the instruction of five teachers (Fitzgerald & Shanahan, 2000). The results of this study informed the field with regard to the five teachers’ practices and their perspectives of IRWI in 4th grade ELA writing classrooms with emergent bilinguals. This study built on, supported, and added to the existing research on writing instruction for emergent bilinguals in elementary school. Some important implications were suggested regarding what can be done to promote teachers’ implementation of IRWI to deepen their understanding of this approach.


Reading-writing; analytic text-based writing