Date of Award

8-15-2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Jeannine M. Fontaine, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gian Pagnucci, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Mary R. Jalongo, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study , describes ESL college students' beliefs, attitudes, and experiences, about the issue of reading-to-write during an introductory college writing course. Particularly, the study aims at exploring and hearing their beliefs and attitudes regarding the effects of the reading activities on their writing in the light of connections covered in the scholarly literature. The significance of this study rests on the opportunity it gives to the participants to have their voices heard regarding their attitudes and experiences during a course designed to link reading and writing activities. Multiple research methods of qualitative research design, including interviews, observation, and document analysis have been employed in this study. Specifically, this study uses one unstructured interview, two semistructured interviews, and one mid-interview. Observation and writing samples will be used during the course. The research questions that the study will answer relate to the following areas: the participants' beliefs about the reading-writing connection at the beginning and at the end of the course; their strategies in using reading texts for writing, the difficulties that they might experience during the course when dealing with reading texts; their opinions about their progress in iv using the rhetorical structures and organizational features covered in the course; and their opinions regarding whether they will pursue the reading-writing connection in the future. The findings of this study indicate that the students engaged in reading-writing activities for the first time. The findings also show that the students have positive attitudes toward reading-to write. The findings also reveal that explicit instruction of rhetorical structures has helped them improve their writing competence. Specifically, they reported that using models along with instruction has resulted in various benefits concerning writing and writing structures, including rhetorical modes, text organization, specific use of words, sentence patterns, parallelism, run-on sentence, revision, wordiness, content information, and motivation to use reading-writing related activities in the future. Moreover, the findings show that the participants experienced some writing problems during the course. Finally, the study shows that the participants developed more understanding about the reading-writing connection through their advice to future students and their metaphors about reading and writing.

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