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Based on personal experience teaching literacy skills to Marshallese adolescents in the Republic of Palau, I explore literacy challenges and needs particular to these students. The historical and sociocultural context of language use in the Micronesian Islands reveals the imbalance of current biliteracy efforts. Challenges in teaching literacy to adolescents is well documented, as are challenges in teaching literacy through a second or third language, but these students, and many others like them, also face these challenges without the same traditional cultural value in print literacy that they see in school. The literature suggests potential improvement through approaches that demonstrate the value of multiple literacies, the significance of bilingualism, and an appreciation for orality. Other recommendations for addressing the literacy needs of Marshallese adolescents include culturally relevant teaching practices, curriculum adaptations, and explicit literacy instruction, in which orality is considered an important component of literacy development.
Advisors: Edmund Hamann and Lauren Gatti