Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Ewa McGrail, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gertrude Tinker Sachs, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jennifer Esposito Norris, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Diane Belcher, Ph.D.

Fifth Advisor

Robert Clayton Hendrick, Ph.D.


Informed by entrenchment and usage-based theories, this mixed methods study, modeled after Riazi's mixed methods fully integrated design, examined how reading and writing may be used to facilitate lexical sequence acquisition for high school bilingual learners. The study compared the efficacy of two interventions on increasing the depth of knowledge of lexical sequences: a reading intervention requiring the reading of short informational texts embedded with eight target lexical sequences and a writing intervention requiring participants to follow the readings with the intentional use of target sequences in writing. A repeated measures factorial ANOVA found no impact of gender or first language on results; both groups made statistically significant gains on depth of knowledge during both interventions with large effect sizes, and they retained gains three to four weeks later. However, reading was found to be more impactful for one group, whereas reading and writing was found to be more impactful for the second group. Subsequent analyses of written responses by participants coupled with a repeated measures ANOVA measuring the acquisition of individual sequences demonstrated that participants were more likely to acquire and use some lexical sequences than others. Data from semi-structured interviews from 12 participants were analyzed through the lens of Anthias’ multilevel model of intersectionality to determine factors influencing intervention results as well as English learning generally. Results of this qualitative strand revealed that the requirement to read twice weekly led reading to become a habit for some participants, that text interest impacted some participants’ motivation to comprehend the text, and that interlinear glossing (providing synonyms above target sequences) was helpful for reading comprehension. Gender and L1 were found to influence learning through the long-lasting impact of bullying, which often led females and those with perceived accents to refrain from speaking English even years after bullying occurred. Other salient findings suggest that the employment of high school students may be underreported and that implicit teacher bias may impact the schooling of some bilingual learners. One LGBTQ bilingual learner narrative provided a positive example of empowerment despite the bullying of others. Several recommendations for research, policy, and teaching practices are discussed.


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