New to School and New to Print: Everyday Peer Interaction Among Adolescent High School Newcomers

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This article examines everyday classroom peer interaction among emergent multilingual high school students who are new to the United States, new to school, new to English, and new to alphabetic print literacy. Data were collected through observation and video recording within a daily 90-minute, English language and literacy block class over the course of one academic year in a public high school. All students were older adolescents (16–22 years of age) who had recently arrived from East Africa and had extremely limited or no previous formal schooling experiences. Our close analysis of classroom discourse within typical daily routines reveals how students provided feedback, recasts, and support during activities that are often considered to be noninteractive and teacher-led. Concomitantly, we demonstrate how students in some cases did not take up opportunities that were intended to generate peer interaction and to provide opportunities for negotiation of meaning and form. These findings point to the importance of critically examining peer interaction in everyday contexts and suggest the need to expand conceptions of productive activities and the characteristics of peer interaction among students who are new to basic print literacy skills and new to classroom language learning routines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-151
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Multilingual Research Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Choral reading
  • literacy
  • newcomer
  • peer interaction
  • refugee
  • second language acquisition


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