Literacy Matters Vol 24 Winter 2024

This study was conducted in a Chinese-English dual-language elementary school library in the southeast of the United States, where English is the dominant language, and it may not represent other Chinese-English elementary school libraries in other regions or non-monolingual environments. It is important to note that this study only explored the Chinese book corner in a Chinese-English dual-language immersion elementary school. There may be some differences compared to other dual-language immersion schools, even though this study can provide some strategies for them. It is recommended that Chinese-English dual-language immersion elementary schools provide more books in Chinese or both languages to offer more opportunities for students to read and develop their language skills in both languages equally. More books that fit both the student’s interests and language proficiency are necessary to support children in developing their language and literacy skills. It is crucial to include more books written by Chinese authors, primarily situated in current China, so children know about what is happening in China currently and help them communicate with Chinese people in real-life situations. More books about Asian Americans may need to be funded to offer more resources for Asian American children to learn more about themselves while they learn languages. It should be noted that this study only examined the Chinese book corner in a Chinese-English dual-language immersion elementary school and that there are three Chinese-English immersion schools in this city. Other Chinese-English dual language immersion school libraries can also benefit from this study to improve their book resources. For example, Korean English, Spanish-English, or other dual-language school libraries may also benefit from this study to improve their book resources to support students in understanding diverse cultures and developing their language and literacy skills. Conclusion Taking into account that the school included in this study is a Chinese-English immersion elementary school, the numbers of Chinese and Chinese-English bilingual books were still low compared to books in English. Also, students faced difficulties finding the appropriate books that fit both their language level and reading interests. They may lose interest in the content if they choose books that match their language proficiency level. If they select the books that fit their interests, they struggle to read them. When children do not see themselves and their languages and cultures represented in texts, they may have difficulties identifying themselves, which can negatively impact their school experiences (Ada, 2016). Thus, students need access to more books and resources in Chinese or both languages and books that fit their interests and language proficiency. Additionally, in the Chinese book corner in this study, only 32% of the books were written by Chinese authors. Many books were translated from works written by worldwide authors, including American authors and authors from countries other

children and older generation stay in their hometowns. Every year before the Chinese New Year, people working in large cities return to their hometowns to celebrate with their families. This book talks about a father going back to his hometown after one year of demanding work and how he spends the Chinese New Year with his family.

Figure 7 Book Situated in Modern Setting

From a child’s perspective, this story shows how the child is willing to meet and stay with his father. This book discusses real and common issues in modern China, and readers may connect themselves with Chinese people by learning and reading more about what has happened in China recently. Books about Chinese culture in the Chinese corner in the bilingual school libraries still focus on the food, festivals, famous people in history, folktales, and families. These books offer easier access for children to understand Chinese culture while they learn the language. However, it may not be helpful for them to understand the Chinese language and culture profoundly. Characters of the Books Table 6 shows the characters of the books. Even though 6% of the students in this school were Asian American, only 1% of all the books in the Chinese corner were about Asian Americans. Thus, Asian American students in this Chinese English immersion elementary school may find it challenging to see themselves, their families, and their cultures while they read. Learning more about themselves and seeing themselves in literature may support readers, especially children willing to learn more about cultures and languages.

Literacy Matters General Articles

Other Cultural Groups


Asian American(s)







Table 6 Characters of the Books

Figure 8 exemplifies how a Chinese-American child views Chinese culture. This book talks about how Chinese American children view China from their unique perspectives, and it may also help readers connect American culture with Chinese culture, and modern culture with ancient culture. This book can help Chinese-American readers learn more about themselves and better form their identities.

Figure 8 Book about Chinese Americans

| 22 | Literacy Matters | Volume 24 • Winter 2024


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