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Writing Sample

Problem Scenario

Solution Questions

Interview & Reading Sample with a comparable ESOL student.

Conversation with ‘Joselyne’

Teacher: I need your help reading a story. I need you to read. Is this the book that you are reading and that you are familiar with?

Joselyne: nods her head yes

Teacher: So, tell me first how your school year has been going because I haven’t seen you since, I think it was in October or November. I think that was the last time I saw you. How have you been doing since then?

Joselyne: Good

Teacher: Have you been doing good in school? Have you been having fun?

Joselyne: nods her head yes

Teacher: Your teacher said you were a patrol. Which area are you patrolling?

Joselyne: The courtyard

Teacher: My son is a patrol. Do you know Jeffrey?

Joselyne: (shakes her head no)

Teacher: He is a patrol when you come up the yellow line and as soon as you turn right, right there he stands right there. He is all excited about it. Are you a morning patrol or an afternoon patrol?

Joselyne: Morning Patrol

Teacher: So you have to get here early?

Joselyne: nods her head yes

Teacher: So does he. Is that hard for you?

Joselyne: uh huh

Teacher: I know. He was late this morning.

Joselyne: So was I.

Teacher: Do you get in trouble if you are late?

Joselyne: (nods her head yes)
Teacher: It is kind of hard sometimes getting here early. So, what else is new?

Joselyne: No

Teacher: Now, you told me you were from…

Joselyne: Haiti

Teacher: Do you speak another language?

Joselyne: (nods her head yes)

Teacher: What language?

Joselyne: Creole

Teacher: I don’t know if I have ever heard Creole. Do your mom and dad speak English or do you have to help them speak English?

Joselyne: They know it.

Teacher: I know sometimes children have to help their parents speak English because their parents don’t know a lot of English. You told me you have some sisters, is that right?

Joselyne: Yes, I got three sisters

Teacher: Are you the oldest?

Joselyne: No

Teacher: Tell me where you are at.

Joselyne: I am the second youngest

Teacher: Does your youngest sister go here?

Joselyne: No

Teacher: Because she is real little, right?

Joselyne: She’s three years old.

Teacher: Do you have anyone else that goes here?

Joselyne: No

Teacher: Just you? Do you have anybody in high school?

Joselyne: No. My sisters go to middle school and one will go to the high school.

Teacher: Which high school?

Joselyne: Lake Region

Teacher: Oh, that’s a good school. I like Lake Region.

Joselyne: It is right…it is right by my house.


During the reading of The Emperor and the Kite, we noticed a few errors that Joselyne made. Most of her errors came from either mispronouncing words or from using the incorrect words. For instance, during the reading of the story the line was supposed to read, “In fact she was so tiny…” Joselyne read, “In fact, she has so tiny.” Another instance during the reading, the text said, “Then they rode back to the palace…” Joselyne read “place” for “palace”.
Joselyne also has a weakness with morphemes. The text was supposed to read, “He promised himself that if her plan worked…” and she read “work” for “worked”. She misused the word “understood” and the word “grasped”. Another problem we noticed is that she forgets to add the‘s’ at the end of her verbs. An example is when Joselyne says she ‘feel’ happy.
Instead of saying I have three sisters; Joselyne said I got three sisters. This shows us that she is uncomfortable with irregular verbs. In another sentence she used the verb ‘were’ instead of the verb ‘was’. This is another example of Joselyne’s misuse of irregular verbs.
She also has a problem with phonology and sight words. She also adds words that do not need to be included. Joselyne speaks the word ‘the’ as ‘da.’ She has a definite problem with the pronunciation of the ‘th’ sound.

Teacher: Oh. Okay, are you ready to read?

Joselyne: Yes

Teacher: Here’s the book and just get comfortable. Start whenever you are ready.

Joselyne: Once in ancient China lived a princess who was the fourth daughter of the emperor. She was very tiny. In fact she has, she was so tiny her name was Djeow Seow, which means “the smallest one.” And, because she was so tiny, she was not thought very much of – when she was thought of at all….she was not thought very much of – when she was thought of at all.

Her brothers, who were all older and bigger and stronger than she (was), were thought of all the time. And they were like four rising suns in (da)the eyes of their father. They helped the emperor rule the kingdom and teach the people the ways of peace.
Even her three sisters were all older and bigger and stronger (dan) than she. They were like three midnight moons in the eyes of their father. They were (da) the ones who brought food to his table.

But Djeow Seow was like a tiny star in the emperor’s sight. She was not even allowed to bring a grain of rice to the meal, she was little she thought. so little she was thought of. In fact she was so in-sig-nif-i-cent (insignificant) that the em-pair-e-er (emperor) often forgot he had a fourth daughter at all.

And so Djeow Seow ate by herself. And she talked to herself. And she played by
herself, which was the loneliest thing of all. Her favorite toy was a kite of paper and sticks.

Every morning, when the wind came from the east past the rising sun, she flew her kite. And every evening, when the wind went to the west past the setting sun, she flew her kite. Her toy was like a flower in the sky. And it was like a prayer in the wind.

In fact a monk who passed the palace daily made up a poem about her kite.

My kite sails upward,
Mounting to the high heavens
My soul goes on wings.

But then he was a monk, and given to such thoughts. As for Princess Djeow Seow, she thanked him each day for his prayer. Then she went back to flying her toy.

But all was not peaceful in the kingdom, just as the wind is not always peaceful. For the wind can troubled the waters of a still pond. And there were evil men plotting against the (empire) emperor.

They crept upon him one day when he was alone, when his four sons were away ruling in the furthermost parts of the kingdom and his three daughters were down in the garden. And only Princess Djeow Seow, so tiny she seemed part of the corner where she sat, saw what happened.

The evil men took (empire-er-or)the emperor to a tower in the middle of a wide, treeless plain The tower had only a single window, with an iron bar across the center. The plotters sealed the door with bricks and mortar once the emperor was inside. Then they rode back to the (place) palace and declared that the emperor was dead. When his sons and daughters heard this, they all fled to a neighboring kingdom where they spent their time sobbing and sighing. But they did nothing else all day long.
All except Djeow Seow. She was so tiny, the evil men did not notice here at all. And so, she crept to the edge of the wide, treeless plain. And there she built a hut of twigs and branches.

Every day at dawn and again at dark, she would walk across the plain to the tower. And there she would sail her stick-and-paper kite. To the kite string she tied a tiny basketful of rice and poppy seed cakes, water chestnuts and green tea. The kite pulled the basket high, high in the air as high as the window in the tower. And, in this way, she kept her father alive.

So they lived for many days: the emperor in (his)the tower and the princess in a hut near the edge of the plain. The evil men ruled with their cruel, harsh ways and the people of the country were very sad.

One day as the princess prepared a basket of food for her father, the old monk passed by her hut. She smiled at him, but he seemed not to see her. Yet as he passed, he repeated his prayer in a loud voice. He said:

My kite sails upward
Mounting to the high heavens.
My(em-pire- er) emperor goes on winds.

The princess started to thank him. But then she stopped. Something was different. The words were not quite right. “Stop,” she called to the monk. But he had already passed by.

He was a monk, after all, and did not take part in things of this world.
And then Djeow Seow understood. The monk was telling her something important. And she understood.

Each day after that, when she was not bringing food to her father, Djeow Seow was busy. She twined a string of grass and vines, and wove in strands of her own long black hair. (And) When her rope was as thick as her waist and as high as the tower, she was ready. She attached the rope to the string of the stick-and-paper kite, and made her way across the treeless plain. When she reached the tower, she called to her father. But her voice was as tiny as she, and her words (was)were lost in the wind.

At last, though, the emperor looked out and (say) saw his daughter flying her kite. He expected the tiny basket of food to sail up to this window as it had done each day. But what should he see but the strand of vines and grass and long black hair. The wind was rag-ing above, holding the kite in its steely grip.
And the princess was below, holding tight to the end of the rope.
Although the (empire or) emperor had never really (understand) understood the worth of this tiniest daughter before, he did now. And he promised himself that if her plan (work) worked she would never again want for anything, though all she had ever wanted was love. Then he leaned farther out of the tower (window) and (grabst) grasped the heavy (string) strand. He brought it into his tower room and loosened the string of the kite. He set the kite free, saying, “Go to (they) thy home in the sky, great kite.” And the kite flew off (toward)towards the heavens.

Then the emperor (tried) tied one end of the thick strand to the heavy iron bar across the window, and the other end stretched all the way down to Djeow Seow‘s tiny hands.

The emperor stepped to the window sill, slipped under the iron bar, (salted) saluted the gods, and slid down the rope. His robes billowed out around him like the wings of a bright kite.

When his feet reached the ground, he knelt before his tiny daughter. And he touched the ground (gound) before her with his lips. Then he rose and embraced her, and she almost disappeared in his arms.

With his arm encircling her, the emperor said, “Come to thy (house) home with me, loyal child.” He lifted the tiny princess to his shoulders and carried her all the way back to the palace. At the palace, the emperor was greeted by wild and cheering crowds. The people were tired of the evil men, but they had been afraid to act. With the emperor once again to guide them, they threw the plotters into prison.

And when the other sons and daughters of the emperor heard of his return, they left off their sobbing and sighing, and they hurried home to welcome their father. But when they arrived, they were surprised to find Djeow Seow on a tiny throne by their father’s side. To the end of (this) his day, the emperor ruled with Princess Djeow Seow close by. She never wanted for anything, especially love. And the emperor never again neglected a person-whether great or small. And, too, it is said that Djeow Seow ruled after him, as gentle as the wind and, in (her) their loyalty, as unyielding.

Teacher: You did a good job. Your teacher gave me some questions to ask you about the story. Besides being tiny, how is Djeow Seow different from her brothers and sisters?

Joselyne: She was…(can’t understand answer)

Teacher: Who gives Djeow Seow the idea for getting her father out of the tower?

Joselyne: The monk

Teacher: What does he do? How does he do it? Do you remember?

Joselyne: shakes her head no

Teacher: It says he repeats a prayer he says each time he passes her that adds the word emperor in place of soul. So he said a prayer.

Teacher: How does Djeow Seow get her father out of the tower?

Joselyne: She flew. She…um. She flew the kite in the tower and made her dad…

Teacher: Did he climb out of the tower?

Joselyne: nods her head yes

Teacher: He did.

Teacher: How did her life change from the beginning to the end of the story?

Joselyne: She used to be not loved and at the end she was love

Teacher: Why do you think she wasn’t loved?

Joselyne: Because she was tiny

Teacher: Do you think that is a reason not to love someone because they are tiny? What might have happened if her favorite toy had not been a kite?

Joselyne: Her father would still be in the tower

Teacher: How does she feel when her father kisses the ground before her with his lips and then rises and embraces her?

Joselyne: She feel happy

Teacher: What does unyielding mean?

Joselyne: no response

Teacher: Do you know?

Joselyne: shakes her head no

Teacher: Tell about a time you have been loyal to someone.

Joselyne: Um

Teacher: Do you understand what the word loyal means?

Joselyne: I think so

Teacher: What do you think it means?

Joselyne: Like telling the truth?

Teacher: Okay, good. That is one way to be loyal. So can you tell me about a time you have been loyal to someone?

Joselyne: The time I been loyal to someone was when I got in trouble and my mom said, “Why did I…..(can’t think of rest of words)

Teacher: Your mom asked you why you did something and you were honest and told her the truth?

Joselyne: Yes

Teacher: Good

Teacher: Use (the word) insignificant in a meaningful sentence. Do you know what that word means?

Joselyne: No

Teacher: Tell about a time you have helped a friend or member of a family who was in trouble. Can you tell about a time you helped your sisters or someone who was in trouble?

Joselyne: shakes her head no

Okay. You did a very good job. I appreciate you reading to me and helping me out today.

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