Research in writing studies has focused on multilingual writers and the rhetorical affinity they gain from shuttling between multiple languages (Lorimer Leonard, 2014; Guerra, 2004) Writing center studies have focused on multilingual writing tutors and have argued the need to use more tutors who are literate in more than one language because they possess skills that can be useful in writing centers (Lape, 2013; Thonus, 2014). However, not much research has been conducted to better understand what literacy practices these multilingual writing tutors develop that make them better equipped in writing center tutoring sessions. This thesis focuses on a case study of a multilingual writing tutor and traces her literacy practices through the collection of a literacy history interview, three video-recordings of tutoring sessions, and a stimulated recall interview in which segments from the sessions are the focus of the interview. The thesis employs New Literacy Studies (Barton and Hamilton, 1998; Heath, 2001) and Canagarajah's (2013) translingualism as a lens to identify literacy practices that stem from a multilingual upbringing and the ways they manifest in tutoring sessions. The findings of this study reveal two main literacy practices that are prevalent in the tutor's tutoring strategies, empathy and rhetorical attunement. More importantly, the study reveals the complexities of tracing literacy practices across time. Through data analysis, I claim that the participant's rhetorical attunement may have derived from her multilingual upbringing as many researchers suggest (Lorimer Leonard, 2014; Guerra, 2004). Ultimately, my research also argues that these practices were amplified by other factors in her life that helped foster her rhetorical learning and led to a metacognitive practice. I assert that through her exposure to rhetorical education in the tutor training course, the Writing and Rhetoric major, and the continual training and practice of tutoring, her rhetorical affinity is developed into a metacognitive practice in which she thinks critically about the moves she is making in her tutoring session, rather than simply reacting to changes in the session; she thinks of the various effects her decisions may have on the learning occurring in the session. The results of this study demonstrate the complexities of tracing literacy practices over time and argue for a less linear approach to tracing literacy practices. By understanding the ways informal and formal education affect the development of those practices, we can better trace those practices from its origin through its progression in order to understand how those practices are enhanced through various domains. Although this study begins to address the literacy practices that are distinct to multilingual writing tutors, it is limited due to the number of participants that took part in this study. More research needs to be conducted to study the literacy practices of multilingual writing tutors.


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Graduation Date





Rounsaville, Angela


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities


Writing and Rhetoric

Degree Program

English; Rhetoric and Composition









Release Date

May 2017

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)