MITESOL Messages

August 15, 2021 | Volume 47 | Issue 2

Big picture

President's Corner

Hello MITESOL Members! I hope everyone has had a wonderful and relaxing summer after a unique past year and a half. I know many of you are going back into the classroom for the first time this fall and wish you all the best as educators and students!

MITESOL is excited to announce our 2021 Virtual Conference. Although a lot is opening up across the country, we were not certain what November 2021 would look like in terms of Covid-19, so we made the decision to stay virtual again this year. Last year’s conference was a great success, and I’m sure this year’s will be as well. The following information provides key updates for the MITESOL 2021 Virtual Conference, Prioritizing Equity and Recovery for All.

The MITESOL 2021 virtual conference will be held November 5th and 6th. MITESOL is excited to welcome Keynote Speaker, Sonia Nazario, author of Enrique’s Journey on Friday evening. Sonia will be speaking about “Enrique’s Journey: Traumas Immigrant Children Bring to the Classroom.”

In addition, Saturday morning invited speaker, Rebeca Ontiveros-Chavez from the Michigan Immigrants Rights Center, will discuss “Working Together for Undocumented Student Success” and policy updates. Our two featured speakers include Jen Paul from the MDE, who will present “Restart & Revamp with the EL Strategic Vision”, and Patrick Brown, Michigan Association of Community & Adult Education, who will speak on "The State of Adult Education in Michigan" in the afternoon.

Our conference this year will include live and pre-recorded concurrent sessions for viewing during the event and extended access to the specialized conference webpages for attendees. We will have virtual exhibitors to meet our members’ needs and Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings to discuss current issues and views in the field with our attendees.

Again this year, we have created a conference experience that allows for our members to benefit and connect at a reasonable cost. Conference registration will open the week of August 23 and will also include a year-long membership with the cost. Our website will house all conference content with your secure membership login. Please stay tuned for more information and the open registration announcement!

On behalf of the entire MITESOL Board, we would like to wish all of our members a successful fall and we look forward to seeing you virtually on November 5th and 6th, 2021. As we get back to our classrooms, we know our ESL community is in great hands from the work each of you continue to do in the field. Please continue to visit for more information and resources.

See you in November!

Liz Sirman, President & 2021 Conference Chair

Big picture

From the Editors

Hello, hello, and happy August! We hope that everyone has had a chance to recharge and relax this summer. Thanks for joining us here in this edition of MITESOL Messages -- we have some great content to get you focused up and ready to get back into the swing of things as fall rolls back around!


  • President Updates
  • President-Elect Updates
  • Past President Updates
  • Board Updates
  • Adult Education SIG Updates
  • Advocacy and Policy SIG Updates
  • Post-Secondary SIG Updates
  • K-12 SIG Updates

Updates from the field:

  • Reflections on Music as a Teaching Tool
  • A Pitfall of Using a Song
  • An Alternative to Popcorn Reading

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Your co-editors,

Clarissa Codrington

Kelsey DeCamillis

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

President-Elect Updates

Happy August once again! It’s hard for me to believe that I’m already coming up on the end of my year as President-Elect -- and the beginning of my year as President! With our August webinar in a few days and the 2021 MITESOL Conference just around the corner, I’m taking a moment to look back on the other excellent events we’ve had this year. In particular, I was excited to see so many of you at our first ever virtual MITESOL Reception at TESOL!

I hope everyone who participated enjoyed the evening of self-care (thanks to Annette Lauria of Yoga.!), networking, and our MITESOL Tongue Twister cocktail demonstration (thanks to Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings). I want to give a special shoutout, as well, to Savvas Learning Company for their continued support of MITESOL, and once again congratulations to our raffle winners from the evening!

  • Sarah Case (Utica Community Schools) -- Interface Anthology Set from Savvas

  • Aieda Dabish (Hamtramck Public Schools) -- iLit Subscription from Savvas

  • Rhoshawda Miller (Ypsilanti Community Schools) -- MITESOL travel mug

  • Jen Paul (Michigan Department of Education) -- MITESOL notebook

Looking forward to seeing MITESOLers as we head into the fall!


Jennifer Musser

President-Elect, MITESOL

Past President Updates

Past-President’s Updates

Summer 2021 Election Results

Thank you to all the MITESOL members who voted in this year’s board elections. Unanimously the membership elected the following slate of officers.

Jennifer Bashara is our next Secretary

Jennifer Bashara is an English Learner (EL) Teacher for Ypsilanti Community Schools, currently serving students at Ford, ELC, and Ypsilanti International Elementary School (YIES). She graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a BA in Elementary and endorsements in Integrated Science (K-8) and Teaching English as a Second Language (K-12). Jennifer loves working closely with her students, their families and their teachers to support their learning. She also loves that she is able to learn so much about her students as well as be active in her school community. Jennifer is a lifelong resident of Michigan. When she is not teaching, she loves to spend time at home with her family, working outside in her vegetable garden and having fun!

Briana Asmus is our next President-Elect

Dr. Briana Asmus is Assistant Professor of Education, ESL/Bilingual Program Director, and Project Director of a National Professional Development (NPD) grant program administered by the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI. She received her doctorate in English education with a minor in postcolonial studies from Western Michigan University. Prior to her career in higher education, Briana was an English (ELA) teacher at the secondary level. In addition, she taught English as a foreign language (TEFL) in South Korea, Japan, and China where she also designed and directed bilingual summer programs. For several years, Briana worked as a literacy consultant in migrant education, where she completed her dissertation research studying the critical practices of teachers who were former migrants themselves. Her research interests lie at the intersection of ESL, ELA, social justice, and critical theories. She has authored several publications, most recently, co-editing Engaging the Critical in English Education: Approaches from the Commission on Social Justice in Teacher Education published under Peter Lang Publishing. Briana serves as a member of the Michigan Department of Education ESL Advisory Council and Michigan Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) EL Collective. She is also a proud member of MITESOL and the Advocacy and Policy Committee. Her hobbies include teaching fitness classes (Pilates and dance), building and riding mopeds, and reading Queer YA Literature. A personal note/quote: “As a member of MITESOL, I know the amazing capacity this group has for serving ELs. I am very excited to continue the legacy of advocacy set forth by MITESOL in my new position.”

On behalf of the entire membership, I would like to welcome all of you on the Board of MITESOL. Thank you for devoting your time to supporting the organization and our members in the field. Look for our new board members at the Fall Virtual Conference!

Upcoming Board Openings

While we are excited for our new Secretary and President-Elect to begin in November, we are also in need of a new Communications Coordinator. Laura Hancock is taking an amazing opportunity to teach English abroad in Asia this September! She has contributed her expertise to the board this past year and we are very grateful for her work!

The Communications Coordinator is a crucial position on the board as this person manages our email listserv, supports the website and social media, and coordinates communication within our MITESOL board. We are looking for someone who is well organized and willing to support communication efforts of MITESOL! We have great resources available and are here to support all of our new board members! If interested, please message We expect to have an election this fall as we find interested candidates.

MITESOL Advocacy & Policy Webinar: Join us on August 26th!

We have exciting news! There is still a short amount of time to register for our virtual August event! Come join us on Thursday, August 26th from 6:00-7:30 to get some hot-off-the-press updates from Sharon Umlor, and Collin Blair, our Advocacy & Policy and Adult Education SIG leaders, respectively. We will talk about current events in our field and plan for the current year.

Please see the attached flyer for more info.

Registration is free for members! You can register here:

Not a member? JOIN or renew today for $25 ($20 for part-time employees & students).

We hope to see you there!

My Final Newsletter

I wanted to take a moment and thank all of our board members and each of you as my time on the MITESOL board is ending this fall. This is my final newsletter submission. I also have exciting news, my husband and I are expecting our first baby! The timing aligns to the closing of my MITESOL chapter as I begin a new personal journey. I have greatly enjoyed my time on the board and the opportunities I have had to support the organization and the field. I will not be a stranger to MITESOL and hope to continue to see all of the exciting work of the future board! I wish all of our members a successful 2021-2022 school year and hope you continue to support the fantastic work of MITESOL and the wonderful students and communities we all serve!

Dr. Tina Kozlowski, Past-President

Big picture

Board Updates

MITESOL August 2021 Newsletter

Hello MITESOL members! Summer is going so fast and everything around us is still green. The rain has allowed me extra reading time as I do not have to water my flowers or mini garden. I hope everyone is safe and enjoying the bursts of sunshine.

  • The board continues to work on the virtual conference, registration may start in September.

  • There are currently 343 MITESOL members.

  • Board meeting dates for the remainder of 2021 are scheduled to be virtual, the dates are:

    • August 21, 2021

    • November 13, 2021

Jacqueline Tomaszewski

Secretary, MITESOL

Big picture

Adult Ed SIG Updates

The end of summer is gradually approaching. I hope most have had the opportunity to enjoy more and more time out and about in some beautiful summer weather. Please enjoy these resources, news articles, and advocacy opportunities. Remember—the fall MITESOL Virtual Conference is November 5-6. Click here to APPLY for an Adult Ed travel grant!

Please stay active on the Adult Ed message board, and let me know what you are doing with your work et al!

--Collin Blair, Adult Ed. SIG Leader (

Education Updates—Adult Ed for Providers of Programs

Resources for Adult Ed programs (ESL & beyond),5863,7-336-94422_95539_64362_64511-371621--,00.html

Michigan Dept. of Education—English Learner Resources,4615,7-140-81376_88063---,00.html

Professional Development

There are regularly a bevy of courses and webinars for members.

Jobs and Skills Training

Pure Michigan jobs and skills training

Peruse this website for many options to aid your students with workforce training and jobs:

*Also, refer students to local Michigan Works! offices for asssistance with resumes, interviewing skills, and locating available jobs:


Global Michigan—Partner organizations for refugees, immigration, and more,9597,7-394-93233---,00.html

Refugee Council USA

Supporting ELLs through Covid-19

How can schools best support English language learners (ELLs) and immigrant students through the COVID-19 pandemic? What lessons have we learned so far?

Resources for Adult Students (and their teachers!)

VOA News Learning English

Can’t help but include this one! ESL-centered materials in all skills, videos, grammar lessons, idioms, current events and beyond. Use “The Day In Photos” as a daily icebreaker activity.

Free tools to make your students better writers


Great reading for English Language Learners. Do together in class or assign remotely.

Citizenship Test Practice

As the printed books + cds are no longer being produced, this website is the place to refer your students for citizenship test prep.


Great for adult ESL/GED learners as well! Your program must purchase student seats.

Big picture

Advocacy & Policy SIG Updates

Advocacy & Policy updates from SIG Leader, Sharon Umlor:

Overview of the TESOL 2021 Advocacy & Policy Summit

This year’s June 21-23 Advocacy & Policy Summit was again virtual, bringing together professionals from all over the world. Attending with MITESOL Adult Education SIG leader Collin Blair, we were able to learn from numerous presentations from policy experts, educators, and advocates regarding federal policy updates, immigration, and national and global affiliate experiences. The third day of the summit was an Advocacy Day of Action in which attendees made use of TESOL’s Advocacy Action Center to contact their representatives on issues such as legislation supporting EL teachers, immigration reform, and TESOL’s legislative priorities. The Action Center is a free resource that anyone can use at any time to easily contact legislators. MITESOL again held its own advocacy campaign on that day encouraging members over social media to use the Action Center and call their representatives’ offices using TESOL’s Policy Recommendations for the 117th Congress. Any day is a good day for action – You can find current advocacy materials specific to Michigan in this packet!

  • I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at MITESOL’s August 26 Advocacy & Policy interactive webinar. What a great chance to talk with colleagues and SIG leaders to find out the current issues affecting us all!

  • Stay up to date with advocacy issues by visiting TESOL’s press releases page. Not only is this a great place to find current TESOL news, but also to discover issues and campaigns to support, then communicate your stance to policymakers with TESOL’s backing.

Contact your policymakers:

State: Michigan House of Representatives; Michigan Senate; Michigan Office of the Governor

Federal: U.S. House of Representatives; U.S. Senate; The U.S. President/White House

  • Consider joining the conversation on the Advocacy & Policy SIG message board as well as our Facebook group! Also, please feel free to email SIG Leader Sharon Umlor at with any questions or ideas of how you’d like to be more involved.

Big picture

Post-Secondary SIG Updates

I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful weather that summer is bringing us! I hope you find the information below helpful. If you want us to feature a particular topic in our next newsletter, please let us know.


Practice & Research:

Trying to think of innovative ways for your ESL college students to demonstrate their language skills? The article below describes how a photovoice project allowed international students to express themselves through photographs and provide a snapshot of their lives and interests to their ESL instructors.

Douglas, S. R., Campbell, R., & Scott, R. (2021). Encountered imagery: An English for academic purposes photovoice project. TESOL Journal, 12(2).

Should we group ESL learners with others who speak the same native language? Pastushenkov, Cap, Zhuchenko, and Pavlenko (2020) conducted a study to investigate whether ESL students stayed on task when they were grouped with classmates who spoke the same native language, as well as why they used their native language. The authors found that students stayed on task and used their native language only to talk about the task or discuss vocabulary.

Pastushenkov, D., Camp, C., Zhuchenko, I., & Pavlenko, O. (2021). Shared and different L1 background, L1 use, and peer familiarity as factors in ESL pair interaction. TESOL Journal, 12(2), n/a–n/a.

Have you thought about allowing ESL students to translanguage when teaching writing? Sun and Lan (2021) synthesized the research on a translingual approach to teaching writing, its benefits, and when and how to be careful when allowing students to use all of their linguistic resources.

Sun, Y., & Lan, G. (2021). Enactment of a Translingual Approach to Writing. TESOL Quarterly, 55(2), 398–426.


TESOL Resource Center

TESOL Back to School Resources

One Stop English

ESL Cafe

OWL Purdue English as a Second Language

Tools for Teaching Online:

Thank you for reading!

Virginia David

Post-Secondary SIG Leader, MITESOL

Faculty Specialist & Coordinator of TESOL, Western Michigan University

Big picture

K-12 SIG Updates

Hello! I hope you were able to make some space for self-rejuvenation this summer. During the 2020-2021 school year, our profession faced many challenges. Many of us, myself included, were grateful for the support of our MITESOL community. We definitely learned that having a strong network can help the hard days become more manageable when we stick together and lift each other up. As you know, our field is constantly growing and changing-especially during these extenuating circumstances. With that in mind, we have developed ways to keep you informed outside of the biannual newsletter. Please join the K-12 SIG message board on our MITESOL website, follow us on Twitter @MITESOLK12SIG and/or join the MITESOL K-12 SIG Facebook group to stay connected with the K-12 MITESOL world on a regular basis. We would love for you to tag us with exciting research/articles from the field, best practices in action, or interesting professional development opportunities. I hope you find the information below helpful. Please let me know if you want more information about a particular topic, as well.


WIDA ACCESS and Alternate ACCESS printed score reports will arrive on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. The August 5th edition of the Michigan Department of Education Spotlight Newsletter includes information about WIDA ACCESS updates, information about student exits, and “New EL Data Tiles on MiSchoolData.” If you have not signed up to receive the Michigan Department of Education Spotlight Newsletters, click on the heading above to subscribe to the Spotlight Listserv.

This link will bring you to information released by WIDA in regards to Covid-19, as well as a “WIDA Guide to Understanding ACCESS for ELLs 2021 Scores.”


The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and the Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI) students will automatically process EL exits for ALL students meeting the overall proficiency level of 4.8 on the WIDA 2021 ACCESS or P2 on WIDA Alternate ACCESS. Districts will still be required to exit within their local systems and to create their own list of students for FEL monitoring. Please click the link above for additional information.

Michigan Department of Education’s EL Entrance and Exit Protocol has been updated due to changes in the EL Exit Reporting Guidelines and Auto-Exiting based on WIDA ACCESS and Alternate ACCESS scores.

Changes and updates are being made to the WIDA Secure Portal. It will look and feel more like the public WIDA website, with the idea that resources will be easier to locate. Check out the website above to become familiar with the changes that are expected to be released this September.

Always a useful tool, it is important to check this website regularly for updated information about assessing students during any WIDA testing windows.

Resources and Websites

Be sure to check out the links below for a number of helpful tools and resources that have been designed to support the teaching of English Learners.

2021-2022 Professional Development Opportunities:

All questions, comments, or suggestions are welcome. Please contact me if you would like more information about reaching and teaching K-12 English Learners.

Thank you for reading!

Rachael Wenskay

K-12 SIG Leader, MITESOL

ESL Teacher/Coordinator, Lamphere Public Schools

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Reflections on Music as a Teaching Tool

By Emi Shinohara

In Spring 2021, I taught the Community Language Program (CLP) at Teachers College, Columbia University as an ESL instructor and attempted to offer stimulating lessons that would keep the students motivated. Using a song naturally occurred to me as a fun and engaging way to teach grammar and new vocabulary, but the teaching of the CLP left me with fundamental questions of “How do I actually use songs to teach language? How can I use them effectively?” Hence, I am currently working on an MA project that investigates how music (i.e., listening to/singing songs and learning the lyrics) can help learners acquire new vocabulary, learn grammar, and improve pronunciation and listening comprehension. In fact, my literature review on the topic so far has revealed that many other teachers struggle with the same questions; they believe in music’s potential contributions in second language acquisition, but are not informed of exactly how (Xi, 2021).

Furthermore, there exists a lack of theoretical underpinnings that support a teacher’s choice to use a song in an ESL/EFL classroom (Engh, 2013, p. 113). Yet scholars have been interested in the use of music in language pedagogy since the 1960s (Abrate, 1983; Jolly, 1975; Parker, 1969; Techmeier, 1969). Thus, in order to fill the gap between scholarly discoveries and teachers’ knowledge as well as to help teachers make an informed decision, I want to continue researching the potentially positive relationship between music and second language acquisition and suggest its pedagogical implications for teachers and educators.


Abrate, J. H. (1983). Pedagogical application of the French popular song in the foreign language classroom. The Modern Language Journal, 67(1), 8-12.

Engh, D. (2013). Why use music in English language learning? A survey of the literature. English Language Teaching, 6(2), 113-127.

Jolly, Y. S. (1975). The use of songs in teaching foreign language. Modern Language Journal, 59, 11-14.

Parker, S. L. (1969). Using music to teach a second language. Modern Language Journal, 53, 95-96.

Techmeier, M. (1969). Music in the teaching of French. Modern Language Journal, 53, 96.

Xi, X. (2021). English teachers' perspectives on using music in English language teaching in Thai secondary schools. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 11(2), 145-155.

Emi Shinohara is a Fulbright-sponsored master's student in Applied Linguistics at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is interested in the effects of music in language learning and is currently working on her MA project on how to effectively use songs in an ESL/EFL classroom. If you want to learn more about Emi, please visit:

Big picture

A Pitfall of Using a Song

By Emi Shinohara

One of the best EFL lessons I have ever observed was taught by a middle school teacher who sang beautifully. She entertained her students with a song of the month, and once introduced Oh Happy Day from Sister Act 2, and had the whole class sing together. More importantly, I vividly remember 14-year-old boys, some going through puberty and some others past or before it, joyfully competing against each other for who hit Ryan Toby’s high note. Their genuine, wholesome enjoyment of singing stayed with me long afterwards and planted in me the belief that music is a fun tool for language learning.

My observation of the EFL class, however, also implied that a seemingly innocent attempt to enjoy singing can divert students’ attention from language learning. In the EFL lesson I observed, the students seemed happy to sing along with the teacher’s beautiful lead, looking fully engaged in the activity. Yet I also noticed that the boys trying to imitate Ryan Toby were more focused on producing the high note than learning the language. Therefore, I had to conclude that the musical components distracted them from appreciating the pedagogical value of the singing activity.

In the end, the Oh Happy Day lesson became an important reminder for me to carefully select a song for students. No musical components should interfere with their language learning, but successfully help them to learn a grammar point, new vocabulary, and/or pronunciation in a fun, engaging manner. This may sound easy, but I claim that further research is needed for us to truly understand what and how music helps us learn language.

Emi Shinohara is a Fulbright-sponsored master's student in Applied Linguistics at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is interested in the effects of music in language learning and is currently working on her MA project on how to effectively use songs in an ESL/EFL classroom. If you want to learn more about Emi, please visit:

Big picture

If Not Popcorn Reading, Round Robin, and their Allies in the EL Classroom, then What?

By Dr. Adeline Mansa Borti, Tanja Peter, and Meghan Martinez


One may be wondering why we still have teachers who are in love with popcorn reading, round-robin, and their allies, although research has shown how detrimental these reading strategies can be to students. In my previous article in the MITESOL Message Newsletter, I indicated what popcorn reading and its allies are and why they are ineffective reading strategies in the EL classroom. In addition to the fact that they are ineffective reading strategies because they do not support decoding, comprehension, and the love for reading, they create fear, panic, anxiety and make students hate reading. Research has shown that students experience fear, confusion, and humiliation due to the use of these ineffective strategies, and these negatively impacts students' academic, emotional, mental, and social wellbeing (Ash, Kuhn, & Walpole, 2008; Hilden & Jones, 2012; Kuhn, 2014; Pennington, 2009; Shanahan, 2019; Somme, 2011). In my previous article, I mentioned that we need to nurture strategic and fluent readers. Readers who love reading in a way that makes them lifelong readers and learners. Readers who become independent readers who use reading and literacy to enhance their own lives and the lives of others.

So, our question is, why do some teachers of EL students still use popcorn reading, round-robin, and their allies in the EL classroom? If our general education students sometimes struggle with reading aloud, especially during popcorn and round-robin reading, then take a moment and think about how EL students who barely speak English would perform and feel during popcorn and round-robin reading.

We know there are many effective reading strategies to teach and use in our EL classrooms. In this article, we decided to share some effective strategies that teachers who teach EL students could use instead of popcorn reading and its allies. We know and understand that reading is an individual endeavor and practice as well as a social one. Therefore, we have decided to share some reading strategies that cater to readers' needs as they navigate their lives as individual and social readers.

Reading Strategies that Nurture EL Readers as Independent and Social Readers

Guided Reading

In an EL classroom, one reading strategy that nurtures readers as independent, social, and collaborative readers is guided reading. Guided reading is an instructional method teachers use to support EL readers in small groups (usually, 4-6 students). During guided reading, the EL students who speak the same languages or have similar reading abilities are put in a group. The teacher facilitates the EL students' acquisition of reading and comprehension strategies that can nurture the students as social and independent readers. Texts in EL student's language and English are used at the instructional level. It is advisable for teachers to use bilingual books in order to motivate ELs and aid their comprehension. Usually, teachers use leveled books for guided reading. Check the following links for examples of leveled bilingual and multicultural books to use for EL students:

Note the Following When Engaging in Guided Reading in EL Context

  1. Allow EL students to reread familiar texts in English and their first language

  2. Decide the duration for guided reading according to the assets and the needs of your EL students. However, about 20 minutes may be enough.

  3. Make sure to activate EL students' cultural and background knowledge

  4. Before the EL students start reading, the teacher should ensure that the purpose of reading is established.

  5. The teacher should walk EL students through the book

  6. There could be a grand conversation after everyone has read the book. So, what could happen during the grand conversation?
    -- Allow translanguaging and code meshing by encouraging EL students to share ideas using English and their native languages
    -- Encourage EL students to make connections between the readings and their background and culture
    -- Encourage EL students to ask clarifying questions in English or their first language
    -- Encourage EL students to base their discussion on evidence from the text as well
    -- Allow enough time for EL students to respond to reading, whether it is oral, visual, or written response (Gibbons, 2014)

Some of the Reading and Comprehension Strategies to Use During Guided Reading

Teach EL students to engage in the following

  1. Activate background knowledge

  2. Draw on their cultural capital to enjoy and understand the text

  3. Self-monitor and check for meaning

  4. Predict the story

  5. Examine text organization

  6. Make connections: text to self, text to text, text to world

  7. Create mental pictures of reading

  8. Draw inferences

  9. Identify and unpack literary devices

  10. Decode unfamiliar words

  11. Read in sense groups

  12. Use cueing systems to read (i.e., phonological, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic)

Reading Strategies that Nurture EL Readers as Independent Readers

Sustained Silent Reading

One of the reading strategies that can nurture independent readers in an EL context is Sustained Silent Reading (SSR). This strategy allows EL students and teachers to set aside protected reading time to read self-selected books for about 15 to 30 minutes. This is a protected time because all the EL students and teachers are expected to do nothing but to read. Other labels for this strategy are "drop everything and read" (DEAR), "sustained quiet reading time" (SQUIRT), and "our time to enjoy reading" (OTTER). When this protected time is ensured, students' reading time is increased, their ability to read silently without unnecessary distraction is ensured (Lee, 2021; Olagbaju & Babalola,2020; Rasinski, 2010), and their love for reading is enhanced because they choose the books they love to read. They have no fear of being judged.

Some guidelines to follow when teaching and enacting SSR

Before EL students engage in SSR, the teacher should do the following

  1. Teachers should teach the reading processes (e.g., pre-reading activities, reading activities, responding, exploring, applying) and reading comprehension strategies (e.g., identifying big ideas, predicting, connecting: text-to-self, text-to-world, and text-to-text, monitoring reading through questioning, repairing reading comprehension, summarizing) so that student can use these skills when they need them during the independent reading time.

  2. Provide access to interesting texts of varied genres

  3. Provide texts written in English and ELLs' languages

  4. Provide encouragement and motivation for your EL students; they really need it as many of them struggle with agency and self-confidence.

  5. Remember not to give any activities that suggest accountability but provide follow-up activities such as optional book talk and reading-related projects that do not count towards their grades

After attending to the above,

Let students choose the book each wants to read.

Let the teacher model reading aloud and silent reading before students begin to read.

Let students read silently.

Let student and teacher read for about 15-30 minutes without interruption.

You may encourage students to keep a notebook to write their questions and comments.


Ash, G. E., Kuhn, M. R., & Walpole, S. (2008). Analyzing "inconsistencies" in practice: Teachers' continued use of round robin reading. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 25(1), 87-103.

Gibbons, P. (2014). Scaffolding Language, Scaffolding Learning: Teaching English Language Learners in the Mainstream Classroom, 2nd ed. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Hilden, K., & Jones, J. (2012) Sweeping Round Robin Reading Out of Your Classroom. Reading Today, 1-2.

Kuhn, M. R. (2014). What's really wrong with round robin reading? Retrieved from's-really-wrong-with-round-robin-reading

Lee, S. Y. (2021, March). Storytelling and sustained silent reading in foreign language acquisition: Evidence from Taiwan. In IASL Annual Conference Proceedings.

Olagbaju, O. O., & Babalola, O. R. (2020). Effects of Interactive Read-Aloud and Sustained Silent Reading Strategies on Achievement and Interest in Reading in Gambian Secondary Schools. Studies in Literature and Language, 20(3), 52-62.

Pennington, M. (2009). Don’t use round robin and popcorn reading. Retrieved from

Rasinski, T. V. (2010). The fluent reader: Oral and silent reading strategies for building fluency, word recognition, and comprehension (2nd ed.). New York: Scholastic.

Shanahan, T. (2019). Is round robin reading really that bad? Retrieved from

Somme, C. (2011). Popcorn Reading: The Need to Encourage Reflective Practice. Language Arts Journal of Michigan, 26(2), 40-42.

First Author's Bio:

Dr. Adeline Mansa Borti has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Literacy Education) from the University of Wyoming. Also, she holds an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language. Currently, she is an assistant professor of English education at Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan. Her research interests include second language teaching and learning, English and literacy education, diversity, inclusion, and social justice. She can be contacted at

Second Author's Bio: Tanja Peter

Tanja is a teacher in Zeeland and a student at Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan. Tanja can be contacted at

Third Author's Bio: Meghan Martinez

Meghan is a student at Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan. Meghan can be contacted at

Big picture
Big picture
See you at the conference in November!

Clarissa & Kelsey

Co-editors, MITESOL Messages