Over the past decade, the population of students learning English as a second language in the United States has grown astronomically. Presently, the number of English learners (ELs) across the country has reached 4.8 million and is projected to rise in the coming years. Because of this steadily increasing metric, the demand for effective reading instruction as a critical component of overall academic achievement and learning success is crucial. As such, there is a great need for schools to address the language, literacy, and academic needs of ELs in mainstream classrooms. To address this concern, major responsibilities fall on teachers who are leaders at the forefront of instruction. As reading is a challenging task for ELs, teachers must be adequately prepared in order to promote content and language development in various ways. This research investigated teachers candidates' use of read-aloud strategies and explored: (1) experiences with supporting reading comprehension for ELs at various levels of proficiency and (2) perceptions about coaching and feedback sessions as a result of preparation through MELTS modules. Data was gathered from an initial questionnaire, semi-structured interviews, coaching session observation protocols, skill practice reflections, activity plans, and final assessment/evaluation rubrics. A qualitative phenomenological approach was adopted in order to develop an in-depth understanding of participants' perceptions about the MELTS preparation process and their experiences with teaching elementary EL students and avatars. Three main themes emerged from the data analysis: Teaching and Learning Strategies for ELs Through Read-Aloud Practices; The Importance of Guidance and Feedback in Teacher Preparation Programs; Difficulties and Challenges Teaching ELs at Different Proficiency Levels. Results showed the positive impact of well prepared teachers on the reading proficiency levels of ELs during instruction. It also revealed the significant role of guidance and feedback in the learning process. Overall, this research study underscores a substantial need for mentoring and collaboration as an important component in preparing teachers to address the learning needs of second language learners as they work towards achieving academic success. The study offered several recommendations regarding practical EL teaching strategies that emerged from the findings, and pedagogical implications were provided for future implementation in second language classrooms.


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Graduation Date





Regalla, Michele


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Community Innovation and Education


School of Teacher Education

Degree Program

Education; Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages




CFE0009054; DP0026387





Release Date

May 2022

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)