Kaitlin Lyons

Mentor: Dr. Caitlin Gallingane
College of Education
" In the University of Florida ProTeach program, much of our time is spent working with and learning how to best instruct English Language Learners for our English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) endorsement. In the state of Florida, there is a great need for educators to be prepared to teach these students. According to Calderon, Slavin, and Sanchez (2011), English Language Learners “made up 10.6 percent of the nation’s K-12 public school enrollment” in 2007-2008 and the need only continues to grow. An area that displays a great performance discrepancy between native speakers and English Language Learners is in reading. Therefore, effective instruction in reading should focus on “… decoding, or word recognition, and comprehension” for all students, but particularly ELLs. As instructors, we must continue to work towards creating evidence-based practices that cater to the needs of these students. I am interested in researching is the effect that similarities and differences between a student and the book’s main character has on the student’s comprehension and perceived engagement for that book. "


Elementary Education



Research Interests

  • Language Acquisition
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Best Teaching Practices


  • Florida Education Association
  • Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society
  • Delta Delta Delta


  • Alachua County School Volunteer
  • Member of Port Orange Presbyterian Mission to Ayacucho, Peru
  • 3 Year Dance Marathon Participant

Hobbies and Interests

  • Traveling
  • Learning new languages
  • Reading
  • Painting

Research Description

English Language Learners and Reading Comprehension: Using Relatable Texts

In conducting this study, intermediate grade (grades 2-5) ELLs will be given a book once a week to read aloud independently. Three to five students will participate. The first two books will contain a main character of Caucasian decent and the last two will contain a character of their own background, either Hispanic or Asian. These books will be selected by the American Library Association’s definition of quality literature, which includes books that are “worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. [They are] of commendable quality [and] exhibit venturesome creativity.” Student’s comprehension and engagement will be measured qualitatively using a comprehension checklist for each book used in the study. Six books total will be selected and a checklist will be created for each. Students will retell the book to the best of their ability and the checklist will be marked for every item that they retell. After the checklist has been completed, students will then be given an exit survey orally with items that have them rate how much they liked the book, if they thought that the character was special, etc. Conclusions can then be drawn from the checklists and surveys of the four books per student. Through doing this work, I hope to find more evidence for the practice of using more culturally relevant texts with ELLs.