InterCom, a customizable weekly newsletter for language professionals, is provided by the Center for Applied Second Language Studies (CASLS) at the University of Oregon. InterCom is sponsored through a Title VI Language Resource Center grant.


Announcing CASLS’ Nationwide Faculty Learning Community for the Development of Reflective Practices

The Center for Applied Second Language Studies (CASLS) is committed to supporting learners and educators in their sustained development and growth. An outgrowth of this commitment is our development of a nation-wide faculty learning community focused both on supporting practitioners’ engagement in reflective professional practices and on providing resources for practitioners to engage their students in reflective learning. We encourage you to nominate yourself and/or someone you know for participation in this community by filling out this form by June 1. Participants will engage in a series of five one-hour webinars from July 8-July 12 designed to promote introspection and to share information and resources related to national initiatives (like LinguaFolio) designed with reflection in mind. We hope to see you there!

Topic of the Week: Strategy for L2 Reading: Judge the Book By Its Cover

By Tera Reid-Olds, PhD Candidate and CASLS Intern

When it comes to assigning texts, the most difficult question to ask myself is, “how do I create points of entry for my learners into a (con)text that is unfamiliar?” It often feels like I am the matchmaker and I have ten minutes to set the stage for a positive first encounter between my learners and the reading material I’ve selected. I believe that a learner can form a positive, meaningful relationship with any text – regardless of the specific topic at hand – provided they are given the appropriate scaffolding and support. To quote one of our favorite adages as language teachers, “change the task, not the text.”

I don’t think we can overestimate the value of pre-reading tasks in which activating students’ preexisting schemata can set the tone for class discussion and engagement with the material. As per B. Tomlinson (2003), we can ask learners to visualize, reflect on a personal experience, roleplay, or respond to an image that resonates with the text to be introduced (p. 113). Learners can generate the most provocative responses to an image, a title, a single word before they ever open the book, newspaper, or social media webpage. Pre-reading tasks encourage learners to create their own entry points into texts and to make predictions, a strategy that helps them to intentionally focus their attention while reading.

One resource that I return to frequently when I contemplate pre-reading tasks is T. Bell’s approaches to teaching literature (2013, pp. 127-139). One of her suggestions is to bring in several editions of a literary work with distinct cover art designs. Students can analyze the interplay of visual and verbal before they read, and subsequently compare their initial hypotheses to the text. This pre-reading task is one of many that invites students to predict, to be curious, to investigate. What sets this task apart is the way in which it raises learner awareness of their own complex understanding of visual rhetoric. They can read the relationship between image and text, color and depth, and draw conclusions about marketing and translation and visual representations of literary themes. This activity can be applied to non-literary texts as well: for example, giving students a photograph from the front page of a newspaper, an advertisement, a magazine cover, a meme, or social media icon. In my experience, this activity empowers students to reflect on their own capacity for interpretation and analysis. I can’t think of a better state of mind for my learners to be in – intrigued, encouraged, confident – when they approach a new text.


Bell, T. (2013). Innovative approaches to teaching literature in the world language classroom, In S. Dhonau (Ed.), MultiTasks, MultiSkills, MultiConnections: Selected Papers from the 2013 Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (127-139). Eau Claire, WI: Crown Prints.

Tomlinson, B. (2003). Developing principle frameworks for materials development. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.), Developing Materials for Language Teaching (pp. 107-129). London: Continuum.

Activity of the Week

  • Predicting Meaning in Texts with Images

    By Tera Reid-Olds, PhD Candidate and CASLS Intern

    This activity is designed to highlight classroom implementation of the reading strategy of predicting content before reading.1 


    • Students will practice the strategy of predicting meaning and content before they read.

    Modes: Interpersonal, Interpretive

    Materials Needed:

    • 3-4 images (cover art, icons, photos, or drawings) associated with a text   
    • A blank sheet of paper or worksheet with sample Venn diagram for comparing 3-4 images


    1. Before class, compile 3-4 different images that represent a specific text. For literature, these images might be book covers, for social media they might be photos and/or gifs, and for news articles they might be images or drawings.
    2. Project the images on the screen (and/or print them out for the students to look at).
    3. Tell the students to think about the fact that all of these images represent the same text. Have them work individually for five minutes to compare and contrast the images using a Venn diagram.
    4. Once the students have completed their Venn diagrams, tell them to turn to a partner and discuss for three minutes the observations they’ve made.
    5. Engage the students in a whole class discussion about predictions for what the text will be about. Ask the students to justify their predictions by linking them back to their observations of the images. As the students respond, write their predictions (key words) on the board. Once you have a complete list of students’ predictions, take a picture of the list before erasing.
    6. Ongoing: as the students read the text, revisit the list of the predictions and verify their validity. This process can happen corporately or individually.

    1Adapted from Bell, T. (2013). Innovative approaches to teaching literature in the world language classroom, In S. Dhonau (Ed.), MultiTasks, MultiSkills, MultiConnections: Selected Papers from the 2013 Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (127-139). Eau Claire, WI: Crown Prints.

CASLS Spotlight: The Language Educator Infographic: Resources That Help Connect Research and Practice

The April/May 2019 issue of ACTFL's The Language Educator journal focuses on connecting research to our practice. Given that connecting research to practice is a primary goal of CASLS InterCom, InterCom Editor Lindsay Marean and CASLS Fellow Leila Tamini Lichaei contributed an infographic to the issue highlighting InterCom along with two other valuable resources: the We Teach Languages podcast series and related materials, and the OASIS initiative for making relevant research findings accessible to a wide audience including practicing teachers. 

ACTFL members can access the April/May issue online at, and anyone can read Hlas and Crane's article, "Connecting Research to Our Practice," at

OASIS is available at
We Teach Languages is available at
We know you already subscribe to CASLS InterCom, but you can search our archives, change your subscription preferences, and encourage colleagues to subscribe at

Language Corner

Tomorrow Is World Book Day and UN English Language Day

Source: Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day Back to Quick Links


According to English teacher Larry Ferlazzo, tomorrow, April 23, is both World Book Day and UN English Language Day. He has collected an annotated list of online resources for both events on this webpage:

A Framework for Understanding Games and Learning

Source: TESOL Blog Back to Quick Links


In this blog post, Jeff Kuhn highlights Jon Reinhardt and Julie Sykes' framework for incorporating games into language learning classroom practice, based on their chapter in a 2012 book, Digital Games in Language Learning and Teaching. Kuhn unpacks the dimensions of game-enhanced learning and game-based learning in terms of their focus - either learning or pedagogy. Read his short discussion with examples of relevant resources at

Six Essential Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners

Source: Edutopia Back to Quick Links


6 Essential Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners
by Emily Kaplan
April 12, 2019

"To learn about [ELLs'] needs—and best practices for addressing them—I interviewed a range of educators and observers, including Larry Ferlazzo, an educator and author of The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide; longtime teachers of English as a second language (ESL) Emily Francis and Tan Huynh; and the journalist Helen Thorpe, who spent a year observing a teacher who works with ELLs.

"The group emphasized that the strategies listed here, which include both big-picture mindsets and nitty-gritty teaching tactics, can be incorporated into all classrooms, benefiting both native English speakers and ELLs."

Read the full article at

New Curated List: Instructional Strategies for English Learners

Source: Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day Back to Quick Links


Larry Ferlazzo has started a new curated collection of online resources. This one is dedicated to collections of instructional strategies for English language learners. See what he's already added, and make your own suggestions for additional links to include, at

Grammar in Context with Authentic Resources

Source: passion4theprofession Back to Quick Links


The passion4theprofession blog has an excellent blog about grammar in context using authentic resources. The author points out that one of the ACTFL Core Practices is to teach grammar as a concept and to use it in context. She then discusses five different ways that students can explore grammar through communicative use of authentic texts: incidental, focused, enriching, recycled, and reinforcing. Read the full blog post at

Strategies for Independent Reading in Class

Source: Teaching Spanish Made Easy Back to Quick Links


A.C. Quintero provides a background and rationale for why she has her students engage in independent reading, in which students choose what to read. She then describes her own process for implementing independent reading with her students. Learn some ideas for implementing independent reading from her post at

Brain Breaks and Focused Attention Activities

Source: Edutopia Back to Quick Links


Your InterCom Editor loves to collect brain break activities, which are short activities between more cognitively demanding tasks that help to re-energize and focus learners. In this article, Lori Desautels shares a few brain break activities as well as focused attention practices that can help students with their executive function, needed to sustain attention and regulate emotion.

Read the article at

Listening Activity: Countdown

Source: Teaching Spanish w/ Comprehensible Input Back to Quick Links


Cynthia Hitz describes a listening activity in which students listen to a series of progressively more specific clues about, in the example, a famous woman. Read a description of this listening activity at

Podcast and Transcript: Games and Movement

Source: Desk-Free Back to Quick Links


In this podcast, high school Spanish teacher Sarah Breckley explains why movement and games are important in language classrooms, and then she describes several games that can be adapted to a variety of learning situations. Listen to the podcast or read the transcript and access helpful links for more resources at or at

Bringing Parents In: English Language Learners

Source: Language Magazine Back to Quick Links


Bringing Parents In
by Nadya Abu-Rish
April 13, 2019

As a second-grade teacher at Beech Tree Elementary, my job is not only to support student success and academic growth but also to provide every child with the tools to become leaders with the confidence to communicate with others. More than half of our school population speaks English as a second language (and close to 70% of our students receive free and reduced lunch), so to achieve this goal I have to make a concerted effort to build strong relationships with my English language learners (ELLs) and their parents. 

Read on for strategies to connect with learners' parents:

Paul Simon Study Abroad Act Reintroduced to Senate

Source: Language Magazine Back to Quick Links


Paul Simon Study Abroad Act Reintroduced to Senate
April 11, 2019

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) today introduced the bipartisan Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program Act, which creates a competitive grant program for institutions of higher education to expand study abroad opportunities for American college students. Study abroad is an important component of a well-rounded post-secondary education, giving students the opportunity to engage with other cultures, enhance foreign language skills, and expand international knowledge through firsthand experience. Named after the late Illinois U.S. Senator Paul Simon – who preached the value of international education as vital to the United States’ economic and national security – this bill aims to increase the number and diversity of undergraduate students studying abroad annually to one million within ten years. 

Read the full article at

Podcast: Cult of Pedagogy with Jennifer Gonzalez

Source: We Teach Languages Back to Quick Links

In Episode 99 of the We Teach Languages podcast series, Rebecca Blouwolff interviews Jennifer Gonzalez. Gonzalez talks about four of her blog posts from her Cult of Pedagogy blog: To Learn, Students Need to DO Something; Is Your Lesson a Grecian Urn?; Retrieval Practice; and How Accurate Are Your Grades? 

Listen to the podcast and access related resources at

Links and Resources for Early Language Learning Advocacy

Source: Mundo de Pepita Back to Quick Links


Julie, the creator of the Mundo de Pepita blog, has curated a collection of links and resources for advocating for and educating about early language learning programs. Access the collection at

Professional Development

Call for Papers: Tenth Annual Workshop on Immigrant Languages in the Americas

Source: Workshop on Immigrant Languages in the Americas Back to Quick Links


The Workshop on Immigrant Languages in the Americas is an annual conference focused on heritage language research. The next WILA will be held 10-12 October 2019 at Østfold University College (Halden, Norway).

Heritage languages have only recently become a major topic of interest among linguists, explored for their implications for linguistic theory, especially in terms of acquisition, attrition, and change. This workshop aims to promote discussion of heritage languages in the Americas across different language, subfields, and theoretical persuasions. 

The organizers invite abstracts for 30-minute presentations (20 minutes + 10 minutes for questions), electronic posters, and traditional posters on any aspect of the linguistics of heritage languages in the Americas (e.g., structural, generative, historical, sociolinguistic, or experimental). 

The submission deadline is June 15, 2019. 

View the full call for papers and learn more about the workshop at

6th International Conference on English Pronunciation

Source: EPEI6 - 2019 Back to Quick Links


6th International Conference on English Pronunciation: Issues and Practices
Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
May 17-18th, 2019

The conference brings together researchers and teachers of English, phonetics, phonology, SLA and EFL/ESL interested in the issues relevant to English pronunciation, both native and non-native.

Plenary speakers:
John Levis (Iowa State University, USA)
Pamela Rogerson-Revell (University of Leicester, UK) 
Kazuya Saito (University College London, UK)
Tanja Angelovska (University of Salzburg, Austria)

Visit the conference website at

2019 National Migrant Education Conference

Source: NASDME Back to Quick Links


2019 National Migrant Education Conference
May 1-4
New Orleans, Louisiana

Join 1,500 of your Migrant Education colleagues at the premier professional development conference for migrant educators and allies. Visit the conference website for more information:

Call for Proposals: Nationals Association for Bilingual Education 49th Annual Conference

Source: NABE Back to Quick Links
49th Annual NABE Conference
Pre-Conference: February 25, 2020
Conference: February 26-28, 2020
Las Vegas, Nevada
NABE is seeking proposals that engage participants in topics related to quality education for DLLs such as:
• achieving educational equity for DLLs
• ensuring social justice for DLLs through strong linguistic and academic attainment
• providing equal educational opportunities for DLLs
NABE invites all education experts, researchers, authors and successful practitioners with information of interest to submit a proposal. They also encourage multilingual proposals. 
Submit proposals by June 30, 2019.
View the full call for proposals at

PEARLL Summer Institute

Source: PEARLL Back to Quick Links

Our sister Language Resource Center, Professionals in Education Advancing Research and Language Learning, will host a series of three professional development opportunities this summer for its summer institute:

June 25-27: Effective Unit Planning
Lead Facilitators: Laura Terrill and Thomas Sauer
A thematic curriculum allows teachers to create meaningful, real-world contexts for standards-based teaching and learning. By building on learners’ interests and life experiences, their attitudes, skills and knowledge are developed in meaningful ways. What real-world contexts will guide what students will have to know and be able to do by the end of a unit? Participants will explore how the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements provide a focus on performance and language functions which are used to guide the development of thematic units while allowing teachers and learners to monitor and document student growth. Participants will have time to develop a thematic unit and will receive feedback at each stage of the development process. Access to model curricula in multiple languages will be provided.

July 11-13: Facilitating Teacher Effectiveness
Lead Facilitators: Greta Lundgaard, Thomas Sauer, and Laura Terrill
Developed in collaboration with the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages
Districts and departments who are focused on developing and implementing a performance-based world language curriculum with district-wide assessments will consider how the Teacher Effectiveness for Language Learning (TELL) Framework provides guidance for more effective instruction resulting in accelerated learning for students. This in-depth professional learning opportunity for district and teacher leaders will engage with and create tools that will support the implementation of effective instruction and assessment. Participants will engage in collaborative work centered around a common definition for high-quality world language learning in order to support the professional growth and development of world language teachers. Participants in this institute are encouraged to make hotel reservations at “The Hotel”. Transportation to the institute site will be provided each day.

August 19-21: Effective Lesson Planning
Lead Facilitator: Thomas Sauer
When schools develop new curricula, there are often gaps that exist between what is written and what teachers need to implement the new curricula. Participants will learn how to deconstruct unit can-do statements into chunks for daily lessons. They will review several examples and will develop a sequence of activities that move students from input to output incorporating frequent checks for learning designed to provide feedback for the learner and teacher. Participants will have time to develop several lesson plans and will receive feedback at each stage of the development process. Access to model lesson plans, activity banks, and more will be provided.

Learn about all three opportunities and register at

CARLA Summer Institute Spotlight: Culture as the Core in the Second Language Classroom

Source: CARLA Back to Quick Links
Culture as the Core in the Second Language Classroom 
July 29–August 2, 2019
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
While cultivating deeper understanding on how language-culture-identity informs our teaching, participants will learn ways to integrate culture and language learning that include authentic materials and a new way of looking at culture. Through constructive conversation, hands-on practice, and reflection participants will learn how to:
• Bring everyday culture into language instruction and apply common frameworks of culture and culture learning;
• Create integrated language-and-culture learning objectives and lessons; 
• Assess culture learning; 
• Use authentic materials for teaching culture and textbooks for culture learning and unlearning. 

Presenters: Martha Bigelow (University of Minnesota) and Kaishan Kong (University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire)
• Find out more about Culture as the Core in the Second Language Classroom:
• Register by the Early Bird Deadline: April 26, 2019
2019 CARLA Summer Institute program
The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of Minnesota, provides high-quality professional development opportunities for language teachers through its annual summer institute program. Now in its 24th year, the program offers thirteen institutes on a wide range of topics that are all designed to link research and theory with practical applications for the classroom. 
Check out the full line-up of 2019 CARLA summer institutes:
• Transitioning to Teaching Language Online (TTLO) (online course) • June 20–July 10, 2019
• Using the Web for Communicative Language Learning (online course) • June 27–July 31, 2019
• Language and Culture in Sync: Teaching Linguistic Politeness and Intercultural Awareness (online course) • July 15–August 2, 2019
• Character Literacy Acquisition in Mandarin Immersion Classrooms • June 17–19, 2019
• Developing Assessments for the Second Language Classroom • July 15-19, 2019
• Exploring Learner Language: Puzzles and Tools in the Classroom • July 15-19, 2019
• Creativity in the Language Classroom • July 15-19, 2019
• Using Technology in Second Language Teaching • July 22–26, 2019
• Exploring Project-Based Language Learning • July 22–26, 2019
• Using Authentic Materials to Develop Foreign Language Literacies • July 22–26, 2019
• Culture as the Core in the Second Language Classroom • July 29–August 2, 2019
• Teaching World Languages and Cultures in Elementary Settings • July 29–August 2, 2019
• Teaching Heritage Languages and Learners • July 29–August 2, 2019
Find out more about the 2019 CARLA summer institute program:
Note: The early bird registration deadline is April 26!


Book: Oxford Handbook of Pragmatics

Source: Oxford University Press Back to Quick Links


The Oxford Handbook of Pragmatics
Edited by Yan Huang
Published by Oxford University Press

This volume brings together distinguished scholars from all over the world to present an authoritative, thorough, and yet accessible state-of-the-art survey of current issues in pragmatics. Following an introduction by the editor, the volume is divided into five thematic parts. Chapters in Part I are concerned with schools of thought, foundations, and theories, while Part II deals with central topics in pragmatics, including implicature, presupposition, speech acts, deixis, reference, and context. In Part III, the focus is on cognitively-oriented pragmatics, covering topics such as computational, experimental, and neuropragmatics. Part IV takes a look at socially and culturally-oriented pragmatics such as politeness/impoliteness studies, cross- and intercultural, and interlanguage pragmatics. Finally, the chapters in Part V explore the interfaces of pragmatics with semantics, grammar, morphology, the lexicon, prosody, language change, and information structure.

Visit the publisher's website at

Book: Early-English Education Works No Miracles

Source: LOT Back to Quick Links


Early-English education works no miracles
By Claire Goriot
Published by LOT

An increasing number of Dutch primary schools is choosing to lower the starting age for English lessons to the age of four. However, despite the rising popularity of early-English education, little is known about its effects on pupils’ development. The overarching question of this thesis is whether the development of executive functions, phonological awareness, and the perception of English speech sounds of early-English pupils is different from that of their mainstream peers, and whether it resembles that of English-Dutch (simultaneous) bilingual children. This thesis also reports on the reliability of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (4th edition) as a measure of English vocabulary in children learning English as a second language.

The thesis shows that Early-English pupils do not demonstrate better executive functions, phonological awareness, or English speech sound perception than mainstream pupils, and that they do not always obtain a higher level of English vocabulary than mainstream pupils. In all three groups (mainstream, early-English, and bilingual), children whose Dutch and English vocabularies are more balanced show better switching skills. Bilingual children clearly obtain higher levels of English vocabulary, and also show significantly better perception of English speech sounds. The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (4th edition) appears not to be a reliable test of English vocabulary in inexperienced second-language learners. It does become more reliable when used with more experienced learners. In summary, early-English education may influence pupils’ cognitive and linguistic development, but these influences are very limited and not comparable to those gained by being raised bilingually.

Visit the publisher's website at

Book: Language Learning and Teaching in a Multilingual World

Source: Multilingual Matters Back to Quick Links


Language Learning and Teaching in a Multilingual World
By Marie-Françoise Narcy-Combes, Jean-Paul Narcy-Combes, Julie McAllister, Malory Leclère, and Grégory Miras
Published by Multilingual Matters

The majority of people around the world live in multilingual societies, and so it follows that plurilingualism should be considered normal. This book proposes a flexible and adaptive framework for designing and implementing language learning environments and tasks, which will be useful for practitioners working in classrooms where many languages are already spoken. The authors begin by presenting a state-of-the-art review of current research on language learning, language teaching and multilingual language acquisition. This is followed by a qualitative review of 37 multilingual research projects, which are treated as case studies to inform the practical guidance that constitutes the remainder of the book. The information and practical framework contained within this book will be of interest to both researchers, teachers and teacher educators.

Visit the publisher's website at

April 2019 Issue of Reading in a Foreign Language

Source: Reading in a Foreign Language Back to Quick Links

The April 2019 issue of Reading in a Foreign Language, an online refereed journal of issues in foreign language reading and literacy, is available at

In this issue: 

Reading performance of Japanese high school learners following a one-year extensive reading program
Natsuki Aka

Reading comprehension: The mediating role of metacognitive strategies
Ghazi Ghaith and Hind El-Sanyoura

EFL test preparation in China: The multidimensionality of the reading-writing relationship
Huan Liu, Cindy Brantmeier, and Michael Strube

Can L1 children's literature be used in the English language classroom? High frequency words in writing for children
John Macalister and Stuart Webb

Effects of multimodal tasks on students’ critical reading ability and perceptions
Savika Varaporn and Pragasit Sitthitikul

The effects of reading bilingual books on vocabulary learning
Zhiying Zhang and Stuart Webb

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