Madeleine Strobel

Research title: Reading circles in ESL classrooms

Research Summary

Reading circles, also called book clubs and literature circles, are used in English as a Second Language (ESL) classrooms to promote reading comprehension, involving student-centred group discussions on the focused reading of academic texts or fiction. Reading circles have received some attention in first language research, yielding findings such as leading to richer understandings of texts, improved discussion skills and interpretative reading and improved reading performance and attitudes toward independent reading. Similar to the focused reading involved in the reading circles, proponents of learning strategies argue that successful language learners use learning strategies to take control of their learning and help them achieve their learning goals. However, less investigation has been made into the learning outcomes of reading circles in ESL settings, where teachers and learners work actively with reading comprehension, nor into what language teachers believe characterise successful learners or which strategies learners use to prepare for the reading circles. Considering that reading instruction is integral to the learning and teaching of all languages, it is worrying to read the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2016 report that one-fifth of fifteen-year-old students across OECD countries do no attain the baseline of reading proficiency in their first language. Drawing on the knowledge of ESL classrooms that implement reading circles, this proposed study aims to add to the body of research on reading instruction by investigating ESL teachers’ beliefs, learners’ learning outcomes and successful learners’ learning strategies for improving reading comprehension.


Strobel, M. (2019) Reading circles with learners of English as a Second Language. Glasgow: Impact in 60 seconds finalist, University of Glasgow. Link to video


2014 and 2016 Erasmus+ school staff mobility


Strobel, M. (2019) Reading circles with Learners of English as a Second Language. Edinburgh: Interweaving 2019 Conference. Moray House, School of Education, University of Edinburgh. 10-11 October 2019. 

Strobel, M. (2019) Reading circles with Learners of English as a Second Language. Liverpool: MATSDA (The Materials Development Association). 15-16 June. 


English and Spanish at secondary school-level in Sweden 2008-2017

English for Academic Purposes, University of Glasgow July 2018

Additional Information

Professional Teaching qualification and degree of Master of Education in English and Spanish for the Compulsory School, Later Stages, and the Upper Secondary School from University of Gothenburg in 2009. This degree was in partial completed at University of Sussex, Brighton, England and at Universidad de Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Spain. 

Degree of Master of Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from University of Glasgow 2018.