Professor, ESL/Bilingual Education
Areas of Expertise:
Teaching and Learning English as a New Language
Literacy in a New Language
Methods and Materials for Teaching ESL
English Word Formation
Literacy Best Practices
Reading Fluency Instruction
Using Music for Teaching Languages and Literacy
Kristin Lems is an active scholar and leader within the National College of Education. In 2013, she was awarded a Fulbright Senior Specialist Award in EFL/Applied Linguistics, her second Fulbright, to work with English teachers at National University of Mongolia in Ulaanbataar, the capital. Lems has directed or co-directed two 5 year training grants from the U.S. Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition. The ESL STEM Success Grant (2011-2016) partnered with Skokie Districts 68 and 73.5, Niles Township District 219, and the ELL Parent Center. The Building Community through English Language Acquisition grant (2004-2009) partnered with DuPage County School Districts 4, 45, and 88 and the Illinois Resource Center.
Lems has published 5 books and many chapters and refereed articles about language, literacy and music related topics. Her textbook, Teaching Reading to English Language Learners: Insights from Linguistics (Lems/Miller/Soro, 2010, Guilford) will come out in a second edition in 2017. Published articles appear in The Reading Teacher, Reading in a Foreign Language, Writing Systems Research, Learning Abstracts, English Teaching Forum, Booklinks, and an ERIC Digest. Dr. Lems offers half and full day institutes, workshops, and symposia at conferences including annually at Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and others.
Lems has been a Fulbright Scholar teaching teachers in Algeria and in Mongolia, and she is currently an English Language Specialist with the U.S. State Department. In that capacity, she worked with teachers in Chile and offered a worldwide webinar in the summer of 2016.
Lems is a published songwriter and recording artist with 8 CDs of original material.
She serves on the Evanston Environment Board and mentors the NLU Green Committee.
Ed.D., Reading and Language, National Louis University
M.A., Teaching English as a Second Language, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
M.A., West Asian Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
A.B., English/creative writing, Secondary Teaching certificate in English, University of Michigan
Research and Interests:
Recent Publications and Presentations
Lems, K. (2016). American English webinar, Using Songs to Teach English, broadcast to 2000 English teachers worldwide. A podcast of the webinar. A blogpost about the project.
Lems, K. (2016). Learning English through Music in the Digital Age. TESOL Video News. Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
Taguchi, E., Gorsuch, G., Lems, K., & Rozzwell, R. (2016). How repetition and an auditory model helps readers. Reading in a Foreign Language 28(1), 101-117.
Lems, K. & Stegemoller, J. (2015). Unpacking the language of STEM for English language learners. Learning Abstracts 18(4).
Lems, K. (2015). Woody Guthrie: America’s Merry Prankster. Woody Guthrie Annual v1.