Mary J. Schleppegrell


Mary J. Schleppegrell, School of Education

Mary Schleppegrell's research explores the relationship between language and learning with a focus on students for whom English is a second language. A linguist, she uses systemic functional linguistics to link meaning and language structure in ways that illuminate issues in education. Her research projects investigate the ways language can be an explicit focus of instruction to provide meaningful support for students across school subjects and levels.

Currently, she is engaged in a three-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute for Education Sciences, "The iterative development of modules to support teachers’ engagement in Exploring Language and Meaning in Text with English language learners," with co-PI Annemarie Palincsar. Using an approach based on functional grammar, they are developing a curriculum that prepares teachers of grades 2-5 to analyze the texts in their grade-level literacy programs and identify ways to focus students on the language choices an author has made as a means of exploring connections between form and meaning and helping English language learners learn how English works. Her interests also extend to other disciplinary areas, and her recent book, with Zhihui Fang, Reading in Secondary Content Areas: A Language-Based Pedagogy (2008, University of Michigan Press) draws on her ten years' engagement with the California History Project and other professional development contexts to support secondary teachers in learning about the challenges of language across content areas. Her book The Language of Schooling: A Functional Linguistics Perspective (2004, Erlbaum) describes the theoretical framing of this work and delineates the challenges students face across the curriculum in engaging with the language expected in school subjects.

She teaches courses on linguistic analysis, linguistics in education, and second-language development.

She received her PhD in linguistics from Georgetown University.

Schleppegrell teaches courses in the following program(s):
Literacy, Language, and Culture
Joint Program in English and Education
Teaching and Learning


Selected Publications

Schleppegrell, Mary. (2012). Academic language in teaching and learning: Introduction to the special issue. The Elementary School Journal, 112(3), 409-418.

Schleppegrell, M. (2012). Linguistic tools for exploring issues of equity. In B. Herbel-Eisenmann, J. Choppin, D. Wagner & D. Pimm (Eds.), Equity in Discourse for Mathematics Education: Theories, Practices, and Policies (pp. 109-124). New York: Springer.

Schleppegrell, M. J. (2012). Systemic Functional Linguistics: Exploring meaning in language. In James Paul Gee and Michael Handford (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis (pp. 21-34)New York: Routledge.

Chang, Peichin, and M.J. Schleppegrell. (2011). Taking an effective authorial stance in academic writing: Making the linguistic resources explicit for L2 writers in the social sciences. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 10(3), 140-151.

Schleppegrell, M. J. and Catherine L. O'Hallaron. (2011). Teaching academic language in L2 secondary settings. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 31, 3-18.

Schleppegrell, M. J. (2011). Supporting disciplinary learning through language analysis: Developing historical literacy. In F. Christie and K. Maton (Eds.), Disciplinarity: Functional Linguistic and Sociological Perspectives (pp. 197-216). London: Continuum.

Schleppegrell, M. J. (2010). Supporting a “reading to write” pedagogy with functional grammar. NALDIC Quarterly, 8(1), 26-31.

Schleppegrell, M. J. (2010). Language in mathematics teaching and learning: a research review.  Language and mathematics education: Multiple perspectives and directions for research (pp. 73-112). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Schleppegrell, M. J. (2010). Functional grammar in the classroom. In Olofsson, Mikael (Ed.), Symposium 2009. Genrer och funktionellt språk i teori och praktik (pp. 79-95). Stockholm: Stockholms Universitets Förlag.

Fang, Zhihui, and Schleppegrell, Mary J. (2010). Disciplinary literacies across content areas: Supporting secondary reading through functional language analysis. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(7), 587-597.

Fang, Zhihui, and Schleppegrell, Mary J. (2008). Reading in Secondary Content Areas: A Language-Based Pedagogy. University of Michigan Press.

Schleppegrell, Mary J. (2004). The Language of Schooling: A functional linguistics perspective. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.



7/1/2010 - 6/30/2013 The Iterative Development of Modules to Support Teachers' Engagement in Exploring Language and Meaning in Text with English-Language Learners
Granting Agency: U.S. Department of Education/Institute of Education Sciences

4/7/2007 - 4/7/2007 Supporting English learners - reading comprehension
Granting Agency: Michigan Department of Education

Courses & Syllabi

Term Catalogue Course Description Syllabus
Fall 2010 EDUC 706. Seminar: Issues in Research on Literacy EDUC 706. Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics

Fall 2011 EDUC 525. Language and Learning in Home and School Settings EDUC 525. Language & Learning in Home & School Settings


Room 4119

Curriculum Vitae