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 explore the meaning in language in ways that illuminate issues in education. Her research investigates the ways language can be an explicit focus of instruction to provide meaningful support for students across school subjects and levels. Her book, The Language of Schooling: A Functional Linguistics Perspective (2004, Erlbaum), has been influential in shaping the ways researchers and teachers think about language and content. In 2015, she gave a keynote presentation to the Council of Europe’s Language Policy Unit in Strasbourg as they launched their policy initiative on Teaching the Languages of Schooling, and that paper is available at the link below.

Schleppegrell’s current research, with Chauncey Monte-Sano, is investigating learning and teaching in middle school classrooms where students are reading primary sources and writing arguments in history and social studies. Her focus is on providing support for English learners and other students who need to develop language proficiency as they engage in disciplinary discourses. Her earlier work on the language of history and support for English learners has appeared in TESOL Quarterly, the Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, the Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Linguistics and Education, and other venues.

Her recent book, Focus on Grammar and Meaning, with Luciana deOliveira, (Oxford University Press, 2015) offers primary and secondary teachers of second language students strategies based in research to support them in learning grammar while also learning school subjects. Her book Reading in Secondary Content Areas: A Language-Based Pedagogy (with Zhihui Fang, 2008, University of Michigan Press) describes challenges of learning across subjects and suggests approaches to ways of engaging students with language across the curriculum.

Schleppegrell earned her PhD in linguistics from Georgetown University. She teaches courses on language development, discourse analysis, systemic functional linguistics, linguistics in   education, and second-language learning and teaching.


Teaching the languages of schooling for equity and quality in education

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


Selected Publications

Chang, P. & Mary J. Schleppegrell. (2016). Explicit learning of authorial stance-taking by L2 doctoral students. Journal of Writing Research 8:1, 299-322.

Klingelhofer, Rachel R., and Mary Schleppegrell. (2016). Functional grammar analysis in support of dialogic instruction with text: scaffolding purposeful, cumulative dialogue with English learners. Research Papers in Education 31:1, 70-88, DOI: 10.1080/02671522.2016.1106701.

Achugar, M., & Schleppegrell, M. (2016). Reflective literacy and the teaching of history. In W. Bowcher & J. Y. Liang (Eds.), Society in Language, Language in Society: Essays in Honour of Ruqaiya Hasan (pp. 357-378). Houndsmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Schleppegrell, Mary J. (2016). Content-based language teaching with functional grammar in the elementary school. Language Teaching, 49, 116-128. doi:10.1017/S0261444814000093.

O'Hallaron, C. L., Palincsar, A., & Schleppegrell, M. J. (2015). Reading science: Using Systemic Functional Linguistics to support critical language awareness. Linguistics and Education, 32, 55-67.

de Oliveira, Luciana, and Schleppegrell, Mary J. (2015). Focus on grammar and meaning. Oxford University Press.

Palincsar, Annemarie and Mary Schleppegrell. (2014). Focusing on language and meaning while learning with text. TESOL Quarterly, 48(3), 616-623.

Moore, Jason, and Mary J. Schleppegrell. (2014). Using a functional linguistics metalanguage to support academic language development in the English Language Arts. Linguistics and Education 26, 92-105.

Fang, Z., Schleppegrell, M. J., & Moore, J. (2013). The linguistic challenges of learning across academic disciplines. In Stone, C.A., Silliman, E.R., Ehren, B.J., & Wallach, G.P. (Eds.). Handbook of Language and Literacy: Development and Disorders (pp. 302-322). New York: Guilford Press.

Schleppegrell, Mary J. (2013). The role of metalanguage in supporting academic language development. Language Learning 63(Suppl 1) , 153-170.

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.




1/1/2018 - ongoing Teachers Learning to Facilitate Communication and Reasoning Through Inquiry With History and Social Science Sources
Granting Agency: James S. McDonnell Foundation

10/1/2016 - ongoing Using our Nation’s Library to Teach Writing with Primary Sources to All Students
Granting Agency: Library of Congress

7/1/2010 - 9/30/2015 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
Winter 2015 EDUC 525. Language and Learning in Home and School Settings EDUC 525. Language & Learning in Home & School Settings

Fall 2015 EDUC 737. Topics in Educational Studies EDUC 737. Introduction to Discourse Analysis


Room 4119

Curriculum Vitae