Mary J. Schleppegrell

Professor, Marsal Family School of Education


(734) 647-2449


Room 4119
610 E. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1259

Mary Schleppegrell's research explores the relationship between language and learning with a focus on students for whom English is a second language. She uses systemic functional linguistics to explore meaning in language in ways that illuminate issues in education, and 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 learning, and has recently been translated into Japanese.

Schleppegrell currently has two research project with collaborator Chauncey Monte-Sano. Funded by the Library of Congress, they are investigating learning and teaching in middle school classrooms where students are reading primary sources and writing arguments in 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. They were recently awarded a grant by the James S. McDonnell Foundation to study how teachers learn to engage in inquiry teaching in social studies.

Schleppegrell's most recent co-authored book, The Lifespan Development of Writing (2018; Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English), with Bazerman, Applebee, Berninger, Brandt, Graham, Jeffrey, Matsuda, Murphy, Rowe, and Wilcox, came out of a multi-year collaboration with writing scholars. Her chapter with Frances Christie presents a linguistically-informed description of writing development across the school years. Her 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, and 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.


Number Course Name Location Days
EDUC 737
Topics in Educational Studies

Prerequisites: Graduate standing.
Explores new topics in educational studies based on the interests of faculty and students. Topics change each term. Consult the program office for the current list of offerings.

EDUC 525
Language and Learning in Home and School Settings

Examines issues of language and learning from pre-school through adolescence. Students learn to analyze language, develop strategies for supporting language development at school, and engage in focused research on language in school settings. Topics include the role of language in the home and community, multilingual language development, oral and written language, and language across school subjects.

Selected Publications

"Linguistic features of writing development: a functional perspective."

Schleppegrell, Mary & Christie, Frances. (2018). The Lifespan Development of Writing, pp. 111-150.  In Bazerman, C., A. Applebee, V. Berninger, D. Brandt, S. Graham, J. Jeffrey, & P. K. Matsuda, S. Murphy, D. Rowe, M. Schleppegrell, K. Wilcox (Eds.) Urbana, IL: NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English).

"Linguistic tools for supporting emergent critical language awareness in the elementary school."

Schleppegrell, M. J. & Jason Moore. In R. Harman (Ed.) (2018). Bilingual Learners and Social Equity: Critical Approaches to Systemic Functional Linguistics, pp. 23-43. New York: Springer.

"Fourth-grade emergent bilinguals’ uses of functional grammar analysis to talk about text."

Symons, C., Palincsar, A.S., and Schleppegrell, M.J. (2017). Learning and Instruction 52:102-111. doi:

"Systemic Functional Grammar in the K-12 classroom."

Schleppegrell, M.J. (2017). In Eli Hinkel (Ed.) Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning v. 3 (pp. 384-396). New York: Routledge.

"“Voice” in children’s science arguments: Aligning assessment criteria with genre and discipline."

O’Hallaron, C. & Schleppegrell, Mary J. (2016) Assessing Writing 30:63-73.

"Explicit learning of authorial stance-taking by L2 doctoral students."

Chang, P. & Mary J. Schleppegrell. (2016). Journal of Writing Research 8:1, 299-322.

"Functional grammar analysis in support of dialogic instruction with text: scaffolding purposeful, cumulative dialogue with English learners."

Klingelhofer, Rachel R., and Mary Schleppegrell. (2016). Research Papers in Education 31:1, 70-88.

"Reflective literacy and the teaching of history."

Achugar, M., & Schleppegrell, M. (2016). 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.

"Content-based language teaching with functional grammar in the elementary school."

Schleppegrell, Mary J. (2016). Language Teaching, 49, 116-128. doi:10.1017/S0261444814000093.

"Reading science: Using Systemic Functional Linguistics to support critical language awareness."

O'Hallaron, C. L., Palincsar, A., & Schleppegrell, M. J. (2015). Linguistics and Education, 32, 55-67.

"Focusing on language and meaning while learning with text."

Palincsar, Annemarie and Mary Schleppegrell. (2014). TESOL Quarterly, 48(3), 616-623.

"Purposeful grammar."

Schleppegrell, Mary. (2014). For the Learning of Mathematics 34(2), 44-45.


The Teaching Reasoning and Inquiry Project in Social Studies (TRIPSS) Lab involves two projects aimed at developing social studies inquiry and supporting students’ social studies thinking and writing.