Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Hamann, E. T., & Malone, S. (2020). The Equity and Engagement Challenges of Teaching Reading in Middle School. Indianapolis, IN: Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center.


Copyright © 2020 by Midwest & Plains Equity Assistance Center


The point is to look at midlevel and high school students—those often encapsulated by the term ‘adolescent literacy’—and to ask what it is that makes those students less likely to engage in productive reading practice. That may at first look like a psychological question about motivation, which makes the challenge seem like it is something inside the student that needs attention or ‘fixing’. But the orientation here is instead more sociological. If we talk about instruction, in this case reading instruction, it is intrinsically interactive, between teacher and student most obviously, but also interactive between students and their peers (e.g. how ‘cool’ is reading viewed in their classroom), and even between student and author (e.g. prospective readers can ask: Why should I care about what this author could tell me?).