Listening to students: What, why, and how adolescent English learners want to read and write




Stewart, Mary Amanda, 1979-
Walker, Katie
Revelle, Carol

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Texas Association for Literacy Education (TALE)


In various conversations regarding how to teach language and literacy to adolescent English Learners (ELs), students' voices are often lost. This article privileges those voices by surveying ELs in Texas high schools regarding what, why, and how they want to read and write in and out of school. The authors surveyed the students before and after an instructional intervention designed to increase students' literacy engagement by introducing culturally relevant reading and writing in their classrooms. The findings indicate that the participants want to read and write about relevant topics in order to affirm their identities, express themselves, or to learn about others. The authors encourage educators to maintain high literacy expectations for ELs while providing opportunities to select relevant literature and respond in authentic ways. Most importantly, this research suggests we should privilege student voices as we consider how to provide effective language and literacy instruction.



Adolescents, English language learners, Student surveys, High school students, Culturally relevant education, Reading assignments, Writing assignments, Student motivation, Literacy education, Reading material selection, Pretests posttests, Preferences, Student attitudes


This is the published version of an article that is available at Recommended citation: Stewart, M.A., Walker, K., & Revelle, C. (2018). Listening to students: What, why, and how adolescent English learners want to read and write. Texas Journal of Literacy Education, 6(1), 1-18. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.