Dr. Michael Smith's research and teaching focus on adolescent literacy, an interest he developed in his eleven years of teaching high school English. More specifically, his research and teaching have centered on how experienced readers read and talk about texts as well as on what motivates adolescents’ reading and writing both in and out of school. He has used what he has learned to think about how to devise more effective and engaging reading and writing instruction. He has reported his research and the instructional ideas derived from them in a variety of articles and chapters and in 16 books, including Reading Don't Fix No Chevys and Reading Unbound, both of which won the David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English.

Research Interests

  • Literacy
  • Reading
  • Writing

Courses Taught




MGSE 2111

Applications of Teaching and Learning Theories to Classroom Practice (grades 4-12)


MGSE 4642

Teaching Written Composition: 7-12


MGSE 5641

Teaching Written Composition in the Secondary School


EDUC 0817

Youth Cultures


EDUC 4389

Field Experience


EDUC 5262

Introduction to Qualitative Research


Selected Publications


  • Imbrenda, J.P. & Smith, M.W. (2017). Entering the conversation: Creating a pathway to academic literacy. In English Language Arts Research and Teaching: Revisiting and Extending Arthur Applebee's Contributions (pp. 41-56). doi: 10.4324/9781315465616

  • Wilhelm, J.D. & Smith, M.W. (2016). The Power of Pleasure Reading: What We Can Learn from the Secret Reading Lives of Teens. English Journal, 105(6), pp. 25-30. Retrieved from

  • Wilhelm, J.D. & Smith, M.W. (2016). The Power of Pleasure Reading: The Case of Dystopias. Voices from the Middle, 23(4), pp. 55-61. Retrieved from

  • Smagorinsky, P., Anagnostopoulos, D., Smith, M.W., & Lee, C.D. (2015). A Tribute to George Hillocks, Jr. RESEARCH in the TEACHING of ENGLISH, 50(2), pp. 236-248. Retrieved from

  • Wilhelm, J.D. & Smith, M.W. (2015). They Read What They Need. California English, 20(3), pp. 6-10. Retrieved from

  • Wilhelm, J.D. & Smith, M.W. (2014). Reading don't fix no chevys (Yet!): Motivating boys in the age of the common core. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 58(4), pp. 273-276. doi: 10.1002/jaal.361

  • Wilhelm, J.D. & Smith, M.W. (2014). Don't Underestimate the Power of Pleasure Reading. Education Week, 33(18), pp. 25-25. Retrieved from

  • Smith, M.W. (2014). Building Paper Houses. STYLE, 48(1), pp. 83-86. doi: 10.5325/style.48.1.83

  • Smith, M.W. (2014). Seeking sponsors, accumulating literacies: Deborah brandt and English education. In Literacy, Economy, and Power: Writing and Research After Literacy in American Livess (pp. 155-165).

  • Levin, F.A., Smith, M.W., & Strickland, D.S. (2014). Pitfalls and potential: Multicultural literature and teacher study groups. In Multicultural Issues in Literacy Research and Practice (pp. 263-287). doi: 10.4324/9781410606945-18

  • Brooks, W. & Smith, M.W. (2013). Documenting instructional practices in a literacy-infused arts program: Respecting pedagogues from the community. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 57(1), pp. 51-59. doi: 10.1002/JAAL.201

  • Smith, M.W., Wilhelm, J.D., & Fredricksen, J. (2013). The Common Core: New standards, new teaching. Phi Delta Kappan, 94(8), pp. 45-48. doi: 10.1177/003172171309400811

  • Smith, M.W. & Moore, D.W. (2012). What we know about adolescents' out-of-school literacies, what we need to learn, and why studying them is important: An interview with Michael W. Smith. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 55(8), pp. 745-747. doi: 10.1002/JAAL.00089

  • Steiner, S., Warkentin, B., & Smith, M. (2011). Community forums: A unique approach to community service-learning. Canadian Journal of Education, 34(1), pp. 282-307.

  • Smith, M.W. (2009). Comments on Coulter and Smith: The issue of authorial surplus in narrative research. Educational Researcher, 38(8), pp. 603-607. doi: 10.3102/0013189X09353788

  • Smith, M.W. & Wilhelm, J. (2006). What Research Tells Us about Teaching Grammar. Voices from the Middle, 13(4), pp. 40-43. Voices from the Middle. Retrieved from

  • Wilhelm, J. & Smith, M.W. (2006). What Teachers Need to Know about Motivation. Voices from the Middle, 13(4), pp. 29-31. Voices from the Middle. Retrieved from

  • Smith, M.W. & Connolly, W. (2005). The effects of interpretive authority on classroom discussions of poetry: Lessons from one teacher. Communication Education, 54(4), pp. 271-288. doi: 10.1080/03634520500442145

  • Smith, M.W. & Rabinowitz, P.J. (2005). Playing a Double Game: Authorial Reading and the Ethics of Interpretation. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 1(1), pp. 9-19. Journal of Language and Literacy Education. Retrieved from

  • Smith, M. & Wilhelm, J.D. (2004). "I just like being good at it": The importance of competence in the literate lives of young men. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 47(6), pp. 454-461.

  • Connolly, B. & Smith, M.W. (2003). Dropping in a Mouse: Reading Poetry with Our Students. Clearing House, 76(5), pp. 235-39. Clearing House. Retrieved from

  • Smith, M.W. & Wilhelm, J.D. (2003). "Reading don't fix no chevys": Literacy in the lives of young men. JOURNAL of ADOLESCENT & ADULT LITERACY, 46(7), pp. 611-613. Retrieved from

  • Connolly, B. & Smith, M.W. (2002). Teachers and students talk about talk: Class discussion and the way it should be. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 46(1), pp. 16-26.

  • Wilhelm, J.D. & Smith, M.W. (2001). Literacy in the Lives of Young Men: Findings from an American Study. English in Australia(132), pp. 17-28. English in Australia. Retrieved from

  • Smith, M.W., Strickland, D.S., Carman, J., Dover, D., Fiegenbaum, B., Hess, R., Perez-Torres, S., Pheffer, M., Richards, P., Schiffner, P., Smith, L., Spencer, M., Szep, K., & Temperini, R. (2001). Complements or conflicts: Conceptions of discussion and multicultural literature in a teachers-as-readers discussion group. Journal of Literacy Research, 33(1), pp. 137-167. doi: 10.1080/10862960109548105

  • Hamel, F.L. & Smith, M.W. (1998). You can't play if you don't know the rules: Interpretive conventions and the teaching of literature to students in lower‐track classes. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 14(4), pp. 355-377. doi: 10.1080/1057356980140402

  • Morrow, L.M., Pressley, M., Smith, J.K., & Smith, M. (1997). The effect of a literature-based program integrated into literacy and science instruction with children from diverse backgrounds. Reading Research Quarterly, 32(1), pp. 54-76. doi: 10.1598/RRQ.32.1.4

  • Smith, M.W. (1996). Conversations about literature outside classrooms: How adults talk about books in their book clubs. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 40(3), pp. 180-186.

  • Smith, M.W. & Young, J.W. (1995). Assessing Secondary Students' Liking of Short Stories. Journal of Educational Research, 89(1), pp. 14-22. doi: 10.1080/00220671.1995.9941189

  • Goldblatt, E. & Smith, M.W. (1995). Alone with each other: Conceptions of discussion in one college classroom community. Linguistics and Education, 7(4), pp. 327-348. doi: 10.1016/0898-5898(95)90008-X

  • Smith, M. (1995). Mi C‐YaaN beLieVe iT. English in Education, 29(1), pp. 40-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1754-8845.1995.tb01137.x

  • White, B. & Smith, M.W. (1994). Metaphors in English Education: Putting Things in Perspective. English Education, 26(3), pp. 157-76. English Education. Retrieved from

  • Smith, M.W., Environment, N.C.S.D.o.f., Health, Resources, a.N., & Raleigh. (1994). Jomeokee Geology. Pilot Mountain State Park: An Environmental Education Learning Experience Designed for Grades 9-12. Retrieved from

  • Esdaille, M., Shaw, F., Smith, M., & Valgeirsdóttir, S. (1994). Educational applications of probabilistic conjoint measurement models. International Journal of Educational Research, 21(6), pp. 635-651. doi: 10.1016/0883-0355(94)90016-7

  • Gilroy, P. & Smith, M. (1993). Preface. Journal of Education for Teaching, 19(4), p. 1. doi: 10.1080/0260747930190401

  • Gilroy, P. & Smith, M. (1993). Introduction Teacher Education: Rout or route? Journal of Education for Teaching, 19(4), pp. 23-27. doi: 10.1080/0260747930190405

  • Smith, M. & Gilroy, P. (1993). Edgar stones: A personal note. Journal of Education for Teaching, 19(4), pp. 9-17. doi: 10.1080/0260747930190403

  • Smith, M. (1993). Dissenting adult: The jet editorials. Journal of Education for Teaching, 19(4), pp. 59-80. doi: 10.1080/0260747930190409

  • Smith, M. (1993). Ed stones and jet: A retrospective. Journal of Education for Teaching, 19(4), pp. 49-57. doi: 10.1080/0260747930190408


  • Smagorinsky, P. & Smith, M.W. (1992). The Nature of Knowledge in Composition and Literary Understanding: The Question of Specificity. Review of Educational Research, 62(3), pp. 279-305. doi: 10.3102/00346543062003279

  • Smith, M.W. (1992). Effects of Direct Instruction on Ninth Graders' Understanding of Unreliable Narrators. Journal of Educational Research, 85(6), pp. 339-347. doi: 10.1080/00220671.1992.9941136

  • Smith, M.W. (1991). Autobiography and Intertextuality. Retrieved from

  • Smith, M.W. & English, U.N.C.o.f.T.o.f. (1991). Understanding Unreliable Narrators: Reading between the Lines in the Literature Clasroom. Theory and Research into Practice (TRIP). Retrieved from

  • Smith, M.W. (1991). Constructing Meaning From Text: An Analysis of Ninth-Grade Reader Responses. Journal of Educational Research, 84(5), pp. 263-272. doi: 10.1080/00220671.1991.10886026

  • Smith, M.W. (1990). Using Rasch Analysis To Design and Interpret a Test of Students' Understanding of Irony in Poetry. Retrieved from

  • SMITH, M.W. (1989). TEACHING THE INTERPRETATION OF IRONY IN POETRY. RESEARCH in the TEACHING of ENGLISH, 23(3), pp. 254-272. Retrieved from

  • Smith, M.W. & Hillocks, G. (1989). What Inquiring Writers Need to Know. English Journal, 78(2), pp. 58-63. English Journal. Retrieved from

  • Smith, M.W. & Hillocks, G. (1988). Sensible Sequencing: Developing Knowledge about Literature Text by Text. English Journal, 77(6), pp. 44-49. English Journal. Retrieved from

  • Smith, M.W. (1985). Reading and Teaching Irony in Poetry: Giving Short People a Reason To Live. Retrieved from

  • Smith, M.W., English, U.N.C.o.f.T.o.f., & Skills, U.E.C.o.n.R.a.C. (1984). Reducing Writing Apprehension. Retrieved from