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


MGSE 5642

Teaching Literature and Reading in the Secondary School


EDUC 0817

Youth Cultures


EDUC 4389

Field Experience


EDAD 5305

Knowledge Sch Improve


ENES 4371

Teaching Oral and Written Communication: 7-12


ENES 5641

Tchg Composition Sec Sch


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