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Faculty members

Levine, Sarah

Academic Title 
Assistant Professor
Contact Information
(650) 723-6609
CU 331
Program Affiliations 
CTE: Literacy, Language, and English Education
Access and Equity
Cognition in the Humanities
Cognitive Psychology of Interpretation
Curriculum and Instruction
English Education
Learning Design
Literacy and Culture
Teacher Education
Urban Education

My research focuses on the teaching and learning of literary interpretation and writing in under-resourced urban high schools, with an emphasis on the links between in- and out-of-school interpretive practices. I am also interested in ways that digital media – specifically radio production – can be used as frameworks for teaching reading and writing to middle and high school students. Before pursuing an academic career, I taught secondary English at a Chicago public school for ten years. While there, I founded and ran a youth radio program that used digital audio production as a tool to help make writing and analysis relevant and real-world for struggling students, and to build bridges between school and the world outside.

My primary goal as an academic is to help shape the teaching and learning of secondary English teachers and contribute to research that will help students — especially those in urban and under-resourced schools — become independent readers and writers. 

Northwestern University, PhD in Learning Sciences

University of Chicago, Master of Arts in Teaching of English

Cornell University, Bachelor of Arts in American Studies

  • Lee, C.D., Goldman, S., Levine, S., Magliano, J. (2016). Epistemic Cognition in Literary Reasoning. In Greene, J.A., Sandoval, W.A., & Bråten, I. (Eds.), Handbook of Epistemic Cognition, New York: Routledge.
  • Levine, S., Bernstein, M. (2015). Opening George Hillocks’s territory of literature. English Education, 48, (2), 127-147.
  • Levine, S., Horton, W. (2015). Helping high school students read like experts: Affective evaluation, salience, and literary interpretation. Cognition and Instruction, 33, (2), 125-153.
  • Levine, S., Franzel, J. (2015). Teaching writing with radio. English Journal, 105 (5), 21-29.
  • Levine, S. (2014). Making interpretation visible with an affect-based strategy. Reading Research Quarterly, 49 (3), 283-303.
  • Levine, S., Horton, W. (2013). Using affective appraisal to help readers construct literary interpretations. Scientific Study of Literature, 3(1), 105-136.

1. Through an NAed/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship and Stanford's Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET), I am working with high school ELA teachers to:

  • interrogate what exactly we think literature is "for" 
  • develop "authentic" questions (as in, "I truly am curious about this, and am just not sure what I think") about literary texts
  • learn and practice emotion-based approaches to textual interpretation 
  • learn to create cultural data sets for students

I am looking at the extent to which this work with teachers influences the kinds of discussions they have with students and the kind of interpretive work students do.

2. I am also using eye-tracking and other technology to look at the kinds of interpretive readings novices and experts make when they read literary texts; I hope to shed more light on how teachers can help inexperienced literary readers engage and enjoy interpretive work.

3. I am reading U.S. standardized literature tests from 1900s until the present to try to understand ways in which educators and test-makers defined and valued literary reading.