National Writing Project

Keep It R.E.A.L.!: Relevant, Engaging, and Affirming Literacy for Adolescent English Learners

Mary Amanda Stewart

List Price $29.95
NWP's Price $23.96

This book introduces a set of pedagogical practices designed to assist adolescent English learners in developing their English skills in a way that honors and leverages their native languages and cultures. Responding to the linguistic and educational diversity of adolescents, the R.E.A.L. (Relevant, Engaging, and Affirming Literacy) method offers teachers a range of scalable activities, reading lists, and other resources, along with numerous suggestions on how to adapt them for students' particular needs. By sharing experiences from actual secondary English classes, Stewart presents diverse learners making meaningful connections to texts and responding through writing, speaking, and other artistic means. These students are developing high levels of literacy, English language skills, and even biliteracy through R.E.A.L. instruction that all English teachers can use.

Book Features:

  • Shows educators how to effectively engage middle and high school students through reading and responding to literature.
  • Provides creative solutions for centering students' needs and interests within standards and other curricular restraints.
  • Brings together theory from reader response, second language acquisition, and bilingual research.
  • Written for all English language arts teachers and for all levels of adolescent ELs—beginners to advanced students.
  • Considers ELs' full literacy development in all of their languages, not just English.


"Keep It R.E.A.L is a must-read for secondary teachers and teacher educators who want their students to appreciate literacy as a critical resource for lifelong learning. This is truly an invaluable resource for teachers of multilingual youth."
—Christian Faltis, chair and professor, The Ohio State University

"A must-have resource! The powerful student-centered and teacher-friendly framework Mary Amanda Stewart offers in this book makes building literacy skills for adolescent English learners achievable and impactful."
—Andrea Honigsfeld, associate dean and director, Molloy College, New York

About the Author:
Mary Amanda (Mandy) Stewart is assistant professor in the Department of Reading at Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas and a member of the North Star of Texas Writing Project, a local affiliate of the National Writing Project. Her research focuses on the biliteracy and language development of middle and high school students who are learning English as an additional language. She is the "biblioburra", the book donkey, who loves to bring new books to multilingual adolescents for them to read and share their responses with her. She currently is learning with high school students and teachers through the ELLevate! grant from the U.S. Department of Education which she directs.

Her research with adolescents learning English has appeared in various journals including Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, The English Journal, Research in the Teaching of English, Literacy Research & Instruction, and TESOL Journal. She is also the author of Understanding Adolescent Immigrants: Moving Toward and Extraordinary Discourse for Extraordinary Youth published with Lexington Books.

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