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 AI and digital media (for example, natural language processing models like ChatGPT; visual representations of text like word clouds; and 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 students, and to build bridges between in- and out-of-school worlds.

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.

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Assistant Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Education (2015 - Present)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • High school English and radio teacher, Chicago Public Schools (1997 - 2009)

Professional Education

  • PhD, Northwestern University, Learning Sciences
  • Master of Arts, University of Chicago, Teaching of English
  • Bachelor of Arts, Cornell University, American Studies

Research Interests

  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Literacy and Language
  • Technology and Education

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

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 about literary worlds and authorial choices (authentic questions are questions to which you don't already know the answer or about which you really are curious about what your students might say)
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.

2022-23 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • What if it WereOtherwise? Teachers Use Exams from the Past to Imagine Possible Futures in the Teaching of Literature READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY Levine, S., Moore, D. P., Bene, E., Smith, M. W. 2022

    View details for DOI 10.1002/rrq.488

    View details for Web of Science ID 000890361200001

  • Situated Expertise in Literary Interpretation: An Expert-Expert Study of High School and PhD Students Reading Canonical Hip-Hop and Poetry COGNITION AND INSTRUCTION Levine, S. 2022
  • Guest editorial: Introduction to special issue on disciplinary literacy in English teaching and teacher education ENGLISH TEACHING-PRACTICE AND CRITIQUE Rainey, E. C., Levine, S. 2022; 21 (1): 1
  • Authority and authenticity in teachers' questions about literature in three contexts ENGLISH TEACHING-PRACTICE AND CRITIQUE Levine, S., Hauser, M., Smith, M. W. 2022
  • How Feeling Supports Students' Interpretive Discussions About Literature JOURNAL OF LITERACY RESEARCH Levine, S., Trepper, K., Chung, R., Coelho, R. 2021
  • A Century of Change in High School English Assessments: An Analysis of 110 New York State Regents Exams, 1900-2018 RESEARCH IN THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH Levine, S. 2019; 54 (1): 31–57
  • Using Everyday Language to Support Students in Constructing Thematic Interpretations JOURNAL OF THE LEARNING SCIENCES Levine, S. 2019; 28 (1): 1–31
  • Epistemic cognition in literary reasoning Handbook of epistemic cognition Lee, C. D., Goldman, S. R., Levine, S., Magliano, J. 2016: 165-183
  • Opening George Hillocks's Territory of Literature English Education Levine, S., Bernstein, M. 2016; 48 (2): 127
  • Helping high school students read like experts: Affective evaluation, salience, and literary interpretation Cognition and Instruction Levine, S., Horton, W. 2015; 33 (2): 125-153
  • Teaching writing with radio English Journal Levine, S., Franzel, J. 2015: 21-29
  • Making interpretation visible with an affect‐based strategy Reading Research Quarterly Levine, S. 2014; 49 (3): 283-303
  • Using affective appraisal to help readers construct literary interpretations Scientific Study of Literature Levine, S., Horton, W. S. 2013; 3 (1): 105-136