Young Adult Literature in the English Language Arts Classroom: A Survey of Middle and Secondary Teachers’ Beliefs about YAL

  • Ann Smith Jeanine Rainbolt College of Education The University of Oklahoma
  • Lisa Hazlett
  • Sean Lennon


The goal of this survey study was to discover the reasons for the use or nonuse of young adult literature in the classroom.  This study revealed that YAL has gained in popularity with middle school teachers. New information, presented from qualitative data analysis on open-ended survey responses, adds to previous research on how teachers use YAL in secondary classrooms. 


Alsup, J. (2013). Teaching literacy in an age of text complexity. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 57(3), 181-184.

Anderson, L. (2011). Speak. New York: Square Fish.

Buehler, J. (2016). Teaching Reading with YA Literature. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

Bull, K. (2012). Identifying obstacles and garnering support. In J. Hayn & J. Kaplan (Eds.), Teaching Young Adult Literature Today (pp 61-77). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Collins, S. (2010). The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic.

Creswell, J. (2003). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, 2nd ed. Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA.

Crowe, C. (2001). Young adult literature: AP and YA? English Journal, 91(1), 123-128.

Dewitz, P. & Jones, J. (2012). Using basal readers. The Reading Teacher, 66(5), 391- 400.

Draper, S. (1996). Tears of a Tiger. New York: Simon Pulse.

Gallagher, K. (2009). Readicide. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

Gibbons, K. (2012). Ellen Foster. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books.

Glasgow, J. (2001). Teaching social justice through young adult literature. English Journal, 90(6), 54-61.

Groenke, S. & Scherff, L. (2010). Teaching YA Lit Through Differentiated Instruction. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

Guthrie, J. & Humenick, N. (2004). Motivating students to read: Evidence for classroom practices that increase reading motivation and achievement. In P. McCarle & V. Chabra (Eds.), The Voice of Evidence in Reading Research (pp. 329-354). Baltimore: Brookes.

Guthrie, J., Rueda, R., Gambrell, L.B., & Morrison, D. (2009). Roles of engagement, valuing and identification in reading development of students from diverse backgrounds. In L. Morrow, R. Rueda & D. Lapp (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Literacy and Diversity (pp.195-215). New York: Guilford Press.

Hayn, J. & Kaplan, J (Eds) (2012). Teaching Young Adult Literature Today. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Hayn, J., Kaplan, J., & Nolen, A. (2011). Young adult literature research in the 21st century. Theory Into Practice, 50(3), 176-181.

Hazlett, L. (2012). Updating young adult literature reading lists while retaining quality titles. In J. Hayn & J. Kaplan (Eds.), Teaching Young Adult Literature Today (pp 155-166). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Hazlett, L., Johnson, A. & Hayn, J. (2009). An almost young adult literature study. The ALAN Review, 37(1). 48-53.

Ivy, G. & Johnson, P. (2013). Engagement with young adult literature: outcomes and processes. Reading Research Quarterly, 45(3). 255-275.

Kelley, M., Wilson, N. & Koss, M (2012). Using young adult literature to motivate and engage the disengaged. In J. Hayn & J. Kaplan (Eds.), Teaching Young Adult Literature Today (pp 79-97). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Klein, L. (2009). Lady MacBeth's Daughter. New York: Bloomsbury USA Children's.

Mesmer, H. (2008). Tools for matching readers to texts: Research-based practices. New York: Guilford.

National Center for Education Statistics. (2010-2011). Retrieved from

National Governor's Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers. (2012). Supplemental information for Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and literacy: New research on text complexity. Washington, DC: Authors. Retrieved from

Orwell, G. (1961). 1984. New York: Penguin Random House.

Rakow, S. (1991). Young-adult literature for honors students? English Journal, 80(1), 48-51.

Rowling, J (2015). Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books.

Santoli, S. & Wagner, M. (2004) Promoting young adult literature: The other "real" literature. American Secondary Education, 33(1), 66-75.

Shakespeare, W. (2003). MacBeth. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Stover, L. & Bach, J. (2012). Young adult literature a call to social activism. In J. Hayne & J. Kaplan (Eds.), Teaching young adult literature today (pp 203-222). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Tatum, A. (2008). Overserved or underserved? A focus on adolescents and texts. English Journal, 98(2), 82-85.

Van Draanen, W. (2003). Flipped. New York: Penguin Random House.

Zusak, M. (2007). The Book Thief. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Empirical Studies