Nell K. Duke, Ed.D., is a professor in literacy, language, and culture in the School of Education and also in the combined program in education and psychology at the University of Michigan. Duke received her Bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and her Masters and Doctoral degrees from Harvard University. Duke’s work focuses on early literacy development, particularly among children living in economic poverty. Her specific areas of expertise include the development of informational reading and writing in young children, comprehension development and instruction in early schooling, and issues of equity in literacy education. She has served as Co-Principal Investigator of projects funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the George Lucas Educational Foundation, among other organizations.
Duke has been named one of the most influential education scholars in the U.S. in EdWeek. In 2014, Duke was awarded the P. David Pearson Scholarly Influence Award from the Literacy Research Association, and in 2018 she received the International Literacy Association's William S. Gray Citation of Merit for outstanding contributions to research, theory, practice, and policy. Among the other awards she has received are the Michigan Reading Association Advocacy Award, the American Educational Research Association Early Career Award, the Literacy Research Association Early Career Achievement Award, the International Reading Association Dina Feitelson Research Award, the National Council of Teachers of English Promising Researcher Award, and the International Reading Association Outstanding Dissertation Award.
Duke is author and co-author of numerous journal articles and book chapters. Her most recent book is Inside Information: Developing Powerful Readers and Writers of Informational Text through Project-based Instruction. She is co-author of the books Reading and Writing Informational Text in the Primary Grades: Research-Based Practices; Literacy and the Youngest Learner: Best Practices for Educators of Children from Birth to Five; Beyond Bedtime Stories: A Parent’s Guide to Promoting Reading, Writing, and Other Literacy Skills From Birth to 5, now in its second edition; and Reading and Writing Genre with Purpose in K–8 Classrooms. She is co-editor of the Handbook of Effective Literacy Instruction: Research-based Practice K to 8 and Literacy Research Methodologies. She is also editor of The Research-Informed Classroom book series and co-editor of the Not This, But That book series.
Duke has taught preservice, inservice and doctoral courses in literacy education, speaks and consults widely on literacy education, and is an active member of several literacy-related organizations. Among other roles, she currently serves as advisor for the Public Broadcasting Service/Corporation for Public Broadcasting Ready to Learn initiative, an expert for NBC Today, advisor to the Council of Chief State School Officers Early Literacy Networked Improvement Community and an advisor for Stand for Children. She has served as author or consultant on several educational programs, including Connect4Learning: The Pre-K Curriculum; Information in Action: Reading, Writing, and Researching with Informational Text; Engaging Families in Children’s Literacy Development: A Complete Workshop Series; Buzz About IT (Informational Text); iOpeners; National Geographic Science K-2; and the DLM Early Childhood Express. Duke also has a strong interest in improving the quality of educational research training in the U.S. Her Twitter handle is @nellkduke.