Nell K. Duke, Ed.D., is executive director of the Center for Early Literacy Success at Stand for Children as well as a professor in the Marsal Family School of Education at the University of Michigan in in literacy, language, and culture and also in the combined program in education and psychology. 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 expertise lies in literacy curriculum and instruction, especially 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, the Kellogg 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, books, book chapters, blog posts, and other texts. Her most recent (co-authored) book is Literacy Learning for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers: Key Practices for Educators. Her other authored and co-authored books include Inside Information: Developing Powerful Readers and Writers of Informational Text through Project-based Instruction, 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 co-edited the Handbook of Effective Literacy Instruction: Research-based Practice K to 8 and Literacy Research Methodologies, which is in its third edition, and also served as co-editor of The Research-Informed Classroom book series and the Not This, But That book series.
Duke engages works to improve policy and practice in early literacy through advising informed by research and committed to educational equity. Among other roles, she currently serves as advisor for the Public Broadcasting Service/Corporation for Public Broadcasting Ready to Learn initiative, education advisor for the award-winning Molly of Denali media universe, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Knowledge Matters campaign. She has served as author or consultant on many curriculum materials, 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. She currently serves as co-director of The Great First Eight Curriculum, a groundbreaking open educational resource (OER) full-day curriculum for children from birth to eight. Her X handle is @nellkduke.