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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney

On this week's podcast I speak to Professor Nell Duke from the University of Michigan School of Education about literacy education and project-based instruction. Professor Duke was a keynote speaker at the 43rd Annual Conference of the Literacy Association of Ireland. Among the wide range of topics we discuss on the podcast and the resources mentioned are the following:  

  • The role of project-based literacy in promoting reading and writing development
  • The importance of purpose and audience for children’s writing
  • Sources of project ideas: Edutopia, PBL works, Nell’s website
  • Identifying sources of project in local communities
  • Incorporating student voice and choice into projects
  • Teacher preparation to design the flow of a project work with students
  • Nell’s website – Inside Information Downloadables
  • The importance of audience beyond teachers, parents and grandparents
  • Working alone versus working in groups on projects
  • At what age can children begin to work on project-based literacy?
  • The ideal duration of a project
  • The balance of literacy goals and cross-curricular goals in project-based literacy instruction
  • Educating children from an early age about trustworthy sources. The use of the mnemonic WWWDOT (Who? Why? When? Does it meet my needs? Organisation of site/text? To Do List for future)
  • Molly of Denali
  • Helping students move beyond bland responses to peers’ work
  • Various templates mentioned available here.
  • Why reading is so hard for many students to master
  • The DRIVE model of reading (Deploying Reading in Varied Environments)
  • The value of teaching sound-letter relationships; deliberately teaching phonics, morphology and text structure
  • Gaps between research on reading instruction and the practice of reading instruction
  • Reliable sources of research evidence for teachers: Institute of Education Sciences What Works Clearinghouse; Practice guides.
  • Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators General Education Leadership Network Early Literacy Task Force and Literacy Essentials.
  • International Literacy Association.
  • Literacy Association of Ireland.
  • Responding to differences among students in a literacy classroom: small group literacy instruction
  • Why it’s important to teach reading and writing together. See work by Gram and Hebert (2010).
  • What parents can do in the home to promote literacy achievement
  • What a typical working day is like for her and how she manages her time
  • Knowing what not to do in teaching
  • Not this but that book series.
  • What schools are for
  • She loves reading: Reading Research Quarterly (Journal of the International Literacy Association), Scientific Studies of Reading, Review of Educational Research.

In her keynote address Nell referred to the following websites, which were not mentioned in the podcast. I'm listing them here because they may be of help to some listeners.

High Quality Project Based Learning

Pow+Tree Writing Strategy

She also referred to this article which was a meta-analysis of process writing.


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