Nell K. Duke: The Power of Project-Based Instruction

Independent, self-selecting readers read for good reasons: to gain knowledge… to build on that knowledge… to explore a curiosity… to escape reality and enjoy the simple pleasure of reading. Nothing deadens the reading experience more than having no clear reason for doing the reading in the first place. Yet it has been a perennial problem in classrooms for decades.

Enter Nell K. Duke. Her latest work from Scholastic centers on project-based instruction (PBI). With PBI, children carry out projects for real audiences and real purposes. Whether they’re writing a letter to the mayor about building a skate park, a booklet for other kids about starting their own businesses, or a pamphlet for senior citizens about the benefits of exercise, children read to gather information about their topic and write to capture that information and, ultimately, create their projects. They are passionate about the work because they know why they're doing it and who will be reading it. They become readers and writers in the truest sense of the words.

Curious to learn more? Here are some links:

A practical article on PBI by Nell from Instructor magazine

An excerpt from Inside Information, her new professional book, on PBI and integrated reading and writing

Details on her new professional resource, Information in Action: Reading, Writing, and Researching With Informational Text

Articles, videos, and discussion boards on PBI from the go-to website for educators, Edutopia

"A Passion for Social Justice", Nell’s powerful essay on the importance of providing all children access to literacy, from Open a World of Possible: Real Stories About the Joy and Power of Reading