New K–5 Teaching Resource Takes Student Writing Beyond the Classroom into Real-World Applications


Anne Sparkman

Educator and Literacy Expert Nell K. Duke, Ed.D. and Scholastic Announce Information in Action™, a New Professional Development Tool That Guides Teachers to Use Project-Based Instruction to Help Students Become Powerful Readers and Writers of Informational Text

New York, NY – May 21, 2015 – To help spark students’ passion for learning while building informational reading and writing skills, author and professor of literacy, language and culture at the University of Michigan Nell K. Duke, Ed.D. has created Information in Action. The new K–5 teaching resource published by Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children's publishing, education and media company, provides educators with a suite of professional learning materials, including four complete model units at each grade-level which tap into students’ natural curiosity through relevant, real-world projects. Information in Action encourages kids to read, write and research using informational texts to create final presentations, which they deliver to audiences beyond their own classroom. Potential student projects include persuasive pamphlets encouraging senior citizens from a nearby retirement community to exercise or procedural flyers showing shoppers at a local grocery store how to test common household products. This active participation with the community highlights the importance of writing as students deliver messages of their own design.

To learn more about Information in Action, visit:

“Children are curious, intrepid information seekers, and they want to have an impact on their world,” Nell K. Duke comments. “I wanted to develop a professional learning resource that honors that active, problem-solving instinct while developing the informational reading and writing skills students need and deserve. I wanted to create a resource that propels teachers’ and students’ knowledge upward and their ability to read and write well forward. Information in Action focuses instruction on what matters most: cultivating the desire to make a difference in the world while developing essential skills.”

Information in Action is based on Duke’s extensive research on teaching with informational texts. All units have been field-tested in diverse K–5 classroom settings to ensure that project topics and materials are developmentally-appropriate, engaging and effective. Within the instructional framework for each unit, students progress through five phases—from launching the project to presenting and celebrating it. Throughout the unit, students integrate reading, writing and research to create exciting projects, such as “Why We Write” posters (kindergarten), “What’s Great About Our State” pamphlets (grade 4), and “Save an Ecosystem” proposals (grade 5).

The complete Information in Action kit includes the following for each grade-level:

  • Nell K. Duke’s new professional book Inside Information: Developing Powerful Readers and Writers of Informational Text Through Project-Based Instruction, K–5, explaining the benefits of and how to implement project-based instruction focused on informational reading and writing
  • Professional learning videos and online resources for educators
  • Teacher’s guide including detailed support for learning to implement project-based units
  • Launch Texts to spark student interest in the project
  • Source Texts to help students develop research skills and provide information they need to complete the project
  • Mentor Texts to model the text type students are writing for their project
  • Research Notebooks with lesson-specific organizers, drafting sheets and more

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About Nell K. Duke:

Nell K. Duke, Ed.D. is a professor of literacy, language, and culture and faculty affiliate in the combined program in education and psychology at the University of Michigan. Duke's award-winning research focuses on early literacy development, particularly among children living in poverty. Her specific areas of expertise include development of informational reading and writing in young children, comprehension development and instruction in early schooling, and issues of equity in literacy education.

Other Scholastic resources from Nell K. Duke include: Buzz About IT!; Engaging Families in Children’s Literacy Development; The ABCs of Emergent Literacy; Literacy and the Youngest Learner; and Beyond Bedtime Stories, 2nd Edition. She also served as a consultant on Core Clicks, created by Scholastic News and Weekly Reader. Duke has been published in numerous research and practitioner journals, and in online outsets such as edu@scholastic, the International Literacy Association’s Literacy Daily, and Phi Delta Kappan International.