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Diane Corcoran Nielsen, PhD

Primary office:
Joseph R. Pearson Hall, 446
University of Kansas
1122 West Campus Rd
Lawrence, KS 66045-3101


Diane Corcoran Nielsen, professor, joined the KU faculty in fall of 1990. Nielsen earned her BA in Elementary and Special Education at the University of Iowa, MS in Curriculum and Instruction: Reading Education at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota and PhD in Curriculum and Instruction: Literacy Education at the University of Minnesota.

Her expertise in working with teachers and schools, research and publications have focused on issues related to the literacy development and instruction of young children (preschool-primary grades) typically developing as well as students with special needs, particularly children with hearing-impairments. She has also developed reading assessments. Nielsen has authored and led several literacy-related projects including a USDE funded Early Childhood Professional Development project, which focused on supporting urban preschool teachers in creating language and literacy-rich classrooms. In addition, she is currently a Co-PI on two Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funded research projects focused on the literacy development and instruction of young children.

Nielsen has published research in Reading Psychology, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, American Annals of the Deaf, Teaching and Teacher Education, Action in Teacher Education, Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, and Journal of Education among others and has presented at conferences of the International Reading Association, Literacy Research Association, Society for the Scientific Studies of Reading, and the American Educational Research Association.

Teaching Interests

  • Literacy
  • Reading
  • Children's literature
  • Elementary education
  • Reading specialist

Research Interests

  • Reading development
  • Language development
  • Reading instruction
  • Primary grades
  • Early intervention
  • Reading and deafness
  • Teacher Education
  • Professional development
  • Reading assessments
  • Narrative comprehension

Selected Publications

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Curriculum & Instruction: Literacy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1990
  • M.S., Curriculum & Instruction: Reading, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, 1983
  • B.A., Elementary & Special Education, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 1972


Literacy and Children's Literature