Department of Teaching and Learning


Michael J. Kieffer

Associate Professor of Literacy Education

Michael J. Kieffer


Curriculum Vitae/Syllabi

Michael J. Kieffer studies the language and literacy development of students from linguistically diverse backgrounds. A former middle school teacher, he aims to conduct research that can inform instruction and policy to improve the reading outcomes of students in urban schools, especially adolescents from linguistically diverse backgrounds.  His research has included longitudinal studies of the reading and language development of English language learners, experimental evaluations of academic vocabulary instruction, and secondary analyses of large longitudinal datasets. He collaborates widely with colleagues in other disciplines, including developmental psychology, applied statistics, special education, and educational policy.  He is currently most fascinated by metalinguistic skills involved in vocabulary learning, English language learners' long-term developmental trajectories, teaching practices that promote rich discussions in middle-school classrooms, and the roles of attention in reading comprehension. (Click on CV link above for publications and other information.)

Degrees Held

  • Ed.D. Harvard Graduate School of Education
    Language & Literacy
  • Ed.M. Harvard Graduate School of Education
    Quantitative Methods in Developmental Research
  • B.A. Stanford University
    English (with an Interdisciplinary Emphasis)


  • 2014 : American Educational Research Association, Division C Early Career Award
  • 2013 : International Reading Association Dina Feitelson Research Award
  • 2013 : NYU Steinhardt Griffiths Research Award
  • 2012 : National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2010 : Spencer Foundation Exemplary Dissertation Award
  • 2010 : Teachers College Dean's Grant for Pretenured Faculty Research
  • 2008 : Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship
  • 2008 : National Academy of Education Adolescent Literacy Predoctoral Fellowship
  • 2008 : International Reading Association Jeanne S. Chall Research Fellowship


  • 2014-2015: Co-Principal Investigator. English language learners in middle and high school: Predictors and outcomes related to reclassification in New York City.  Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, through the Regional Educational Laboratory-Northeast & Islands. (James Kemple, PI).
  • 2013-2014: Co-Principal Investigator. Teaching practices to accommodate individual differences in middle school English language arts. Funded by the National Academy of Education Measures of Effective Teaching Early Career Scholar Grants Program (Peter Halpin, PI). 
  • 2012-2017: Collaborator. Tools for reading: How children become sensitive to and use word structure in their reading. Funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Helene Deacon, PI).
  • 2011-2012: Principal Investigator. Exploring heterogeneity in the linguistic, metalinguistic, and reading skill profiles of adolescent English language learners. Funded by the Spencer Foundation.
  • 2010-2012: Principal Investigator. English language learners' growth in mathematics and reading during early adolescents: Do K-8 schools make a difference? Funded by the American Educational Research Association with support from the National Science Foundation.
  • 2010-2011: Co-Investigator. Student transitions through the middle grades. Subcontract in collaboration with the Research Alliance for New York City Schools with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.