Anne Haas Dyson is a former teacher of young children and a fellow of the American Educational Research Association. Among her previous appointments was as a longtime professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where she received the campus-wide Distinguished Teaching Award. She has spent over 35 years studying the childhood cultures and literacy learning of young schoolchildren, for which she has received numerous awards. Dyson aims, first, to bring respect and intellectual attention to childhood cultures and their relationship to school learning. Young children do not participate in school because they are concerned about the national economy, international competition, or climbing a ladder to academic accolades from a grateful nation. They desire to make sense of their world and to gain companionship in what can be a confusing world. Second, she aims to document the diversity of resources (languages, popular culture texts, semiotic tools, everyday experiences) our diverse school children bring with them with which to participate intellectually and socially in school, especially in written language development. Her newest publications are both Spencer-funded: ReWRITING the basics: Literacy learning in children’s cultures (2013) and, forthcoming in 2015, Child cultures, schooling, and literacy: Global perspectives on children composing their lives.

Key Professional Appointments

ProfessorEPOL, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, 2011 - present

ProfessorC&I, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006 - 2011

ProfessorDepartment. of Teacher Education, Michigan State University, 2002 - 2006

ProfessorDivision of Language, Literacy, & Culture, University of California, Berkeley, 1991 - 2002

Associate ProfessorDivision of Language, Literacy, & Culture, University of California, Berkeley, 1987 - 1991

Assistant ProfessorDivision of Language, Literacy, & Culture, University of California, Berkeley, 1985 - 1987

Visiting Assistant ProfessorDivision of Language, Literacy, & Culture, University of California, Berkeley, 1984 - 1985

Graduate FacultyGraduate School, University of Georgia, 1984 - 1985

Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Language Education, University of Georgia, 1981 - 1985


Ph.D., Education, University of Texas, Austin, 1981

M.Ed., Education, University of Texas, Austin, 1976

B.S., Elementary Education (concentration: English), University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1972

Awards, Honors, Associations

Language Arts Educator of the Year AwardNational Council of Teachers of English, 2015 - 2015

John R. Hayes Award for Excellence in Educational ResearchWritten Communication (journal), 2014 - 2014

Vera Nofftz Early Childhood Education FellowGiven for "preeminence in the field of early childhood education"College of Education, 2011 - 2014

Fellow of the American Educational Research AssociationAmerican Educational Research Association, 2012 - present

Early Literacy Educator of the Year AwardNational Council of Teachers of English, 2012 - 2012

John R. Hayes Award for Excellence in Writing ResearchAward given for best article in Written Communication during the preceding year (2008)Written Communication, 2009 - 2009

Selection as Mary Lou Fulton Distinguished LecturerSelection by Mary Lou Fulton Endowment Advisory Committee of the College of EducationArizona State University, 2006 - 2006

Janet Emig Awardgiven by the Conference on English Education of the National Council of Teachers of EnglishNational Council of Teachers of English, 2006 - 2006

Janet Emig AwardNational Council of Teachers of English, 2002 - 2002

Purves AwardNational Council of Teachers of English, 1999 - 1999

Distinguished Teaching AwardUniversity of California-Berkeley, 1998 - 1998

Choice Outstanding Academic Book of the Year AwardChoice, 1995 - 1995

David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of EnglishNational Council of Teachers of English, 1994 - 1994

Research & Service

My major research interests are related to the social and cultural processes of schooling and literacy, including:

+ethnographies of childhood and, more broadly, of the experiential qualities of contemporary schooling for all participants

+the development of childhood cultures, especially the role of popular culture in that development, with a particular interest in city kids

+the development and use of written language in contemporary childhoods and cross-culturally

+the politics of identity and language in school, including the role of English variants, like African American Language

My current research centers on the intersection of literacy and childhoods. The latter is a relatively new interdisciplinary field which focuses on both how societies conceive of and arrange for “childhoods” and, also, on how children themselves act as agents in the construction of their own childhoods. For example, I have examined institutional expectations of the proper child prepared for and learning written language (through a study of what is considered “basic” and, also, “appropriate” in content) and children’s expectations for each others’ use of written language. The children’s actions involve use of place-based resources (like environmental print on frequented neighborhood sites) and appealing and shared knowledge based on media (e.g., movies, television, radio). Briefly, then, the work entails a study of the ideological foundation of “basics” curricula (i.e., ideologies of language and of appropriate childhoods), their classroom enactments, and their interpretation by young, marginalized children (i.e., marginalized in the institution and society by class, race, and language). To further illustrate, I have received Spencer funding for an international project comparatively examining the resources, challenges, and childhood responses of young children to institutional structures for literacy learning across the globe.


Dyson, A. (2015) The search for inclusion: Deficit discourse and the erasure of childhoods. Language Arts Journal/National Council of Teachers of English 92 (3), 199-207 link >

Dyson, A. (2013) ReWRITING the basics: Literacy learning in children's cultures.. Teachers College Press: New York, USA

Dyson, A. (2012) Relations between oral language and literacy. The encyclopedia of applied linguistics Wiley-Blackwell: Indianapolis, IN

Genishi, C., & Dyson, A. (2009) Children, language, & literacy: Diverse learners in diverse times.. Teachers College Press: New York

Dyson, A. (2009) Writing in childhood worlds. Handbook of writing development Sage: London

Dyson, A., & Smitherman, G. (2009) The right (write) start: African American language and the discourse of sounding right Teachers College Record

Dyson, A. (2008) Staying in the (curricular)lines: Practice constraints and possibilities in childhood writing Written Comunication

Dyson, A. (2007) School literacy and the development of a child culture: Written remnants of the "gusto of life.". International handbook of student experiences in elementary and secondary school Kluwer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands

Dyson, A. (2006) On saying it right (write): “Fix-its” in the foundations of learning to write Research in the Teaching of English

Dyson, A. (2006) Literacy in a child’s world of voices, or, the fine print of murder & mayhem. Response to David Olson Research in the Teaching of English

Dyson, A. (2005) Crafting "the humble prose of living": Rethinking oral/written relations in the echoes of spoken word English Education

Dyson, A., & Genishi, C. (2005) On the case: Approaches to language and literacy research (A National Conference on Research in Language and Literacy Volume).. Teachers College Press: New York

Dyson, A. (2004) Diversity as a “handful”: Toward retheorizing the basics Research in the Teaching of English

Dyson, A.. The place of childhoods in school writing programs: A matter of ethics. The Sage handbook of early childhood literacy, second edition SAGE: London

Dyson, A.. "Child cultures, schooling, and literacy: Global perspectives on composing unique lives" Routledge: global; for U.S.: New York, NY, USA


Principal InvestigatorThe Interplay of Child Cultures, Schooling, and Literacy: A Working Conference on Global Perspectives on Childhoods and Composing, The Spencer Foundation, 8/1/2013 12:00:00 AM - 12/31/2014 12:00:00 AM


Editorial Board MemberLanguage & Literacy Series, Teachers College Press, 1989 - present

Editorial Board MemberWritten Communication, 1987 - present

Anne Haas Dyson

Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership



366 Education Building
1310 S. Sixth St.
Champaign, IL 61820

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