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Professor Anne Haas Dyson named Early Literacy Educator of the Year

by Allie Pitcher / Dec 7, 2012

Anne Haas Dyson, professor in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, has received the Early Literacy Educator of the Year Award from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). NCTE seeks to recognize distinguished contributions to the language and literacy education of young children.

Dyson won the award along with her longtime academic partner Professor Celia Genishi of Teachers College-Columbia. “Professor Genishi and I have been in academic partnership for over 30 years,” Dyson said.

The Early Literacy Educator of the Year Award acknowledges a master teacher or teacher educator in the area of early childhood concentrating on language and literacy growth. Through a selected award committee, the Early Childhood Education Assembly selects an award recipient, or in this case, recipients, from the materials submitted during the year.

The award letter, sent by Professor Carmen Medina of the NCTE Board of Directors, stated, “We are proud and honored that this is going to two scholars that have contributed so much and who have such an incredible commitment to early childhood education.”

The two strive to take a unique approach in their work. “We use language as a lens to consider how schools are supporting our youngest students (given that linguistic, sociocultural, and socioeconomic diversity is the norm for our children) and we consider too how children experience schooling.”

They draw from their different backgrounds to gather a wide variety of experiences to better their teaching as partners. Together, Dyson and Genishi have published four books on language in the classroom.

“We have done numerous chapters and research handbook entries over the years and many, many presentations and workshops,” Dyson said. “Such a sustained collaboration is, I think, unusual.”