The P. David Pearson Scholarly Influence Award recognizes scholars who have published an article, chapter or book that has demonstrably and positively influenced or impacted literacy research, practices and/or policies at national, state, and /or district/classroom levels.
“This award reflects David’s life-long legacy of commitment to improving literacy instruction through honoring such efforts for future generations of literacy researchers,” said Richard Beach, president of the LRA and Professor Emeritus of English Education at the University of Minnesota.
Pearson, who hasn’t missed an LRA conference in 44 years, originally suggested the LRA create the award but hadn’t expected it to be named in his honor.
“I never thought the award would be named after me, not in a million years! But I thought I might win it one day – because I have always tried to do research that had high potential for influencing practice,” Pearson said.
“The award is not given for a brilliant new theory or an impeccably designed study, but for work that does what society hopes research will do – improve the quality of life, in this case teaching and learning, for those whose well-being might be affected by it,” he said.
The first honoree will be awarded at the LRA’s 2013 conference, Dec. 4-7 in Dallas, Texas. The award comes with a $1,000 gift from the LRA.
“Throughout his career, David Pearson has made a rich and lively contribution to literacy scholarship and practice. From early books such as the classic Teaching Reading Comprehension
with Dale Johnson through to recent collections such as Teaching Reading, Effective Schools
with Barbara Taylor, David has traversed complex theory and instructional change,” said Theresa Rogers
, LRA Board Member and Professor at the University of British Columbia, in the announcement of the award.
Pearson started attending LRA conferences as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota in 1968 and hasn’t missed a conference since. He also served as Yearbook editor (1977-1979) and as President (1985).
Colleagues and Pearson’s former students applauded the LRA for creating the Pearson Scholarly Influence Award.
“There's no way I can thank David adequately for his positive influence on me, not to mention the field. Naming the award after him is certainly fitting. He's one in a million!,” said Kathryn Au, Chief Executive Officer, SchoolRise, LLC
, who first met Pearson when she was a doctoral student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He served on her dissertation committee and was an early supporter of her research on culturally responsive instruction.
"He's impacted the field directly through his own and his collaborative research and service, and indirectly for years to come through the legacy of his many graduate students," Taffy E. Raphael
, Ph.D., University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "There are many of us who have often said that we would not be who we are professionally if it hadn't been for David. We're the fortunate ones to have had him as our mentor."
Pearson earned his bachelor’s degree in History from UC Berkeley, taught elementary school in California for several years, and went on to complete his Ph.D. in Reading Education at the University of Minnesota. He completed post-doctoral study at the University of Texas, Austin and Stanford University. Before coming to Berkeley in 2001, he taught at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; University of Illinois; and Michigan State University.
The P. David Pearson Scholarly Influence Award nomination process
will be available in spring 2013.