University of Pittsburgh
April 8, 2002

Pitt Education Professor and Researcher Wins William S. Gray Award

Contact:  412-624-4147

April 8, 2002

PITTSBURGH—Isabel Beck, a University of Pittsburgh professor in the School of Education and senior scientist in Pitt's Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), will be honored with the 2002 William S. Gray Award, the primary award given by the International Reading Association (IRA), which is the largest reading research-related association in the world. Beck will receive the award at the IRA national meetings in San Francisco in early May.

William S. Gray, one of the founding leaders in reading research, is known for the depth of thinking and breadth of topics explored in his work. According to the IRA, hallmarks of his career were his interest in maintaining a close connection between theory and practice, his sense of history, and the seriousness of purpose he brought to the field due to his methodological, objective, and scholarly approach.

Among the criteria the IRA used in selecting Beck were "initiation and development of original ideas that have increased knowledge and understanding of the reading process and improved practices in reading."

Beck teaches reading education courses and conducts reading research at Pitt. She has engaged in extensive research on decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension and has published approximately 100 articles on her findings. She is active in professional organizations and provides service to school districts locally and nationally.

Beck has received numerous awards, including the National Reading Conference's 1988 Oscar S. Causey Award for outstanding research and the 2000 Contributing Researcher Award from the American Federation of Teachers for "bridging the gap between research and practice." In 1995, she was inducted into the IRA's "Reading Hall of Fame."