P. David Pearson is a faculty member in the programs in Language and Literacy and Cognition and Development at the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as Dean from 2001-2010. He is currently the Evelyn Corey Professor of Instructional Science. His current research focuses on issues of reading instruction and reading assessment policies and practices at all levels-local, state, and national.
Prior to coming to Berkeley in 2001, he served as the John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of Education in the College of Education at Michigan State and as Co-Director of the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement. Even earlier, he was Dean of the College of Education, Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Reading, and Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois. His initial professorial appointment was at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
He has been active in professional organizations, serving the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English in many capacities, both the National Reading Conference and The National Conference of Research in English as President, and the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education as a member of the Board. In 1989, the National Reading Conference presented him with the Oscar Causey Award for outstanding contributions to reading research. In 1990, he was awarded the William S. Gray Citation of Merit by the International Reading Association for his contributions to theory, research, and practice. In 2003, he was elected to the National Academy of Education. In 2004, he received the Alan Purves Award from NCTE for the RTE article most likely to influence practice, and in 2005, the Albert J. Harris Award from IRA for scholarship on reading difficulties. In 2006, the University of Minnesota honored him with the Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award, the highest non-academic award given at the University, for his contributions to educational research and practice. In 2010, he received the AERA Distinguished Contributions to Research in Education Award. In 2012, the Literacy Research Association created the P. David Pearson Scholarly Influence Award to honor research publications that have had a major positive influence on literacy practice and policy.
He has served as an advisor to the National Academy of Science, the Children's Television Workshop (now the Sesame Workshop), and Word World. During his career, he sat on several advisory boards: the Board of Directors of the National Writing Project, the Educational Advisory Board of the National Geographic Society, and the Board of Visitors of the Colleges of Education at the University of Minnesota and the University of Pittsburgh. He also served as Chair the the Reading Committee of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
He has written and co-edited several books about research and practice, most notably the first four volumes of the Handbook of Reading Research. He has served on the boards of many educational research journals e.g., Reading Research Quarterly, Science, Journal of Literacy Research, Review of Educational Research, Journal of Educational Psychology, Cognition and Instruction, Research in Teaching English, Language Arts, and Review of Educational Research. He has served multiple terms as editor of 3 major research publications-Reading Research Quarterly, NRC Yearbook, and Review of Research in Education.
Current research projects include Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading—a Research and Development effort with colleagues at Lawrence Hall of Science in which reading, writing, and language as are employed as tools to foster the development of knowledge and inquiry in science—and a project on developing MOOCs to help educators learn more about ELL oral and written language work.
Professor Pearson received his B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley, after which he 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.
Revised August 2015