William H. Teale (Inducted 2003)

Biographical Statement

Dr. Teale was Professor of Education, University Scholar, and Director of the Center for Literacy in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His doctoral degree was in Reading Education and English Education from the University of Virginia. Bill's work focused on early literacy learning, the intersection of technology and literacy education, and children’s literature. In the area of early childhood education, he collaborated with schools and libraries across the country; with organizations such as Children’s Television Workshop, RIF, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Reach Out and Read; and worked on productions like Between the Lions and the National Head Start Association HeadsUp! Reading Program. He was the former editor of Language Arts (1990-1997) and former co-editor of the Illinois Reading Council Journal (1998-2004).  From 2006-2013 he was the PI on three U.S. Department of Education funded Early Reading First projects which involved developing model preschool literacy curricula for three- and four-year-old children in urban, low-income Chicago schools. Bill served on the International Reading Association Board of Directors from 2011-2014 and as President of the Board of the International Literacy Association from 2016-2017. At the time of his passing his work in the Center for Literacy involved providing community-based services to families of Head Start children and conducting research on various aspects of early language and literacy development. Bill was awarded the Causey award by LRA at the 2019 conference in Tampa, FL.



 The world of literacy lost a wonderful colleague and, for many a dear friend, when William H. (Bill) Teale passed away unexpectedly on February 3, 2018.  Over his career, Bill devoted his heart and mind to the field of literacy.  He was a widely respected researcher and educator whose work had significant impact on educational policy and practice around the world.


Among many honors, he was named University Scholar at the University of Illinois, Fulbright Specialist, Fellow of the National Conference of Research on Language and Literacy, and elected into the Reading Hall of Fame in 2003.  He served our professional organizations, including President of the International Literacy Association and member of the Board of Directors of the Literacy Research Association.  He served as editor of key professional journals in the field of language and literacy. 


His hundreds of articles, chapters, and books provide a valuable and lasting legacy to the field.  We miss not only his continued contributions, but the smile and twinkle in his eye that brightened our lives.