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AACTE to Present Outstanding Dissertation Award to Miriam G. Lipsky of the University of Miami

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(Feb. 18, 2013, Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) will present Miriam G. Lipsky, Ph.D., with its 2013 Outstanding Dissertation Award for her study of storybook reading in linguistically diverse Head Start classrooms. The award recognizes excellence in doctoral dissertation research that contributes to the knowledge base of educator preparation or of teaching and learning with implications for educator preparation. It will be presented March 2 at AACTE's 65th Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla. Lipsky is one of two recipients of the award for 2013.

Lipsky's dissertation, Head Start Teachers' Vocabulary Instruction and Language Complexity During Storybook Reading: Predicting Vocabulary Outcomes of Students in Linguistically Diverse Classrooms, studies teaching practices surrounding storybook reading in the context of Head Start programs, thus addressing a gap in the literature on classrooms serving students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"Dr. Lipsky's dissertation study makes an important contribution to the field of teacher education by examining the frequency of particular pedagogical practices in preschool classrooms and their impact on student outcomes," said Beth Harry, professor and chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Miami School of Education and Human Development. "Her examination of the use of various best practices for language and literacy development in early childhood settings sheds light on the use of those practices in Head Start centers that serve a linguistically diverse group of children. Beyond that, the scale of her study allowed her to examine the relationship between specific teacher practices during storybook reading and child vocabulary outcomes over a year of instruction."

AACTE's Committee on Research and Dissemination, which reviewed submissions for the dissertation award, also praised the study.

"Lipsky's dissertation provides the field with a much-needed description of the range of teaching practices used for storybook reading in Head Start classrooms and has shown us the relationship between the use of those practices and student outcomes," said Jennie Whitcomb, chair of AACTE's committee and associate dean of teacher education at the University of Colorado at Boulder. "The picture that emerges raises one's awareness of the complexity surrounding efforts to raise the language and literacy performance of children who are economically and hence educationally at risk. It also raises one's awareness of the degree of knowledge and pedagogical sophistication that is needed on the part of early childhood educators in order to obtain measurable gains in language and literacy performance."

Lipsky completed her dissertation in 2011 under the advisement of Dr. Maria S. Carlo. See further details on AACTE's 2013 award winners at


AACTE: Serving Learners
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to the highest quality professional development of teachers and school leaders in order to enhance PK-12 student learning. The 800 institutions holding AACTE membership represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE's reach and influence fuels its mission of serving learners by providing all school personnel with superior training and continuing education.


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