by Elizabeth Bleacher
The International Reading Association (IRA)/ Weekly Reader Eleanor M. Johnson Award is given to an elementary classroom teacher who exhibits outstanding dedication to reading and language arts. It is given in memory of Eleanor M. Johnson, the founder and editor of Weekly Reader. The award is a US$1,000 grant supported by Weekly Reader Corporation.
The deadline to submit an application for the award is November 15.
To be eligible for the award, nominees must be current IRA members, have taught at least five years in the classroom, and be nominated by at least four people. These four nomination letters must come from each of the following: a supervisor/evaluator, one other administrator, a fellow teacher, and one from another teacher, the parent of a student, or a student. Specific content guidelines for the letters can be found on the award’s online application form.
Along with the application and nomination letters, nominees are expected to include a personal statement regarding their beliefs about education. While the application will include factual data and specific examples, IRA asks that no pictures or scrapbooks be included. Instead, nominees will be asked to release information from their personal files to support the assertions of their applications.
A winner will be announced by March 1 and asked to attend the IRA Annual Convention to receive recognition for their accomplishments. This year the convention will be held in San Antonio, Texas from April 19-22.
Gary Wellbrock, the 2012 recipient, teaches deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing students at a dual language elementary school in New York City. He earned his master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. He is also a licensed reading specialist partly as a result of his efforts with the Hello Friend/ Ennis William Cosby Foundation.
More information about the award application process can be found at the International Reading Association’s website.
Elizabeth Bleacher is the strategic communications intern at the International Reading Association.