Ph.D. in Education, 2012
School of Education
July 1, 2009
Interest in Reading Achievement Guides Scholarship and Professional Practice
Dale Webster is a student in the Ph.D. program specializing in Learning, Cognition, and Development. Dale has a wealth of experience as a leader in reading reform. He received his BA in Liberal Studies in 1992 and his California Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential in 1993 from San Diego State University. He received his Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Houston in 1999. He taught primary and upper elementary grades for seven years in San Diego City Schools.
In 1995, Dale was a recipient of the Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship where he served as legislative staff to the California Assembly Education Committee. It was during this time that Dale was introduced to the scientific research base for beginning reading instruction and decided that improving reading instruction was his passion. Since then, Dale has had extensive experience providing intervention support to struggling readers, coaching teachers, and providing professional development to teachers and administrators in California, Texas, and other states. He has been a Literacy Expert in Los Angeles Unified School District mentoring literacy coaches and training teachers and administrators. In addition, he also served as a part time consultant/instructor with the Consortium on Reading Excellence (CORE).
From 2003 to 2008, Dale worked in a leadership capacity for the federal Reading First Initiative in both Texas and California. In Texas he worked as a Project Manager for the statewide technical assistance network providing technical assistance and professional development to districts implementing their Reading First plans. In California, Dale was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to serve as Policy Consultant to the California State Board of Education providing guidance to the Board on state policy issues related to curriculum and instruction, professional development, and the STAR testing system. From January to September 2008, Dale co-led the Reading Lions Center at the Sacramento County Office of Education where he spear-headed a Reading First funded special education teacher professional development pilot program.
Dale has been committed to improving California education by serving on several state panels and committees. Worthy of mention are the Curriculum Developmental and Supplemental Materials Commission, an advisory body to the State Board of Education on the state’s curriculum frameworks and textbook adoptions. In this capacity, he served as the Chair of the Reading/Language Arts subcommittee. He also served on the STAR English Language Arts Review Panel, which provided item review for the California Standards Test.
From his work in reading reform and the policy conversations related to the academic achievement of English learners and at-risk learners, Dale became interested in vocabulary and academic language development. Although there are many issues and questions related to the academic achievement of English learners and at-risk children, convergent research is pointing to high quality instruction as the key to improving the trajectory of vocabulary learning for these populations. Dale’s specific research endeavors this year involve identifying the most efficacious vocabulary interventions. His first year project is to perform a meta-analysis of the vocabulary intervention research over the last decade. In addition, Dale is interested in exploring causal relationships between vocabulary and reading comprehension through improvements in vocabulary assessment.