Maryanne Wolf Honored with Einstein Award for Building Understanding of Dyslexia

The Dyslexia Foundation salutes Wolf, who directs the UCLA Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice.

Maryanne Wolf, UCLA Distinguished Visiting Professor of Education and director of the UCLA Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice, was honored with The Dyslexia Foundation’s Einstein Award at the organization’s meeting on “Dyslexia and Literacy: Understanding executive functions, language, and reading,” held at the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center on Feb. 15.

Claudia Koochek, head of the Westmark School in Encino, noted that Professor Wolf is “an individual who has made a profound impact on the dyslexia community,” with Wolf’s work to increase the understanding of dyslexia and improve the lives and learning of individuals with dyslexia.

“Maryanne embodies the spirit of this award and… invests her time and energy in bringing together educators, top researchers, and the rising stars from the various fields of neuroscience, cognitive science, and education to share knowledge and learn from one another,” said Koochek, who is a founding member of the UC San Francisco Dyslexia Center. “She continues to inspire us all with her expertise, her passion and commitment to empowering today’s dyslexic learners, both students and educators, who will become our future leaders, scientists, entertainers, researchers, educators, and perhaps, even future recipients of the Einstein Award.”

Professor Wolf joined the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies last fall as a visiting professor. She is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain (HarperCollins), Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century: The Literary Agenda (Oxford University Press), and over 150 scientific publications. She lectures around the world, including multiple presentations on global literacy for disenfranchised children at the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Previously to arriving at UCLA, Wolf was the John DiBiaggio Professor of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University, and the Director of the Center for Reading and Language Development in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development. She is affiliated with the Dyslexia Center in the UCSF Medical School and with Curious Learning: A Global Literacy Initiative, which she co-founded.

Wolf is the recipient of multiple research and teaching honors, including the Fulbright Fellowship, the American Psychological Association Teaching Award, a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study for the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, the NICHD Innovative Research Award, and the highest awards by the International Dyslexia Association and the Australian Learning Disabilities Association. She is a sought-after resource for international media, including The Verge, The Hindu, Good E Reader, Free Beacon, and The San Francisco Chronicle, as well as various NPR interviews. Her most recent book, “Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World” was published in 2018 by Harper Collins.

Wolf stated the importance of researchers and schools working in collaboration toward the needs of teachers and students, the need for systemic change in serving students with dyslexia, and early assessment and intervention of children with dyslexia.

“Literacy is a basic human right,” said Professor Wolf. “We need critical, empathic minds. We who are citizens of a democracy… must demand that our children are able to have critical analysis and empathy when they read so that they are not susceptible to fake news or falsely raised hopes and fears.

“It would be catastrophic to become a nation of technically-competent people who have lost the ability to think critically, to examine themselves, and to respect the humanity and diversity of others. It is therefore urgent now to support efforts aimed at producing citizens – our children, who can take charge of their own reasoning, who can see the different and foreign not as a threat… but an as invitation to expand their own minds and capacity for citizenship.”


Above: Maryanne Wolf, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Education and director of the UCLA Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice, was honored with the Einstein Award from The Dyslexia Foundation in February at UCLA’s Luskin Conference Center.

L-R: Claudia Koochek, head, Westmark School; Professor Wolf; and William H. Baker, founder and president, The Dyslexia Foundation