UC Santa Cruz professor inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame

Judith Scott, UC Santa Cruz professor emerita of education.

Judith Scott, UC Santa Cruz professor emerita of education, was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame on Dec. 1 at the Literary Research Association Conference. Scott was recognized and honored for her longstanding career and numerous contributions to teach education and research.

Over the 32 years of her career, Scott developed innovative approaches to vocabulary learning and assessment, working closely with classroom teachers to help students become aware of the power of language and the integrated use of multicultural children’s literature and writing.

Scott, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, will be the first Indigenous scholar in the Reading Hall of Fame. The Reading Hall of Fame is an independent organization comprised of 147 living members from the international community of literacy scholars.

Current members vote on membership and only five new members are selected each year. As the current President of the Hall of Fame put it in his letter announcing Scott’s election, “Being elected to the Reading Hall of Fame is one of the greatest honors that might be bestowed upon an individual serving the literacy profession.” 

Throughout her career, Scott taught many courses in the graduate program and was well-known for her undergraduate course on Multicultural Children’s Literature. She also recently published an imagined fable as a children’s picture book in conjunction with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. The book, When the Mission Bells Rang, was featured as a Story Walk through downtown Santa Cruz as a collaborative effort between Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park and the Santa Cruz Library.

In 2021, Scott retired after 22 years of service in the Education Department at UC Santa Cruz. However, she has remained active as the Principal Investigator of the Central California Writing Project and as part of the Critical Mission Project working to amplify Indigenous voices in K-12 classrooms, and as a member of the UC Santa Cruz Indigenous Faculty Networking group. 

In April, she received the Notable Vocabulary Researcher Award from the American Educational Research Association, and in 2006 she received recognition for her work with teachers from the International Reading/Literacy Association.