Erika Dawes


Professor Erika Dawes in her office

A former elementary classroom teacher, reading specialist, and district literacy administrator, Erika Thulin Dawes now teaches and mentors courses in early childhood literacy, children's literature, and elementary literacy methods at Lesley University. Prior to Lesley, Erika taught literacy methods courses at Teachers College, Columbia University. 

When teaching, Erika works to ensure that her students have hands-on experience with various models of instruction so they can bring them to their own teaching. She believes in making theory accessible to practicing educators and, through inquiry-based activities, she taps into the curiosity of students to promote new and in-depth ways of learning. She is a co-author of a book on writing instruction Learning to Write with Purpose: Effective Instruction in Grades 4-8 (2009) and the author of ancillary materials for the well-established textbook Charlotte Huck's Children's Literature, now in its tenth edition, authored by her mentor Dr. Barbara Kiefer.

In collaboration with Lesley colleague and Classroom Bookshelf coauthor Mary Ann Cappiello, Erika has created instructional models for strategically organizing children's and young adult literature of all genres, along with multimodal digital texts, at center of classroom inquiry in language arts and the content areas.

You can read more about their ideas in two books: Teaching with Text Sets  (2013) and Teaching to Complexity  (2015). In 2016 Erika was appointed chair of the Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children committee of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE, for a two-year term. The most recent Charlotte Huck Award went to Stella by Starlight, by Sharon M. Draper. Erika also writes children's book reviews for Language Arts.

In addition to her role as professor, Erika is co-director of the graduate elementary programs.

Erika weighs in on how to prevent bullying in schools.

Education: BA, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; M.Ed., Lesley University; Ed.D., Columbia University Teachers College

Explore the Classroom Bookshelf blog.

Selected Publications

  • Cappiello, M.A., & Dawes, E.T. (2015). Teaching to complexity.  Huntington Beach, CA, Shell Educational Publishing.
  • Cappiello, M.A., & Dawes, E.T. (2012). Teaching with text sets. Huntington Beach, CA, Shell Educational Publishing.
  • Cappiello, M.A., Dawes, E.T. Enriquez, G., and Roach, J. (2011). Children's literature reviews: The right not to defend your tastes. Language Arts. 88, 3. pgs. 244-249.
  • Allan, K.K., McMackin, M., Thulin Dawes, E. and Spadorcia-Levesque, S., (2009). Learning to Write with Purpose: Effective Instruction in Grades 4-8. New York: Guilford.
  • Thulin Dawes, E. (2008). 2007 children's literature award winners: A classroom response guide. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Thulin Dawes, E. (2007). Constructing reading: Building conceptions of literacy in a volunteer read-aloud program. Language Arts 85, 1. pgs. 11-19.