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Bernice "Bee" Cullinan grew up in Ohio and began her teaching career there. For fifteen years, she taught primary-grade students how to read. She was intrigued by the process of children learning to read and write and continued to study it the rest of her life.
Her bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees are from Ohio State University, where she became the study director for the federally funded Critical Reading Project. She also taught as an assistant professor at Ohio State before she moved to New York University.
She taught at NYU for thirty years as associate and full professor, retiring as emeritus professor of reading.
Bee was the author of more than 40 books. She was a past president of the International Reading Association and received the 2003 Outstanding Educator Award from the National Council of Teachers of English.
She was the editor in chief of a poetry imprint, Wordsong, at Boyds Mills Press.
Bee passed away in February 2015.