Learning Difficulties Australia


LDA is an association of teachers and other professionals dedicated to assisting students with learning difficulties through effective teaching practices based on scientific research.


Congratulations to our LDA President Dr Lorraine Hammond and MultiLit's Director of Research (and former LDA council member) Dr Jennifer Buckingham!

Federal Education Minister The Hon Dan Tehan MP and the Education Council has endorsed the following:

'all undergraduate teaching degrees will have to double the minimum number of literacy subjects from 2 to 4, and there will have to be one subject dedicated to early reading instruction. This subject must include evidence-based practices in the Big Five plus oral language.'

LDA is proud to support the expert panel's findings and commend the Education Council's commitment to improving the reading outcomes of all Australian children!

For more information click here and here

LDA AGM and Awards Presentation 

The LDA 2019 AGM and Awards presentation was held at the Treacy Centre in Melbourne on Saturday 26 October.  

Following the recent election of members of LDA Council the new LDA 2019-2020 Council is as follows: 

President: Lorraine Hammond

Vice Presidents: Molly de Lemos and Nicole Todd

Treasurer: Renae Watkins

Secretary:Ann Ryan

Council Members: Sarah Asome, Lyn Franklin, Kate Gurgian, Juanita Lee, Bartek Rajkowski, Sally Robinson-Kooi, Dianne Steel, Jo Whithear.  

The AGM was followed by the presentation of the AJLD Eminent Researcher Award to Professor William Tunmer and the LDA Awards to Jennifer Buckingham (Mona Tobias Award), Steven Capp (Bruce Wicking Award), and Jan Roberts (Rosemary Carter Award). Click here for general information about these awards. Copies of the reports presented at this meeting and the Minutes of this meeting will be made available to members of LDA in the members section of the LDA website shortly.

Update on LDA Publications

The most recent issues of the LDA Bulletin (Volume  51, No 1, Autumn 2019) and the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties (Volume 24, No 1, May 2019), have now been released.  Copies of the LDA Bulletin can be downloaded here while members of LDA can access copies of the online version  of the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties via their LDA member  login here .  A listing of the Contents of each issue the Journal with links to the abstracts of each article are available here

2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours Awards

Dr Lorraine Hammond AM, Associate Professor at Edith Cowan University in WA and President of Learning Difficulties Australia, has been appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (General Division) for significant service to higher education, and to the community.

Lorraine works with schools across Australia taking up Explicit Instruction and regularly travels to the north of Western Australia delivering professional learning for the Kimberley Schools Project. The Australian Government recognised Lorraine with an Excellence in University Teaching Award in 2016, and in 2017 the Australian Council of Educational Leadership acknowledged her work in schools on high-impact instruction with a Leadership Award.

LDA congratulates Lorraine on receiving this prestigious award, with appreciation for her invaluable commitment to supporting students with learning difficulties and those who teach them.

Publications Announcement:

LDA publishes the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties. Editor: Dr Tanya Serry, La Trobe University. Members of LDA have free access to previous, current and upcoming issues and articles of the Journal, as well as receiving a print copy of each issue in the mail.


Current Issues


Reading and writing are essential skills that our children will need throughout their lives and they deserve to be taught using the best evidence-based methods.

Dyslexia Victoria Support (DVS) and Code Read Dyslexia Network Australia Ltd (Code Read) and Learning Difficulties Australia (LDA) and AUSPELD (inclusive of all State SPELD entities) call upon the Minister for Education, for the sake of our children, to remove programs such as Reading Recovery and Leveled Literacy Intervention from Victorian public schools.

You can also click here to read and then to sign the petition.

Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquistion From Novice to Expert

Continuing public interest questioning how children learn to read and a
review of reading science research, and a look at how the research makes its
way into classrooms is the topic of the recently published and acclaimed
article written by former LDA President Anne Castles, Kathleen Rastle and Kate
Nation; 'Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquisition From Novice to
Expert'.  There remains a wide gap between the state of research knowledge
about learning to read and the state of public understanding, which has
resulted in decades of the “reading wars”. The aim of this article is to
fill this gap.This is a must read for all. Free download here.

Professor Maggie Snowling - Dyslexia, Language and Learning to Read

Professor Maggie Snowling, President of St John's College Oxford and Professor of Psychology at the University of Oxford, recently visited Australia and spoke at the Australian National University on ‘Dyslexia, Language and Learning to Read’ on 25th July, 2017, to a sold out crowd. LDA is very grateful to Professor Snowling, and the ANU, for granting permission to provide an audio of this event for LDA.

National Year 1 Phonics Screen

LDA strongly supports this proposed federal initiative as an opportunity for early identification and lifting the performance of struggling beginner readers.
Click here to read more about the Phonics Screen and phonics research resources.

Effective Teaching

The Centre for Independent Studies published Read About It: Scientific Evidence for Effective Teaching of Reading by Kerry Hempenstall, edited by Jennifer Buckingham, focusing on the large and rigorous body of scientific evidence from the 1960’s to 2015, identifying the key elements of high quality reading instruction and demonstrating that explicit instruction methods are the most effective way of teaching reading, especially for novice readers and children at-risk of reading failure.

FIVE from FIVE - The FIVE from FIVE project is a resource for teachers, principals, parents and policy makers with up-to-date credible evidence-based information. It aims to improve literacy levels by bridging the gap between evidence-based research on reading instruction, policy, and practice. LDA has joined the FIVE from FIVE Alliance to help every child receive the most effective reading instruction from their first day at school. 

Is Reading Recovery failing the New Zealand Literacy Strategy - what is the evidence?

Click here for the recently published NSW evaluation of Reading Recovery and relevant Reading Recovery resources. Click here for an interview on Radio National with Professor James Chapman: "Is Reading Recovery Working?" To hear LDA’s President Dr Lorraine Hammond’s interview on Radio National in relation to teaching reading systematically and effectively, Click here


Recent Publications

 The Bulletin

 The Journal


Bulletin Autumn 2019

Volume 51,

No 1, Autumn 2019


Volume 24,

No 1, 2019

Subscribe to our monthly LDA e-News   

Current & past issues  Past issues   

NOTE: LDA Members can access complete back issues of these publications and pre-publication Journal articles when logged into the LDA Members Only section, via the latest articles item in the Taylor & Francis main menu.

 Members Only Section


Professional Learning

Conferences & Seminars:

Assessment Tools and Consultant Specialist Teacher Practice

Melbourne – Sunday 2nd February 2020

The presentation will be delivered by LDA practitioners who will provide an overview of many of the assessment tools used to support intervention program development, monitoring and review. The session will answer the what, why and how of each assessment tool, with a focus on explaining how each can be used to inform targeted and efficient intervention plans. Further information will be shared on running a private specialist intervention practice, including online delivery and the sharing of essential sample documents.

Click here for further information.

August 2019 – Dr David Kilpatrick National Tour

Recent Advances in Understanding Word-Level Reading Problems:  Assessment and Highly Effective Intervention

David presented full-day sessions in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne Cairns and Sydney with 1,139 in attendance, focusing on how children learn to read words and why some struggle. Understanding word level reading development and its problems will guide both assessment and intervention. Once we understand how reading works and why some children struggle, the reasons why some commonly used intervention approaches provide limited benefits while others can yield very large gains for such students becomes clear, and then the focus is on establishing the best instructional and intervention practices.

LDA Members can access Dr Kilpatrick’s Tour presentation notes by logging into the Member’s Area of the LDA website


Books and instructional materials relating to literacy, numeracy, response-to-intervention approaches and support for students with special educational needs are available at the LDA Bookshop.

Special Offer on David Kilpatrick resources! Workshop attendees and their colleagues can save now on David's two highly regarded books. Have a look here. 

Online Professional Learning and Courses

The Center for Effective Reading Instruction and the International Dyslexia Association have developed a self-paced online course on reading instruction, with nine pre and post tested modules to teach the critical skills for proficient reading, writing and assessment, and best practices that support students’ acquisition of these skills. This free online course, and option to attain certification, is offered on the Reading Rockets 101 website

A Free Online CourseSupporting Children with Difficulties in Reading and Writing Click here for details.

A new online course in teaching systematic synthetic phonics & its integration with wider reading, spelling and writing.
Click here for details.

Post Graduate Course Information

MOTIf: An assessment resource for researchers and professionals

LDA Members can access presentation notes from Past Conferences and Seminars in The Members Area when logged in at: https://www.ldaustralia.org/members-only.html