Learning Difficulties Australia

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


Upcoming Professional Learning

August 2019 – LDA National Tour with Prof. David Kilpatrick

LDA is delighted to host David Kilpatrick in
Perth - 12th August 2019
Adelaide - 16th August 2019
Melbourne - 19th August 2019
Cairns - 22nd August 2019 and
Sydney - 24th August 2019

David will present: Recent Advances in Understanding Word-Level Reading Problems: Assessment and Highly Effective Intervention
Dr. David Kilpatrick, Professor of psychology for the State University of New York, is a certified school psychologist with 28 years’ experience in schools and has taught courses in learning disabilities and educational psychology since 1994. David is a reading researcher, and the author of the books Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties (2015), and Equipped for Reading Success (2016). Most recently, David is co-editor of The Science of Reading Development and Reading Difficulties: Bridging to Gap Between Research and Practice – to be published mid-2019. 

LDA and AJLD Annual Awards

The LDA and AJLD Awards are designed to recognise outstanding work and dedication in the field of learning difficulties.

Click here for general information about these awards.  

LDA AGM and Award Presentations – September 2018

LDA Members and guests attended LDA’s AGM and presentation of the 2018 LDA and AJLD Awards. LDA was delighted to present:

The LDA AJLD Eminent Researcher Award to Professor Kate Nation,
The Mona Tobias Award to Alison Clark,
The Bruce Wicking Award to Ray Boyd,
And the inaugural Rosemary Carter Award to Fay Tran.

Click here to read about the 2018 LDA and AJLD Award winners. 
Click here to read about previous LDA Award winners.
Click here to read about previous AJLD award winners.
Click here to read about the first annual Rosemary Carter Award. 

September 2018 – LDA National Tour with Dr Kate Nation

LDA was honoured to host Kate Nation who presented Reading and Comprehension Difficulties: research-practice links and applications for the classroom.

Kate Nation is Professor in Experimental Psychology and Fellow of St. John’s College, Oxford, Director of ReadOxford, and Partner Investigator, Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, and winner of LDA’s 2018 Eminent Researcher Award. Kate considered the complexity of reading by contracting meaning from print, highlighting why children may struggle to understand what they read and discuss the evidence-based interventions for children with poor reading comprehension.

Click here to learn more about Kate and ReadOxford, their research, and what is For Schools, For Parents and For Kids.
LDA Members can access Kate Nation’s presentation notes in the LDA website Members’ Area

Publications Announcement:

LDA Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties

Dr Tanya Serry, senior lecturer at La Trobe University, is the new Editor of LDA’s Journal of Learning Difficulties. Tanya’s research and teaching focuses on the literacy, language and learning difficulties among students from the early years through to tertiary students, and her expertise in the area of learning difficulties is well aligned with the vision of LDA and the Journal. 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.

Click here to learn more about Tanya Serry.

Other upcoming LDA Events

Click here for Conference & Seminar information.

Current Issues

Include Improve Inspire

Learning Difficulties Conference – LDA/SPELD/LSTAQ
Brisbane 20-21 September 2019
Call for Submissions and Workshops Click here for details 

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 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. Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquistion from Novice to Expert

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.

Additional information on Professor Snowling’s esteemed career and research, and details of her Australian ANU presentation can be viewed here

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 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. Available at: https://www.cis.org.au/publications/research-reports/read-about-it-scientific-evidence-for-effective-teaching-of-reading 

FIVE from FIVE - The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), FIVE from FIVE project 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.

The FIVE from FIVE website is http://www.fivefromfive.org.au/ – is a resource for teachers, principals, parents and policy makers with up-to-date credible evidence-based information.

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 excellent 08/02/16 interview on Radio National with Professor James Chapman: "Is Reading Recovery Working?"
To hear LDA’s President Dr Lorraine Hammond’s 15/02/16 interview on Radio National in relation to teaching reading systematically and effectively, Click here

The National Curriculum

Click here to see LDA's submission or click here to see the Review.

Winter 2018 issue of LDA Bulletin now FREE to download!

Take advantage of LDA’s special offer to non-members of LDA to download the Winter 2018 issue of the LDA Bulletin. Click here to download.
Members of LDA can access back issues of the Bulletin from the Members Only section of this website. To join LDA, click here.


Recent Publications

 The Bulletin

 The Journal


Bulletin Summer 2018

Volume 50,

No 3, Summer 2018


Volume 23,

No 2, November 2018

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:

August 2019 – Dr David Kilpatrick National Tour
Recent Advances in Understanding Word-Level Reading Problems:Assessment and Highly Effective Intervention

David will present full-day sessions 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.

Click here for full details of David Kilpatrick's tour or to register for an event click on one of the cities listed below:

Perth - 12th August 2019
Adelaide - 16th August 2019
Melbourne - 19th August 2019
Cairns - 22nd August 2019
Sydney - 24th August 2019

August 2017 - From the Lab to the Classroom: New Directions in Dyslexia Research

Professor Maryanne Wolf, Director of the Center for Reading and Language and Associate Professor Child Development at Tufts University, presented some of the most transformative studies in neuroscience-based research on dyslexia in the past two years, highlighting the translation of findings into insights for the classroom.

Click here for further Maryanne Wolf biographical information, publications

March 2015 – LDA National Tour with Dr Louisa Moats

Dr Louisa Moats, LDA Eminent Researcher, has contributed widely to reading and spelling instruction knowledge, writing extensively on the importance of code-based literacy instruction and better teacher preparation.

Click here to read Lousia Moats article Systematic, not "balanced" instruction in the October 2014 LDA Bulletin.

Click here for Louisa Moats significant paper Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science and more Louisa Moats Resources.


Book Shop

Book Shop - essential Explicit Teaching & Response to Intervention Numeracy & other resources

On Line 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. Click here for details. http://www.readingrockets.org/teaching/reading101-course/welcome-reading-101


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