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.


Upcoming Professional Learning

August 2019 – LDA National Tour with Prof. David Kilpatrick

LDA is delighted to host David Kilpatrick
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 – 2019

LDA is very pleased to announce the recipient of the 2019 AJLD Eminent Researcher Award is Professor William Tunmer, the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, who served on the  Faculty of Education at the University of Western Australia, and from 1988 to 2016 held the position of Professor of Educational Psychology at Massey University, where he served as Dean of the Faculty of Education. Professor Tunmer is a most worthy recipient, making a huge research contribution to literacy development, literacy learning difficulties, and reading intervention. Professor Tunmer will receive his award and give a presentation at LDA’s Annual General Meeting, 26 October 2019. 

Nominations for the 2019 AJLD Early Researcher Award and three LDA Awards are open until Friday 31 May. Recipients of these awards will be announced in August and presented at the LDA Annual General Meeting, 26 October 2019. 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.  

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 winner of LDA’s 2018 Eminent Researcher Award. LDA Members can access Kate Nation’s presentation notes in the LDA website Members’ Area.

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.

Other upcoming LDA Events

Click here for Conference & Seminar information.

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.

Click here to read the petition. 

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

Include Improve Inspire

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

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 Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), 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 Summer 2018

Volume 50,

No 3, Spring 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:

Jan Roberts – Canberra, Thursday 27 June 2019 / 9.00am-1.00pm

Writing with Competence and Confidence: Strategies to develop Students’ skills

As a past primary then secondary classroom teacher and curriculum consultant, Jan now specialises in teaching students with learning difficulties. 

All students, especially those with learning difficulties, benefit from explicit teaching of high impact skills and strategies to increase their confidence and competence in writing. This workshop, aimed at upper primary and secondary levels, will present strategies to implement in classrooms, including ways to plan, draft and edit formal and narrative writing

Click here for full details. Click here to register

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. For ull details of David Kilpatrick's tour and registration 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

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

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