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LDA Awards

The Mona Tobias Award

Tom Nicholson

Tom Nicholson has made contributions to the field of literacy and learning difficulties that span several decades and several continents. His Ph.D. research, carried out at the University of Minnesota, was seminal in providing crucial evidence about the importance of accurate decoding – timely evidence published in an educational context where Whole Language assumptions held sway. Tom was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame in 2010. His continued professional work, based at the University of Auckland and Massey University, has involved teacher education, research, and research supervision. He has spoken at international conferences, been a visiting professor in a range of countries, and he serves on many editorial boards. He has also directed and tutored in summer schools and an after-school reading clinic. Tom has hundreds of publications to his name, and has written and co-authored seminal books on phonics, dyslexia, reading comprehension and writing. Tom has consistently provided the teaching world with practical and evidence-based information and strategies.

In accepting the award, Tom Nicholson thanked LDA for the recognition of his efforts, and presented the meeting with an entertaining and thought-provoking speech, which was published in the LDA Bulletin 2021, 53:3.

For further information about Mona Tobias and list of previous recipients of the Mona Tobias Award click here.

The Bruce Wicking Award

Alison McMurtrie

Alison has devoted her professional life to the support of children who have learning difficulties. Alison has worked as a teacher in South Africa, the U.K. and Australia, and has been a consultant to several committees. Her recent professional commitment involves a key role with MultiLit, where, in her role as Product Development Manager, she has set an exceptionally high standard for the writing of literacy programs based on scientific evidence. Her contribution has also involved designing and presenting teacher training programs, carrying out research to evaluate the literacy programs, and mentoring teaching teams in schools. Colleagues have always commented that Alison is a willing and kind mentor. 

Alison completed a Master of Special Education at Macquarie University in 2012, and has presented at conferences for DSF (Dyslexia SPELD Foundation – Perth), The Reading League (USA), and the Sharing Best Practice: Literacy and Numeracy Conference (Melbourne).

For further information about the Bruce Wicking Award and list of previous recipients click here.

The Tertiary Student Award

Reid Smith

Reid is the Head of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction at Clarendon College, Ballarat, and has gained great respect for his efforts to embed evidence-based practices into classroom teaching. He is also a member of the SOLAR Lab at La Trobe University, where he is enrolled in a PhD. He was the lead author in an article published together with his supervisors, Pamela Snow, Tanya Serry and Lorraine Hammond, in Reading Psychology 2021, 42(3), 214-240, The Role of Background Knowledge in Reading Comprehension: A Critical Review. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02702711.2021.1888348 

In accepting this Award, Reid thanked his supervisors for their expertise and support, thanked LDA for the recognition of this work, and expressed the hope that his research will be of use to students and teachers in the future.

For further information about the Tertiary Student Award and list of previous recipients, click here.

The Rosemary Carter Award

Diane Barwood

Diane has put many years of work into the field of learning difficulties, working in mainstream and special education settings, as classroom teacher, special education teacher, principal of a primary school, and networking with associations in the broader community. Diane joined LDA in 1975, and was awarded life membership of LDA in 2015 in recognition of her contributions to the association. She has served in several positions on Council, including LDA President, and has demonstrated exceptional commitment to, and influence within, the consultant arm of LDA. She is greatly respected for her robust commitment to evidence-based teaching through the professional development she has offered, as well as through her own teaching practice. Diane’s nomination was accompanied by several testimonials of appreciation from network colleagues and parents of students she has worked with.

In her response to receiving this Award, Dianne thanked all her colleagues and the parents who had supported her nomination for this award, and acknowledged the outstanding professional collegiality that is shared within the group of LDA Consultants. She said that has found the time she has devoted to LDA to be rewarding, and commented that one of the most rewarding of these LDA experiences was working with Rosemary Carter, in whose honour this annual award is presented.

For further information about the Rosemary Carter Award, click here.

AJLD Awards

The AJLD Eminent Researcher Award

Prof. Genevieve McArthur

Genevieve McArthur is Professor of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University, and has been a well-respected researcher in the field of literacy for many years, with a very impressive history of publications, research grants, and service on editorial boards. She is currently the Translational Director of the Macquarie University Centre of Reading, the Founding Director of the Macquarie University Reading Clinic, and the Project Manager of MOTIf (Macquarie Online Test Interface; www.motif.org.au). She describes the goal of her research as “to understand what causes reading and language difficulties in children, how these difficulties can be identified and treated effectively, and how they relate to emotional health.” She also says that she is a “passionate advocate for the rapid translation of evidence-based knowledge into practice” – a goal that is absolutely in harmony with the mission of LDA. 

A summary of Genevieve McArthur’s acceptance speech will be published in the upcoming issue of the Bulletin.

For further information about the AJLD Eminent Researcher Award and list of previous receipients click here.

The AJLD Early Career Researcher Award

Sally Robinson-Kooi

Sally Robinson-Kooi’s Award was based on an article published in the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties in 2020, on the topic of Using sentence dictation to practise and assess taught spelling and punctuation skills: A Year 2 explicit instruction intervention

Sally continues to be engaged in research that has the potential to make a significant contribution to theory and classroom practice in supporting students with learning difficulties and students who speak English as an additional language or dialect.

For further information about the AJLD Early Career Researcher Award and list of previous receipients click here.