Winners announced for the UKLA/ Wiley Research in Literacy Education Award 2019

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UKLA is delighted to announce the winners for the prestigious UKLA/ Wiley Research in Literacy Education Award 2019.

The Award is given annually for papers published in each of UKLA’s journals - Literacy and Journal of Research in Reading (JRR) - judged to be exemplary in terms of criteria applied in both journals. Literacy and JRR are peer-reviewed journals with international reputations for excellence. The panel chair is Dr. Wayne Tennent.

The winning authors will be honoured at the UKLA 55th International Conference in Sheffield July 12-14 and invited to present a joint seminar at the conference.

The Literacy winner is for the following paper:

Bobbie Kabuto, Family Narratives of Biliteracy Vol 52:3

Wayne Tennent, chair, writes: This paper presents a study of how two bilingual mothers construct bilingualism in the context of their families, and how this impacts upon the way they perceive their children’s learning to read in two languages. Data were collected from discussions following authentic oral reading events and analysed by way of discourse analysis. Differences were noted between the two participants whereby certain language practices were given prominence, and other practices were less valued. The paper is methodologically strong, and discourse analysis is used effectively in the context of Home Literacy. The study is well conceptualised, easily replicable, and findings are treated cautiously. This paper contributes to the discussion on how bilingualism is conceptualised, and the extent to which Home Literacy is acknowledged. By bringing together these two elements this paper provides a lens through which educators can question their assumptions towards the teaching of bilingual learners.


The Journal of Research in Reading (JRR) winner is for the following paper:

Nouwens, S., Groen, M. A., Kleemans, T., and Verhoeven, L.

The role of semantic retrieval in children's reading comprehension development in the upper primary grades. Vol 41:3

Wayne Tennent, chair, writes: This paper presents a longitudinal study which investigated the role of semantic retrieval in children’s reading comprehension. This describes the process whereby readers retrieve the meaning of words from their mental lexicon during and after reading. It tracked a group of 119 Dutch children from 4th Grade (9 – 10 year olds) to 6th Grade (11 – 12 year olds) on their decoding, vocabulary, verbal fluency tasks and Reading comprehension. The findings in the study supported the lexical quality hypothesis which suggests that automatic retrieval is likely to improve across this age range as processes such as decoding become more automatic. However it also found that controlled semantic retrieval in Grade 5 accounted for differences in reading comprehension in Year 6. While acknowledging the limitations of this study and treating these findings cautiously, this study has implications for educators. It shows the important role of domain specific knowledge for older comprehenders, which may be replicated beyond Dutch speakers.

The awards will be presented at the UKLA International Conference in Sheffield , July 12-14th

The shortlists were chosen by panels convened by JRR editors Jessie Ricketts and Nenagh Kemp and Literacy editors Jill McClay and Clare Dowdall.

Panel: Wayne Tennent (Chair), Frances Bodger, Sue Dymoke, Lynda Graham, Jackie Marsh, Jonathan Solity and Kat Vallely.

The panel would like to congratulate all of those authors who were nominated for the award, and Wiley for their continued generosity in supporting this award.


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