UKLA announces the winners for the UKLA/ Wiley Research in Literacy Education Award 2021

This award recognises exemplary papers from UKLA journals published by Wiley.


UKLA is delighted to announce the winners for the prestigious UKLA/ Wiley Research in Literacy Education Award 2021.

The Award is given annually for papers in Literacy and the Journal of Research in Reading judged to be exemplary in terms of the criteria applied. Both journals have international reputations for excellence. 

The winners are for the following papers:

Literacy winner 2021 Tessa Daffern and Noella Maree Mackenzie. A case study on the challenges of learning and teaching English spelling: insights from eight Australian students and their teachers. Volume 54, Number 3, September 2020.

Dr. Wayne Tennnet(chair) writes: This paper investigates the complexities involved in learning and teaching English spelling. It focuses specifically on understanding the challenges experienced by low-achieving spellers, and considering ways that teachers can support these children. It presents a case study of 8 low-achieving spellers (8 – 12 years old) drawn from a larger study encompassing 13 schools across the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The study took a mixed methods approach which involved the analysis of phonological, orthographic and morphological spelling errors, alongside interviews with both teachers and children. Findings suggested that children lacking confidence in spellings had limited strategies for spelling unknown words and teachers had inadequate strategies for supporting them. The journal committee were impressed by the clear and succinct manner in which the complexity of the spelling process was outlined, and the way that the voices of teachers and students were acknowledged. This paper has particularly relevance for classroom practice. 

JRR winner 2021 Selma Babayigit and Lauren Shapiro Component skills that underpin listening comprehension and reading comprehension in learners with English as first and additional language. Volume 43, Issue 1, 2020, pp 78–97.

Dr. Wayne Tennnet(chair) writes: This paper investigates second-language learners’ text comprehension. It considers how the key components of vocabulary knowledge and grammatical skills link to both reading and listening comprehension for this group of learners. It does so by comparing children who have English as an Additional Language (EAL) with a group whose first language is English. The study involved over 200 children (9-10-year olds) drawn from 7 UK primary schools. The children were assessed on a range of thoughtfully chosen measures. Findings included the suggestion that EAL learners’ weaknesses in vocabulary and grammar is associated with their underperformance on listening comprehension and reading comprehension. The study is very clear methodologically and the results are easy to follow. What is also interesting is that the study acknowledges the children’s views. The panel felt that this is a model in the way it is presented ethically and can used as a reference point for future researchers.

The Literacy shortlist was chosen by panels convened by Literacy editors Dianne R. Collier and Natalia Kucirkova and JRR editors Dr Nenagh Kemp and Dr Joanne Taylor 

Panel: Wayne Tennent (Chair), Frances Bodger, Sue Dymoke, Chris Lockwood, 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.

More information about the award can be found here and you can read the winning open-access article here.

Shortlisted articles 2021

Shortlist Literacy

Becoming a teacher of early reading: charting the knowledge and practices of preservice and newly qualified teachers. Helen Hendry. 

Learning the words AND knowing the concepts: an in-depth study of one expert teacher’s use of language as a cultural tool to support inquiry. Emily Hayden, Michelle Eades Baird and Anupma Singh 

Making visible the literacy practices of elders through the day in the life methodology: considerations for literacy education across the lifespan. Rachel Heydon , Roz Stooke, Catherine Ann Cameron, Emma Cooper and Susan O’Neill 

Teachers as writers: learning together with others. Teresa Cremin , Debra Myhill, Ian Eyres, Tricia Nash, Antony Wilson and Lucy Oliver 

Hanging out in The Studio to challenge xenophobia: consolidating identities as community writersOsman Coban, Julie E.McAdam and Evelyn Arizpe

A case study on the challenges of learning and teaching English spelling: insights from eight Australian students and their teachers Tessa Daffern and Noella Maree Mackenzie

Shortlist: Journal of Research in Reading (JRR) 

Component skills that underpin listening comprehension and reading comprehension in learners with English as first and additional language. Babayi it and Shapiro

Evaluating models of how morphological awareness connects toreading comprehension: A study in Portuguese. Oliveria, Levesque and Deacon and Mota

Do reading comprehension assessment tests result in the same reading profile? A study of Spanish primary school children. Calet, López-Reyes and Jiménez-Fernández. 

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