UKLA announces the winners of the UKLA/Wiley Research in Literacy Education Award 2017

The UKLA/ Wiley Research in Literacy Education Award is a prestigious prize bestowed on the best article in the Journal of Research in Reading (JRR) and Literacy in the previous year. Both are peer-reviewed journals with international reputations for excellence.


The Literacy winner is for the following paper:

Chris Bailey. Free the sheep: improvised song and performance in and around a minecraft community (Vol. 50, No. 2)

Jackie Marsh, chair, writes: “This paper draws upon data from a year-long ethnographic study, investigating a group of ten- and eleven-year-old children’s engagement with the video game ‘Minecraft’ as they collaborate to build a ‘virtual community’. With a particular focus on the children’s improvised singing and use of song during the club, the paper examines how their creative practices helped to fundamentally shape the nature of the space around them. Selected elements of the data were presented in a comic strip, which combined visual data alongside textual transcription of the children’s singing and speech. The findings indicated that an examination of the construction and performance of social relationships is as vital as a focus on text creation in the classroom. The panel felt that the paper was highly original, and breaks new ground in the presentation and analysis of data. It is theoretically complex and demonstrates a high level of critical analysis, offering a highly topical review of literacy across hybrid physical and virtual spaces”.

The Journal of Research in Reading (JRR) winner is:

Ilona de Milliano, Amos van Gelderen and Peter Sleegers. Types and sequences of self-regulated reading of low-achieving adolescents in relation to reading task achievement (pages 229–252). (Vol 39, No.2)

Jackie Marsh, chair, writes: “This paper reports on a study of the relationship between types and sequences of self-regulated reading activities with quality of task achievement of low-achieving adolescents. The methodology was robust, with the use of think aloud and video observations to analyse the students’ response to the task. Important differences were found between types and sequences of self-regulated reading activities related to task achievement. The low-achieving adolescents who read the whole text first before answering the comprehension questions were more successful in the task. In addition, readers demonstrating more activities directed at connections between the text and prior knowledge showed better task achievement. The panel felt that the paper had significant implications for practice, and that it provided very useful insights into how to support the reading practices of a group of learners who are often overlooked in the literature. In addition, the paper was well structured, clearly written and grounded in a sound knowledge of previous research in the field”.

The awards will be presented at the UKLA International Conference at the University of Strathclyde 30 June – 2 July.

The shortlists were chosen by panels convened by JRR editor Julia Carroll and Literacy editors Jill McClay and Clare Dowdall.

Panel: Jackie Marsh (Chair), Frances Bodger, Rosie Flewitt, Lynda Graham, Rebecca Parry, Wayne Tennent, Carole Torgerson

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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