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ILA Celebrates Literacy Achievements at Annual Awards Ceremony

Alina O'Donnell
 | Jul 17, 2017

Katie Lett Kelly TaylorThe International Literacy Association (ILA) celebrated achievements in literacy research, instruction, and advocacy on Sunday afternoon at the ILA Literacy Leader Awards, part of the ILA 2017 Conference & Exhibits in Orlando, FL.

ILA applauded both new and familiar faces—from 30 under 30 honorees to former presidents. Attendees traveled from as far as Perth, Australia, to accept their awards in person and deliver remarks.  

ILA Associate Executive Director Stephen Sye said he is thrilled to honor this class of literacy leaders, and he looks forward to seeing what they accomplish next.

“ILA is proud to recognize and present the Literacy Leader Awards to so many magnificent educators who are working tirelessly to bring literacy to all,” said Sye. “From our up-and-coming rising star teachers to our veteran educators who have served the organization with grace and passion, we’re confident that we can achieve our mission of advancing literacy worldwide with champions like those we were able to honor today.”

Award highlights include:

  • ILA presented the inaugural Corwin Literacy Leader Award, which honors a district or school administrative literacy leader who has worked to increase student literacy achievement within a school or district by advancing professional development, instructional resources support, and the development of literacy programs. The first recipient of the Corwin Literacy Leader Award is David Wilkie, principal at McVey Elementary in Newark, DE. After returning from the ILA 2016 Conference & Exhibits, Wilkie was inspired to rebuild the school's culture of literacy. Wilkie has been working with ILA to implement independent reading time, school-wide author and book studies, interactive read-alouds, and other reading initiatives at McVey Elementary. This year, he returned to conference with a group of 23 teachers and staff members.
  • The ILA William S. Gray Citation of Merit Award, recognizing a nationally or internationally known individual for his or her outstanding contributions to the field of reading/literacy, was awarded to John Guthrie, the Jean Mullan Professor of Literacy Emeritus at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Guthrie is the former research director of ILA, a former fellow of the American Education Research Association and the American Psychological Association, a member of the ILA Hall of Fame, and a member of the National Academy of Education. His research focuses on motivations and strategies in reading at all school levels. 
  • Marique Daugherty, a 2015 ILA 30 Under 30 honoree, received the Technology and Literacy Award, which is given to a K–12 educator who is making an innovative contribution through the use of education technology. A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Daugherty is currently a language and literacy specialist at Rosedale Hewens Academy Trust in Slough, UK. She holds a master’s degree in literacy studies from the University of the West Indies and has created and led literacy programs and institutes in Jamaica, including The Five Steps Literacy Program, which supports reading, comprehension, fluency, and word recognition.
  • Recognizing newly published authors who show extraordinary promise, ILA Children's and Young Adults' Book Awards were presented to Lori Preusch, Aimée Bissonette, Lindsay Eagar, Sandra Evans, Reyna Grande, Jeff Zentner, Karen Fortunati Devlin, and Nicolaia Rips.
  • The Jerry Johns Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading, presented to a college or university teacher of reading methods or reading-related courses, was awarded to Peggy Semingson, professor of language and literacy studies at The University of Texas at Arlington. Her research interests include digital pedagogies to engage preservice and inservice teachers, socially distributed knowledge sharing that takes place online, and students who have difficulty in literacy learning. She has won two prestigious awards related to distance learning.
  • The ILA Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Award, honoring an exceptional dissertation completed in the field of reading or literacy, was awarded to  Laura Northrop for Breaking the Cycle: Cumulative Disadvantage in Literacy, completed for the University of Pittsburgh. Chaired by Sean P. Kelly, Northrop’s dissertation was published in Reading Research Quarterly.
  • ILA past president Carmelita Williams received the ILA Special Service Award, which is given to an individual who has demonstrated unusual and distinguished service to the International Literacy Association. Williams is the former director of Norfolk State University’s Center of Excellence for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement.

The full list of award winners is available here.

Alina O’Donnell is the editor of Literacy Daily.

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