Awards & Grants

Timothy & Cynthia Shanahan Outstanding Dissertation Award

This award from the International Literacy Association (ILA) is given annually for a dissertation completed in reading or literacy. Summaries of winning dissertations are published each year in Reading Research Quarterly.

Sponsored by Timothy and Cynthia Shanahan

Deadline: TBD


Nominate someone for this award!

Recent recipients



Alida K. Hudson, Texas A&M University
Upper Elementary Teachers’ Knowledge of Reading Comprehension, Classroom Practice, and Students’ Performance in Reading Comprehension



Yukie Toyama, University of California, Berkeley
What Makes Reading Difficult? An Investigation of the Contribution of Passage, Task, and Reader Characteristics on Item Difficulty, Using Explanatory Item Response Models

Sara K. Sterner, University of Minnesota—Finalist 1
Joanne Yi, Indiana University—Finalist 2
Blythe E. Anderson, Michigan State University—Finalist 3


John Strong


Courtney Hattan, Illinois State University, Normal
Prompting Rural Students’ Use of Background Knowledge and Experience to Support Comprehension of Unfamiliar Content
Completed dissertation for the University of Maryland, College Park, chaired by Dr. Patricia Alexander


Elena E. Forzani, Boston University, MA
How Well Can Students Evaluate Online Science Information? Contributions of Prior Knowledge, Gender, Socioeconomic Status, and Offline Reading Ability


Laura Northrop, Cleveland State University
Breaking the Cycle: Cumulative Disadvantage in Literacy


Julie Learned, University at Albany, State University of New York
"Feeling Like I'm Slow Because I'm in This Class": Secondary School Contexts and the Identification and Construction of Struggling Readers


Meghan Liebfreund, Towson University
Success with Informational Text Comprehension: An Examination of Underlying Factors


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