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International Literacy Association Announces Winners of William S. Gray Citation of Merit, Other Awards at Annual Conference


International Literacy Association Announces Winners of William S. Gray Citation of Merit, Other Awards at Annual Conference

PR Newswire

AUSTIN, Texas, July 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Literacy Association (ILA) presented the William S. Gray Citation of Merit to Nell K. Duke, a professor in literacy, language, and culture at the University of Michigan, School of Education, this weekend at the ILA 2018 Conference in Austin, Texas.

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The William S. Gray Citation of Merit honors a nationally or internationally known individual for his or her outstanding contributions to the field of reading/literacy. A member of ILA's Literacy Research Panel, Duke was recognized for her distinguished portfolio of research, specifically in the development of informational literacies in young children, comprehension development and issues of equity and access in literacy education.

"William S. Gray was the first president of this organization and was a pivotal contributor to our knowledge of the reading process," said Timothy Shanahan, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and past recipient of the William S. Gray Citation of Merit, who presented the award to Duke. "More than any other ILA award, this one is for lifetime achievement and a career of contributions."

Duke teaches preservice, inservice and doctoral courses in literacy education; speaks and consults widely on literacy education; serves as coprincipal investigator on projects funded by Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation and the Spencer Foundation; and is the author and coauthor of numerous journal articles, book chapters and books, including Inside Information: Developing Powerful Readers and Writers of Informational Text through Project-Based Instruction and Beyond Bedtime Stories: A Parent's Guide to Promoting Reading, Writing, and Other Literacy Skills from Birth to 5. 

"I want to thank Tim [Shanahan] and the members of the committee and ILA," said Duke. "It's not really an award for me; it's an award for all the major collaborators I had the pleasure of working with over the years."

In addition, the Timothy and Cynthia Shanahan Outstanding Dissertation Award, given annually for a dissertation completed in reading or literacy, was presented to Elena E. Forzani, doctoral student and researcher with the New Literacies Research Lab at the University of Connecticut. Her dissertation, How Well Can Students Evaluate Online Science Information? Contributions of Prior Knowledge, Gender, Socioeconomic Status, and Offline Reading Ability, investigated how well seventh-grade students evaluated the credibility of online information in science.

Other award highlights include:

  • The Corwin Literacy Leader Award was presented by ILA to Esmeralda Carini, literacy district educational specialist for the Winward District, Kailua-Kalaheo Complex Area, Hawaii Department of Education.
  • Julie Coiro, associate professor of reading at the University of Rhode Island, received the Erwin Zolt Digital Literacy Game Changer Award.
  • The Jerry Johns Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading Award was presented to Sharon Walpole, professor at the School of Education at the University of Delaware.
  • Mark Conley, professor of instruction and curriculum leadership at the University of Memphis in Tennessee, was the recipient of the inaugural Leaders Inspiring Readers Award, sponsored by Achieve 3000.
  • The Maryann Manning Special Service Award was presented to Diane Barone, foundation professor of literacy at the University of Nevada, Reno.
  • The Regie Routman Teacher Recognition Grant was awarded to Keith Garvert, a teacher at Highline Community School, Denver, Colo.

The full list of awards and recipients can be found here.

About the International Literacy Association
The International Literacy Association (ILA) is a global advocacy and membership organization dedicated to advancing literacy for all through its network of more than 300,000 literacy educators, researchers and experts across 78 countries. With over 60 years of experience, ILA has set the standard for how literacy is defined, taught and evaluated. ILA's Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 provides an evidence-based benchmark for the development and evaluation of literacy professional preparation programs. ILA collaborates with partners across the world to develop, gather and disseminate high-quality resources, best practices and cutting-edge research to empower educators, inspire students and inform policymakers. ILA publishes The Reading Teacher, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy and Reading Research Quarterly, which are peer reviewed and edited by leaders in the field. For more information, visit

Alina O'Donnell


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