Learning Difficulties Australia


Professional Learning Events 2014


Wednesday 3 September 2014 University of Sydney Faculty of Education

Friday 5 September 2014, Treacy Conference Centre Melbourne

Topic: Reading Recovery and Failure of the New Zealand National Literacy Strategy

Speakers: Dr. William Tunmer and Dr. James Chapman

Abstract: This presentation summarised arguments and evidence showing that New Zealand's National Literacy Strategy has failed and the role of Reading Recovery in contributing to that failure. Data from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Studies (2001, 2006, 2011) indicates that no progress has been made in reducing New Zealand's relatively large inequities in literacy achievement outcomes. An examination of annual monitoring reports of Reading Recovery data reveals the nationally implemented program has been of marginal benefit in general, and of virtually no benefit to those struggling readers who are most at risk of failing to learn to read. Factors contributing to the failure of New Zealand's National Literacy Strategy and what can be done to overcome the problem are discussed.

New Zealand has followed a predominantly constructivist approach to literacy education for the past 25 years, together with the implementation of Reading Recovery, a one-on-one intervention program designed to prevent later literacy difficulties. In response to growing concerns in the 1990s about the long tail of literacy underachievement in New Zealand, the government established a National Literacy Strategy for reducing the large disparity in reading achievement outcomes between good and poor readers, with Reading Recovery playing a central role in this strategy. This Symposium summarises arguments and evidence showing that New Zealand's National Literacy Strategy has failed and the role of Reading Recovery in contributing to that failure, using data from three sources; the PIRLS studies, Reading Recovery monitoring reports, and international adult literacy surveys. Contemporary theory and research on reading and the analyses of these data sets indicate that major changes are needed in preventing and remediating reading difficulties in New Zealand and possibly other countries, such as Australia.

The Symposium was divided into three main parts. The first part of the Symposium looked at the findings of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Studies (PIRLS) in 2001, 2006, and 2011. The second part examined the question as to whether Reading Recovery is an effective intervention for children most at risk of reading failure, and the third part looked at the literacy performances of young adults in New Zealand in the context of the three-tiered system of literacy education. The final discussion looked at the question of what can be done to overcome the problem, and the implications of the New Zealand findings for Australia.

Further reading

Click here for a paper providing the Symposium outline.

LDA/TTR4L Seminar at the Education Show, Melbourne, 9 August 2014
Supporting Students with Learning Difficulties: Presented by Alison Clarke and Diane Barwood
To view the overheads for this seminar click the relevant download Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, includes listing of relevant resources for teaching students with difficulties in learning to read and write.


ACER, drawing on its expertise in educational research to provide professional learning for educators, policy makers, psychologists and others to support improved learning presents:

Direct Instruction at Work: Spelling Mastery and Spelling Through Morphographs.

Perth - 8th August

Adelaide - 15th August

Brsibane - 29th August

Sydney - 5th September

For further details and registration click here.

Melbourne Education Show 8-9 August 2014 Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne

LDA presented a display at the Melbourne Education Show on 8th - 9th August, in conjunction with TTR4L (Teaching Technology and Resources 4 Learning).

Now in its 7th year and attracting over 3,400 educators each year, the Melbourne Education Show offered a great opportunity for LDA and TTR4L to provide information about resources to support students with learning difficulties. The display featured information on various Apps and other technology to support students with learning difficulties, as well as copies of LDA publications and handouts of selected articles from the LDA Bulletin, and information on the LDA Referral Service and upcoming PD, including the 2015 visit of Dr Louisa Moats.

The display was organised jointly by the LDA Consultants Committee and members of the TTR4L group, with help from our Consultant members and Network Groups. Offers of assistance from our Victorian members in manning the display on the day were much appreciated. Contact Diane Barwood at barwoodpd@bigpond.com for further information about the display.

NDCO Program
Inclusive Learning Conference

Monash University, Peninsula Campus, Frankston, McMahons Road, Frankston from 9.00am to 3.00pm.

Thursday, 26th June 2014

The NDCO Program, was hosted by SkillsPlus and Brace partnering with Monash University Education Faculty, SPELD, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Learn Local Network, Frankston and Mornington Peninsula, Bayside Kingston Glen Eira and Southern Eastern Local Learning and Employment Networks to cover the entire Southern Metropolitan region.

The Conference was an opportunity for educational professionals to understand how:
• specific disorders impact on learning;
• the process of recognition and diagnosis; and
• how to support inclusive education for people 14 years and over.

Hawthorn, Victoria
Saturday, 14 June 2014.
Topic: Beyond Spelling Basics: Syllables, morphemes, lexemes and word origins
Presenters: Alison Clarke
Venue: Hawthorn Campus of the University of Melbourne, 442 Auburn Road, Hawthorn
Time: 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm – Registration from 1.30 pm

Abstract: Alison works mostly with school-aged children on their communication and literacy skills. Some of these children have Specific Langauge Impairments, while others have intact oral language but struggle with phonemic awareness and phonome-grapheme correspondences and consequently with reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Alison discussed the uses of written language and particularly spelling activities to help consolidate and ”bootstrap” oral language, and ideas for word study with older learners who know basic sounds and letters/digraphs but are still slow readers and poor spellers because they lack vowel and more complex consonant spelling knowledge, skills in identifying syllable boundries, a “spelling voice”, the ability to apply patterns from similar words, the ability to think about word parts, how they are spelt and what they mean, and an over-arching system for organising their thinking about how our words are spelt.

Click here for further information


Gold Coast, Queensland. Tuesday 20th May 2014

Topic: Leaving Nothing to Chance - how an explicit approach to early reading instruction can prevent literacy difficulties
Presenters: Dr Lorraine Hammond (LDA Past President and Senior Lecturer at Edith Cowan University), Brooke Wardana (classroom teacher and finalist in WA Teacher of the Year Awards 2012)
Venue: Coomera State School, Dreamworld Parkway, Coomera, 4209
Time: 9am-3pm

Abstract: Dr Hammond provided the theoretical background to explicit instruction and considered the practical implications and challenges teachers face as they adopt such an approach in their classrooms. Brooke Wardana, an experienced early years teacher, followed this up with a demonstration of how a literacy warm-up session might look in a real classroom using children from the school. Instructional sequences and lesson content, pace and structure was explained. This was an excellent session for those teaching in the early years up to Year 2, but the principles of this approach to literacy instruction are applicable across the grades.


Melbourne, Victoria LDA Consultants Professional Development Saturday, 10 May 2014

On Saturday 10 May there was a two part Saturday afternoon PD session, with the first part comprising a presentation by Dr Charlotte Forwood, speech pathologist and Leader of Advanced Learning at Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School, on the topic Developing subject specific vocabulary, followed by a special session for Consultants on The role of an LDA Consultant. This session covered issues such as conducting a consultant practice, changes to LDA Consultancy and PD requirements in 2014, moving to an online referral service, and the group insurance scheme.

Sharing vision for future research impacts CCD Stakeholders Workshop Tuesday 29 April

Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University, Sydney

This Workshop, organized by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD), was designed to provide an opportunity to further develop and enhance collaborative links between CCD researchers and the organisations that benefit from their work. The day commenced with presentations by representatives from stakeholder organisations including Alzheimer’s Australia, Learning Difficulties Australia, Autism Spectrum Australia, Speech Pathology Australia, The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW and Cochlear Ltd., and was followed by interactive demonstrations and tours showcasing the CCD research laboratories and Cochlear facilities from mid-afternoon. LDA was represented at this Workshop by Molly de Lemos, President of LDA, and Alison McMurtrie, LDA Secretary.

The workshop provided a unique opportunity to learn more about the work of the other stakeholder groups represented at the Workshop, and the research that is being undertaken by the CCD that is relevant to developing diagnostic assessments of cognitive disorders and interventions.

See the CCD website at http://www.ccd.edu.au/news/articles/2014/ccdstakeholders/index.html for further information about the Workshop. The slides of the various presentations can be downloaded from the website at http://www.ccd.edu.au/events/conferences/2014/ccdstakeholders/index.html.


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