Author Fay Tran wins prestigious literacy award

Fay Tran

Geelong-based author of Teaching Kids to Read, Fay Tran, is to be awarded the prestigious 2011 Bruce Wicking Award in recognition of her contribution to the field of children’s learning difficulties.

The award, which will be presented on 15 October, is made by Learning Difficulties Australia.

In its citation for the award, Learning Difficulties Australia has this to say about Fay and her work:

Fay Tran is an LDA Consultant and was Learning Support Teacher at Geelong Grammar from 1984 to 2010.  She is a qualified primary teacher and teacher librarian, and also has a Bachelor in Special Education from Flinders University. In 2010, she published a book, Teaching Kids to Read, based on her experiences in supporting children with learning difficulties at Geelong Grammar. This was during a period when the whole language approach to the teaching of literacy came to dominate teaching of reading in the primary grades, and Fay was one of the few teachers … who resisted pressures to abandon the phonics approach to the teaching of initial reading, and was successful in ensuring that direct teaching of phonics was maintained …  As noted by Peter Westwood in his Foreword to Fay Tran’s book, her approach to teaching reflects a thorough understanding of how children learn, the particular needs of children with learning difficulties, the importance of explicit instruction, practice and the opportunity to apply new learning in achieving mastery, and the need for ongoing monitoring and assessment.  In documenting these strategies in her book, Fay has provided an important resource for teachers and parents, described by one grateful parent as ‘by far the most inspiring, practical and informative book I found.’

The Bruce Wicking Award will be presented to Fay Tran at the Awards Presentation following the LDA AGM on 15 October, in recognition of her commitment to effective teaching practice based on sound evidence, and her willingness to stand up to opposition in support of her principles.

Published late last year, Tran’s Teaching Kids to Read is the culmination of a lifetime’s work helping children with reading and learning difficulties. The book strongly argues for the use of the phonics, the literacy teaching method now firmly embedded in Australia’s new National Curriculum. The book has been widely praised since publication and has recently reprinted.

Congratulations, Fay! You can read her explanation of why she wrote her book here.