Please see this link to the 'Papers' area to view some outstanding presentations by ALEA conference speakers


Donald J. Leu is Professor of Education and Neag Endowed Chair in Literacy and Technology at the University of Connecticut. He directs the New Literacies Research Lab and is a member of the Reading Hall of Fame. He is a past President of the National Reading Conference and former member of the Board of Directors of the International Reading Association. A graduate of Michigan State, Harvard, and Berkeley, Don’s work focuses on the new skills and strategies required to read, write, and learn with Internet technologies and the best instructional practices that prepare students for these new literacies.

Hear Don's Message

MEM FOX - Donald Graves Address

Mem Fox is a retired Associate Professor of literacy studies and Australia's best loved picture-book author. Her first publication, Possum Magic (1983), is the best selling children's book in Australia. She has written many other books for children including Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and Where Is The Green Sheep?; and several non-fiction books for adults, including her best selling book for parents: Reading Magic. She lives in Adelaide but travels constantly as an advocate for literacy and for the welfare of children. http://www.memfox.net/welcome.html

The Donald Graves Address is presented by ALEA in collaboration with PETAA.


Dr. Steven L. Layne serves as Professor of Literacy Education at Judson University in Elgin, IL, USA, where he teaches graduate courses and directs the School of Education’s Master of Literacy program. Dr. Layne is a respected international literacy consultant, motivational keynote speaker, and a featured children’s and young adult author throughout the world, and his work as an educator, researcher, and writer has garnered critical acclaim from a large number of literacy organizations. Author of 21 books, Steve is currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Reading Association. He lives with his wife Debbie and their four children in St. Charles, Illinois. He can be reached via his website at www.stevelayne.com


Barbara Comber is a Research Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology. Her interests include literacy education and social justice, teachers’ work and identities, place and space, and practitioner inquiry. She recently co-edited 2 books – The Hawke Legacy: Towards a sustainable society (Bloustien, Comber & McKinnon, 2009) and Literacies in place: Teaching environmental communication (Comber, Nixon & Reid, 2007). She is currently conducting 2 Australian Research Council funded projects – Mandated literacy assessment and the reorganisation of teachers’ work and New literacy demands in the middle years.


As a literacy education professor, Rob Tierney has held positions at major research centres and served on international advisory boards. He has served on panels for the US Office of Education, international agencies and media production advising on literacy. He was part editor of the Reading Research Quarterly and president of the Literacy Research Association. In 2010, Rob returned to his home town, assuming the role of Dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. As Dean of Education at UBC, he was engaged in global education and indigenous development. Rob has been a faculty member of Arizona, Ohio State and Harvard Universities, and the University of California at Berkeley.


At 19, Jack founded the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), partnering 25 Indigenous and non-Indigenous university student volunteer Mentors with 25 Indigenous students from Alexandria Park Community School. Jack is now CEO of AIME and in 2011 the Program now operates out of 10 universities in NSW, Queensland and Victoria. The AIME team currently works with close to 1000 university student volunteers who mentor over 1000 Indigenous high school students. The Program has increased Indigenous rates of school completion and university admission across the East Coast of Australia - some of our sites are already exceeding local and national averages. Jack's vision is to see Indigenous high school students finish school and enter universities at the same rate as their fellow Australians. Jack was the 2010 NSW Young Australian of The Year, won Young People’s Australian Human Rights Medal and was also the University of Sydney’s 2010 Young Alumni of the Year. http://www.aimementoring.com/


Catherine Beavis is Professor of Education and Deputy Director of the Griffith Institute for Educational Research at Griffith University, Australia. She researches in the area of literacy, young people and digital culture, with a particular focus on video or computer games as new narrative and communicative forms; the changing nature of text; and the nature and implications of young people’s engagement with computer games for English and literacy education. Her work explores the role of game-play in young people’s lives, connections between game play and constructions of identity and community, and games as spaces within and around which young people play.


Beverly Derewianka is Professor of Language Education at the University of Wollongong, Australia. She has had a close interest in the development of the national curriculum since its inception. Her research interests include the relationship between literacy research, policy and practice. Currently she is involved in a national research project looking at how the Australian Curriculum: English is interpreted by the States and in turn by teachers in classrooms. Her publications include Exploring How Texts Work, A Grammar Companion, and School Discourse: Learning to Write across the Years of Schooling (with Frances Christie).

Prof Bev Derewianka's keynote address is sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Educational Research Institute (IERI) at the University of Wollongong


Dr Alison Davis researched and wrote her PHD on characteristics of raising reading comprehension for underachieving students. Her research is strongly based on metacognitive comprehension instruction – an approach to learning that combines deliberate instruction of comprehension strategies, formative assessment principles, rich conversations and talk about learning, differentiated instruction and research linking these approaches to motivation and engagement of students. Alison specializes in supporting both mainstream and English Language Learners. Alison has authored a number of texts including Teaching Reading Comprehension (2007), Building comprehension strategies: Primary years (2010), and Teaching comprehension strategies: Non Fiction text (in press).


Dr Beryl Exley is an experienced classroom teacher who is now a Senior Lecturer in Language and Literacy at the Queensland University of Technology. She teaches in a range of English Curriculum units and is a chief investigator on an ARC project examining the implications of digital technology for children’s print literacy practices. Beryl has a special interest in working with teachers to investigate curriculum literacies and the teaching of reading, writing, listening and speaking. She has published over 40 research and professional articles and has served as ALEA Queensland State Director since 2006.


Jackie French is the Australian Literacy Ambassador for 2011. A passionate advocate for children with reading difficulties, Jackie is dyslexic, and knows both the struggles and rewards of literacy. Jackie's books range from picture books like the International bestseller Diary of a Wombat, to her acclaimed historical novels like A Waltz for Matilda and Hitler's Daughter. She has won more than 60 awards in Australia and overseas, and is one of the few writers to win both literary and kid's choice awards. Hitler's Daughter, the Play, will open on Broadway in the 2012-13 season. http://www.jackiefrench.com/


As a child, books and reading were hugely important. I remember going to the library on a Saturday morning and borrowing five or six books and reading them all by Sunday night. I have taught in schools and in Universities but now I write full-time. I've written more than thirty books and I've also taught occasional courses in creative writing and I've visited lots of schools to talk about my work. I write picture books, novels for young kids and also novels for slightly older readers. I've written three books about writing and also a small amount of writing for television: Bananas in Pyjamas and Magic Mountain. The writer's life is pretty good. It's a job where you work for yourself, in your daggy track suit, at times that suit you. What more could you ask for? (text from www.libbygleeson.com.au)
Libby will speak at the Conference Dinner at Centrepoint Tower on July 8th hosted by ALEA in partnership with the National Year of Reading.


Lorraine has had an outstanding career in NSW public education as principal, consultant and in state office management positions. She was a member of the Australian Curriculum Advisory Panel for English and a key contributor to the National Literacy Continuum. Between 2007-2011 Lorraine led the development of a significant body of innovative, ground-breaking, evidence-based, literacy resources and professional learning programs for which she received an Award of Excellence from the NSW Director General of Education. Lorraine's current focus is on developing high quality, blended professional learning, focussed on quality pedagogy that can be flexibly and equitably accessed by teachers and schools to ensure 'real' learning gains for students.


Dr Janet Scull is an experienced classroom teacher and, as a key author of the Victorian Early Years Literary Program, has contributed to the design of systemic approaches to literacy teaching and learning. She is currently a Senior Lecturer at The University of Melbourne, teaching language and literacy subjects in both the Master of Teaching (Primary) and the Master of Education degree programs. Her research interests include the relationships between language, literacy and teaching interactions to support children’s engagement with text. Janet is currently working on a number of projects that include a focus on literacy in preschools and teaching to support Indigenous students’ literacy learning.


Alyson Simpson is currently Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney and was once a teacher librarian. She lectures in undergraduate and postgraduate pre-service teacher programmes in the area of English/ literacy education. Her research projects in higher education and primary schools have examined the power of children’s literature, designs for e-learning and concepts of visual literacy. She is the co-editor of Literacy and Social Responsibility: Multiple Perspectives (London: Equinox Press, 2010) and author of Reading under the Covers: Helping Children to Choose Books (Newtown: Primary English Teaching Association, 2008).

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