Global literacy award for University of Sydney educator

16 May 2014

A University of Sydney educator has been awarded for his lifelong commitment to improving literacy and teaching excellence around the globe.

Peter Freebody, an honorary professor at the Faculty of Education and Social Work, has become just the third Australian to receive a William S Gray Citation of Merit from the International Reading Association.

Professor Robyn Ewing, Acting Pro Dean of the faculty, said the Citation of Merit recognises Professor Freebody's lifetime achievement and leadership contributions to reading and literacy.

"Peter Freebody is very deserving of this award as one of Australia's pre-eminent scholars in the field of literacy education, educational disadvantage, classroom interaction and research methodology. His research and scholarship span nearly 40 years and his work has been highly significant for educators in Australia and internationally," Professor Ewing said.

Professor Freebody, who received his citation at a ceremony in New Orleans last weekend, has produced research that has shaped curricula and policy in Australia and abroad.

His groundbreaking work with Professor Allan Luke in 1990 led to the Four Resources Reading Model, a game-changing framework for classroom literacy programs. It was adopted in all Australian states, and in schools in New Zealand, Britain, the United States, Canada, and Singapore.

"Throughout his career Professor Freebody has generously shared his knowledge, research and expertise with teachers," said Professor Ewing.

In its citation, the International Reading Association described Professor Freebody as "a scholar, a researcher, a mentor for teachers and academics".

It added: "Professor Freebody has been a strong advocate for the teaching profession and his close connections with teachers, schools and professional associations has challenged teachers' thinking about literacy and has resulted in improved professional practice in reading instruction."

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