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WELS Professor wins UKLA Academic Book Award 2021

Photograph of Professor Natalia Kucirkova holding up her winning book.

Natalia Kucirkova, Professor of Reading and Children’s Development in the WELS School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport (ECYS) has won the UK Literary Association (UKLA) Academic Book Award 2021 by unanimous vote for her title ‘How and Why to Read and Create Children’s Digital Books: A Guide for Primary Practitioners’.

UKLA recognises the best in literacy education publications; their Academic Book Award is presented annually for a recently published academic text about the development of literacy that will be of interest to teachers, students, consultants or HE tutors.

The award invites nominations from a wide range of publishers of academic books and welcomes books that represent diversity in authorship and have appeal to a diverse, culturally inclusive readership.

The judging panel looks for books that make a lasting, significant contribution either to the teaching of English and literacy education at all stages, or to heightening engagement and motivation with reading.

The final UKLA Awards Committee panel, chaired by Morag Styles, Emeritus Fellow at the University of Cambridge, commented that Natalia’s book was “a timely, informative, innovative, practical, well signposted, and up-to-date book effectively grounded in the author’s experiences as both practitioner and researcher… It is based on sound, diverse and inclusive research, making a distinctive contribution to literacy education and encouraging teachers to be reflective, innovative and creative. A clearly, deserving winner!

Commenting on the award win, Professor Kucirkova said:

I wrote this book to inspire educators and am delighted and honoured to receive this prestigious award from UKLA. I hope the book will encourage teachers, educational professionals and practitioners to explore the unique potential of digital books in engaging young children to read for pleasure.”

 How and Why to Read and Create Children's Digital Books.How and Why to Read and Create Children’s Digital Books
A Guide for Primary Practitioners
Natalia Kucirkova (UCL Press)

How and Why to Read and Create Children's Digital Books outlines effective ways of using digital books in early years and primary classrooms, and specifies the educational potential of using digital books and apps in physical spaces and virtual communities. With a particular focus on apps and personalised reading, Natalia Kucirkova combines theory and practice to argue that personalised reading is only truly personalised when it is created or co-created by reading communities.

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