The inaugural Prue Goodwin award has been presented to MA student Alisha Gibbs for an outstanding result for her final dissertation.
Alisha has been studying the Children’s Literature and Literacies MA on a full time basis, and handed in her dissertation this year. Titled: "An exploration of children's reading choices: Considerations that impact on what children choose to read and why", the thesis pulls together a range of key topics and issues in children’s literature including: commercialism, adaptation and materiality to explore the reasons why children choose certain books.
Alisha said: "I learnt so much during my process, especially the most effective ways of writing a Master's dissertation. At times it felt like the work would never end, especially when I was juggling a job at the same time, but it's been an exciting journey.
During the process of creating her final project, Alisha found a method that proved most productive for her. She said: "I have a fairly long commute, and I would spend the time in the car thinking of ideas. I'd have to phone someone else to write them down because I was driving.
"When it came time to really focus and turn my studying into a piece of writing, I took the advice of my dissertation supervisor, Dr Amy Webster, and planned a 'writing retreat' which was a great way to stay productive.
"I found out I'd won the award while I was at my teaching job. It was a lovely moment to share the news with my students and celebrate their own contribution to the award. They wanted to do it all over again!"
Her award was presented at an end of year celebration for BGU's Primary Education students. Alisha had studied a BA in Primary Education with QTS before starting her Master's, so the presentation demonstrated to the third years the benefits of postgraduate study. At the event, Alisha said: "I really didn't expect to win but it's amazing to have my hard work recognised like this. I'll definitely be celebrating tonight!"
Dr Prue Goodwin, who received an honorary doctorate from BGU in 2021, has been an inspiration to many colleagues and their teaching. Prue Goodwin trained as a teacher at BGU (1965-1965) and is now a world authority on Primary Education. She is a longstanding member of the UK Literacy Association (UKLA) and a prolific writer, having written and edited more than 18 books and guides.
In reflection of Prue’s contribution to the fields of literacy and children’s literature as well her support of related studies at BGU, the Prue Goodwin Award is given annually to the student who achieves the highest mark in the dissertation module on the MA Children’s Literature and Literacies. Alisha's dissertation is also set to be shared with Prue, who is keen to read the work of the award's first recipient.
Senior Lecturer in Education Studies and Alisha's dissertation supervisor Dr Amy Webster said: "We are really proud to present this award to Alisha. As the recipient of this award, she will receive the offer to collaborate with a member of staff from the programme to develop an academic article based on their thesis to support her development as a scholar and practitioner of children’s literature and literacies.
"Alisha’s thesis was an empirical research project that creatively drew together a range of key topics and issues in children’s literature including commercialism, adaptation and materiality to provide insight into the reasons for children’s reading choices."