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Dale M. Willows 

Professor (CSE/DPE/SCCP)

Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study

Room 1205
(416) 934-4505

Dale Willows

Research Interests

My research interests are in normal reading and writing processes as well as in the causes of difficulties and disabilities. My practical work is focused on literacy education in classroom instruction and on reading/writing assessment and intervention for children and adolescents with learning disabilities. My research involves multidimensional longitudinal studies of the impact of various factors in pre-service and in-service teacher education in the area of literacy. A particular focus of my work at the present time is on knowledge mobilization, putting literacy research into practice through an evidence-informed website and examining uses of these internet resources as a tool for professional development.


  • Basic processes in reading and writing
  • Reading/writing difficulties and disabilities
  • Classroom reading and writing instruction
  • Assessment and intervention for learning disabilities
  • Pre-service and in-service teacher preparation in literacy education
  • The internet as a tool for professional development.

Representative Publications


The Balanced Literacy Diet website (February 2012) http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/balancedliteracydiet/Home/index.html
The Balanced Literacy Diet YouTube Channel (December 2011) http://www.youtube.com/user/balancedliteracydiet?feature=results_main
Journal Articles
Corcos, E. & Willows, D. M. (2009). Processing words varying in personal familiarity (based on reading and spelling) by poor readers and age-matched and reading-matched controls. Remedial and Special Education 30 (4), 195-206. doi: 10.1177/0741932508315377.
Willows, Dale (November, 2008).  Reducing literacy failure through teacher development: Implementing a Balanced and Flexible Literacy Diet. Education Canada, 20-24. http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/balancedliteracydiet/UserFiles/File/Education_Canada_Article_November_2008.pdf
Kruk, R. S., Sumbler, K. & Willows, D. M. (2008). Visual processing characteristics of children with Meares-Irlen Syndrome. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 28, 35–46.
Willows, D. M. (2002). The Balanced Literacy Diet. The School Administrator, 59 (1), 30-33. http://www.aasa.org/SchoolAdministratorArticle.aspx?id=10604
Terepocki, M., Kruk, R. S., & Willows, D. M. (2002). The incidence and causes of letter orientation errors in reading disability. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 35 (3). 214-233.
Ehri, L., Nunes, S., Stahl, S., & Willows, D. M. (2001). Systematic phonics instruction helps students learn to read. Review of Educational Research, 71 (3), 393-447.
Ehri, L., Nunes, S., Willows, D. M., Schuster, B., Yaghoub-Zadeh, Z., & Shanahan, T. (2001). Phonemic awareness instruction helps children learn to read. Reading Research Quarterly, 36 (3), 250-287. (Reprinted in web version of Theoretical Models and Processes of Reading, 2004.)
Willows, D. M., Kruk, R., & Corcos, E. (Eds.) (1993). Visual Processes in Reading and Reading Disabilities. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Pp. 506.
Willows, D. M. & Houghton, H. A. (Eds.) (1987). The Psychology of Illustration: Basic Research (Volume 1). New York: Springer-Verlag. Pp. 214.
Houghton, H. A. & Willows, D. M. (Eds.) (1987). The Psychology of Illustration: Instructional Issues (Volume 2). New York: Springer-Verlag. Pp. 196.
Government Publications
Early Reading Strategy: A Report of the Expert Panel on Early Reading in Ontario (2003). Ontario Ministry of Education Publication.
Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read(2000). National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, USA Government.


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