William S. Gray Citation of Merit Application

The International Literacy Association (ILA) William S. Gray Citation of Merit is a nonmonetary award reserved for those ILA members who have made outstanding contributions to multiple facets of literacy development—research, theory, and practice. It is the highest individual honor awarded by ILA.

Submission Timeline

  • Open date: Rolling
  • Deadline: Though submissions are accepted on a rolling basis, the cutoff for the 2022 awards cycle is March 15, 2022. (Note: All submissions received after this date will be held for consideration the following award year.)
  • Applicants are notified of the results via email by mid-June.


  • Nominees must have current ILA membership.
  • Nominees must have made outstanding contributions in a leadership role in the field of literacy.
  • Nominees must be notable influences through instruction, presentations, publications, research, and media (e.g., podcasts, webinars, blogs, videos) on many or all the following: students, teachers, colleagues, literacy professionals, children, and families and caregivers.
  • Nominees must have made outstanding contributions of a highly original kind in the field of literacy theory.
  • Nominees must have made outstanding contributions to literacy practice.
  • Nominees must have produced definitive material or undertaken important restructuring of existing material in given field.
  • Nominees must have made outstanding contributions from the point of view of communication—brilliant pedagogy in both print and digital formats.
  • Nominees must have shown superior service in several important capacities in literacy (e.g., as a teacher, scholar, researcher, literacy professional, psychologist, linguist, author, administrator, counselor, or clinician).

To become an ILA member or renew your membership, please contact ILA Customer Service at 800.336.7323, 302.731.1600, or customerservice@reading.org.

To join or renew online, please visit literacyworldwide.org/membership.




* Required Information



The following materials should be uploaded as individual documents. Failure to upload all items will result in your application being unsubmitted.

  • Rationale for Nomination: Provide rationale for nomination, including description of your contributions to reading theory and/or research, reading practice, publications, service to the profession, and service to ILA.
  • Curriculum Vitae: Provide your professional vitae (maximum of three pages).

To upload your files, please select Choose File to locate your document in your files and then select Open to attach to the form. Please note that PDFs are preferred.

If you are unable to upload files, please send documents via email to ILAAwards@reading.org.



Use this checklist to be sure you have completed and submitted all sections of your application correctly before clicking on Submit. Review your submission carefully. You will not be able to update or edit your submission after you submit it. You will be informed if your application encountered any errors.

Please direct any questions to ILAAwards@reading.org.