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Marie M. Clay began her career as a classroom teacher and worked in the Psychological Service of the New Zealand Ministry of Education until she was appointed to the University of Auckland, where she prepared psychologists for that service for the next thirty years. Her extensive research in normal and clinical aspects of developmental psychology has had real world application in two directions: practical contributions to classroom practice in the early years of schooling and preventing literacy problems by early intervention.
She was a Visiting Professor at Ohio State University, University of Illinois, Texas Woman's University, Oxford University, and the Institute of Education at the University of London and was Professor Emeritus at the University of Auckland. She was President of the International Reading Association for 1992-1993.
Marie passed away in 2007.