FELA-Crete2024: 23rd European Conference on Literacy & 7th Panhellenic Literacy Conference

Keynote Speakers

Mary Kalantzis

Professor of Policy, Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois, USA

Mary Kalantzis was from 2006 to 2016 Dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Before this, she was Dean of the Faculty of Education, Language and Community Services at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, and President of the Australian Council of Deans of Education. With Bill Cope, she has co-authored or co-edited: New Learning: Elements of a Science of Education, Cambridge University Press, 2008 (3rd edition, 2022); Literacies, Cambridge University Press 2012 (2nd edition, 2016); A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies, Palgrave, 2016; e-Learning Ecologies, Routledge, 2017; and the two volume grammar of multimodal meaning: Making Sense and Adding Sense, Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Title: Multiliteracies Revisited

This presentation revisits the theory of multiliteracies three decades after its original formulation. It examines: the “why” of contemporary social context with its insistent calls to diversity and the demands of digital media; the “what” of multiliteracies in a grammar of multiform or multimodal meaning; and the “how” of multiliteracies pedagogy as a repertoire of knowledge processes. It also updates the multiliteracies theory based in the areas of computer-mediated meaning and the development of a transpositional grammar. The presentation concludes with a renewed call to education justice to address unequal diversity.

Cathy Burnett

Professor of Literacy and Education, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Cathy Burnett is Professor of Literacy and Education at Sheffield Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University, UK. She is perhaps best known for work that adopts a sociomaterial sensitivity in exploring relationships between children, digital media and literacies within and beyond educational contexts. Her current research and writing explores the effects of research and data practices in education. She is a past president of the United Kingdom Literacy Association, a co-editor of Journal of Early Childhood Literacy and an ex teacher and teacher educator who is passionate about exploring innovative and mutually  empowering relationships between teachers, researchers and literacy research. Her co-authored and co-edited books include: Undoing the Digital: Literacy and Sociomaterialism (2020), New Media in the Classroom: Rethinking Primary Literacy (2018), Unsettling Literacies: Directions for Literacy Research in Precarious Times (2022) and Research Mobilities in Primary Literacy Education: how teachers encounter research in an age of evidence-based teaching (forthcoming)

Title: Why do we need a range of research in literacy education? Scoping the field and contribution of literacy research

The task of devising inclusive and empowering literacy education for all is a complex one. Should we focus on the skills children need to decode and encode texts, or support them to make readerly and writerly choices? Should literacy provision focus solely on the written word, or recognise the role of images and connectivity meaning makings? Should we provide opportunities for children to engage in literacies that make a difference to the world in which they live? And how can we capitalise on the varied experiences of language and literacy that children bring to school? Given this complexity, literacy research has an important role to play in informing debate and helping to shape educational policy and practice.  This is challenging however as the field of literacy research is difficult to navigate, and the adoption of research by policy makers can be highly selective and ideologically driven. In this keynote I will sketch the scope of international literacy research and argue that literacy education can be enriched and enlivened by a range of research on different topics, using varied methodologies and from diverse perspectives. I will outline a vision for connecting research and practice in ways that value multiple ways of knowing in literacy education, recognise the changing nature of literacy, and make space for teachers’ agency and dialogue in critiquing, interpreting and re-imagining research in practice.

Prof. Kate Cain Lancaster UniversityKate Cain

Professor of Language and Literacy, Lancaster University, UK

Kate Cain is Professor of Language and Literacy in the Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, UK. Her research focuses on language and literacy development and breakdown from preschool through to adolescence, with a particular focus on understanding the development and role of the skills that support reading comprehension. Her books include Understanding and teaching reading comprehension: A handbook (co-authored with jane Oakhill and Carsten Elbro). Her research on reading comprehension has influenced the most recent version of England’s National Curriculum and informed the development of several training programmes, in the UK and other countries, designed to support reading comprehension. The influence of Kate’s research on the teaching and assessment of reading comprehension beyond academia has been recognised by impact awards from the Economic and Social Research Council and Lancaster University. She was President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (2022-2023) and recipient of the International Dyslexia Association Samuel Torrey Orton Award (2014).

Title: Children’s reading comprehension: Beyond decoding

Reading comprehension is a complex cognitive activity, that draws on multiple skills and knowledge bases. This presentation aims to make sense of this complexity by examining the the language and cognitive skills that support reading for meaning, beyond decoding. I will examine this from two perspectives. First, I focus on the dynamics of constructing meaning from a text, moment-by-moment in real time. Tasks that tap the process of reading for meaning are reviewed to shed light on the nature and locus of the knowledge and processing difficulties that lead to comprehension breakdown. Second, I look at the dynamics of development. Longitudinal studies are used to highlight influential reciprocal relations during development. I will outline the converging evidence from these two perspectives that supports a multicomponential view of reading comprehension.


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