Last month the Reading Australia team attended the annual AATE/ALEA National Conference. From 1–4 July English teachers and teacher librarians gathered in Canberra, on Ngunnawal country, to explore the transformative power of language and literature in their profession.
With 275 teaching resources and 10 years under its belt, Reading Australia had much to celebrate! A host of new and familiar faces dropped by to explore our library and share their enthusiasm for new and upcoming units of work. We also had the pleasure of welcoming Giramondo Publishing and University of Queensland Press to our stand for a day each.
‘It was wonderful to be invited to the AATE/ALEA conference,’ said Aleesha Paz, Managing Editor at Giramondo (and former Reading Australia Editor). ‘The opportunity to be guided by Reading Australia and to connect directly with teachers was invaluable. We were delighted by the response from educators.’
On the last day of the conference we announced the 2023 Reading Australia Fellowship for Teachers of English and Literacy. This was awarded to Bridget Forster, from Mentone Girls’ Grammar School in Victoria, for a project focusing on AI generated texts in the English classroom.
‘It was a privilege to attend the AATE/ALEA conference and receive the 2023 Reading Australia Fellowship,’ said Bridget. ‘Hearing about the work of previous fellows impressed upon me the depth and variety of research that has been enabled by the generous support of the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. Meeting the team from Reading Australia, as well as previous Fellows Edwina West and Jantiena Batt, was a wonderful induction.’
Nicola Evans (Head of the Cultural Fund and Reading Australia) and Jenny Ryan (Reading Australia Editor and Digital Publisher) also hosted a panel about the importance of teaching and reading diverse Australian stories. They were joined by Wiradjuri/Welsh educator Cara Shipp, whose new book Listening From the Heart offers cultural competency training and practical ideas for English teachers using First Nations texts; and 2022 Reading Australia Fellow Jantiena Batt, who has been investigating the approaches and language used by educators, carers and publishers around literature with non-heteronormative families and relationships.
The panel was supported by additional comments from Ballardong Noongar writer and educator Casey Mulder; Warumungu Luritja lecturer and researcher Tracy Woodroffe; and 2020 Reading Australia Fellow Karen Yager. AATE and ALEA have generously allowed us to share the recording and slides from this session, so if you missed it the first time around, you can now watch it on demand.
Our thanks and congratulations to this year’s conference organisers. There was no better place for us to celebrate a decade of Reading Australia. We look forward to meeting more teachers and teacher librarians at the next joint conference – see you in Adelaide in July 2024!