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UKLA Annual Research Symposium 2021

Leading commentators in the field of early literacy will look beyond the Covid-19 pandemic and share insights into how we can move forward in thinking about early literacy.

Online from Monday 17th  to Thursday 20th  May 2021 

Beyond Covid: Moving Forward, Healing, and Feeling Grounded in Early Literacy

In many ways, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated shifts in our communicative repertoires and literacy practices, including those of our youngest citizens. Simultaneously, the impact of material, digital and social inequalities on young children’s ‘right’ to literacy have been rendered visible. Political and public concern over children’s ‘lost learning’ and the need for ‘catch-up’, coupled with reductionist approaches to assessment currently dominate debate and pose challenges to broader conceptualisations of literacy in early education.   

In the UKLA 2021 Research Symposium, leading commentators in the field of early literacy will look beyond the Covid-19 pandemic and share insights into how we can move forward in thinking about early literacy.  

A panel of experts will explore the opportunities that have emerged to further our understandings of early childhood literacy and respond to the question “Where do we go from here?” 

Over four days, the symposium seeks to explore:

  • What Covid-19 has meant for young children’s literacy practices
  • How different theorisations of literacy enable us to overcome deficit views of ‘lost learning’ and view literacy as a space for healing
  • What are the most pressing issues for literacy in early education?
  • Where research should go from here

To attend the event, it is £20 for members and £30 for non-members. Click here to register for the event. For any questions or concerns, please email admin@ukla.org.

Programme of events

Mon 17 May: 5 – 6 pm BST (Live session)

Professor Jennifer Rowsell and Dr Claire Lee will introduce the symposium, give an overarching view of the early years and early literacy landscape, explain the structure of the week and overall aims and objectives, and introduce the Padlet activity. 

Dr Karen Daniels and Dr Lucy Rodriguez Leon will share some recent work of the UKLA Early Years SIG which explores how embracing multiple theoretical understandings of literacy may promote more holistic enactments of literacy curricula in the early years classroom. 

Tues 18 & Wed 19 May (Recorded presentations)

Recorded research presentations will be released for delegates to watch at their leisure and contribute to the discussion boards: 

Tuesday : Presentation 1 Professor Guy Merchant, Sheffield Hallam University

Presentation 2 Dr Jaye Thiel, University of Alabama, USA

Presentation 3 Dr Lucy Rodriguez-Leon, The Open University, UK

Wednesday : Presentation 4 Professor Rosie Flewitt – Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

Presentation 5 Professor Pam Whitty, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Presentation 6  Dr Claire Lee and Dr Frances Giampapa, Oxford Brookes University and University of Bristol, UK

Presentation 7 Dr Karen Daniels , Sheffield Hallam University, UK 

Thursday 20 May 5 – 7 pm BST  (Live Session) 

Expert Panel discussion:  Pam Whitty, Rosie Flewitt and Jaye Thiel, chaired by Professor Jennifer Rowsell During this live session, our expert panel will debate the challenges and opportunities that have emerged for early literacy education and research and respond to emerging discussion on the event padlet. We invite delegates to a collaborative session engaging with our keynotes and thinking about how we can move forward and feel grounded in early literacy education.

Download the event flyer here for more information including presenters and biographies.

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