Jane AustenJane Austen in the (Primary) Classroom

Saturday 23 September, 2017, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, 9.00 - 3.30

2017 marks the 200th anniversary since Jane Austen's death. The Children's Literature SIG and the Cambridge Research and Teaching Centre for Children's Literature invite practitioners and teacher trainees to a day event focused on introducing Jane Austen to children.

The day will feature renowned author Marcia Williams whose book Lizzy Bennet's Diary makes Austen's novel exciting and accessible for young readers. Listen to Marcia talk about her book, participate in her workshop on diary writing, learn about adaptations of classics for young audiences and hear teachers share their experience of using Jane Austen in the classroom.

Conference flyer

close up of Shakespeare's face

As You Like It: Teaching Shakespeare in Primary and Secondary Classrooms

29 April 2016, British Library Conference Centre, Euston Road, London, 9.00 - 3.35

A one day conference for all Senior Leaders, KS2 and 3 teachers, English Subject Leaders in Primary Schools and Heads of Departments in Secondary School.

A partnership between the United Kingdom Literacy Association, the British Library and the English Association's Children's Literature SIG.

Conference flyer

Alice in the Classroom

19 September 2015, Homerton College, Cambridge, 9.30-3.00

A day of workshops for teachers and trainees on 19 September 2015 at the Wonderland at Homerton College conference and events at Homerton College, Cambridge, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

With Marcia Williams, Maria Nikolajeva, Catherine Rizzo, Eugene Giddens and Round Table with John Vernon Lord and other retellers of Alice.

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Each year the SIG team aim to organise some special events and activities. In 2012 the emphasis was very much on celebrating the bicentenary of Charles Dickens.  The group organised a symposium with a panel of children’s authors who had a special interest in Dickens’ life, times and stories. This event, chaired by the author Marcia Williams and supported by Jacqueline Wilson, Mick Manning and Brita Granström was part of the Dickens and Childhood conference held  at The Bethnal Green Museum, London.  This was also the occasion on which the awards for excellent primary school projects based round work by Charles Dickens were presented. The ‘More Dickens’ competition was jointly organised by The English Association and The Dickens Fellowship which provided funding.

One outcome of the competition was the publication of 'Teaching Dickens in the Primary School' (2013) edited by Eve Bearne. The book is is packed with teachers’ insights about exciting classroom activities -  drama and museum visits as well as children’s writing and drawing.  The competition was so successful that are holding it again and interested schools will be submitting the children's work in September 2014.

Another special event in 2014 was the symposium on 'Writing the First World War for Children' held at the British Library on 14 April. We had a distinguished panel of children's authors: Paul Dowswell, Michael Morpurgo, Sarah Ridley and Marcia Williams. There was an article on this in the Autumn 2013 English 4-11 which we hope will be helpful to teachers planning work on the challenging subject of WW1 with the under 11s.

Future projects include a celebration of children's books, resources and activities about William Shakespeare's work, life and times (see 'Getting Started on William Shakespeare' by Margaret Mallett in the Autumn 2014 issue of English 4-11) and, possibly, a contribution to the Alice in Wonderland conference in 2015.

Our author interviews are building to a rich and exciting treasure store and we owe much to Brenda Marshall's energy and commitment to this part of our work. If you visit our English 4-11 web pages you can read lists of 'my 5 top reads for children' and we hope to develop our 'extreme reading' pages, showing people of all ages enjoying reading in unusual places.

While the group is convened by two Fellows (Professor Maria Nikolajeva and Professor Morag Styles), others are welcome to join and to attend the meetings; there will be at least one meeting each year. The dates of the meetings and details about progress and initiatives will be on this part of the EA website.

This EA SIG is open to all members of the English Association and UKLA. If you are not a member but are interested in joining the SIG, or if you would like more information about the activities of the SIG please contact the convenors via the EA offices -

Next meeting - 28 March 2015, Senate House, London.

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