Greetings from 23rd European Conference on Literacy! A Blog

Greetings from 23rd European Conference on Literacy! A Blog

by Sari Sulkunen, Sandra Langer and Colin Harrison

The European Conference on Literacy was held in Chania, Greece, on June 24–26, 2024. Approximately 300 literacy scholars and practitioners from 40 countries gathered together to present their work and discuss literacy. The conference was co-organized by the Hellenic Association for Language and Literacy and the Federation of European Literacy Associations (FELA).

Together with many ELINET colleagues, we spent three interesting and illuminating days at the conference listening to intriguing presentations and discussing timely issues on literacy. Equally important were the numerous informal interactions with ELINET colleagues over coffee breaks, lunches, and dinners. We enjoyed meeting face-to-face instead of on Zoom!

The conference had invited three excellent keynote speakers that had different perspectives on literacy and nicely complemented each other’s views.
The first keynote presentation was by Mary Kalantzis from the University of Illinois. In her speech ‘Multiliteracies revisited’ she revisited the original framework three decades after its original formulation, introduced transpositional grammar for making meaning, and presented ideas and practices for using AI for pedagogical practices. Her take-home message was – Be aware: contextual AI is coming soon! And we haven’t even adapted to generational AI. Great challenges ahead for educators!

The second keynote speech was by Cathy Burnett from Sheffield Hallam University, who addressed the need for a multi-faceted approach to textual literacy research. She suggested and presented, for example, new ways of collecting and processing data. She envisioned connecting research and practice in ways that value multiple ways of knowing in literacy education, recognize the changing nature of literacy, and make space for teachers’ agency and dialogue in critiquing, interpreting and re-imagining research in practice.

The third keynote speech by Kate Cain from Lancaster University ended the conference. She talked about the complexities of reading comprehension and argued that going beyond the Simple View of Reading we should move to a Complex View of Reading, reading is a complex and dynamic process that needs to go beyond ‘decoding plus listening comprehension’.

ELINET colleagues were visibly present in the conference with multiple symposia and presentations.

  • First we had a symposium ‘Lifelong learning, literacy and empowerment as observed in different communities’ with Aydin Durgunoglu, Sandra Langer, Tiziana Mascia and Sari Sulkunen.
  • Another ELINET symposium dealt with digital literacies, and was called ‘New conceptual tools for understanding and researching digital information’ with Sari Sulkunen, Colin Harrison, Jeroen Clemens, Sandra Langer.
  • Tiziana Mascia and Marín Wilson had an interesting presentation about climate change and literacy called ‘Eco-literacy: children’s non-fiction literature and the ecological pact’
  • Laura Schmidt talked about the institutionalism of different Dyslexia Support Systems.
    The hardest working ELINET colleague must have been Tiziana Mascia, with her four presentations!

The topics of the presentations reflected the diverse nature of literacy. They ranged from comprehension strategies and visual elements in science textbooks, critical literacies, multimodal teaching projects, and the role of multiple literacies in teacher training, courses for parents of multilingual pupils, criques of the ‘Science of Reading’, reading comprehension strategies in online assessment and supporting diversity through school libraries.

On the second day of conference, the FELA Award for Innovative Literacy Promotion in Europe was awarded to the Words matter/Sanat haltuun project. Aleksis Salusjärvi on behalf of the project group accepted the award and had a presentation about this innovative and awesome project. Check it out here:

You can see how interesting opportunities for learning something new and for professional development the European Conference on Literacy offers. The next conference will be in July 2026 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Perhaps we see you there as well?

Share with

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.