Research and Practice in Adult Literacy – a friendly group


Turning Pages, Changing Lives: Learning about adult literacy learning from a peer-led, prison based reading scheme (Prof. Alex Kendall, Prof. of Education & Associate Dean Research, Birmingham City University and Susie O’Hagan, Head of Development, Shannon Trust) – Alex Kendall is Professor of Education, Associate Dean Research and Director of the Centre for Study of Practice and Culture at Birmingham City University. Alex began her career as an ESOL and Literacy teacher working in a range of post compulsory education contexts both in the UK and abroad. After starting a PhD exploring reading cultures in further education Alex moved in to higher education. After many years in post compulsory teacher education Alex now leads a busy practice-focused doctoral programme and leads research and development projects in the fields of teacher development and adult and higher education. Alex is Vice-Chair of both the research committee for the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers and the international committee of the International Professional Development Association. She is the author of a number of books, papers and reports including, for Rapal’s in 2005, an edited collection of key work from the Rapal journal Insights from Research and Practice.

Susie OíHagan is Head of Development for Shannon Trust and led on the development of Turning Pages. A qualified Drama and English teacher, counsellor and family mediator Susie began her career in schools and FE before moving on to develop and deliver arts based personal development residential courses for The Princeís Trust and supporting Foster Carers with The Fostering Network. Susie joined Shannon Trust in 2008 to lead on the delivery of the reading programme in YOIs which grew into the Trustís National Reading Network across all prisons in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In 2013 Susie began to develop Turning Pages for the charity, working closely with the authors, advisory group and learners and mentors in prisons to write, test and produce the manuals and reading books. Turning Pages was launched in the custodial estate in June 2015 and since then has been used by over 6000 learners.

In this workshop we share invite participants to explore the Shannon Trust’s Turning Pages reading programme and to consider the findings from a national evaluation of the scheme. Turning Pages is a new programme specifically designed to support adult beginner readers studying in peer learning contexts and offers an age appropriate alternative to Toe by Toe. To date Turning Pages has been used in Prison settings since 2015 and by Read Easy in a community setting since October 2016. This longitudinal study explores readers’ accounts of learning to read with Turning Pages as well as mentors experiences of supporting and scaffolding the learning process to achieve an holistic understanding of peer led literacy interventions, their value to adult education generally and within the prison context specifically. As well as enabling participants to explore Turning Pages – this will be the first practice share opportunity that Shannon Trust have undertaken outside the prison education context – we also draw on the outcomes of the evaluation to reflect on the complex nature of undertaking literacies research with adult beginner readers and share what researching Turning Pages has taught us about adult literacy pedagogies and practice.

The session will provide an opportunity for

  • ‘hands on’ exploration of the Turning Pages reading programme
  • practice share about Turning Pages in use
  • discussion of the evaluation findings
  • discussion of approaches to developing and evaluating adult literacy pedagogy and practice

We will be sharing the new Shannon Trust Turning Pages reading programme, learner manuals and methodology.

Participants may wish to explore the Turning Pages at http://www.shannontrust.org.uk/our-work/turning-pages/ and access the evaluation report Turning Pages, Changing Lives at http://www.shannontrust.org.uk/report


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