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is a non-profit association based in Sweden. Our work promotes social justice in society and equity in education all over the world.

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European Reading to Learn Conference 

and Inaugural Network Meeting

November 20-21, 2014

Uppsala, Sweden


Keynote presentations

A language as Social Semiotic (LASS) approach to teaching and learning: school history as a case study

Caroline Coffin

The Open University, UK


This presentation emphasises the centrality of language for meaning making and thus for all school learning. Using the tools of systemic functional linguistics I show how the different learning purposes of school subjects influence how texts are organized and how language works.


Drawing on research conducted in schools in Australia and the UK over the last ten years, I use history as a case study to show how language gives us important insight into students’ conceptual development as they progress through school. These insights can be used as a robust basis for teaching and learning using approaches such as Reading to Learn.  

Reading to Learn in South Africa and East Africa: its history, development and future scenarios

Mike Hart and Debbie Avery

Reading to Learn South Africa


This paper will begin with the development of Reading to Learn (RtL) in the context of the literacy crisis in South African schooling, particularly the negative impact of a progressivist Outcomes Based Education curriculum initiated post democracy in the 1990s. The statistics will reveal the ongoing and widening inequality produced by the education system as a result. In this context, we launched RtL South Africa as a Public Benefit Organisation. We developed criteria for effective intervention, and the paper will demonstrate how the theory and practice of RtL meets these criteria. It will chronicle our struggle to raise awareness of RtL and train teachers in the methodology, culminating in whole school training in two schools of Zulu speaking learners. In a parallel development the Aga Khan Foundation facilitated the implementation of RtL in Kenya and Uganda and recently in Tanzania as well. RtL South Africa became involved in the training in 2011 and the paper will both chronicle and evaluate its implementation of a large-scale roll out of the programme. In doing so it will analyse the adaptations made for the context of large classes, shortage of materials and lack of infrastructure. The experience of large scale implementation has been important for us in South Africa as we seek to take these learnings into our interventions into our context. The paper will close with a look at scenarios for future cooperation and development in Africa drawing on resources from the wider RtL community.

Profiling needs, designing measures, implementing practices: how linguistics can influence schools and improve literacy results

Carlos A. M. Gouveia

University of Lisbon & Institute for Theoretical and Computational Linguistics



This talk sets out to describe how a Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) approach to language learning can be successfully used in schools to improve the literacy of our students. Starting with a characterization of the situation in Portugal, aiming at understanding how the educational system has been dealing with the professional development needs of the teachers and the learning expectations and outcomes of the students, this presentation will then proceed to show: i) how the SFL approach and its third generation reading and writing pedagogy, e.g. the Reading to Learn program, can influence national programs and curricula in order to effectively impact the results of student learning, and ii) how, while influencing national programs and curricula to effectively impact the results of student learning, the same approach can also contribute more effectively than other frameworks to the professional development of teachers.

Featured Speakers Presentations

Linguistics recontextualised as classroom pedagogy: a perspective from five European countries on implementing Reading to Learn in the European Union funded TeL4ELE project


The findings and experiences of educators involved in the professional development project Teacher Learning for European Literacy Education (TeL4ELE) funded by the European Union 2011-2013 ( will be presented by some of the project leaders. The project pioneered the introduction of the Reading to Learn program (Rose, 2013, Rose and Martin 2012) to teacher educators and teachers in five European countries; Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Portugal and Scotland. Reading to Learn is based on Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) recontextualized for pedagogic purposes.


The first presentation (Acevedo) will provide an overview of the project. It will describe the aims, the scope and structure and the implementation strategy.


The second paper (Coffin) draws on the project evaluation data to highlight the salient

findings from all participants. The outcomes of the project are discussed with reference to

recent research into professional development. What emerges is the potential for a robust

SFL based pedagogy to transcend international boundaries and a range of local challenges.

The project found that the majority of educators’ developed greater understanding of the role

of language in learning and that learning outcomes for all learners, particularly those who are

educationally disadvantaged, improved.


The third paper (TBA) will offer a glimpse of the project's implementation in one country by discussing insights gained by teachers as they worked with their students in the classroom.




Coffin, C. Acevedo, C., & Lövstedt A-C. 2013. Teacher Learning for European Literacy

Education (TeL4ELE) Final Report, Public Part,


Rose, D 2013. Reading to Learn: Accelerating learning and closing the gap, Sydney: Reading

to Learn


Rose, D. & Martin J.R. 2012. Learning to Write, Reading to Learn: Genre, knowledge and

pedagogy in The Sydney School. London: Equinox

Other presentations/workshops