Edwina West from Oakhill College is Awarded the Reading Australia Fellowship for 2021
The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund today announced Edwina West from Sydney’s Oakhill College is this year’s Reading Australia Fellow for Teachers of English and Literacy.
The Fellowship was announced during the AATE/ALEA National Teachers’ Conference (held online) for the project, Combating Aliteracy with Australian Literature.
The Copyright Agency’s CEO Adam Suckling says, “Every student in Australia should be able to draw on quality Australian writing in classrooms and at home. Edwina’s Fellowship project aims to address the growing aliteracy in our schools by helping young readers select books that reflect their diverse experiences and resonate with them. This project closely aligns with our focus on raising the importance of, and connection with, contemporary Australian stories within the curriculum.”
Reading Australia was created by the not-for-profit Copyright Agency in response to growing concerns that knowledge of, and appreciation for, Australian stories was in decline. As an online educational resource, Reading Australia is dedicated to helping teachers share Australian stories in the classroom. Since its inception in 2013 the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund has committed approximately $100,000 per year to Reading Australia to create new resources and fund the Reading Australia Fellowship for Teachers of English and Literacy.
The $15,000 Reading Australia Fellowship for Teachers of English and Literacy was open to all English and literacy teachers and teacher librarians with at least five years’ experience in a primary or secondary school.
Edwina will use the Fellowship to develop a resource and toolkit for teachers and teacher librarians to help students to better select books, with a focus on diverse and engaging Australian writing. She will also create a ‘bank’ of Young Adult fiction, which teachers and teacher librarians can use to effectively pitch books to students in terms of interest, relevance and reading ability.
Edwina is thrilled to be awarded the Fellowship. “As a classroom teacher, I have had countless conversations with well-meaning, driven students who are the first to admit that they ‘don’t read’. More often than not, it’s because they never have any success selecting a text they connect with. This is an opportunity to find a more flexible, diverse approach to connecting students with engaging representations of Australia and Australians in Young Adult literature to foster a love of reading.”
As part of her Fellowship, Edwina will meet with key writing and publishing organisations, including the Australian Publishers Association, English teachers’ associations, ALEA, AATE, National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature, Reading Australia, and leading academics to discover how Australian students can be better exposed to high-quality and diverse contemporary Australian writing and books. She will also attend the Celebrate Reading National Conference in Perth and various writers’ festivals to source a range of high-quality Australian books with diverse representations of Australian youth aimed at young adult readers.
Reading Australia has become the go-to resource for primary and secondary teachers in making Australian literary works more readily available for teaching within the framework of the Australian curriculum. Since 2017 its subscriber base has grown from 7,000 to its current level of 21,800, with a 10 per cent increase in the past 12 months alone. More than 80 per cent of subscribers are teachers and librarians across Australian schools who are actively accessing Reading Australia resources. Reading Australia now has over 230 resources written by teachers for books aligned with the Australian curriculum.
“Diverse representations of Australia and Australians are definitely available through literature and have been for quite some time. Edwina’s Fellowship will help to connect more young readers with young Australian stories, remedying the growing concern of aliteracy among Australian students,” adds Mr Suckling.
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About the Copyright Agency
The not-for-profit Copyright Agency connects users and creators of content, providing licences for the use of copyright material such as text, images, art and survey plans. We manage the educational and government licences for the use of text and images, as well as the resale royalty scheme for artists (by Government appointment). Our members include writers, artists, surveyors and publishers. Membership is free. copyright.com.au
About Reading Australia
Reading Australia was created in 2014 by the not-for-profit Copyright Agency with the goal of making it easier for teachers to teach and spread a love for Australian texts. We believe that every society needs to tell their own stories and the best way we can achieve this is to provide quality and insightful resources to support all teachers of English in bringing Australia’s rich and unique literature into classrooms.