International Reading Conference 2023

Join our free online event to hear from experts as they discuss best practices and strategies to encourage reading for pleasure, reading for learning, and reading for life.
June 6th, 7th, and 8th 2023.

Only one ticket is required to access all sessions.


Countdown to the Conference

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Are you a Teacher, Senior Leader, or Multi Academy Trust Leader?

Would you like to hear from and network with thought leaders in education, literacy experts, and EdTech specialists on best practices to encourage students to become confident, lifelong readers?

Reading Solutions UK invites you to join the free online International Reading Conference (IRC23) to uncover how you can:

  • Develop a reading culture.
  • Ensure students continue accelerating their reading growth and feel motivated and empowered to read.
  • Implement digital reading strategies to ensure success.

Click here to register now




Tuesday 6th of June


10am: Alex Reynolds

Through the Keyhole of the House of Reading.

Alex is the Director of Primary Learning & Curricula at Northern Education Trust and a Literacy Content Specialist alumna of the Education Endowment Foundation.

Having led the EEF’s national literacy content campaign this year, she has developed an ‘evidence into action’ series related to reading, comprehension, and vocabulary teaching. Prior to these positions, Alex was the acting principal of a primary school in West Yorkshire. Her former roles have seen Alex developing frameworks for teaching and learning and reforming primary reading strategies across contexts. She has also worked for Ambition Institute as Training Manager, designing and delivering training for schools, teachers and leaders across the country. Her upcoming book ‘The Coaching Curriculum’ describes the ways in which we can mobilise research evidence into classroom practice through teacher development.

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1pm: Verity Lee

Building a thriving KS2 reading culture through the use of technology.

Vice Principal at Sunnyside Spencer Academy and Evidence Lead in Education.

Join Verity as she explores a curriculum built around high-quality texts, enhanced through 1:1 iPad provision in years 2-6. She will demonstrate how her school carefully crafted their digital vision, using its lessons from remote learning and investment in Showbie, adding capacity in the classroom and meeting the needs of an increasingly growing number of pupils with SEND and EAL. Verity will also share how she is closing the gap between groups of vulnerable children, sharing the results of Reading Plus using evidence from a recent research project.

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3pm: Tim Rasinski

The “art and science” of teaching reading.

Author and Professor of Reading Education, Kent State University, USA.

About the session: Recent research into reading and the teaching of reading has identified the scientific foundations for teaching reading. However, effective teaching is an art as well as a science. In this presentation, Dr. Tim Rasinski will explore how reading can be taught scientifically and artfully. Attendees can expect to learn actionable instructional strategies for teaching words, reading fluency, and more.

About Tim: Timothy Rasinski is a professor of literacy education at Kent State University and former director of its award-winning reading clinic. Tim has written over 250 articles and has authored, co-authored or edited over 50 books or curriculum programs on reading education. In a 2021 report, Tim was identified as being among the top 2% of scientists in the world.

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Wednesday 7th of June


10am: Shareen Wilkinson

Building schema through reading books aloud in primary schools.

Primary Education Adviser and Educational Author.

Shareen Wilkinson is a leading primary education adviser, specialising in teaching and learning, English, assessment and leadership. She also currently works in school part-time, leading teaching and learning for a multi-academy trust. She was previously an LA lead primary adviser, covering 42 infants, junior and primary schools in Sutton. She is also an established educational author, writer and editor specialising in all aspects of English.

Join Shareen for her session as she explores building a schema through reading books aloud in primary schools while providing practical suggestions and takeaways for books to use with primary pupils. Attendees can also expect to explore and understand the importance of building schemata across the curriculum.


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11am: Leanne Sayer

Creating an engaging reading culture with online and offline strategies.

Year 6 Teacher and Online Reading Lead at Ribbon Academy.

Join Leanne as she discusses how Ribbon Academy has developed a reading culture that inspires, engages, and motivates pupils. Leanne will share the digital and non-digital strategies and the rewards systems they have implemented to engage reluctant readers and challenge their greater-depth pupils.

Leanne will also discuss how Reading Plus has engaged staff, parents, and the wider school community. She will also share how the programme is used to reduce teacher workload and for interventions.

Having taught for over 16 years, Leanne has completed her Master’s and is a PhD candidate. Her aim is for every child to leave Ribbon Academy with a love of reading, to have explored different genres and authors, to be secure enough to have an opinion and open discussions about what they’ve read, and to be confident, independent readers.

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1pm: Sapna Vadher

Developing a culture of reading in secondary school.

Assistant Principal The Forest Academy. 

Sapna is currently Assistant Principal at The Forest Academy, Greater London. One of her responsibilities is leading on the school Literacy Strategy, of which Reading Plus is a pillar. She is an outstanding subject specialist of Business and Economics and as a senior leader she has developed expertise in leading pastoral key stages, assessment, teaching and learning, curriculum, community relations, human resources, careers education, and raising aspirations. Sapna has recently completed her NPQH and is also an ITT lead for Business and Economics for the Trust SCITT. 


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2pm: Professor Teresa Cremin

Reading for Pleasure and the Power of Fiction.

Professor of Education (Literacy) at The Open University. DfE reading for pleasure expert. Co-Director of the Literacy and Social Justice Centre.

Fiction fuels our imaginations, enriches our desire to read, and contributes to raised standards. Join Teresa as she explores these claims and examines how teachers can capitalise on its power.

An ex-teacher and teacher educator Teresa is now a researcher and academic activist seeking to develop recreational reading and teachers’ and children’s literate identities and creative pedagogies. A Fellow of the English Association, the Academy of Social Sciences, and the Royal Society of the Arts, Teresa is a DfE Reading for pleasure expert and has published over 30 books on teaching literacy and nurturing creativity. She leads a professional user-community website and wider movement to support reading for pleasure

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3pm: Gaurav Dubay

Creating a Whole School Reading Culture at Key Stage 3.

Head of English at King Edward VI Academy Trust and Evidence Lead in Education.

Join Gaurav as he discusses his insights on how to effectively build a reading culture within schools so that it has a transformative impact on the lives of all students. Gaurav will share his knowledge on the successes, and the lessons learned when implementing a school reading culture to give students the best chance to achieve academic success, build empathy, and develop agency.

Gaurav Dubay is currently the Head of English in an inner-city school in Birmingham. He leads on English and oracy, English networking across his MAT, and as an Evidence Lead in Education with St Matthew’s Research School. With his years of experience, Gaurav has seen first-hand how reading has the power to transform lives.

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Thursday 8th of June


10am: Rebekah Ricketts

The importance of utilising data and empowering staff and parents to promote reading in KS3/4.

Head of English at Safa British School, Dubai.

Rebekah is responsible for developing the Key Stage 3-4 English curriculum. Rebekah is passionate about creating strategies and opportunities to promote reading with students, teaching staff, and parents/carers.

Join Rebekah for her session ‘The importance of utilising data and empowering staff and parents to promote reading in KS3/4, where she will be discussing:

  • How she has expanded on the 2021/22 reading strategy.
  • Reading strategies to aid KS2/3 transition.
  • Building a culture in which reading underpins all curriculum areas.
  • How to measure the impact of your strategy on students, staff, and parents/carers.
  • How data from Reading Plus informs planning.
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1pm: Bethany Howieson

Strategies to prioritise cross-curricular reading, what does and doesn’t work.

Assistant Principal, Business Studies Teacher, and Trust Lead in Literacy and Oracy at Northern Education Trust, Dyke House Academy.

Join Beth as she shares her strategies to promote cross-curricular reading across her trust and the positive outcomes this has had on students.

Beth Howieson is the Lead in Literacy and Oracy at the Northern Education Trust, responsible for 12 academies. Literacy is at the heart of everything in the trust, from maths to PE lessons. Beth believes sharing ideas is pivotal in achieving academic success and will discuss the strategies that have and haven’t worked within her secondary schools.

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3pm: Mark Anderson

Using technology to engage reluctant readers in KS2 and KS3.

Best-selling author, award-winning blogger, popular speaker and trainer (who is also an Independent Thinking associate and founding fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching).

Technology has the propensity to be transformational in reducing workload, enhancing learning and engaging learners. Join Mark as he shares easy-to-use tools, approaches, and shortcuts that you can take away and implement in your classroom right away that can do just that!

Mark is an award-winning former teacher and senior leader with over 20 years’ of experience in the classroom. He is well known for his engaging, practical, evidence-informed, and pragmatic approaches to teaching and learning with (and without, because sometimes that’s the best choice) technology.

Mark tweets and shares on social media as @ICTEvangelist and at Mark is also Head of Education at NetSupport, a world-leading educational technology company.


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Conference host


Jonny Kay

National Education Lead at Create Development.

Jonny is a highly experienced leader and former Head of English and Maths, Head of TLA (in FE), and Head of English (in the secondary sector).

As a former Head of English and maths, Jonny led a team nominated for a TES FE Award, which achieved the best FE GCSE maths results in England. Jonny also works as Lead English Expert for AQA, an English and TLA consultant who speaks at colleges, conferences and national events. His book, ‘Improving English and Maths in Further Education: A Practical Guide’, was released in June 2021.

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