Becoming Well Read - Keele’s first academic reading symposium

Over fifty delegates from twenty different institutions across the UK gathered this week to enjoy the first event of this type to take place in the sector. Becoming Well Read explored academic reading practices, allowed delegates to reflect on the challenges of teaching reading for academic purposes, and to share innovative and interesting teaching methods.

The day opened with a Keynote address from Jeanne Godfrey of Leeds University - an expert in the field of English language, study skills and academic writing. The delegates then had the opportunity to attend a number of workshops on various topics ranging from emotional barriers to reading, embedding learning development work around reading, and student transitions into academic reading.

In an unusual twist to the traditional conference discussion panel, the delegates were then offered the opportunity to attend one of four different reading walks - thankfully the weather was kind, allowing delegates to experience first hand the beauty of the Keele Campus whilst discussing a pre-selected piece of academic writing, sharing an inspiring book or following prompts from Dr Ceri Morgan's Dawdle approach.

Dr Ceri Morgan, who led one of the afternoon reading walks, commented,

“Walking (not necessarily a bipedal practice) and talking makes for a less intense experience than room-based discussion. Participants on the dawdle enjoyed the sunshine, the lakes, and the opportunity to reflect in playful ways on modes of reading, collective reading, reading memories and reading journeys.”

Angela Rhead, Teaching Fellow and Learning Developer in the Keele Institute for Innovation and Teaching Excellence (KIITE) commented,

“Becoming Well Read was a fantastic day - the sun shone and the cherry blossom clung on for our reading walks. More importantly, the popularity and success of the event was testimony to the growing interest in reading as an academic practice and an opportunity to initiate a national community of practitioners passionate about supporting the development of academic reading in HE. We were particularly pleased to see such a wide range of colleagues at the symposium, with learning developers, academics, librarians and academic developers amongst the delegates.”

Following the closing comments from event organiser Angela Rhead, many of the delegates stayed to attend the “Cake, Conversation and the Next Chapter” section of the programme - a time for collaboration and discussion and to explore the possibility of creating an academic reading network.

KIITE is looking forward to curating the ideas from Becoming Well Read 2019, developing a virtual community and planning Becoming Well Read 2020. For more information on any of these, and to see highlights from this years events, including a full recording of the Keynote, visit the KIITE website.