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Event details

Reach Out Through Reading, SLANSW State Library Conference Day (7 March 2020)

  • 7 Mar 2020
  • 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
  • State Library of NSW, Sydney
  • 129


  • For participants who are not current financial members of SLANSW (note complimentary membership of the Association will be provided for the remainder of the membership year as part of this registration fee)
  • For financial members of SLANSW only
  • Discounted rate for SLANSW Committee members
  • For presenters/organisers to register their complimentary attendance as advised by the Organising Committee


SLANSW Conference Day

Venue: State Library of NSW, Macquarie Street, Sydney 

This conference will feature authors, academics, teachers and teacher librarians who have expertise in various aspects of reading across the curriculum and Indigenous language and culture. The purpose of the program is to share research into reading and language, and to provide practical applications of strategies for engaging students in reading and developing a broader understanding of language.

Specific attention will be given to the conference theme across all stages, with a focus on developing reading programs that address language and culture, with direct links to the curriculum. The keynote and concurrent sessions will provide research and strategies to assist in the creation of opportunities for students to develop an understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.

Other concurrent sessions will address how reading programs can be designed to meet the needs of students with varying levels of physical, social and intellectual development. The structure of the program and the range of presenters provides participants with learning opportunities targeted to their professional needs.

Details of the full conference program are available here.


Featured speakers include

Alex Wharton

Alex Wharton is Head of Middle School at Carinya Christian School, Gunnedah. Alex is an English Teacher and has written extensively with regards to teaching and learning resources for subject English, and has presented at local, state and national conferences for English Teachers.

In 2014, Alex won a Premier’s English Teachers Association Scholarship and travelled to the United States in 2015 to research famous American novels including To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men and Catcher in the Rye.

In 2019, Alex became the Copyright Agency’s first Reading Australia Fellow for Teacher of English and Literacy. Alex’s research project is titled The Missing Peace and will be an analysis of the Australian literary representation surrounding the First Nation and non-First Nation colonial experience. In doing so, Alex will explore best practice around teaching Indigenous literature in the classroom.

Kirli Saunders

Proud Gunai Woman, Kirli Saunders is an award-winning international Children's Author, Poet, Teacher, and emerging Artist. She leads Poetry in First Languages, delivered by Red Room Poetry.

Kirli’s debut picture book The Incredible Freedom Machines was shortlisted for the Prime Ministers Literary Awards and CBCA notables. Her poetry collection, Kindred was Highly Commended in Black&Write.

She is the inaugural winner of the Daisy Utemorrah Award and University of Canberra ATSI Poetry prize. Kirli was shortlisted for the 2020 NSW Woman of the Year. She was guest writer for the Embassy in Jakarta and Bali (2019) and Beijing (2020).

Other confirmed presenters for the conference include:

Melissa Jackson
State Library of NSW, Librarian Indigenous Engagement

Heather Zubek
Heather is a freelance writer and educator, based in Melbourne.
Heather is conscious of the fact that early readers make life-long readers and takes every opportunity to play matchmaker with books and children. She is also a read aloud advocate who delights in reading to children and adults and in helping parents turn their children into enthusiastic readers.

Janet Agostino
Co-ordinator of Diverse Learners, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Forestville

Judith Wakeman
Judith is a Melbourne based Teacher Librarian who recognises the special relationships many students build with their school librarian, helping them view their library as a safe place – a learning environment where they are able to explore ideas and be themselves free of judgement from others.
She has studied Bibliotherapy and Youth Mental Health First Aid, and believes that the school library can be one of many exciting and colorful pathways to building and maintaining good mental health and resilience for young people struggling with life pressures.

Dr Kasey Garrison
Kasey is a Senior Lecturer and specialist in children’s literature at the School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Lee Fitzgerald
Lee is a teacher librarian with a long history in primary and secondary school libraries and an adjunct lecturer at the School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Winnie Mak
Teacher Librarian, Botany Public School & Kingsgrove Public School

Louise Sherwin-Stark
Chair, Australian Reading Hour Committee

School Library Association of NSW through the Professional Teachers’ Council NSW is endorsed to provide the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered Professional Development for teachers accredited at Proficient, Highly Accomplished, and Lead levels.

Completing Reach Out Through Reading on 7 March 2020 will contribute 4 hours 30 minutes of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 2.4.2, 3.3.2, 6.2.2 and 7.4.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.

Thank you to our event sponsor: The State Library of NSW

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