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Literacy symposium to encourage Tasmanian solutions

Research | Newsroom

Researchers, policy-makers and community representatives will come together on a mission to improve the state’s literacy levels at the University of Tasmania this week.

Early years literacy will be the focus of the two-day Cuthill Family Foundation Literacy Roundtables at Inveresk on August 29-30.

The symposium will look at ways to support educators, services, policy-makers and the broader community with new insights into literacy learning and outcomes for young children and their families in Tasmania.

“Literacy in our increasingly complex society involves much more than reading and writing,” Professor of Early Years Education Iris Duhn said.

“Research tells us that we urgently need to address literacy as the ability to create meaning from a wide range of sources, to put information together in complex ways, and to differentiate ‘fake’ from ‘authentic’.

“These are some of the new skills our children will need, and we are excited by the conversations the Roundtables will generate for early years literacies in Tasmania.”

Hosted by the School of Education, the roundtables will bring together researchers, educators, key local and national organisations, allied health professionals and community-based literacy programs.

“By coming together, we can provide an opportunity for participants to share their perspectives, knowledge and experiences of strengths and barriers to building strong literacy outcomes here in Tasmania,” Lecturer in Early Childhood Education Dr Lauren Armstrong said.

“There is growing evidence to support the benefits of a holistic, multi-disciplinary and community-wide approach to understanding the complexities of early literacy development and enhancing outcomes for all Tasmanian children and their families.”

Panellists will include early years experts from the University of Tasmania, Monash and Murdoch Universities, Aboriginal literacy specialists and government representatives, as well as early education, care and health providers.

In two roundtable discussions, participants will explore the concepts of Tasmanian early years literacies, place-based and diverse literacies, and the role of local storytelling.

The Cuthill Family Foundation is an independent philanthropic fund established by Harvey and Suzanne Cuthill. The Board now comprises three generations of Cuthill family members. The Foundation is based in Tasmania and has an ongoing commitment to engage with local projects around education, health, the environment and the arts.

The Cuthill Family Foundation Literacy Roundtables take place on August 29-30. Members of the public can view the event online by registering at