Catherine Gilliland has been a member of St Mary’s University College ( a college of Queens University Belfast) staff for the past 21 years. She attributes both her interest and success in the area of research to the college Erasmus Programme. As part of her European links, Catherine was invited to present at the “Tell me a story, show me the world” Conference in PH (University of Teacher Education) Zurich. The image chosen for the conference publicity appropriately showed two children looking at a map of the world contained within a huge speech bubble. The conference aimed to “celebrate storytelling and reading as a window on the world.” It was this opportunity that got Catherine writing and delivering presentations nationally and internationally. She used her natural talent in storytelling to engage audiences into the world of Literacy and how to addict children to Literacy.
In September 2013, Catherine was the Keynote Speaker for the Literacy Association Annual Conference in Marino College in Dublin. She took the theme of addiction and brought conference members on a story journey of how this can be achieved in a variety of classroom scenarios. As a result of the success of this, she was interviewed by Inside Education and a podcast was created.
Catherine then spent a year writing a chapter for the internationally acclaimed book, ‘Playful Approaches to Teaching and Learning.’ Her chapter entitled, Playful Approaches to Literacy brought readers on a journey through three interconnecting themes supporting holistic development of essential early Literacy skills. This book is used widely as a core reader in teacher education and early Years study courses across the world.
Catherine also was Keynote Speaker at the Connected Learning Conference in St Mary’s Derry, sponsored by Microsoft.
She ran a hugely successful workshop at The Children’s Research network in Trinity College Dublin
She is guest speaker at The Early Years Conference in Dublin in April 2020.
Catherine speaks annually at the UKLA conference and the Literacy Association of Ireland Annual Conference in Dublin. She has had 6 articles published in the Literacy News. She writes solely and also in conjunction with her colleagues, Dr Katrina Mulholland, Teresa Cash and Padai Blaney.
Bibliotherapy as a medium for changing lives.
This presentation will take participants on a journey from how children learn to read and then using reading to learn. The complex myriad of skills that a child has to master in order to learn to read will be explored within a visual and auditory context. How we use reading to learn will be explored through the key comprehension skills. techere of literacy who can support children throughout this journey, have the key to changing their lives. they are comparable to a key, unlocking their future.
This practical workshop will take participants on a journey from how children to read to using reading to learn. Picture Books function as more than mere entertainment they help the child gain an understanding of the world and their own life experiences.
PH (University of Teacher Education) Zürich hosted a conference in September 2013 entitled ‘Tell me a story, show me the world’. The image chosen for the conference publicity appropriately showed two children looking at a map of the world contained within a huge speech bubble. The conference aimed to “celebrate storytelling and reading as a window on the world”. This reminds us that as educators we must become immersed in this story world and develop our ability to use literary texts and storytelling to stimulate thinking, engagement and discussion amongst the children with whom we work.
Effective teachers will realise that stories in their many forms should not be confined to literacy activities but should be used as a playful teaching and learning medium across all curricular areas. ‘The Story Cure: An A-Z of Books to Keep Kids Happy, Healthy and Wise’ begins with “ Between once upon a time and happily ever after is a land we’ve all been to. Strange and marvelous things happen there. “ That land is where lifelong readers are created, minds are enlightened and story writers are created. It is a journey we must bring children to from the moment they are born. The authors of the Story Cure previously wrote’ The Novel Cure’ and describe parents, teachers, librarians and booksellers as bibliotherapists. What a wonderful description for a teacher to have and they are the ones fully trained to administer the story vaccine on a daily basis. They describe the journey that readers are taken on noting that:“ By the time we come back, brushing the dust off our hats, a new worldly look in our eye, we know alone what we’ve seen, experienced, endured. And we’ve discovered something else, too, that whatever is going on in our actual lives, and whatever we’re feeling about it, someone else has felt that way too. We’re not alone after all.” (Berthoud and Elderkin, 2016, ix)