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Ingrid Laguna: How do we best engage and inspire young readers with texts that feature diverse voices?

Session Info:

All young people have stories to tell. In a classroom culture where students feel safe to express themselves, and with exposure to model texts featuring diverse voices, they can be supported to put their own lived experiences into words.

Drawing on more than five years of experience working with school-aged new arrivals to Australia, many from refugee backgrounds, author, teacher and musician Ingrid Laguna will share strategies for creating a respectful classroom environment in which students can be inspired to draw on their experiences and tell stories of their own. Ingrid will introduce engaging texts written from diverse perspectives, including her middle-grade novel Songbird, to explore these strategies.

Educators will walk away with practicable ideas for creating and sustaining safe classroom discussion in which all students are comfortable taking risks, a list of relatable and engaging texts featuring diverse voices that will scaffold students to create strong and lively characters, and literacy tasks including stimulating writing activities.

Topics covered:

  • How to use Songbird and other texts featuring diverse voices to inspire personal storytelling by students.
  • My teaching experience with refugee-background children from diverse ethnicities.
  • Strategies I have developed to foster a safe and inspired classroom.
  • Autobiographical writing activities and how to create characters that are alive on the page.


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