The African Storybook in Global Perspective:Children’s Literacy and Teacher Identity – IECER Graduate Student Brown Bag Lunch Series

The Institute for Early Childhood Education & Research (IECER) along with Early Childhood Education Graduate Students in the Faculty of Education are proud to host a faculty and graduate student research brown bag series intended to bring faculty, students and the ECE community together to consider inquiry and research across the complex and multi-faceted discipline of Early Childhood Education.

These informal sessions serve as an opportunity for faculty, graduate students and ECE community members to share research ideas, current research projects, and/or experiences pertaining to research. The sessions are casual and collegial, allowing time for presenter and audience to engage in discussion about the topic.

Bring your lunch! Beverages and cookies will be provided.

Dr. Bonny Norton
Professor and Distinguished University Scholar
Department of Language and Literacy Education, UBC

Espen Stranger-Johannessen
PhD Candidate
Department of Language and Literacy Education, UBC

Liam Doherty
PhD Student
Department of Language and Literacy Education, UBC

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

2125 Main Mall, Neville Scarfe Bldg. Room 310

The African Storybook (ASb) is a ground-breaking South African initiative, begun in 2013, which promotes early literacy for African children through a powerful interactive website ( There are currently over 500 unique stories in over 60 African languages, as well as English, French, and Portuguese, which can be downloaded, translated, and adapted for use. Espen Stranger-Johannessen is doing his PhD research on the project, and Bonny Norton serves as the project’s Research Advisor. The openly licenced stories of the ASb have inspired innovations such as the Global African Storybook Project, developed by Liam Doherty, to enable educators, parents, and others around the world to promote children’s literacy by translating the stories from the African Storybook into all of the languages of the world ( In the process, many innovative and useful tools have been developed using the data (text and images) from the ASb. This collaborative presentation will introduce both the ASb and the Global ASP, and then turn to a discussion of the language teacher identity research that has arisen from the ASb, focusing on Darvin and Norton’s (2015) model of identity and investment. The research with Ugandan elementary school teachers has found that shifts of identity are associated with changing pedagogical practices, and that different forms of capital are implicated in the teachers’ investments in new digital practices. Aspects of this research are publicly available in the online newspaper The Conversation and

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