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Professor Teresa Cremin

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Professional biography

Professor Teresa Cremin is a Professor of Education (Literacy) and Co-Director of the Literacy and Social Justice Centre at The Open University in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies.

Professor Cremin is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences,(AcSS) the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA) and the English Association (EA). Additionally, she is a Trustee of the UK Literacy Association (UKLA), a DfE expert on reading for pleasure, a member of the ESRC Peer Review College, and chair of the Advisory Group for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Teacher Development Fund for the Arts. Previously she has served as President of the UK Reading Association and the UKLA, a Director of the Cambridge Primary Review Trust (CPRT) and a Trustee of the Poetry Archive and SES. She has also served as a visiting Professor at Edge Hill University, a Board Member of BookTrust and as editor of the Journal Literacy and co-editor of the journal Thinking Skills and Creativity.

Teresa has been a practising primary teacher, a staff development co-ordinator in a local authority, and has worked extensively in Higher Education both with initial teacher education students and with practising professionals. Currently her work mainly focuses on research and knowledge exchange, although she is also involved in teaching and consultancy, leadership and management.

Teresa gained a Psychology degree at Bristol University, a PGCE at Homerton College, Cambridge, a Masters Degree at the Institute of Education, London and her PhD through the University of Kent at Canterbury.

Research interests

Professor Cremin’s socio-cultural research focuses mainly on teachers' literate identities and practices, the pedagogies associated with children's volitional reading and writing (within and beyond the classroom), and creative teaching and learning from the early years through to Higher Education.

Teresa is interested in the aesthetic and artistic nature of language and literacy learning and the role and use of creativity in and through language. She has explored children’s imaginative development and the characteristics of ‘possibility thinking’ manifest in the learning engagement of children and the pedagogical strategies of their teachers. She has also researched the relationship between drama and other forms of oral engagement, and children’s voice in writing. In particular she has documented primary teachers’ knowledge and use of children’s literature and the concept of Reading Teachers - teachers who read and readers who teach (Commeyras et al., 2004) as well as teachers' identities as writers. Teresa is interested in the consequences of teachers'  literate identity positioning on their pedagogic practices and the identity positions made available to younger readers and writers in the classroom.

Teresa often works with teachers as co-participant researchers, supporting them to engage with an ethnographic eye and research children's literacy lives and practices within and beyond school, as well as document their own identity enactments as literacy educators and creative professionals.

Current and recent externally funded research projects with colleagues from the OU and other universities include:

Reading for Pleasure and Children's Wellbeing (2022-2023) 

Informal Book Talk in the Early Years (2022-2023)

Book Clubs in Schools (2022-2025)

Reading and Writing for Pleasure (2020-2023) 

Seeing Beneath the Surface: The Picture Fiction Framework (2020-2023)

Student Teachers as Readers (2019-2023) 

Representing Children’s Rights from Discussion through to Illustration and Interpretation (2018-2019) 

Daily Supported Reading and Destination Reader Programmes (2017-2020)

Developing the Craft of Writing (2017-2019)

Reading Road Map (2018-2019)

International Cross-cultural Play and Learning Study: Children's and Adults' Perceptions (2016-2019)

Teachers as Writers (2015-2017)

Disadvantaged 'Struggling' Boy Readers' (dis)engagement with Reading (2015-2016)

Creative Early Years Scientists (CEYS) EU Erasmus Plus (2014-2017)

Create to Learn (C2Learn) EU (2013-2015)

Immersive Theatre and Literacy Learning (2014-2015)

Knowledge Transfer Partnership with BookTrust on Digital Texts (2014)

Professional Writers' Identities and Composing Practices (2014-2015)

Creative Little Scientists (CLS) FP7 EU (2011-2014)

Storytelling and Story-acting in the Early Years (2012-2013)

Creative Primary Schools and their Pedagogic Practice (2011-12)

Teachers as Readers: Building Communities of Engaged Readers (2009-11)

Extracurricular Literary Reading in the CKG Shadowing Scheme (2011)

Building Communities: Researching Literacy Lives (2009-2010).

Teachers’ Identities as Writers (2009-2011)

Possibility Thinking in Primary Practice   (2009-2014)

Conceptions of Independence in Writing (2009-2010)

Teaching interests

Professor Cremin is interested in creative teaching and learning in literacy and other domains. She was recently involved in creating an internationally available OU reading for pleasure badged online course with colleagues (2022).

She has taught extensively on Masters courses, both at Canterbury Christchurch University and the OU, related to research methods, literacy. literature and to creativity. She has been an External Examiner at Masters level at the Universities of Cambridge and Glasgow, and the University of Western England and for undergraduate courses at the University of Cambridge and Nottingham Trent University. Teresa undertakes considerable PhD examining in the UK and internationally. 

Teresa is also engaged in teaching through work with Federations, MATs, DfE English Hubs, and organisations such as the NUT, NLT, NAAE, NATE, NAPE,The Princes Foundation, The Cheltenham Literature Festival, Empathy Lab and UKLA. In this work she leads bespoke continuing professional development for teachers, writers, subject specialists and head teachers. Additionally, she is involved in teaching in other contexts such as on graduate and undergraduate programmes in other universities.

Impact and engagement

Professor Cremin is extensively involved in developing the reach and significance of her research. She advises the DfE on reading for pleasure and leads an OU reading for pleasure researcch and practice coalition to share the findings from her ongoing research in this area.

The accompanying website has over 700 examples of teachers' research informed practice, and diverse resources to enable educators to widen their knowledge and practice, and make more of an impact upon the potentially life-changing habit of reading in childhood and beyond. The monthly RfP newsletter has over 44,000 subscribers. Reading For Pleasure - Reading for Pleasure (

In addition the OU RfP team that Teresa leads, supports over 100 OU/ UKLA Teachers Reading Groups annually( CPD for RfP, led by trained volunteers nationally) and has 36 Higher Education Partners who are supported to work with student teachers to develop their knowledge and skill in nurturing children's recreational reading. The OU Reading Schools Programme: Building a Culture of Reading is also evidence informed and has enabled many schools to transform their reading cultures and impact on both the skill and the will to read. Her wider work includes for example,  the annual RfP Awards (in partnership with Farshore and UKLA), the annual Teachers' Reading Challenge (in partnership with The Reading Agency) and the forthcoming RfP Quality Mark (in partnership with UKLA).

This work has, since its inception, made an impact on policy and practice and on the lives of thousands of children.  Reading for pleasure is recognised as a tool for social justice and is associated with significant cognitive, social and emotional benefits. 



External collaborations

Professor Cremin is extensively involved in a number of external organisations in diverse roles.

She is a Trustee of the UK Literacy Association; Patron of the National Associaton of Primary Education, and Chair of the  Advisory Group member of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Teacher Development Fund.  In addition, she is currently a Member of the ESRC Peer Review College and reviews bids for this and other funding organisations, nationally and internationally.

Professor Cremin has been President of the UK Reading Association and the UK Literacy Association. She was also previously a Director of the Cambridge Primary Review Trust, and a Board member of the Poetry Archive, and of BookTrust and a Trustee of the Society for Education Studies. 

Professor Cremin is on the Board of 8 academic journals,  was co-editor of the Elseveir journal Thinking Skiills and Creativity and the Editor of the Wiley Blackwell journal Literacy. She has chaired the International Reading Association’s Dissertation Award committee and is currently a member of the UKLA Conference committee, in which capacity she organises reading research symposia and practitioner conferences.

In addition she works with other organisations in various roles, including for example: The Reading Agency (RA); the National Literacy Trust (NLT); the Royal Society for the Arts (RSA); The Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE); the Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF); Empathy Lab;  the Princes Foundation; the Centre for Librarians and Information Professionals, (CILIP);  Cheltenham Literature Festival , the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, (CLPE), Book Clubs in Schools (BCSIS), the School Library Association (SLA), Coram Beanstalk and MakeBelieve Arts (MBA).

Professor Cremin has strong international links with colleagues likewise interested in the language arts, literature and creativity. She has also worked with policy makers, university researchers and practitioners in a number of different countries, including Finland, Australia, USA, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, the Czech Republic and Norway.

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
CREET: Educational Studies Research ClusterClusterFaculty of Education and Language Studies