The programme for the Reading conference is now finalised and registration is open. Registrations close by end-August if possible (payment on arrival). Follow the link below for more information.

This conference takes as its focus the ways in which literature comes into being in the Hispanic world, from composition to reception, past and present. It aims to locate and explore our interest in literature not primarily in the text itself, but in the mechanisms, spaces and processes by which the literary text – in all its diverse representations – reaches the public sphere. Whether mediated by commercial, political, economic, social or other interests, the text reaches us through the complex interventions of a range of actors: author, editor, designer, translator, promoter, publisher, literary critic, journalist, reader.

Making Literature


Making Hispanic Literatures / Creación de las literaturas hispánicas

Beginner’s language at Reading

Beginner’s language degrees are in the news at the moment. Here at Reading we have some news too: we’re very excited to announce that we will be launching beginner’s French for 2017 entry, to join our beginner’s Italian and Spanish courses. We have a longstanding specialism in this area, having provided accelerated Italian for many years.

A beginner’s language degree (or ab initio language degree as universities call it) involvesEnza Siciliano Verruccio learning the language from scratch, but going on to complete the degree at the same level of knowledge and fluency as students who might have a GCSE or A-Level in that language. They are far from being a new phenomenon. It has always been common for language students to pick up another language at degree level. Having more than one language improves your employability in competitive fields such as language teaching, and translating/ interpreting.

If you think you might be interested in learning a language from scratch, you can find out more about how students have found the experience, in these blog posts by our students Sabrina and Jess. Professor Catherine Léglu explains here about the benefits of ab initio language degrees.

IN THE JUNGLE by Richard McKenzie


I have seen shanty towns in Kenya but have never been to a refugee camp. It is horrible.

The camp hides in plain sight at the East end of the Calais Ferry Terminal next to the motorway that almost every holiday maker will use to travel on to the heartland of Europe. It is obvious but inconspicuous in its openness. The camp sits on a former sandy nature reserve and has been half cleared by the French authorities, who have built a camp made from containers for migrants/refugees who are willing to be finger printed and documented. This has reduced the size of the camp but has created a refugee Apartheid separating those who the authorities believe can be settled as refugees from those who have fled terrible situations at home, but who the authorities do not class as refugees. The men I met there were mainly from Peswar in Pakistan, Northern Afghanistan, or Eritrea.

See the full text in JUNGLE

How (not) to use technology for language teaching – Workshop with Sascha Stollhans (University of Nottingham)

Do students love technology in the classroom? Can technology replace teaching? What are good tools in the growing pool of educational technology and digital teaching and what can they be used for?


These and more questions were discussed on Wednesday 17 February during a workshop lead by DAAD-Lektor Sascha Stollhans (organized by DAAD-Lektorin Sandra Beer and School TEL Coordinator Enza Siciliano Verruccio) for members of staff and PGR students of the University of Reading as well as for teachers from local schools.

After a theoretical introduction and discussion about questions and concerns, Sascha Stollhans provided us with some inspiring case studies of various tools, social media and web resources to enhance language teaching and learning. The workshop was equally informative as it was engaging, encouraging everyone to try the tools in the workshop.


As more and more institutions expect language tutors to make clever use of technology in their classrooms, we were very happy to have the opportunity to learn more about the effective integration of technology into the language classroom.


Sascha Stollhans is DAAD-Lektor at the University of Nottingham. His main teaching and research areas are German language and linguistics, applied linguistics, second language acquisition and language pedagogy.

Latest publication:

Goria, Cecilia; Speicher, Oranna; Stollhans, Sascha. (Eds). (2016). Innovative language teaching and learning at university: enhancing participation and collaboration. Dublin, Ireland:

MFL in the UoR meet local and regional schools teachers

IMG_0393On Wednesday 27 January, staff and students in the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies hosted a 2-hour MFL Teach  Meet on the University of Reading campus. With teachers attending from a range of local and regional schools, including St. Crispin’s School, Leighton Park, The Abbey School, Prospect School, Reading School and Bucks School, the meeting was a great opportunity to exchange ideas about how to work together to promote modern languages, manage the transition from GCSE to A level and from A level to University, and how to deal with some of the challenges facing us all as teachers of Modern Languages.


Topics for discussion included: Diversity in the classroom, the use of digital resources and new technology in the classroom, and how to encourage students to go beyond the curriculum. There was some very lively debate, including some very interesting observations from our own students in MLES, and the event finished with a promise to continue these session on a regular basis.


Official launch of BA Spanish

DSC_3035On 25 November 2015, The Vice-Chancellor’s Office and the Department for Modern Languages and European Studies hosted the official launch of the new BA Spanish, which brought together University colleagues, the first cohort of students on the programme, local community stakeholders and dignitaries (the Ambassadors for Nicaragua and Panamá, and the cultural attachés for Mexico, Panamá and Cuba). The guests enjoyed Spanish tapas and wonderful live music from Charanga del Norte, and the dancing continued into the evening. We look forward to celebrating the achievements of our first graduates of Ba Spanish programmes four years from now! More pictures of the event in

From left to right: Heather McKeever (RIO), Her Excellency Guisell Morales Echaverry (Ambassador for Nicaragua in the UK), Par Kumaraswami (Spanish, MLES), Claudia Murray (HBS), Marta Simó-Comas (Spanish, MLES)

From left to right: Heather McKeever (RIO), Her Excellency Guisell Morales Echaverry (Ambassador for Nicaragua in the UK), Par Kumaraswami (Spanish, MLES), Claudia Murray (HBS), Marta Simó-Comas (Spanish, MLES)

Student Life: Speedmeeting in German

IMG_0752On Tuesday 6 October the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies hosted its first ever Speedmeeting event. Organised by DAAD Lektorin Sandra Beer and ÖAD Lektorin Regine Klimpfinger, the event brought together second year students of German at Reading with Erasmus students from Germany & Austria. We asked Steph King, a second year student of German and Geography, to let us know how it went:

The German staff provided us with drinks, snacks and lovely conversation last week when we had the opportunity to meet some German and Austrian Erasmus students studying here at Reading. It was really interesting and helpful to hear some tips and tricks about German life for our year abroad next year and to provide them with some of our own for life here in Reading! Not only was it a fun and relaxed evening, but also educational and reassuring. 5 Stars!

DSCF0132For more news about the students, staff, and alumni of the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies at the University of Reading, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Twitter feed.

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Archives and Texts seminar with Dr Sophie Heywood

Archives and Texts seminar

Dr Sophie Heywood (Modern Languages and European Studies, Reading) 

Archives and TextsShould French children’s books be permitted in an English nursery? The reception of Madame de Ségur in England, 1859-c.1940s’


Monday 10th November (week 7) 1-2pm in HUMSS 124

Co-organisers : Dr Nicola Wilson (English), Dr Alison Martin and Dr Sophie Heywood (Modern Languages and European Studies), and

MLES Cine-Club: Il Gattopardo

Please join us on Tuesday 4th November at 7 pm in HumSS 125 for the third film in the 2014-15 MLES Cine-Club

Il Gattopardo
(“The Leopard”)

Italy, 1963
Directed By Luchino Visconti
Starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale, and Alain Delon
In Italian with English Subtitles

Presented by Dr Charles Leavitt


The LeopardWinner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Nastro d’Argento by Italian film critics, Luchino Visconti’s adaptation of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s best-selling novel Il Gattopardo is widely regarded as a cinematic masterpiece. The story of the Sicilian aristocrat Don Fabrizio, Principe di Salina (Burt Lancaster), whose nephew Tancredi (Alain Delon) is set to marry the beautiful but decidedly middle-class Angelica (Claudia Cardinale), Il Gattopardo combines lavish period detail with strikingly innovative and modern cinematography.