skip to primary navigation skip to content

Fiona Maine


University Associate Professor of Literacy Education

Director of Studies for Education, Trinity College

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)1223 767589


  • PhD (Bath Spa)
  • MA (Cantab)
  • MEd (Bristol)
  • BA Hons (Warwick)

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) - Research Committee, National Council 
  • Chartered College of Teaching- Associated member

Back to top


Fiona has been a member of the Faculty of Education since 2012. She leads the Primary English course for the PGCE and is the course coordinator for the Masters in Primary Education. She supervises PhD students with a focus on empirical research in children’s literature and literacies. Recent PhD completions from her students include the following topics:  exploring the potential of wordless picturebooks in the classroom; pre-school children's responses to digital picturebook apps; supporting reading comprehension in KS3 and children's responses to the role of illustration in novels. 

After starting her career as a primary teacher, Fiona gained many years of experience supporting other teachers in the development of their literacy pedagogies. From 2004-2012 she led the Professional Masters Programme at Bath Spa University. There she developed strong partnerships with schools and local authorities to create bespoke research projects for early years, primary and secondary teachers. Primarily, these projects focused on learning and teaching, typically centralising the importance of talk in the classroom.

In her own research Fiona investigates the dialogic interactions of children as they make meaning together from a variety of text modes, and she explores the language of children’s critical and creative thinking as they collaborate together. She embraces a broad notion of literacy that incorporates visual, moving image and digital texts, and highlights the possibilities afforded by working with non-verbal and ambiguous narratives. She is co-chair of CEDiR.

Academic Area/Links

Cambridge Educational Dialogue Research (CEDiR)

Back to top Research Interests

  • The use of short animated film to support the teaching of reading comprehension
  • The language of creative thinking in literacy and the importance of talk in reading comprehension.
  • Children's immersion and engagement with digital storyworlds
  • Dialogue to promote cultural literacy learning in response to wordless texts

   Current Research

Back to top


  •  PhDs children's literacies; reading; literacy and talk; dialogue and creative thinking (not currently accepting applications)
  • Masters (Primary Education)
  • Primary PGCE (English)

Back to top

Selected Publications


Maine, F & Vrikki M. (2021). Dialogue for intercultural understanding: Placing Cultural Literacy at the Heart of Learning. London: Springer (Open Access)

Maine, F. (2015). Dialogic Readers: children talking and thinking together about visual texts. London: Routledge.

Maine, F. (2015). Teaching Comprehension through Reading and Responding to Film. Leicester: UKLA

Peer-reviewed articles and chapters

Cook, V., Maine, F., Fozzard, L. & McCaughran, B. (in press). Building cultural literacy through dialogue: democracy at the heart of learning. In J. Flutter, J. Biddulph & L. Rolls (Eds.) Unlocking Research: Unleashing Children’s Voices in Democratic Primary Education. Routledge.

Cook, V., Maine, F., & Čermáková, A.(2022). Enacting cultural literacy as a dialogic social practice: the role of provisional language in classroom talk, London Review of Education 20(1),02. DOI:

Maine, F. & Wegerif, R. (2021) Dialogism. In V.P. Glavenanu (Eds.) The Palgrave Encyclopaedia of the Possible. Springer Nature. 

Maine, F., Brummernhenrich, B., Chatzianastasi, M., Juškienė, V., Lähdesmäki, T., Luna, J., & Peck, J. (2021) Children’s exploration of the concepts of home and belonging: Capturing views from five European countries. International Journal of Education.

Maine, F. & Čermáková, A. (2021). Using linguistic ethnography as a tool to analyse dialogic teaching in upper primary classrooms. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction 29. 

Maine F. & McCaughran, B. (2021). Using wordless picturebooks as stimuli for dialogic engagement. In F. Maine & M. Vrikki (Eds) Dialogue for Intercultural Understanding: Placing Cultural Literacy at the Heart of Learning. Springer

Maine, F. & Vrikki, M. (2021). An introduction to dialogue for intercultural understanding: placing cultural literacy at the heart of learning. Springer

Maine, F., Rojas Drummond, S., Hofmann, R. & Barrera, M.J. (2020). Symmetries and asymmetries in children’s peer-group reading discussions, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy 43 (1) 17-32

Maine, F (2020). Reading as a transaction of meaning making: exploring the dialogic space between texts and readers. In  N. Mercer, R. Wegerif & L. Major (Eds.) Routledge International Handbook of Research on Dialogic Education. London: Routledge. pp336-347

Maine, F., Cook, V & Lähdesmäki, T. (2019). Reconceptualizing Cultural Literacy as a Dialogic Practice, London Review of Education.17 (3): 384–393.

Maine, F. (2017). Collaborative and dialogic meaning-making: how children engage and immerse in the storyworld of a mobile game. In C. Burnett, G. Merchant, A. Simpson and M. Walsh (Eds.) The Case of the iPad: Mobile Literacies in Education. Singapore: Springer

Maine, F. (2017). The bothersome crow people and the silent princess: exploring the orientations of children as they play a digital narrative game. Literacy 51 (3), 138-146. DOI: 10.1111/lit.12117 (Shortlisted for the 2018 UKLA/Wiley prize)

Rojas-Drummond, S., Márquez, A.M., Hofmann, R., Maine, F., Rubio, A.L., Hernández, J. & Guzmán, K. (2016). Oracy and literacy in the making: Collaborative talk and writing in grade 6 Mexican classrooms. In A. Surian (Ed.) Open spaces for interaction and learning diversities. Sense Publishers: Rotterdam, 69-108.

Rojas-Drummond, S., Maine F., Alarcon, M., Trigo, A.L., Barrera, M.J., Mazon, N., Velez, M., Hofmann, R. (2016) Dialogic literacy: Talking, reading and writing among primary school children. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction. DOI: 10.1016/j.lcsi.2016.09.005

Maine, F. & Hofmann, R. (2016). Talking for meaning: The dialogic engagement of teachers and children in a small group reading context. International Journal of Educational Research, 75, 45-56. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijer.2015.10.007.

Hennessy, S., Rojas-Drummond, S., Higham, R., Márquez, A.M, Maine, F., Ríos, R.M., García-Carrión, R., Torreblanca, O. & Barrera, M.J. (2016). Developing a coding scheme for analysing classroom dialogue across educational contexts. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 9, 16-44 DOI:10.1016/j.lcsi.2015.12.001

Maine F. & Shields R. (2015). Developing reading comprehension with moving image narratives. Cambridge Journal of Education, 45 (4), 519-535. DOI: 10.1080/0305764X.2014.998625.

Maine, F. (2014). ‘I wonder if they are going up or down’: children's co-constructive talk across the primary years. Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 42 (3) 298-312.

Maine, F. (2013). How children talk together to make meaning from texts: A dialogic perspective on reading comprehension. Literacy, 47 (3), 150-156. [Nominated for the ILA Dina Feitelson Research Award].

Maine, F. (2012). Consulting the experts: Martha and Alex talk about books and reading. Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature, 50 (3), 60-65.

Maine, F. & Waller, A (2011). Swallows and Amazons forever: How adults and children engage in reading a classic text. Children’s Literature in Education, 42 (4), 354-371.