Sandie Mourão

I have lived and worked in Portugal since 1987 and have an MA in TESOL from the University of Manchester and a PhD from the University of Aveiro in didactics and teacher education. In my thesis I investigated the role of picturebook illustrations in language development, which brought two of my passions together, language learning with children under 6 years old and picturebooks for language learning. I continue to be involved in classroom-based research involving both language learning and reader response. My recent research projects include two small-scale projects using picturebooks with Portuguese EFL learners from 16 to 18 years old and an ELTRP funded project looking at pre-primary language education, in association with the University of Leeds, UK.

Between 1997 and 2002 I was a lecturer at Escola Superior de Educação de Leiria, where I worked on in-service courses with pre-primary and primary teachers on the CESEs em Ensino Precoce das Línguas Estrangeiras and the pre-service course Professores do Ensino Básico, Variante de Português e Inglês. Since 2002, I have worked as a freelance teacher educator, consultant and author. I am a trainer for APPIforma (, Oxford University Press and NILE ( and have also worked with the Portuguese Ministry of Education as a supervisor and trainer for online courses for primary English teachers.

In January 2015, I began working as a part-time invited assistant professor at Universidade Nova, Lisbon and am responsible for the module ‘Teaching Young Learners’ on the in-service course Formação complementar para o ensino de inglês no 1º ciclo do ensino básico, and the seminar, ‘Teaching Young Learners’ on the Mestrado em Ensino de Inglês no 1º ciclo do Ensino Básico.

I am also an online tutor at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, where I teach a module ‘English Picturebooks in the second language classroom’, on the MA Children’s Books from a Global Perspective.

I am the co-editor of the open-access online journal Children’s Literature in Language Education (CLELEjournal) ( and ELT Research, the IATEFL Research SIG journal ( I am also author of a number of language learning courses for pre-primary and primary aged learners and resource books for teachers, as well as a regular contributor to edited volumes, journals and magazines related to ELT and children’s literature.

I am active member of teacher and research associations and have been a member of IATEFL ( and APPI ( since the late 1990s. I founded the APPI SIG for pre-primary and primary teachers (APPInep) in 2000 and was coordinator of the IATEFL YL SIG from 2003 to 2006. Recently I have been involved in setting up a Multilingual Childhoods SIG within EECERA ( In addition, I am a member of IRSCL (,AILA ELL-ReN ( and AILA LiLLT- ReN and coordinate the Research in Early Years Language Learning (REYLL) network (EARLY-YEARS-LANGUAGE-[email protected])

I keep an award winning blog, Picturebooks in ELT, which promotes the use of picturebooks with language learners of all age groups and I have a website:


Recent bibliography


Ramos, A.M, Mourão, S. & Cortez, M.T. (Eds.) (2017). Fractures and Disruptions in Children’s Literature. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press.

Robinson, P., S. Mourão, and N-J. Kang. English Learning Areas in pre-primary classrooms: an investigation of their effectiveness. London: British Council, 2015.

Mourão, S. and M. Lourenço, eds. Early Years Second Language Education: International Perspectives on Theories and Practice. Abingdon: Routledge, 2015.

Mourão, S. Discover with Dex 1 and 2 Student’s Book & Teacher’s Guide. Oxford: Macmillan, 2015.


Chapters and articles

Mourão, S. (forthcoming)Research into pre-primary language learning. In S. Garton & F. Copland (Eds.) Routledge Handbook of Teaching English to Young Learners. Abingdon: Routledge

Mourão, S. (forthcoming). Collaborative approaches to looking at progression in early years foreign language learning contexts. In D. Prošić-Santovac & S. Rixon (Eds.)  Integrating Assessment into Early Language Learning and Teaching Practice.Bristol: Multilingual Matters

Mourão, S. (2018). The social and linguistic benefits of peer interaction in a foreign language-learning programme. In M. Schwartz (Ed.) 21st Century preschool bilingual education: Uniqueness, diversity and challenges in light of the three-fold theoretical framework: teachers, family and ethno-linguistic community. Multilingual Education Series. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer

Mourão, S. (2018). Playing in English: the emerging voices of pre-primary children in a foreign language context. In F. Copland, & S. Garton, (Eds.), Voices from the TESOL Classroom: Participant Inquiries in Young Learner Classes. Alexandria, Vir: TESOL.

Mourão, S. (2017). Picturebooks in instructed foreign language learning contexts.  In M. Nikolajeva & C. Beauvais (Eds.) The Edinburgh Companion to Children’s Literature. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Mourão, S. (2017). O livro como objeto – Bernardo Carvalho no papel de ilustrador-designer. In Ramos, A. M. (coord.) Aproximações ao Livro-objeto: Das Potencialidades Criativas às Propostas de Leitura. Porto: Tropelias&Companhia.

Mourão, S. & Robinson, P. (2016). Facilitating the learning of English through collaborative practice. In V. Murphy, and M. Evangelou, (eds) Early Childhood Education in English for Speakers of Other Languages. London: British Council.

Mourão, S. (2016). Picturebooks in the Primary EFL Classroom: Authentic Literature for an Authentic Response, Children’s Literature in English Language Education Journal, Vol 4(1) 2016 pp. 25-43. Retrieved from

Mourão, S. (2016). ELT in early childhood education: from a trickling stream to a rushing river, Children and Teenagers, 2016(1).

Mourão, S. (2015). Learning English is child’s play – how to leave them to it. Voices, 18.11.2015 Available online:

Mourão, S. (2015). The potential of picturebooks with young learners. In J. Bland, (ed.) Teaching English to Young Learners. Critical Issues in Language Teaching with 3-12 year olds. London: Bloomsbury Academic pp 199 – 218

Mourão, S. (2015). English at pre-primary: the challenges of getting it right. In J. Bland, (ed.) Teaching English to Young Learners. Critical Issues in Language Teaching with 3-12 year olds. London: Bloomsbury Academic pp 51-70

Mourão, S. and P. Robinson. “Facilitating the learning of English through play activities”. Early Childhood Education in English for Speakers of Other Languages. V. Murphy, and M. Evangelou, eds. London: British Council, 2015.

Mourão, S. “Fostering affective responses to picturebooks in the young learner classroom”. Humanising Language Teaching, August, 2015.

Mourão, S. “What’s real and what’s not: playing with the mind in wordless picturebooks”. Challenging and Controversial Picturebooks: Creative and Critical Responses to Visual Texts. J. Evans, ed. Abingdon: Routledge, 2015.

Mourão, S. “English at pre-primary: the challenges of getting it right”. Teaching English to Young Learners. Critical Issues in Language Teaching with 3-12 year olds. J. Bland, ed. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.

Mourão, S. “Taking play seriously in pre-primary English classes”. ELT Journal, 63.3, (2014) 254-264.

Mourão, S. “Understanding response to picturebooks”. Encuentros, 22, (2014).

Mourão, S. “Response to ‘The Lost Thing’: Notes from a secondary classroom”. CLELEjournal, 1.1 (2013). 81-106.