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 (, ELL-ReN ( and coordinate the Research in Early Years Language Learning (REYLL) network (EARLY-YEARS-LANGUAGE-LEARNING@JISCMAIL.AC.UK)

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


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. 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.