This blog is written and run by two UK Primary School Teachers. We both work in the same class in KS2 – one as a TA and the other as the class teacher. Our school is a very ‘normal’ Local Authority State School.
I studied French and Russian at Birmingham University, and later gained two MAs, one in Linguistics and the other in Children’s Literature.
I am a serving Primary school teacher of many years’ experience. I have worked in both the maintained and the independent sectors as SENCO and Deputy Head. With a strong background in language and literacy I have worked with School’s Television, developing storypacks to support children new to English. I am currently interested in the possibilities of teaching literacy through process writing throughout the Primary phase of schooling.
I began my teaching life on a Wednesday morning in a tiny Victorian school building inside a square of iron railings up a backstreet in Handsworth, Birmingham. I was there because I needed to earn some money to support myself in beginning a Ph D, and the Education Office had sent me to St. Silas’ C. of E. school where they had no teacher for ‘Infant 2’. Thus I found myself on that day without preparation, training or support, required immediately to take charge of a class of thirty six infants, some of whom were new to English. I can’t remember exactly how I passed the day, but I do recall that the next day I took in my copies of ‘Winnie the Pooh’ and ‘Just-so Stories’ because I had loved them as a child. Amazingly, they went down well. After this initial baptism of fire, followed by several months of surviving mainly by picking up tips from other teachers, I gradually began to feel that I might be getting somewhere. In the end, ‘Infant 2’ won out over the urban poetry of Baudelaire. I have never regretted this development.
Later, doing an MA in linguistics and one in children’s literature gave me an academic background which convinced me of the rightness of the psycholinguistic theory of reading and writing, which foregrounds the achievement of meaning and communication. This has always been the one for me and I’ve based my teaching on it. I’ve stayed firmly in the classroom because there is no better place to discover and try out ways of enabling children to read and write with enjoyment and commitment. Through this website I am hoping to share the kinds of “quality” experiences we can give children at home and school which might create and enhance for them the pleasures of being literate.
I studied Primary Education with History & Geography as my specialism, at The University Of Brighton, and later gained an MA in Education with Linguistics.
I am a serving Primary school teacher of around five years experience. I have worked in both the maintained and independent sectors. When I was young, I didn’t realise that literature and the written word were for me to use or enjoy. If I can be honest with my reader for a moment – I very often still don’t. However, everyday, I’m turning what feels like a foggy day into bright sunshine alongside the children in my class.
This history, I feel, puts me in an excellent position to give children writing advice because it is very likely I’ve been through their writing issue recently myself. I now write often. I’m finding my writing voice all the time and now I am teaching children how to find theirs too.
As a result, you can understand why I am currently so interested in the possibilities of teaching writing as a craft and creating a learning environment which produces: readers and writers for life and children who can use writing to act out onto the world (for a multiple of reasons and for many different audiences). I want children to enter the literacy club as early as possible, so they have control of it and can use it effectively and for pleasure in their futures.
We can provide training, CPD, advice & resources in the following:
Improving standards and enjoyment of reading for teachers and pupils school-wide.
Including training & resources in: ‘book talk’, the ‘bedtime-reading’ model, creating parent partnerships, primary language records, quality assessment, book-lists, multi-strategy approach to teaching reading, teaching beyond phonics, 4-week reading programme – to improve standards in reading, making progress with SEN & G&T readers.
Improving standards and enjoyment of writing for teachers and pupils school-wide.
Including training & resources in: ‘Talk-4-Writing’, process writing, poetry writing, teaching of fairy-tales, myths & legends, helping children use high-quality literature to produce great writing, children as ‘published’ authors, becoming a ‘writing’ school, making progress with SEN & G&T writers.
Provide training in effective use of assessment for both reading and writing – which teachers will enjoy.
Assessment without levels, primary language records, school-parent partnerships, assessing reading & writing holistically.
Assess book stocks & school environments to help promote reading and writing for pleasure.
Provide targeted book-lists, ideas for reading & writing spaces.
Here are some of the things we’ve been involved in:
- Have written materials to accompany Schools’ Television literacy programmes.
- Carrying out INSETs – focusing on aspects of reading & writing.
- Have worked as SENCO, helping children with literacy difficulties.
- Have contributed to working groups on reading at the University of Brighton.
- Have a wide knowledge of excellent books for children of all abilities – I have a strong belief in the importance of a good text in helping both children with reading difficulties & reluctant readers.
- Have worked in a specialist children’s book shop.
- Have completed an MA in Children’s Literature at Roehampton
- Have contributed to book lists produced by CLPE (Centre for Language in Primary Education – London).