A Guide To Reading With Children

This year parents, assistant teachers, reading volunteers, teachers and even other young readers have asked me how to effectively read alongside children.

As a result, I’ve created this guide to reading with children. It’s available to download below.

It is split up into a few sections and includes the following:

  1. Sharing and making explicit what it is good young readers do.
  2. Explaining what you should do when reading alongside children.
  3. Explaining your role as a ‘reader-thinker’.
  4. Outlining what are the best things you can do when helping a child to read.
  5. Naming the worst things you can do when helping a child to read.
  6. A short explanation about how readers go about decoding text.
  7. What to do before you start reading.
  8. What to do whilst you are reading.
  9. What to do after you’ve read.
  10. What sorts of things you can focus on when writing in reading records books.

I hope you find it useful!

Continue reading “A Guide To Reading With Children”

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From The Victorian To Gove To Greening: How Far Has The English Curriculum Really Come?

“We must not delay! Upon the speedy provision of elementary education depends our industrial prosperity. It is of no use trying to give technical teaching to our artizans without elementary education….If we leave our workfolk any longer unskilled, notwithstanding their strong sinews and determined energy, they will become over-matched in the competition of the world. If we are to hold our position among men of our own race or among the nations of the world we must make up the smallness of our numbers by increasing the intellectual force of the individual.”

In 1870, an Education Act was passed which paved the way for the achievement by the end of the century of compulsory free state education for children between the ages of five and thirteen. The driving force behind the Act was clearly articulated above by W.E. Forster in his speech to the House in February of that year. The education of the masses came also to be seen as a possible and desirable solution to problems of social unrest and rising crime, and to carry the important function of socialization, to be achieved through the inculcation of such moral values as piety, honesty, industry and, significantly, obedience. These principles are surely held good in schools today, though promoted in a different vocabulary.

Continue reading “From The Victorian To Gove To Greening: How Far Has The English Curriculum Really Come?”

Children’s ‘Rights Of A Child Reader’ Guide.

As part of this blog post, my class and I decided to put together a guide to reading for pleasure. The children came up with roughly 30 rights. I’ve decided to categorise them as I think it makes for more interesting interpretation. Take a look and see what you think. You can also read our ‘Year 5 Rights Of A Child Writerhere.

Continue reading “Children’s ‘Rights Of A Child Reader’ Guide.”

Creating A Community Of Readers: A Reading For Pleasure Article

This article is based on, and written in relation to, findings of educational research (Cremin, 2008, Pieper & Beadle, 2016 & Miller & Anderson, 2009). The tenor of this article is to allow the reader to reflect on children’s reading and is in no way a criticism of any school(s) policy or teachers’ practice.

If you’ve ever felt a pang of disappointment that some (and maybe even many) of the children in your class are not turning to books with enthusiasm and engagement, despite your best efforts at providing book-weeks, author events, booktalk sessions and a selection of ‘good’ titles in your class library, then I urge you to read on now.

Continue reading “Creating A Community Of Readers: A Reading For Pleasure Article”

Creating A Community Of Readers: The Power Of DEAR

This article is based on, and written in relation to, findings of educational research (Cremin, 2008, Pieper & Beadle, 2016 & Miller & Anderson, 2009). The tenor of this article is to allow the reader to reflect on children’s reading and is in no way a criticism of any school(s) policy or teachers’ practice.

This is a grass-roots account of how, in one term, two teachers have taken one class’s reading and made it a central, natural and pleasurable part of the life of a classroom.

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Why children should be encouraged to only ever use phonics as a helpful friend.

A Teacher’s Philosophy

I should start out by stating quite clearly that this is not an article advocating for the removal of phonics from classrooms. However, a teacher’s approach to the task of teaching reading is guided by what they think reading actually is. If armed with a viable definition of reading and an understanding of some of the instructional implications of their definition, teachers can use almost any reading materials to help children develop productive reading strategies.

Continue reading “Why children should be encouraged to only ever use phonics as a helpful friend.”