Choosing and Using Fiction and Non-Fiction 3-11 : A Comprehensive Guide for Teachers and Student Teachers book cover
2nd Edition

Choosing and Using Fiction and Non-Fiction 3-11
A Comprehensive Guide for Teachers and Student Teachers

ISBN 9781138501805
Published November 18, 2019 by Routledge
454 Pages 44 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Choosing and Using Fiction and Non-Fiction 3-11 is a guide for primary teachers to the many kinds of texts children encounter, use and enjoy in their nursery and primary school years, providing an invaluable insight into the literature available. Addressing important issues and allowing for the voices of teachers, reviewers and children to be heard, it contains suggestions of best practice which offer a more creative approach to learning.

Including both fiction and non-fiction, with genres ranging from picturebooks to biographies, this fully updated second edition features:

  • New coverage on recent books
  • Discussion of new changes in concepts of literacy, particularly focused on technological advances in moving image media and virtual worlds
  • The balance between print and screen-based texts on developing children’s visual and multimodal literacy
  • Annotated booklists for each genre for different age groups
  • New sections on equality, diversity and translation

Exploring fiction, non-fiction and poetry, Choosing and Using Fiction and Non-Fiction 3-11 is an invaluable resource, supporting teachers as they help children on their journey to becoming insightful and critical readers of non-fiction, and sensitive and reflective readers of fiction.

Table of Contents



Author Biographies


Part I


1. Introduction to Part I

2. Children’s Literature

The Critical Study of Children’s Literature

Links Between Children’s Literature and Children’s Development as Readers

Reviewing Children’s Fiction


3. Fiction in the Classroom



The Reading and Literacy Area

The School Library

The Organization of Teaching and Learning

Some Issues and Questions

Making Progress as a Reader of Fiction: Assessment and Record Keeping


4. Picturebooks


Features of Picturebooks

Criteria for Choosing

Choosing Picturebooks for Different Age Groups

Wordless Picturebooks, Classic Picturebooks and Picturebooks by New Illustrators

Using Picturebooks

Assessing and Recording Progress


5. Traditional Tales


Criteria for Choosing

Folk and Fairy Tales

Choosing Fairy Tales

Myths, Creation Stories and Legends

Parables and Fables

Using Traditional Tales

Assessing and Recording Progress


6. Genre fiction, ‘Popular Culture’ texts and formats and media


Choosing Genre Fiction Texts at Different Ages and Stages

Formats and Media

Using Genre Fiction in the Classroom

Assessing and Recording Progress

The Cambridge/Homerton Research and Teaching Centre for Children’s Literature


7. Longer Stories and Children’s Novels

The Importance of Longer Stories and Novels

Genre Features of Longer Stories and Children’s Novels

Choosing Longer Stories and Children’s Novels

8. Animal Stories


Animal Autobiographies

Talking Animals

Stories Based on Close Observation of Living Creatures

9. Realism


Domestic or Family Stories

Books about Children Living in Different Cultures and Traditions

Adventure Stories

School Stories

10. Historical Fiction


Historical Novels


War Stories

11. Fantasy Stories and Novels


Choosing Fantasy Stories and Novels Around Age Seven or Eight

Choosing Fantasy Books about Age Nine and Above

Summary of Chapters 7 to 12 on Choosing Longer Stories and Children’s Novels

12. Reading in a Wider World


Discovering Yourself and Others Through Books

Ethics and Cultural Differences

Learning to Emphasise

Human Rights

Books in Translation

13. Using Longer Stories and Novels


Reading Aloud

Talk as a Way of Expressing and Developing Response

Improvisation, Drama and Moving Image Texts

Art and Craft

Writing Alongside and After Reading Longer Stories and Children’s Novels

Assessing and Recording Progress


14. Playscripts


Features of Playscripts

Choosing Playscripts

Using Playscripts

Children Writing Their Own Playscripts

Using Shakespeare’s Plays

Using Film Versions of Children’s Stories and Novels

Writing Scripts for Films

Assessing and Recording Progress


15. Poetry

Why is Poetry Important?

The Oral Tradition

Types of Poetry: The Organization of the Poetry Chapters

Features of Poetry and Teachers’ Knowledge

Choosing Poetry for English Lessons

Choosing Poetry Across the Curriculum

Illustrations in Poetry Books

Creating a Poetry Friendly Classroom

How do We Best Help Extend Children’s Response to and Enjoyment of Poetry?

Performance and Presentation

Inspiring Young Poetry Writers

Assessing and Recording Progress

16. Poems Playing with Language


Features of Poems Playing with Language

Criteria for Choosing Nursery Rhymes and Action Rhymes, Nonsense Verses and Limericks, Riddles and Proverbs, and Rhyming Stories

Using Poems Playing with Language


17. Poems with Distinctive Forms, Rhythms and/or Rhyming Patterns


Features of Poems with Distinctive Patterns and Forms

Choosing Patterned Poems for Different Age Groups

Using Poems with Distinctive Forms


18. Story or Narrative Poems, Classic Poems and Poems from Different Cultures and Traditions


Features of Story or Narrative Poems and Ballads

Choosing Story Poems

Using Story Poems

Features of Classic Poems

Choosing Classis Poems

Using Classic Poems

Choosing Poems from All Cultures and Traditions

Using Poems from all Cultures and Traditions


19. Poems with Freer, Less Traditional Forms and Patterns


Features of Poems with Freer Forms and Patterns

Choosing Poems with Freer Forms and Patterns

What a Poem’s Not

Using Poems with Freer Forms and Patterns


20. Introduction to Part II

21. Children’s Non-Fiction Literature in the Twenty-First Century


Print Books and Resources

Electronic Resources

Moving Image Media: DVD, Film and Television

3D Virtual Worlds

22. Models of Non-Fiction Kinds of Learning and Some Guiding Principles


Models of Non-Fiction Kinds of Learning

Some Guiding Principles


23. Non-Fiction and Classroom organization, gender issues and assessment


Classroom Organization and Non-Fiction

Non-Fiction in Lessons Across the Curriculum

Gender and Non-Fiction Reading (And Writing)

Assessing and Recording Progress


24. Classifying Non-Fiction Text Types and Thoughts Towards a Critical Approach


Classifying Non-Fiction

Evaluating Non-Fiction: Towards Critical Attention and the Increasing Status of Children’s Non-Fiction

Specialist Reviewers and Children as Reviewers


25. Introducing Chronological Text Types

26. Young Researchers Read and Write Chronological Ordered Accounts


Features of Non-Fiction Recounts

Some Criteria for Choosing

Choosing Recounts for Different Age Groups

Using Recount Texts

Making Progress


27. Instruction Texts


Features of Instruction Texts

Some Criteria for Choosing

Where do Children Find Instruction Texts

Choosing Instruction Texts for Different Age Groups

Using Instruction Texts


28. Introducing Non-Narrative Non-Fiction Texts

29. Report Texts


Features of Report Texts

Some Criteria for Choosing

Choosing Report Texts for Different Age Groups


30. Explanation Texts


Features of Explanation Texts

Choosing Explanation Texts for Different Age Groups


31. Using Report and Explanation Texts


Ways of Enthusing Young Researchers

Some Issues

Assessing and Recording Progress

Evaluation of Resources


32. Discussion and Persuasion Texts


Features of Discussion and Persuasion Texts

Choosing Texts which Include or Promote Argument for Different Ages

Fiction Can Throw up Exciting Themes for Argument

Using Texts to Think About Issues and to Argue a Case

Making Progress

Assessing and Recording Progress


33. Reference Texts

Introduction Features of Reference Texts

Some Criteria for Choosing



Activities to Encourage and Support the Use of Dictionaries and Thesauri

Atlases and Map Books


Study Guides

The Importance of ‘Wondering’

Non-Book Print


34. Using the School and Classroom Libraries


Using the Classroom and School Library

Study and Research Skills


35. Conclusion to Part II


Useful Information and Websites





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Margaret Mallett was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1941. She died in 2017, writing, reviewing and supporting the journal English 4-11 to the end. She was a Fellow of the English Association. After a number of years teaching in primary schools she studied at the London University Institute of Education and at Sussex University. She then spent two years on a SSRC research project, English in the Middle Years of Schooling, writing its published report. Thereafter she was a member of the Goldsmith’s College Education Department for nearly thirty years. There her first concern was always for the students in her care but where she also spent much time thinking and writing about the importance of non-fiction learning in the early and primary years. In retirement she wrote two books which her former students had suggested would have helped them: this book and the Primary English Encyclopedia, now in its fifth edition.

Prue Goodwin is a freelance lecturer in literacy and children’s books. She has helped in the editing of this second edition of Choosing and Using Fiction and Non-Fiction 3-11.

David Mallet was Margaret’s husband for more than fifty years qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1968 and, between working for two different banks, spent thirteen years at the Bank of England. His only published work, unsurprisingly, concerned bank accounting, auditing and regulation. However, much more pleasurably, he also read every word Margaret published. His role was to confirm inter alia, as a beginner in the field, that ‘meaning’ was crisply conveyed, there was no ambiguity and assertions were evidence-based.   


Praise for the previous edition:

Winner of the United Kingdom Literacy Association's Author Award 2011 for its contribution to extending children's literacy.

'This book is about making readers. A compact summary of its contents would not do it justice. It is the account of a life's work and it deserves thanks and readers. *****'. - Margaret Meek, Books for Keeps on-line, Number 185.

'This book is a cornucopia of varied pleasures, offering something for all tastes, presented with an awareness of the complexities of the field and communicated with commitment, enthusiasm and deep knowledge'. - Eve Bearne, English 4-11, the primary school journal of The English Association, Number 42.