1st Edition

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

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ISBN 9781843123224
Published June 24, 2010 by Routledge
392 Pages - 70 B/W Illustrations

USD $64.95

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Book Description

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

Praise for the book:

'This book is about making readers. A compact summary of its contents would not do it justice. It is the accountof a life's work and it deserves thanks and readers. *****'. - Margaret Meek, Books for Keeps on-line, Number 185, November 2010.

'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, Summer 2011.  

Choosing and Using Fiction and Non-Fiction 3-11 is a guide to the many kinds of text we want children to encounter, use and enjoy during their nursery and primary school years. So children’s non-fiction literature – including autobiography, biography, information and reference texts – is given equal status with fiction – nursery rhymes, picturebooks, novels, traditional tales, playscripts and poetry. The author addresses important issues and allows the voices of teachers, reviewers and children to be heard. The book supports teachers as they help children on their journey to becoming insightful and critical readers of non-fiction and sensitive and reflective readers of fiction. It also contains suggestions for practice which are in the spirit of the more flexible and creative approach to learning towards which primary schools are moving.

It includes:

  • help on using criteria to select quality texts of all kinds;
  • annotated booklists for each kind of text for different age groups;
  • suggestions for keeping a balance between print and screen-based texts;
  • case studies showing teachers and children using texts in interesting and imaginative ways to support learning in English lessons and across the curriculum;
  • advice on developing children’s visual and multimodal literacy;
  • guidance on using the school library and embedding study skills in children’s wider purposes and learning;
  • critiques of key theoretical perspectives and research projects.

Although the main readership will be primary and student teachers, it is hoped that the book will be of interest and use to anyone concerned with the role of texts in children’s learning.

Table of Contents

List of Figures  List of Boxes  Acknowledgements  Introduction  About this book  Part 1: Fiction  1. Introduction   2. Children’s literature: some key strands   3. Fiction in the classroom: resources, organization of teaching and learning, some issues and assessment and record keeping  4. Picturebooks  5. Traditional Tales  6. Genre Fiction  7.  Longer stories and children’s novels: an introduction  8. Animal stories  9. Realism: domestic, adventure and school stories  10. Historical novels: historical novels, timeslips and war stories  11. Fantasy stories and novels  12. Building reading stamina  13.  Using longer stories and children’s novels  14. Playscripts  15. Poetry in the Early and Primary Years  16. Poems Playing with Language  17. Poems with distinctive forms, rhythms and /or rhyming patterns  18. Story or narrative poems, classic poems and poems from other cultures and traditions  19. Poems with freer, less traditional forms and patterns  Part 2: Children’s non-fiction literature   20. Introduction  21.  Children’s non-fiction literature in the twentyfirst century  22. Models of non-fiction kinds of learning and some guiding principles  23. Non-fiction and classroom organisation, gender issues and assessment  24. Classifying non-fiction text types and thoughts towards a critical approach  25. Introducing chronological text types: recount and instruction  26. Recounts  27.  Instruction texts  28. Introducing non-narrative non-fiction texts: report, explanation, discussion & persuasion and reference  29.  Report: choosing texts and resources  30. Explanation texts: choosing texts and resources  31. Using report and explanation texts  32.  Argument- discussion and persuasion  33.  Reference texts  34. Using the school and classroom libraries  Children’s books and resources mentioned  Bibliography  Websites and other useful information

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After teaching in primary schools, Margaret Mallett worked on BA (Ed.) and MA in Language and Literature courses at Goldsmiths College. She is now an Emeritus Fellow of the English Association and a member of the English 4-11 editorial board.


Few authors have taken such care to offer their readers the glossaries and illustrations that are part of this, important advanced and complex book. Each section is summarized. Figures are annotated lists of examples. Reviews of children’s books are in Boxes. Case Studies are vignettes of classroom approaches to different kinds of reading.

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; it deserves thanks and readers. Margaret Meek, for Books for Keeps on-line.