Teaching Primary English : Subject Knowledge and Classroom Practice book cover
1st Edition

Teaching Primary English
Subject Knowledge and Classroom Practice

ISBN 9781138681569
Published December 5, 2017 by Routledge
460 Pages

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Book Description

Teaching Primary English is a comprehensive, evidence-informed introduction designed to support and inspire teaching and learning in the primary school. Written in a clear and accessible way, it draws on the very latest research and theory to describe and exemplify a full and rich English curriculum. It offers those on teacher training courses, as well as qualified teachers who are looking to develop their practice, subject knowledge and guidance for effective, enjoyable classroom practice.

Advice and ideas are supported by explicit examples of good teaching linked to video clips filmed in real schools, reflective activities, observational tasks and online resources. Each chapter includes suggestions for great children’s literature, considers assessment throughout and offers support planning for diversity and special educational needs. Key topics covered include:

  • spoken language for teaching and learning
  • storytelling, drama and role play
  • reading for pleasure
  • early reading, including phonics
  • poetry
  • writing composition
  • spelling and handwriting
  • grammar and punctuation
  • responding to and assessing writing
  • multimodal, multimedia and digital texts.

With a focus on connecting all modes of English, the global and the local, and home and school experience, this detailed, uplifting book will support you in developing a curious, critical approach to teaching and learning English.

Additional content can be found on the fantastic supporting website. Features include:

  • video clips from within the classroom to demonstrate English teaching techniques
  • audio resources, including an interactive quiz, to check understanding and provide real-life examples and case studies
  • downloadable resources to support teaching and incorporate into lesson plans.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Part I Spoken Language, Introduction, 1. Developing Talk, 2. Spoken Language for Teaching and Learning, 3. Storytelling, Drama and Role, 4. Assessing Spoken Language, Part II Reading, Introduction, 5. Perspectives on Reading, 6. Reading for Pleasure, 7. Early Reading Including Phonics, 8. Comprehension, 9. Describing and Assessing Progress in Reading, 10. Reading and Writing Poetry, Part III Writing, Introduction, 11. What Writing Involves, 12. Writing Composition, 13. Spelling and Handwriting, 14. Grammar and Punctuation, 15. Responding to and Assessing Writing, 16. Multimodal, Multimedia and Digital Texts

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Eve Bearne became Project Officer for the National Writing Project after working for twenty years in schools and colleges. When the Project ended, she was appointed to Homerton College, Cambridge, UK, as a Senior Lecturer in Language, before being appointed Assistant Director in Research. Eve was President of the United Kingdom Reading Association from 2003 to 2005 and currently oversees Publications for UKLA. Eve has written and edited many books on English, literacy and children's literature.

David Reedy is General Secretary and a past President of the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA). He was Co-Director of the Cambridge Primary Review Trust until 2017. From 2010 to 2014 he worked as Principal Adviser for primary schools in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. He has also been a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK. Currently, David works with schools and teachers nationally and internationally to develop effective pedagogical practices, particularly in English. David's most recent publications include Guiding Readers: A handbook for teaching reading comprehension to 7-11 year olds (UCL IoE Press, 2016) and Teaching Grammar Effectively in Key Stage 1 (UKLA, 2016); he has also contributed to Teaching English Creatively 2nd edition (Routledge, 2015).


This book is impressive in its scope and content. I highly recommend this book as the ‘go to’ text for Primary English. Every aspect of teaching English in today’s classroom is thoughtfully and clearly presented in well-defined chapters. There is breadth in the discussions, clarity in the analysis of research and reassurance in the suggestions for practical application. Terminology is clearly explained and useful summaries are provided for each aspect presented. There is an excellent balance of academic background and practical advice. I think this is one of the best Primary English texts that I have read. It deserves a place on every teacher’s bookshelf.

Anne Bradley, University of St. Mark and St. John, UK

This book successfully integrates theory, principles and practice across a wide range of elements of English teaching, highlighting strategies to support teachers and enthuse their pupils. The authors share such wisdom with their readers based on their own experiences and knowledge from their perspectives as teachers and researchers, which results in this book being able to offer clear and constructive advice, well justified in the suggestions it offers. I couldn’t recommend this book highly enough to experienced and new teachers: the ideas, resources and explanations that are given throughout this book will encourage and enthuse all those involved in Primary English education.

Lyndsay Gray, Senior Lecturer in Primary English, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Teaching Primary English is an excellent text book for both ITE students and practicing teachers. It makes clear and explicit links between research and classroom practice giving useful examples that can be used within the classroom. It contains links to additional resources that will benefit teachers and their classes. It is a book that will allow students to develop a passion for English and the knowledge and understanding of how to instil this in the children they teach. It will be essential reading for the courses that I teach.

Sarah Smith, Primary ITE Programmes Leader, University of Greenwich, UK

This text is invaluable for anyone teaching or training to teach primary English. It is a comprehensive and accessible wealth of information and ideas to develop engaging and inspirational English teaching. Seminal and current research is clearly presented to enable deep understanding and practical application. A positive yet discerning perspective often challenges as it explores what is pivotal to truly effective teaching and learning in English.  

Karen Tulloch, Senior Lecturer Primary English, St Mary's University, UK

Essential reading for all students studying primary English as part of their initial teacher training courses. Theoretical perspectives, practical suggestions and online materials combine to offer the reader a comprehensive guide to teaching English in the primary classroom which will inspire and enthuse teachers everywhere.  

Suzanne Horton, Subject Leader for Primary English, University of Worcester, UK

It is rare to find a textbook that delivers on so many levels. It is the perfect go-to text for teachers, student teachers, and tertiary educators. Reedy and Bearne have integrated theoretical perspectives with explicit links to teaching and learning, and in the process, offered a comprehensive, richly textured, and engaging probe into current exemplary practice. The book has a fresh, contemporary resonance, underscored by effective weaving throughout, of threads of diversity and inclusion. Its layout is logically assembled. Case studies, student voice, chapter overviews and summaries, headings posed as questions, definition panels, websites, and activity suggestions, all invite a high level of interaction with the text. The scope of inquiry is extensive yet particular. Examples are frequently included to illustrate key concepts and the authors’ ability to select a variety of children’s literature that acts as a conduit for English learning, is one of the many memorable features of this compelling and well-researched publication. The authors are also to be commended for their emphasis on recognizing and building on the funds of knowledge children bring to the classroom, and their acknowledgement of the significant role oral language plays in underpinning literacy development. An emphasis on creativity ensures the book succeeds in exploiting the playful enjoyment experienced in multimodal English learning. This is a timely and relevant text that will help teachers grapple with the challenges of using changing forms of communication to benefit learners and help them grow in confidence.

Trish Brooking, Senior Lecturer, University of Otago College of Education, New Zealand

I am extremely glad that Bearne and Reedy have taken the time and trouble to bring to fruition such an expert and yet accessible text. It will definitely be one that I will refer to regularly to remind and refresh my thinking about the fascinating subject that is primary English teaching.

Sally Wilkinson, Primary SCITT Leader, Suffolk and Norfolk SCITT, UK