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Creative Teaching English in The Early Years & Primary Classroom

Chris Horner and Vicki Ryf
Published 2007
ISBN# 9781843122609
Publisher - David Fulton
Price at time of review - £17.99

This is a comprehensive and valuable resource that has something in it for every member of staff wanting to reflect on their current teaching practices in English. Perhaps targeted at newly qualified teachers, it has many gems useful as touchstones to nurture creative aspirations.

The book focuses systematically on the three main curriculum areas of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Although the format is similar in each section, it has brief introductions, easy-to-access practical examples, section summaries and a comprehensive index, which can all be used to locate specific idea for classroom activities across early years, KS1 and KS2.

There is a good balance between approaches with reliance on text and suggestions on how to extend our interaction with text using various models including the EXIT model of Wray & Lewis (EXtending Interactions with Text) and CARS (Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, Support). The latter, originally used to evaluate websites, is a useful tool for children to use as a guide to encourage critical thinking skills.

Cross-curricular suggestions are touched upon, as is the need for inclusive practise. There is a strong section showing the need to value early marks/drawings, and the spoken word and oral traditions of young children, and to encourage the sharing of stories. Throughout the book, examples describe how to create environments for critical awareness of every day media issues that concern young people today.

Practical activities and case studies methodically cover the use of teaching & learning strategies from story bags, role-play and poetry to iphoto and the potential for pod-casting.  The idea that creative opportunities encourage children to become content-producers through storytelling, book-making and media production is explored. The book has good signposts for web resources, ranging from suggestions for the use of TV, film and media to projects using community resources e.g. museums, art galleries and authors.

The book remains true to its title: itís a tool to enhance creative experiences that support the progressive development of early speaking, listening, reading, writing, and above all thinking and communication skills.

Buy now via the NATE Bookshop

Marilyn Panayi, 23/06/2009


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