Inspired ideas

First Person Reading and Writing in the Primary Years. By Margaret Mallett. National Association for the Teaching of English Pounds 8.75. Tel:0114 2555419

This is an admirable book. At 50 pages it is no longer than a busy teacher wants, yet it is brimming with suggestions.

It is essentially a case study of classroom work with a small group of older juniors. The book includes precise references to the children's books used, and to the different qualities of the first-person voice. Brief transcripts of the group discussions illustrate the progress made by children.

Mallett is refreshingly honest about her failures. "My attempt to promote discussion on the difference between a metaphor and a simile was not one of the successes of this work."

The study predates the literacy hour, but its aim of extending children's ability to analyse their reading and to transfer their insights to their writing is timely, as is Mallett's warning that explicit reference to authors' techniques is best reserved for the later primary years. MT

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