Literacy: writing

7th April 2000 at 01:00
WRITING FOR DIFFERENT PURPOSES: teaching about genre in the early years. By Jeni Riley and David Reedy. Paul Chapman pound;15.99.

The key principle that informs Developing Writing is that the journey towards literacy should be "life-enhancing". It explores how teachers help children to write with increasing control over different forms.

Early years literacy issues are explained well, such as teachers can best intervene to move young writers forward and support development from knowledge-telling to knowledge-transforming types of writing. Research and theorising about the development of writing has generated many books and, inevitably, some familiar ground is covered here. But these authors present the arguments with energy and offer useful suggestions on grounding the writing of the very young in contexts that have meaning. Early attempts at narrative fiction, poetry and informational genres are covered, but the roe of the computer receives surprisingly little attention.

Even the very young, the authors insist, are perfectly capable of arguing a point of view if the teacher embeds the writing in children's own experience and concerns. In a lively case study on the persuasive genre, the teacher skilfully leads a Year 1 class towards a consideration of different opinions about keeping animals in a zoo. The detailed account of how an argument can be developed is a great help.

Literacy strategy and curriculum frameworks are not simply set out but discussed and evaluated, and never allowed to inhibit the author's own views. Readers are not told what to think but invited to reflect on the issues in an informed way. Teachers will appreciate a book that treats them like professionals, concerned to base an effective and enjoyable literacy programme on sound knowledge about children's development.


Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today