Practical readers;Primary;Books

4th June 1999 at 01:00
THE LITERATE CLASSROOM. Edited by Prue Goodwin. David Fulton pound;15.

Every time there is a change in the national curriculum, a crop of new books arrives hard on its heels.

The literacy hour is one seed to fall on fertile ground, and finding the most useful resources on which to spend limited money can be difficult.

The Literate Classroom is worth considering. There are 17 chapters from a wide range of contributors, most of whom are involved in teacher training, but who obviously know what they are talking about. There is a refreshing air of what might be called "real teaching" as opposed to what might be the current fashion. It reeks of good sense, and, although it would be most useful for students and newly-qualified teachers, there are plenty of practical ideas for the more experienced. The chapters by Geoff Fenwick on silent reading, Judith Graham on creating readers, George Hunt on developing vocabulary, and Nigel Hall on punctuation, are particularly engaging.

Only one chapter seems to be misplaced - Chris Powling and Sean O'Flynn on verse. O'Flynn's classroom experience is useful, but Powling spends most of his time taking the anthologist Anne Harvey to task for an article she wrote in the children's books magazine, Carousel, in which she criticised the snot and smelly feet school of children's verse which opts for easy laughs rather than the magic and poetry of language. Without her original article this is likely to confuse readers and really does not belong in what is, essentially, a practical book.

Sandy Brownjohn is a writer and educational consultant

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