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Wise words

Organising for a Literacy Hour: Quality Learning and Teaching Time By Sandra Iversen and Tracey Reeder Kingscourt, #163;14.95.

Succinct and to the point, Organising for a Literacy Hour is a book I would happily recommend to newly- qualified teachers preparing to teach at key stage 1. And it should also be helpful to existing teachers who want to review their own practices.

It builds up, through chapters that discuss terminology, concepts, resources, planning, assessment and timetables, to the crucial issues of managing and implementing the literacy hour. Rather oddly, it talks about "heterogeneous" and "homogeneous" groups rather than "mixed-ability" and "ability" groups, but it is otherwise sure-footed in what it has to say.

The issues of reading a class story aloud, shared, guided and independent reading, shared and guided writing and work at the word and sentence levels are all clearly distinguished and tellingly illustrated in terms of sample lessons and typical teacher-talk.

The last chapter runs through the preparation and approach taken by a particular teacher over the first few weeks of a new school year with a new class. If, in the earlier chapters, one felt relevant issues were raised without always being suffi-ciently considered, the later chapters give the reader a firm, confidence-inspiring basis for emulation. This is surely how the literacy hour ought to work.

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