Authors: Myra Barrs and Valerie Cork
ISBN: 1 877267 25 4
This book explores an area of great current concern: how teachers can bring reading and writing together effectively in the teaching of literacy. As Margaret Meek Spencer points out in her Preface, “most people assume that children's reading influences their writing but there has been very little research into exactly how children's reading experiences are linked to their progress in writing”.
The book draws on a year's research in Year 5 classrooms where pupils were introduced to challenging literature as part of the teaching of literacy. It pinpoints effective practice in teaching, underlines the importance of certain experiences, such as writing in role, for children's improved achievements as writers, and identifies literary texts that led to high quality writing.
“Here is another relevant and valuable book from the Centre for Language in Primary Education. Relevant because of the topicality of improving children's writing. Valuable because it is concerned with quality and highlights effective teaching strategies…
…A few highly selective case but persuasive case studies record amazing improvements. If children can be helped to develop like this in a year, we will all want to do it…
This book not only indicates how it may be done but provides inspirational examples of what can be achieved…”
Nicholas Bielby, Times Educational Supplement
“The publication of The Reader in the Writer is both timely and inspiring: “timely” because it illuminates an area of current concern - how best to support children's progress in writing, and “inspiring” because it does so by exploring exciting and successful practice. Indeed this account of the work of teachers and Year 5 pupils over the period of a year provides the most coherent explanation so far of how reading quality fiction can influence and energise writing…
…Above all, The Reader in the Writer shows convincingly that it is fiction of some emotional power that is most likely to tap into the capacity of children for deep reflection and feeling, and that this can become apparent in their writing...”
Margaret Mallet, School Librarian
“…The book is published by the Centre for Language in Primary Education, known for publications rooted in effective classroom practice. This is not a book of practical tips for busy teachers but a detailed presentation of a research project, including questionnaires and pro formas, which will be of benefit to students and teacher researchers. The conclusions emphasise the value of traditional tales, poeticised speech and emotionally powerful texts - and the value of reading aloud to inform what Ted Hughes called “audial imagination"...”
Robert Fisher, Professor of Education, Brunel University
“…in what was for me one of the most important books published in 2001, Barrs and Cork give fascinating account of teachers working in London…Many people assume that children's reading has a direct influence on their writing; but according to Myra Barrs and Valerie Cork, very little research has been done to investigate this. Their book The Reader in the Writer describes a year of work with five London schools. Many of the hallmarks of excellent work by the Centre for Language in Primary Education are present in the book. For example, the achievements of the ethnic minority children involved in the research are presented with clarity and a depth of understanding that is often missing from such studies…”
Dominic Wyse, Literacy and Learning
“I look forward to any publication from CLPE because I know it will get me thinking. This book is no exception. However, much of the value of this book lies in its hinterland - in what is implied about teaching and reading writing - and not only in its close-detail…”
Eve Bearne, Homerton College, Cambridge
“This is not an easy read. There is a fair amount of detail about the research procedure and the research findings, but the real content of the book, in my view, is the case studies of individual students which form the centre of the research. These will resonate with any teacher, parent or librarian who has taken the time to listen to students talk about the books they have read and how these books have impacted on their lives.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in where reading education and teaching of writing can intersect. I would especially recommend the opening chapter by Margaret Meek Spencer to everyone who values the teaching of literacy to children. This chapter is a truly inspirational read.”
Irish Children's Books, Ireland
“…CLPE continues to have an enormous impact on English teaching in primary schools in London and up and down the country. This book, like others from the Centre, will influence classroom practice because of its rigorous research commitment. In addition to passing on teaching principles and practices, it will give teachers the confidence to “positively transform” current literacy practice that does not match the needs of the children in their schools. Unlike much of the material from government agencies, this work is backed up by research from experienced teachers and educationists. I cannot recommend this book enough. If it is not in your school's collection, go out and buy it today!”
Andrew Lambirth, English Team Leader, Canterbury Christ Church University College
The Primary English Magazine