Language and Literacy 3–7: Creative Approaches to Teaching


Jeni Riley

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    This book is dedicated to James Read our very own 15 month old, whose language learning is evidence of the genius he truly is.


    An African proverb says that it takes a village to educate a child. It is also true of big projects, such as writing a book, particularly one which draws both on complex theory and informed practice.

    Many people have enabled this book to be what it has become. I would like to express my gratitude to those mentioned here for their generosity of spirit and the gift of their time in an increasingly frenetic world.

    Professor Morag Stuart, Professor Rhona Stainthorp, Professor Roger Beard and Angela Hobsbaum have listened to my articulation of thoughts on the latest research evidence on literacy development and learning and its relationship with successful practice in early years settings and classrooms and have made suggestions.

    Subject specialists have read individual chapters and offered invaluable advice: Sue Collins on the example of a science project in Chapter 7: Dr Liz Brooker on Chapter 10, which is about bilingual learners; Gill Brackenbury and Dr Sue Burroughs-Lange on Chapter 12, about children who learn literacy slowly; and Sarah Martyn on Chapter 11, about literacy learning and ICT.

    I am indebted to two former co-authors and friends. David Reedy has kindly allowed me to develop ideas from our jointly authored book Developing Writing for Different Purposes: Teaching Young Children about Genre for Chapter 8, and Andrew Burrell has advised on Chapters 7 and 8 and provided me with recent examples of children's work.

    Classroom practitioners too have made their valued contributions. Anoula Redstone and Jenny Pearce, from Dropmore Infants School, Burnham, offered me children's work and Sue Peacock, from Thornhill Primary School, the most gifted reception teacher I have ever met, provided me with inspirational ideas for practice.

    My thanks go also to Marianne Lagrange, Education Publisher at Paul Chapman Publishing/SAGE for commissioning this my fourth book with her publishing house and for her encouragement.

    And last, but very far from least, I am deeply grateful to two pillars of strength: Roy Prentice for his meticulous proofreading and James O'Toole for his technological expertise and help with formatting.

    JeniRileySchool of Early Childhood and Primary Education Institute of Education, University of London March 2006


    Jeni Riley has written a balanced, scholarly and accessible introduction to the study of young children's language and literacy. She combines a great deal of sound, practical advice with reference to many of the researchers and theorists who have influenced the field in recent years. Her concern is to explain, illustrate and support the kinds of practice in schools and homes on which children's literate lives can be based. The book is distinguished by its sensitivity to children's needs and its awareness of the needs of the teachers and carers who are responsible for children's language and literacy development.

    RogerBeard Professor of Primary Education Institute of Education University of London
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    Poems Mentioned:
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    ‘My Puppy’ by Aileen Fisher
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