Developing Language and Literacy 3–8


Ann Browne

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    The authors and publishers wish to thank the following for permission to use copyright material:

    Heinemann, London for C.J. Hawkins (1983) What's the Time, Mr Wolf?

    Every effort has been made to trace the copyright holders but if any have been inadvertently overlooked the publishers will be pleased to make the necessary arrangement at the first opportunity.


    When I wrote the first edition of Developing Language and Literacy 3–8 in 1995 I wanted to provide an informative, up to-date guide about good practice in teaching English for all those who work with young children. This continues to be my intention and I hope that this second edition is helpful to those who are implementing an English curriculum for 3–8-year-olds.

    The main changes in this book reflect the new curriculum documents that have affected practice in language and literacy. These include The National Literacy Strategy Framework (DfEE, 1998a), The National Curriculum (DfEE, 1999a) and the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage (QCA, 2000a). Although there are a number of changes there are many similarities between this second edition and the first edition. Indeed some of the practices that might have seemed unfamiliar to some readers five years ago, such as shared reading and writing, have now become widespread. Good practice in English as reflected in official documents has grown out of decades of research into English. The first edition drew on this research and this edition continues to reflect current understanding about the teaching and learning of language and literacy.

    The approach and practices suggested in this book are in keeping with the traditions of good early-years education and draw from a number of established educational principles. Educators recognise that children learn best when they actively engage with their learning and when they are given real and relevant reasons for learning. They know that children construct and test hypotheses about new experiences and that taking risks and making mistakes are a valuable part of the learning process. Early-years educators relate what is being taught to what children already know. In order to extend each child's learning they support and guide children through each new stage of learning. They know that the abilities and attitudes that young children develop in the early years are an important part of a life-long learning journey during which children will need to acquire all the language skills necessary to interpret, manipulate, control and organize language for their own present and future purposes.

    Devising an effective English curriculum which takes account of the principles of early-years education calls for committed and knowledgeable professionals. Thoughtful and effective practitioners do not just know what to do, they also understand the reasons for their actions. In order to achieve their aim of developing children's learning in the best way possible they combine knowledge and understanding with a willingness to reflect on and improve their practice. For these reasons each chapter contains references to research and makes suggestions for further reading as well as giving examples of practice.

    The children, students, teachers, researchers and writers whom I encounter in my work have provided me with many opportunities to reflect on language learning and learners, to consider an appropriate language and literacy curriculum for young children and made it possible for me to collect the material that is included in this book. I would like to thank them.

    I hope that this book recognizes the expertise and importance of all who contribute to the education of young children, acknowledges the willingness and curiosity that children bring to learning and that it contributes to the quality of teaching and learning in the early years.

    AnnBrowneJanuary 2001
  • Appendix Sources of Information about Books and Book Resources for Young Children

    Books for Keeps, contact the School Bookshop Association, 6 Brightfield Road, Lee, London SE12 8QF tel: 020 8852 4953. Book and cassette reviews and articles about authors and books published by the School Bookshop Association.

    Letterbox Library, Unit 2D, Leroy House, 436 Essex Road, London N1 3QP tel: 020 7226 1633. A mail-order bookclub specialising in non-sexist and multicultural books for children. Publishes quarterly catalogues and newsletters. Representatives throughout England and Scotland.

    Magi Publications, 22 Manchester Street, London W1 5PG tel: 020 7486 0925. Publishes a number of dual-language texts and dictionaries for children.

    Mantra Publishing Ltd, 5 Alexandra Grove, London N12 8NU tel: 020 8445 5123 Publishes dual-language books and tapes; largely specialises in Asian languages.

    Poetry Library, The Poetry Library, Level 5, Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre, London SE1 8XX tel: 020 7921 0943/0664 Houses a collection of poetry for children for reference and loan; provides information and courses for teachers.

    Roy Yates Books, Smallfields Cottage, Cox Green, Rudgwick, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 3DE tel: 01403 822299. Lists and supplies every dual-language text in print.

    School Library Association, Unit 2, Lotmead Business Village, Lotmead Farm, Wanborough, Swindon SW4 0UY tel: 01793 791787 An advisory and information service; publishes a number a useful books and pamphlets about books and reading including practical guidelines on developing school libraries.

    Scottish Book Trust, The Scottish Book Centre, 137 Dundee Street, Edinburgh EH11 1BG tel: 0131 229 3663. Works to promote a love of reading.

    Signal, The Thimble Press, Lockwood, Station Road, Woodchester, Stroud GL5 5EQ. Journal containing reviews and articles about books and authors.

    Soma Books, 38 Kennington Lane, London SE11 4LS tel: 020 7836 2101. Sells and distributes titles from Indian publishers. Free catalogue.

    Tamarind, PO Box 52, Northwood, Middlesex HA6 1UN tel: 020 8866 8808. Publishes fiction and educational texts featuring positive and inclusive images for children.

    The National Literacy Trust, Provides a wealth of information on literacy and related issues. Useful links to other sites.

    The Poetry Society 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BU tel: 020 7420 9880 Provides poetry news and education resources.

    Young Book Trust, Book House, 45 East Hill, London SW18 2QZ tel: 020 8516 2977 Houses a store of information about books for children. Produces videos featuring interviews with children's authors and sells a Bookweek Handbook.

    References and Further Reading

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    Ahlberg, J. and Ahlberg, A. (1986) The Jolly Postman. London: Heinemann.
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