The Reading for Real Handbook

The Reading for Real Handbook

The Reading for Real Handbook

The Reading for Real Handbook


The Reading for Real Handbook was very well received by both teachers and literacy specialists when it was published in 1992. Since its first publication there have been significant changes in the field of 'reading', not least of which has been governmental demands for higher standards in reading and the resultant National Literacy Strategy (NLS). As well as providing invaluable help for teachers struggling with the National Literacy Strategy and the Literacy Hour, several other new topics of interest are also addressed, including teaching fiction/non-fiction inside and outside the Literacy Hour, integrating reading, writing and spelling work, involving parents, assessment and working with slower readers.


This is a completely revised edition of the Reading for Real Handbook. Current debates about the teaching of reading are at least as vociferous as they were a decade ago, when the first edition was written, and in just about all English-speaking countries, national governments are at least as interventionist in the literacy field as they were a decade ago. What this means is that teachers of reading continue to be vulnerable unless they have not only a clear understanding of what they are doing, but are confident that current research supports their pedagogy. a book published in 1929 by J. Hubert Jagger and entitled The Sentence Method of Teaching Reading starts with the words:

The teaching of reading to little children has been a scholastic battleground for generations, a battleground that is strewn with lost causes and exploded delusions.

(Jagger, 1929)

Such controversies still rage on, with teachers very often feeling themselves to be the confused and powerless civilian casualties on the periphery of this battleground.

This book, like its predecessor, attempts to inform teachers and others interested in these issues about the best in current research and practice, but it seeks to avoid taking an adversarial line in the reading debate. We hope it eschews the promotion of any single view and promotes a balanced approach to methodology. We would want to support the point of view taken by those on the Bullock Committee (DES, 1975) which was that

The difference between good and bad reading teachers is usually not to do with their allegiance to some particular method, but to do with their relationships with children and their sensitivity in matching what they do to each individual child's learning needs.

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