English 7-11: Developing Primary Teaching Skills

By David Wray | Go to book overview

Unit 7

The texts children read

INTRODUCTION

It is generally true, as I argued in Unit 2, that the role played by certain kinds of books and texts in learning to read has tended, up until quite recently, to have been neglected by educationalists and teachers. But it is possible to argue that it is what you read (or have read to you) that exerts a crucial influence on the kind of reader you become. What you read might well determine how you read, whether you read, and even how you define what reading is and what it is good for.

This does not mean that there has been no debate about the texts that are used for the teaching of reading in school. Far from it: the precise texts used in the teaching of reading have always generated fierce debates in schools. But these debates have by and large concerned the special texts that have been deliberately produced to teach reading. These reading scheme texts are derived from particular sets of theories about how reading should be taught and the debates surrounding them have arisen because these theories are conflicting. Thus, texts have been created to match phonics approaches to teaching reading, look-and-say approaches, linguistic approaches, natural language approaches etc. Such texts are, even in the 1990s, very heavily used in primary schools, apparently being employed by 83 per cent of Year 2 teachers (Cato et al., 1992, p. 23). In this Unit we shall be looking closely at some of these texts and comparing them with other texts which children might read.

Firstly, we need briefly to remind ourselves of some of the lessons we have learnt from research into the nature of the reading process. This was examined more closely in Unit 3. In that Unit it was suggested that reading, by its nature, must be conceived as an interactive process. At this point, it would be worth reviewing that Unit and spending a few minutes on the following activity.

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English 7-11: Developing Primary Teaching Skills
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vi
  • Introduction 1
  • Unit 1 - What Counts as English Language Teaching in the Primary School? 3
  • Unit 2 - The Teaching and Learning of Literacy 13
  • Unit 3 - The Reading Process 21
  • Unit 4 - The Writing Process 33
  • Unit 5 - The Purposes and Processes of Talk 43
  • Unit 6 - Looking at Literacy in Classrooms 57
  • Unit 7 - The Texts Children Read 73
  • Unit 8 - The Texts Children Write 81
  • Unit 9 - Language as Text 95
  • Unit 10 - From Learning to Teaching 109
  • References 121
  • Author Index 125
  • Subject Index 127
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