SEVEN

The links with reading

The holistic nature of language and literacy means that the approach that the teacher adopts for writing will have implications for reading and talking. In many teachers' minds there is a significant link between reading and writing, and this is reinforced by a classroom emphasis on these two modes. The process approach to writing has close links with the 'real book approach' to reading. This chapter outlines a current description of the real book approach in practice; it then shows the links with the process approach. The final part of the chapter identifies some theoretical and research findings which are used to reflect on how the real book approach has continued to develop. Reflections on the development of the real book approach point to some issues for the use of the process approach.

Much has been written in recent years about the real book approach. Some of this writing has appeared in the national media and unfortunately the views expressed have often been ill-informed ones. Other writers have tended to assume that the real book approach has remained static and chained to a number of influential authors who were writing in the '70s and '80s. The criticisms of the real book approach have focused on three main issues: the real book approach does not involve any teaching and encourages the children to learn on their own; standards of reading are lower when the approach is used; and phonics are not taught.

In the following section I outline what the real book approach consists of in practice. In the course of this discussion I hope to illustrate that the first point above is simplistic and wrong. The issue of standards is a complex one, and I do not intend to cover it in detail here, as other authors have provided an examination of this area (e.g. Wray 1994). However, I will refer briefly to a study that attempted to look at the differing standards achieved by the real book approach compared to formal teaching methods. As far as the third point above is concerned, the real book approach does not preclude the teaching of phonics. Phonics is taught according to the needs of the individual children in the class. The teaching of phonics is balanced with the teaching of the other

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Primary Writing
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • Introduction vii
  • One - Writing Workshop 1
  • Two - Emergent Writing 21
  • Three - The Development of Composition 36
  • Four - Transcription 52
  • Five - Interaction 73
  • Six - Recording Language Development 88
  • Seven - The Links with Reading 104
  • Eight - Developing the Process Approach Throughout the School 118
  • Nine - The Process Approach and the National Curriculum 134
  • Ten - The Wider Picture 142
  • Appendix I - Modifications to Plr Writing Sample 152
  • Appendix II - Language Policy Contents List 154
  • Appendix III - Snapshot of Writing Workshop Pieces 157
  • References 159
  • Index 163
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