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Observing Primary Literacy

Observing Primary Literacy

216 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Observing children is a fundamental aspect of learning to teach and a vital component of primary English teaching. Observing Primary Literacy focuses on observing children and teachers in elementary classrooms. Its purpose is to enable students to make sense of what they observe in classrooms. This book aims to help make explicit the reasons for the professional decisions teachers make before and during lessons, as well as encouraging critical and reflective thought on key aspects of primary English.

Using a detailed examination of real-life case studies, Margaret Perkins provides a framework for understanding the literacy learning processes of elementary-age children and how this can inform good teaching practice. She demonstrates to readers how to re-focus on children's learning and develop a critically informed approach to literacy in the modern classroom.


Introduction: Observation and Reflection
Understanding Texts
Teaching Reading
Teaching Writing
Literacy across the Curriculum
Planning and Assessment
Teaching with Story
Teaching Primary Literacy

'This very readable book is an extremely valuable addition to current literature on becoming a teacher of literacy. Classrooms are complex environments and learning from observation is a challenging process. This book supports such learning in a highly effective way. Powerful and realistic examples of classroom practice are accompanied by commentaries and questions which support the reader in looking critically and productively at learning and teaching. The references to seminal studies and recent research woven throughout the book cleverly reinforce the inter-dependency of research, theory and practice and also ensure that the reader is provided with clear direction for further self-study. Perkins' book provides accessible and well-structured support for student-teachers in exploring and examining literacy teaching. It will also be valued as a resource for teacher educators exploring new ways of enabling student-teachers to engage critically with classroom practice'
-Cathy Burnett, Sheffield Hallam University

'What I love about this book is that it is completely grounded in an understanding of how children learn to read, of what classrooms and schools are actually like, and of what students and early-career teachers need to know. Margaret Perkins writes about real children in real classrooms, where things are good, but by no means perfect, and in each context, she shows how excellent teaching makes a difference. The book covers all the big and important theoretical ideas about literacy development but explains and links them to the realities of classroom life in ways that demonstrate that 'there is nothing as practical as good theory'. This book's value to students and early-career teachers is without question'
- Sue Ellis, University of Strathclyde

This book provides a critical stand point for observing primary demonstrates how aspects of literacy are connected and gives a toolkit for practitioners to use as a guide to this essential practice.

Mrs Claire Kathryn Pescott
Early Years and Education, University of South Wales (Glamorgan)
December 8, 2015

Essential reading for all early years students.

June 12, 2015

Essential reading for all primary teaching students.

Mrs Alison Silby
School of Sport and Education, Brunel University
July 20, 2013

This makes for essential reading for students. The chapters on teaching reading and writing are particularly valuable.

Mrs Gill Fry
Education, Havering College of Further and Higher Education
March 10, 2013

Very clear book, helping students identify good practice. This is extremely useful as PGCE programmes move towards extended school-based training.

Ms Alison Baker
School of Education, University of East London
October 12, 2012

Helps students when they are planning and writing up observations that concentrate on literacy

Mrs Jan Roberts
Childcare, Herefordshire College of Technology
September 17, 2012

This is EXCELLENT! Beautifully written. A "must" on our PGCE programme and for teachers doing Masters work

Colin Mills
School of Education, Manchester University
May 28, 2012

We are recommending this book for pre course reading. It is highly readable but also thought provoking. It promotes open minded, critical thinking and it raises all the central issues within literacy learning.

Mrs Liz How
Institute of Education, Reading University
April 17, 2012

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Margaret Perkins

Margaret Perkins worked in initial teacher education for many years with undergraduates, postgraduates and those on employment-based routes in different provider institutions. Before that she taught in primary schools across the age ranges and throughout the United Kingdom as a classteacher and in positions of leadership. For the last ten years, she has been responsible for the primary GTP and School Direct routes into primary teaching, at the University of Reading, working closely with schools located in more than eight different authorities. It is this experience which prompted the writing of this book. In September 2016 she is going... More About Author