Enriching Primary English

Enriching Primary English

by Jonathan Glazzard, Jean Palmer

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This essential text provides ideas for trainees and teachers to extend both their own teaching and their pupils’ learning in primary English through creative approaches and enrichment strategies to promote best practice and outstanding teaching. The book is accessible to all levels of experience and combines theory with practice throughout, delivering the required subject knowledge while encouraging innovative approaches that demand critical reflection. It looks closely at how young children learn to read and write and how practitioners can enable this development through creative ideas.


The book begins with an exploration of the development of speaking and listening skills which form the foundation of successful literacy. Chapters then cover all the key elements of the new curriculum including word reading, reading comprehension, transcription and composition, plus additional material on drama and reading for pleasure. Throughout the book there is a clear progression from KS1 to KS2 and a focus on creativity as a vital ingredient in successful English teaching.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781909682498
Publisher: Critical Publishing
Publication date: 01/14/2015
Series: Critical Teaching
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.85(w) x 9.70(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Glazzard is responsible for teacher training for early years and primary courses at the University of Huddersfield. Prior to this he worked as a primary school teacher, predominantly teaching in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. He is passionate about promoting creative approaches to teaching which inspire both teacher and children.

Jean Palmer joined the University of Huddersfield in January 2013 and is a Senior Lecturer on the BA Early Primary Course and the PGCE Primary Course where she is Partnership and Placements Co-ordinator and is a tutor for English, history, geography and PSED. Over the past 16 years Jean has worked in primary schools as a teacher, subject leader, Advanced Skills Teacher (English), governor and LA officer. She has taught across the Primary phases and acted as senior mentor for GTP students.  Jean has also spent 15 years working as a professional director/writer for Theatre-in Education in mainstream and special schools. As the lead consultant in Kirklees for the Every Child a Reader programme she focused on narrowing the gap for children with literacy difficulties and is an accredited trainer for the Reading Recovery programme.

Read an Excerpt

Enriching Primary English

By Jonathan Glazzard, Jean Palmer

Critical Publishing Ltd

Copyright © 2015 Jonathan Glazzard and Jean Palmer
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-909682-51-1


Spoken language: Key Stage 1

Teachers' Standards

TS3: Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge

Trainees must:

• have a secure knowledge of the relevant subject(s) and curriculum areas, foster and maintain pupils' interest in the subject, and address misunderstandings;

• demonstrate a critical understanding of developments in the subject and curriculum areas, and promote the value of scholarship;

• demonstrate an understanding of and take responsibility for promoting high standards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of standard English, whatever the teacher's specialist subject.

National curriculum links

Spoken language

The national curriculum highlights the importance of developing spoken language across the whole curriculum. It emphasises that spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing and therefore pupils should have opportunities to develop competence in both their spoken language and their listening skills. The statutory overarching requirements for all year groups state that pupils must have opportunities to: listen and respond; ask questions; build their vocabulary and participate in a range of activities including collaborative conversations, discussions, presentations, debates and role play. The national curriculum also emphasises the need to teach pupils about different registers for effective communication.


Spoken language and the development of children's listening skills should be embedded throughout the subjects of the national curriculum as a tool for promoting learning. Their use is not just limited to English and you should plan for pupils to use spoken language in a range of different contexts and for different purposes. You cannot assume that children will start their primary education with accurate spoken language and good listening skills. Even if these skills are secure, they may not know how spoken language should be adjusted to take into account the audience and the social setting. You may hear children and parents speaking to each other in inappropriate ways and children may continue to use casual forms of communication with teachers and other adults in school if parents have not explicitly told them that the way they communicate with adults must differ from the way they communicate with each other. If teachers fail to address this issue, children will enter the adult world without adequate knowledge of the fact that communication must be adjusted to take into account the audience, topic of conversation, purpose and location.

Good spoken language provides the foundations for writing development. Children who cannot speak in sentences will find it difficult to write in sentences. Listening and attention is a prerequisite for subsequent reading development. Children who are unable to tune in to sounds will find it difficult to distinguish between different phonemes and this will hinder the process of decoding. Developing good spoken language and being a good listener are essential for subsequent success in the adult world. Effective communication is a necessary requirement of most jobs and essential for dealing with social encounters in both formal and informal settings. Children born into socially deprived environments may start school with under-developed language and communication skills and it is critical that early intervention and support is provided to improve this aspect of development.

Spaces for communication

According to Ofsted in their report Moving English Forward: Action to Raise Standards in English (Ofsted, 2012):

Previous subject inspections have identified a lack of emphasis on explicit, planned teaching of speaking and listening. This remains the case. Speaking is more commonly seen in schools as a way of supporting writing. Practice in this area has been resistant to change for many years. One reason is that teachers understandably prioritise pupils' work in reading and writing because they feature more prominently in national tests and examinations. What this report wishes to emphasise is the importance of developing pupils' speaking and listening in the early years that children are in school.

(Ofsted, 2012, p 48)

Key findings in this Ofsted report are listed below.

• Teachers tend not to identify objectives for speaking and listening as priorities for learning.

• Speaking and listening tended to happen incidentally rather than being explicitly taught.

• Although there were role-play areas in early years classrooms, inspectors were surprised that staff spent little time supporting children's play by engaging them in conversations.

• In the most effective settings, staff worked hard to promote spoken language and vocabulary development.

• In the most effective settings, staff saw vocabulary development as central to their work, particularly in early years settings.

• The best schools had adopted a systematic approach to teaching speaking and listening in which the skills taught in one year were progressively extended in the subsequent year.

• Teachers need to explicitly teach speaking and listening.

(Ofsted, 2012)

Developing spaces for communication is fundamental to establishing a learning environment in which spoken language plays a fundamental part in promoting learning. Children in early years settings need rich play-based learning opportunities. Teachers and other adults need to interact with children in these spaces using dialogue which promotes thinking. Through skilled questioning, practitioners can advance children's cognitive development. Carefully selected use of vocabulary by adults during these interactions will extend children's vocabulary. Children need planned opportunities to learn through collaborative conversations, discussions, debates and presentations and some of these strategies will be discussed later in this chapter.

Research suggests that children's ability to communicate on entry to school has declined in recent years (Communication Trust, 2010). Children are starting school with lower levels of spoken language and vocabulary than they had 30 years ago, and there is evidence to suggest that some children now start school without even knowing their own name (Communication Trust, 2010). Within this context, it is absolutely critical that teachers are skilled and knowledgeable in this aspect of the curriculum and understand how to enable children to make progress. Limited vocabulary development will have a detrimental impact on reading development, and lack of spoken language will have a detrimental impact on writing development. Immersing children into a rich language context will have a profound positive impact on their understanding and use of language and their vocabulary will improve. Planning opportunities for children to collaborate and use talk throughout the curriculum will be an essential step to aid children's development. Adults who provide correct models of spoken English and introduce pupils to a wide and rich vocabulary will have a significant positive impact on children's development. Valuing spoken language as an output for learning is critical to improving provision. As a trainee teacher, you need to value children talking about learning and you need to explicitly plan for outputs which focus solely on children's spoken language. Focusing on spoken language and vocabulary development as a way of improving children's communication is essential in order to develop children as speakers, readers and writers.

Registers for effective communication

The ability to alter spoken language according to audience, topic, purpose and location is known as register. The way we speak to others fundamentally depends on:

who we are speaking to;

what is being talked about;

why the conversation is taking place;

where the conversation is taking place.

Most adults know that it is important to select and use appropriate registers for effective communication. To illustrate this, think about the way you converse with your friends during a social occasion. You probably would not converse in the same way with your doctor or university lecturer. You may adopt a more formal approach when you speak to those in more powerful positions. If you met someone for the first time in a formal situation such as a job interview, you would not use an informal style of communication with them because this would be completely inappropriate and you would probably not secure the position for which you had applied. Now think about the way in which you communicate with your parents; you would probably not communicate with them in the same way that you would speak with a friend. There are unspoken rules to communication and you will have picked many of these up subconsciously during your life without explicitly being taught them.

Static register

This is a 'frozen register' in that there are very specific, fixed ways of speaking in certain situations. An example of this is the way in which communication is played out during legal proceedings. Specific words and phrases are spoken in very specific ways by the judge, solicitors and the jury. When the Lord's Prayer is spoken, it is done in a very specific way. The style of the communication is fixed in these situations and the wording does not alter.

Formal register

A formal register is used in specific formal contexts. In a graduation ceremony the Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor of the university or other official representatives will speak in quite a formal way to the audience. In religious ceremonies, faith leaders will speak formally to their congregations. This form of communication tends to be impersonal and is adopted during speeches, presentations, announcements and sermons. It is a form of communication which is used between strangers.

Consultative register

This is a standard form of communication normally used in professional discourse. It is the way in which a doctor and patient or teacher and student should speak to each other. It might also be used in counsellor/client relationships. This form of communication is used when there is an expert/novice relationships between the two people who are holding the conversation. There is an element of formality and professionalism but the dialogue is often friendly but professional.

Casual register

This form of communication is the form that takes place between friends. It is often informal and is characterised by the use of slang, vulgarities, frequent interruptions or colloquialisms. This form of communication is often evident in letters to friends or written communications on social networking sites. It may be characterised by a 'group language' where members of a social group share a particular style of social language.

Intimate register

This is a private language mainly reserved for close family members or people who are intimate. It is a highly informal language which is private and known only to two people or a social group and it may include verbal and non-verbal forms of communication.


Hedgehog Primary School

A primary school was situated in a socially deprived area. Over several years the parents and adults working in the school had got into the habit of using a casual register with each other. The professionals working in the school felt that this was one way of breaking down barriers with the parents. Many of the parents had negative experiences of education from their own schooling and they did not value education. There was significant poverty in the area and many of the parents had serious social issues to address in their own lives. A new head teacher came to the school and she was appalled at the casual register which was used between the parents and the professionals who worked in the school. She sent a newsletter out to the parents which reminded parents to speak to adults in school only in ways which were appropriate.

Critical questions

» Was the head teacher right to tackle the issue in this way?

» What are the advantages of teachers and parents conversing with each other using a casual register?

» What are the disadvantages of teachers and parents conversing with each other using a casual register?

» What are the advantages and disadvantages for teachers and parents using a consultative register?

Various registers of communication differ in their complexities and the regularity of syntax and grammar. The formal register, for example, may be characterised by spoken language which is grammatically accurate. In contrast, communication in the casual register may be characterised by grammatically incorrect spoken language. It is important to note that register is not associated with the speaker but rather with the social and professional contexts in which the conversations take place. You will vary your register dependent upon who you are speaking to, and judges, faith leaders, chancellors and vice-chancellors will certainly use a casual register when speaking to their friends or family members or an intimate register when speaking to their partners.

Teaching children about register

It is important that very young children are taught that they should vary the way they speak according to who they are speaking to. Some of the children that you teach will come from families in which parents use a more consultative register. This is quite important, particularly for very young children, because they need to learn that there is an expert/novice relationship between them and their parents. Sometimes parents and children may jump from using a consultative register to using a casual register and the intimate register may be used from time to time. The register will vary depending on the context, ie the situation, the topic of conversation and the location of that communication. As children get older, particularly as children reach adolescence, parents may start to adopt a more casual register. Many adolescents can cope with this well and they recognise the boundaries that exist between them and their parents. However, some children may exploit this and use it as an opportunity to minimise power differentials between the parent and the child.

Some children may start school having only ever been exposed to a casual register. Their conversations may be characterised by colloquialisms, slang and vulgarities. These children will need to be explicitly taught about the rules of communication. School is a professional context; children come to school to learn from their teachers and other adults. They do not come to school to form friendships with these adults. They need to be taught that there is a specific way of conversing with adults and that this will differ from the way that they communicate with their friends, for example when they are out on the playground or when they play with their friends in different social contexts. Fundamentally, children need to be taught that they will speak differently in the classroom even to their peers compared to the ways in which they speak to their peers in the playground, because the formality of the classroom and its purpose necessitates different forms of communication. They need to be taught that even if they alter the way they speak to their peers depending on whether they are out on the playground or in the classroom, the way in which they converse with their teachers and other adults in school should always be consistent, ie using a consultative register.

If children do not learn to use different registers of speech for different purposes in different contexts then they are at a fundamental disadvantage when they leave school and enter the world of work. They might not keep a job for very long if they use a casual or intimate register with their boss, for example. They need to learn that there is a more formal way of communicating with strangers or people in more powerful positions compared to the casual and informal conversations that they have with their friends. You would not speak to the Queen in the same way you speak to a friend, and children need to recognise this from the very beginning of their education, otherwise they will get into bad habits.

Role play

Role playing familiar situations can help children to learn about register. Scenarios could be created in the classroom in which children have to practise the rules of communication using a consultative register. These could include:

• visiting the doctor;

• visiting the vet;

• role playing teachers and pupils;

• visiting the bank;

• paired improvisation, for example, Red Riding Hood talking to her mother.

In these role-play scenarios children would be supported through their conversations through the use of a talking frame. This could be a sheet of prompts which scaffold the pupils' talk. Adults play a critical role in modelling spoken language in role play. You could model how to hold conversations in these situations with a teaching assistant through the explicit use of team teaching.


Excerpted from Enriching Primary English by Jonathan Glazzard, Jean Palmer. Copyright © 2015 Jonathan Glazzard and Jean Palmer. Excerpted by permission of Critical Publishing Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents


Meet the authors,
1 Spoken language: Key Stage 1,
2 Developing spoken language: Key Stage 2,
3 Word reading: Key Stage 1,
4 Word reading: Key Stage 2,
5 Reading comprehension: Key Stage 1,
6 Reading comprehension: Key Stage 2,
7 Writing: transcription – Key Stage 1,
8 Writing: transcription – Key Stage 2,
9 Writing: composition – Key Stage 1,
10 Writing: composition – Key Stage 2,
11 Drama: a toolkit for practitioners,
12 Reading for pleasure,

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