Guide to Understanding Primary English Teaching Written by Worcester Lecturers Nominated for National Award

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An important and engaging book on teaching English in primary schools, penned by staff at the University of Worcester, has been shortlisted for a prestigious literary award.

The book, An Introduction to Primary English Teaching: Language, Literacy and Learning, was edited and co-authored by former University of Worcester lecturer Dr Robyn Cox, with chapters written by Professor Chris Robertson, Head of the University’s Institute of Education, Professor Jean Webb, Director of the University’s International Research Centre: Children's Literature, Literacy and Creativity, and Dr Bob Fox, a senior lecturer in ICT who has recently retired from the University.

It has been shortlisted for the UK Literacy Association’s Author Award 2011, which is presented to a member of the Association whose text most effectively supports the teaching of literacy.

It must reflect current developments in literacy research and encourage teachers to be reflective, innovative, and creative.

Dr Cox, now Associate Professor in Literacy Education and the Australian Catholic University, who wrote the two opening chapters, said: “Initial teacher education students need the best possible introduction to the field of primary English teaching. In shaping up this book I was aiming to do that; I wanted to bring accessible but strongly theoretical chapters to those first entering the important area of primary English literacy teaching, and this nomination and shortlist suggests that I was able to do just that.”

The winner will be announced at the UKLA International Conference in Chester in July.

Professor Webb, whose chapter is titled ‘Learning and Teaching Literacy Using Children’s Literature’, said: “This is an innovative work edited by Dr Cox. It is not at all usual for a section on children’s literature to be included in a text for teaching literacy, although literature is at the heart of why we teach literacy skills.”

Professor Robertson added: “My chapter is called ‘Primary English Curriculum Perspectives’. It reflects on both the theory and changing practice in primary English teaching over the many years I have been both a practitioner and expert in the field of language and literacy.”

In a review of the book, Clare Dowdall, Professor at the University of Plymouth, described it as: “both comprehensive and accessible to trainee teachers”.

She said: “This book will make a useful contribution to reading lists for both primary and early years students. The range of content is extensive and engaging, and will ensure that readers are equipped to develop their skills of reflection and analysis in relation to primary English, language and literacy issues, as well as to take on the practical challenges of literacy teaching and learning in educational settings.”