Commas, colons, connectives and conjunctions

By: Phil Beadle


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Products specifications
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Size: 148 x 180mm
Pages : 224
ISBN : 9781781351284
Format: Paperback
Published: January 2015

Literacy is important. This book is about getting it right.

Its author is an expert in teaching children how to speak and write well, and has transformed the oral and written communication skills of many thousands of students. In Literacy he shares how he does it and what he knows about this most important of all skills and reveals what every teacher needs to know in order to radically transform literacy standards across the curriculum. The stories, anecdotes and insights into the many practical activities in this book are, in turn, and often in the same sentence, heart breaking, inspiring, shocking and, as ever, funnier and more readable than those in an education book have any right to be.

Contains everything teachers need to know to teach literacy effectively, regardless of their subject specialism or phase. If you want to make sure that every child leaves your class knowing the rules and how to use them, this is the book for you. If you think that literacy is difficult, or boring, or not your responsibility, be ready to be proved wrong. Discover practical activities, spelling strategies, tips for teaching punctuation and grammar guides that are anything but didactic and dull.

Picture for author Phil Beadle

Phil Beadle

Phil Beadle knows a bit about bringing creative projects to fruit. His self-described renaissance dilettantism' is best summed up by Mojo magazine's description of him as a burnished voice soul man and left wing educationalist'. He is the author of ten books on a variety of subjects, including the acclaimed Dancing About Architecture, described in Brain Pickings as a strong, pointed conceptual vision for the nature and origin of creativity'. As songwriter Philip Kane, his work has been described in Uncut magazine as having novelistic range and ambition' and in Mojo as having a rare ability to find romance in the dirt' along with bleakly literate lyricism'. He has won national awards for both teaching and broadcasting, was a columnist for the Guardian newspaper for nine years and has written for every broadsheet newspaper in the UK, as well as the Sydney Morning Herald. Phil is also one of the most experienced, gifted and funniest public speakers in the UK.

Click here to listen in on Phil's podcast with Pivotal Education - How to Teach Literacy'.

Listen to the ABC Conversations with Richard Fidler' broadcast.

ABC Conversations with Richard Fidler Broadcast date: Thursday 19 July 2012

Click here to listen to Phil Beadle's interview with TalkSport - Listen in at approximately 29:09.


  1. Phil Beadle needs no introduction since his starring roles on television have inspired teachers of all ages to try new approaches to delivering learning with the emphasis on student participation and achievement. This book offers a wide range of practical activities to improve confidence levels of teachers to engage students more effectively. The author addresses the difficulties faced by learners when using commas, colons, apostrophes, etc. By use of anecdotes from his vast experience Phil Beadle enlightens the reader to real life situations and learner responses they may face. The structure of the book into solutions and barriers is helpful A good example is the author's emphasis on a range of methods of improving oracy, “the most fundamental and important skill”. The chapter on dispensing with teacher led discussion and organising “talk” in more imaginative ways provokes ideas about delivery of learning. With the emphasis in England and Wales on improving students literacy skills this book could well promote ideas to unlock potential of learners currently under performing.
  2. Sometime columnist for this very magazine, Phil Beadle is in his element here because say what you like about him (go on, he'd love it), the man knows how language works. Words are his passion and he understands the subtle art of using them to convince, cajole and above all, clarify; even if subtlety is not, as a rule, his favoured rhetorical style. Not so much an enfant terrible as, well, terribly (or rather, gleefully) childish at times, Beadle also grasps the point so often missed by other writers on this subject; that literacy cannot be separated from politics, and that teaching young people how to express themselves effectively is one of the most powerful and exciting ways educators can help to change the world for the better. Yes, he over-swears and over-shares; but who cares? This book Is full of stuff you didn't know you didn't know. Read it- and the odds are pretty good that by the end you'll be a better teacher of literacy then before you picked it up.
  3. The English Language is a complex beast. There are so many rules, conventions and expectations that it is easy for the best of us to unwittingly make an error with grammar, spellings or punctuation! Although many teachers specialise in a particular curriculum area, modelling literacy behaviours to students remains an essential element of the role - so ensuring a sound knowledge in some of the basic language rules is critical for all teachers, “Literacy is a platform for democratisation”.

    There are many barriers for teachers to overcome, but some of these obstacles need to be overcome by the individual. There are other barriers, and these are noted by Phil Beadle in his -˜How to Teach Literacy' book, which attempts an examination of such barriers whilst offering solutions to help overcome. For example, Beadle explores: Issues around how oracy is not taken seriously; a lack of extended writing opportunities; marking and feedback; not enough poetry, or; a lack of understanding of why students can be reluctant writers, “with literacy you can articulate your anger”.

    Let's be clear here. This is not a self-help grammar aide to help teachers. Neither is it a punctuation revision guide which teachers should dip into during each lesson to ensure they have got the possessive apostrophe in the correct place. This book is about pedagogy. This book is about using practical ideas for helping students to improve their writing and oral skills in every lesson they attend, written in a readable and amusing style that will inspire confidence. At the end of the day, there is no logic in English spellings - there is little logic in many things in life - but it is logical that teachers scaffold correct language conventions with pupils. As Phil reminds in the introduction, “It's your job”.
  4. In this book, Phil Beadle provides teachers with all the tools they need to raise literacy standards in the classroom, with lesson ideas and activities that are accessible to the highest- and lowest-attaining students.
  5. Beadle's star continues to rise as one of the most recognisable teachers in the country. The latest addition to the How to Teach Series, this is a practical guide for teachers to help raise literacy standards, outlining a collection of rules to enable teachers to engage with pupils in a meaningful and productive way.

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