Recent figures show that nine million adults in the UK are functionally illiterate, and one in four British five-year-olds struggles with a basic vocabulary. According to the Department for Education, one in five children left primary school in 2018 unable to read or write properly. So, why is writing so difficult for so many? We could go into many reasons as to why students struggle with English (as a subject) as they enter secondary school, but English teachers are met with a wide range of skills, ability and enthusiasm about the literacy-based subject. Yet, so many English teachers are so passionate about their subject -“ it is their speciality, passion and enjoy language intricacies -“ but can be faced with students who claim that they don't like to read, write or be bothered with grammar rules.
In his new book, Chris Curtis tackles the challenges raised above face on. His book provides colleagues with a sophisticated (yet simple) framework upon which to hook English lessons. Covering the regular genres covered in the English secondary curriculum -“ poetry, novels, non-fiction, Shakespeare -“ Chris also explores how to teach accuracy and grammar, offering fantastic ideas on how to implement improvements in key areas. For example, the -˜Three Choices' spelling approach is genius, whereas the -˜Draft in Threes' process is -“ well -“ just sensible.
This isn't a book about bells and whistles of teaching English. It's just plain simple, common-sense and manageable teaching that is not surrounded with a plethora of downloadable or complicated resources, but ready-to-use approaches that will help teachers upgrade their lesson planning, enhancing their classroom practice. Chris concludes by sharing his seven underpinning principles that should help structure engaging English lessons throughout the secondary school or college. PROS:
- Considers all aspects of genre involved when teaching the English curriculum.
- A great focus, throughout, on encouraging and teaching writing skills.
- Explores how students can be shown to understand the purpose of their writing.
- Great, simple ideas and activities that can be easily used with a range of different text offered throughout the book.
- A great chapter on grammar giving tips on how to help students understand and use correctly.
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