Product reviews for Opening Doors to Quality Writing

Martin Galway, Teaching and Learning Adviser, Herts for Learning Primary English Team
If you are not familiar with Bob Cox's earlier book, Opening Doors to Famous Poetry and Prose, I'd urge you to rectify this as soon as possible. This first volume set out Cox's stall with an elegant efficiency. Here are some great texts from our literary heritage that, handled well, our children can learn from and be inspired by. Here are some strategies for opening up these texts for everyone in your class. Here is how you attract and secure their interest. Here is how you spring from this curiosity into writing that might just surprise you and the children themselves. It's a book that revels in the best of what English teaching can offer and it is shaped by the hands of someone who clearly understands the opportunities (and limitations) of the classroom setting.

Bob Cox offers a personable voice and shares his wisdom and insight as an equal - as a fellow teacher. A teacher who is just as concerned to develop professional confidence in his readers as he is to develop the skills of his readers' students. From the first page onwards, it is clear that you'll be in safe hands indeed.

Opening Doors to Quality Writing offers 15 units that explore a diverse set of texts from our literary heritage. It includes works from Wilkie Collins, Thomas Hardy, Emily Brontë and even Franz Kafka. Eight units tackle prose and a further seven are based around poetry. Each unit starts with a suitably challenging question-led focus. 

Access strategies serve to open up the texts for all learners and to secure their engagement. Cox's -˜radial questioning' model is, to my mind, especially useful and something that can be implemented - and, more importantly, adapted - quite readily. Once engagement is secured, Cox steers us through a range of strategies to deepen understanding. The journeys towards writing set out here truly celebrate the quirky and the adventurous as part of the craft. A commitment to very high quality is evident throughout - this is writing underpinned by a robust appreciation of what some of the best of literature has to offer.

The book offers a tantalising vision for the place of great books in the KS2/KS3 classroom. It also offers a generous range of approaches with which to enhance our students' skills across the English spectrum: in reading, in writing, in speaking and in listening. It does so with its head and heart firmly in the right place: tightly focused on expanding the horizons and the capacity for joy in the written word for our young learners, but equally taking care to protect and preserve the joy of teaching that often comes from a great book and the right kinds of dialogue. I cannot recommend it highly - or frequently - enough.
Guest | 14/07/2016 01:00
Was this review helpful? Yes No (0/0)