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Analysis, discussion and booktalk

Unit 6


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There are many elements that feed into analysing a text with a class and this session covers what they might look like in practice - from reading to understand the overall gist of a text, to close reading at a word and phase level, and the softer analysis of booktalk. We take a look at the Robert Browning poem The Pied Piper of Hamelin and begin with the recommendation that it should be read aloud with the intention of children building up an overall understanding of the text - and making sure they know that is doesn’t matter if they don’t comprehend everything at this stage. From here we’re taken through a closer read that begins to unpick unfamiliar vocabulary and explores the themes of the poem - a gradual process that deepens children’s comprehension and asks them to draw conclusions from what they have read. This type of close analysis has many benefits, but it’s helpful to use different strategies. One option is booktalk (developed by Aidan Chambers), and we see how this softer approach, which explores the children’s ideas, can result in many of the same advantages. A set of questions, which seem on the surface simple, draw out more thoughtful responses from pupils, and we see how this works in response to John Donne’s poem, No Man is an Island.

Course Materials:

Presentation Slides - Download

.pptx file

Training Handout - Download

.pdf file

Course Creator

Image of James Clements

James Clements

While working as a senior leader in an outstanding inner city primary school, James was instrumental in developing effective reading provision, and was also consulted on the 2014 National Curriculum. A former local authority lead teacher, he is now an English advisor supporting schools and LAs to improve the teaching of reading, writing and drama - and an author for Oxford Owl.

About the Course

In this set of films, education adviser James Clements explores how teachers can develop a text-based approach to the English curriculum. The films take a detailed look at selecting texts, structuring units of work and practical classroom ideas for using rich texts in the classroom.

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