Book: Teaching English by the Book by @MrJClements via @RoutledgeEd

Published by Routledge Education

Teaching English by the Book Putting Literature at the Heart of the Primary Curriculum













  • Far more informative than most Primary English CPD I’ve attended.
  • An excellent go to resource for any Primary School teacher
  • Packed with rich text suggestions and planning examples, a valuable tool for the teaching of English.
  • With such a range of children’s fiction out there, this book narrows it down to the quality text, ideal for those new to teaching
  • Teaching English by the Book is the ‘bee’s knees’ when it comes to teaching English in school.

Review compiled by: Sam Phillips

Supported by: Routledge Education Publishing

English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.

Although this is the opening statement for the English programme of study (DfE, 2013) many schools still teach the elements of the English curriculum individually. Pressures of the curriculum and national assessments have resulted in timetables where reading, writing, spelling and grammar are taught as discrete lessons.

Teaching English by the Book (James Clements, 2018) enables the reader to see the Primary English Curriculum as a whole and to understand more clearly how a high-quality text can be the catalyst for teaching the many components of English. Clements shares knowledge and ideas that will help create a curriculum and teaching model that reflect the needs of the children each school serves. By selecting a rich text packed with potential to match a particular part of the curriculum, this book shows it’s reader how to plan to focus on the features of an effective text-based unit of work.

From the start this book is reader-friendly; providing clear, concise examples and ideas for use in the classroom, highlighting opportunities to think and reflect and summarising each chapter with a few salient points. Once read this becomes a great resource to turn to again and again. For reader ease it is written in 4 parts; Teaching by the book, Teaching reading by the book, Teaching writing by the book and Teaching English by the book, however, each part or chapter clearly outlines how each component of English depends on the others. For example how grammar works to support comprehension and how reading widely is crucial for effective writing.

Teaching English by the Book is the one book that ALL teachers should read, providing examples of quality text and outlining their suggested purpose and strategies for use in the classrooms, that most other ‘tomes’ supporting the use of quality text in school lack. I particularly like the reminders to ‘Think and Reflect’ throughout the book encouraging the reader to consider their own practice and or teaching environment, rather than reading to the end and then thinking, ‘Now what did he say about…’

As an SLE for English and a reading specialist teacher I regularly work with student teachers and NQT’s who often tell me that while getting to grips with the national curriculum, planning and teaching they rarely have time to read for pleasure themselves let alone read children’s fiction too! My response is always the same; “How can you possibly expect to encourage your children to read if you can’t share and discuss books with them?” James Clements book Teaching English by the Book certainly doesn’t replace the need for teachers to read children’s fiction but it is, in my view, an invaluable read for ANY person working with children in school.

Click here – or the link at the top of the page – to purchase this title, and add the code ‘UKE2‘ to receive an exclusive 20% discount

Interested in implementing ‘Teaching English by the Book’ in your school? Routledge offer preferential school discounts on all their education titles so if you’d like to find out more about purchasing multiple copies of ‘Teaching English by the Book’ for your school then please contact for a quote.

You need to or Register to bookmark/favorite this content.

About Sam Phillips 2 Articles
Part time Reading Recovery teacher, SLE for English, creator of the school book blog, super keen bookworm, Mum of two.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.