The team at CLPE have written a book!

Published on: 
Friday, 14 February 2020 - 10:49am
Louise Johns-Shepherd


CLPE's Chief Executive shares what to expect from the charity's latest publication, The Power of A Rich Reading Classroom!


We are really excited about this. It’s a book that brings together all the knowledge and years of experience of our brilliant team, combines it with the most up-to-date and useful research we can find, and builds on the venerable legacy of CLPE publications and research.  We’ve collected all of this together in one place to produce a reference book that we hope will be used in classrooms, schools and staffrooms. We wanted to make it useful for a wide audience - new teachers, literacy coordinators, school leaders, and to anybody who is interested or requires refreshment for their practice. It is called The Power of a Rich Reading Classroom, it is published by Sage and hit the (digital and actual) shelves in February 2020.

The CLPE has been researching, writing and sharing knowledge about literacy teaching for more than 45 years. The charity is responsible for some groundbreaking publications and for work that has changed the education landscape. The enduring nature of these live on either as physical books such as The Reader in the Writer (Barrs and Cork, 2001) and Understanding Spelling (O’Sullivan and Thomas, 2000), or as new incarnations of past work like the Reading and Writing Scales, developed from the Primary Language Record. 

As a young teacher, more years ago than I care to count, I attended a course at CLPE on Reading. This six day course, led by the inimitable Anne Thomas, quite literally changed my life. I was introduced to two publications that influenced my practice in such a profound way that I truly believe I became a different teacher, and I’m sure they are both responsible for me being here, at CLPE today. The first was The Reading Book (1991, edited by Myra Barrs and Anne Thomas), a publication that took the theory and the available research on how children learn to read and turned it in to a practical handbook, which explained and explored how this theory could be usefully enacted in the classroom. We still return to The Reading Book regularly at CLPE and we’ve yet to find a book as clear and useful as this one. We hope that our new book, which owes a great debt to The Reading Book, will take this legacy of knowledge into today’s classrooms, with the most up to date practice and pedagogy gleaned from our most recent research.

The second book was by Aidan Chambers. Then, it was alone as ‘The Reading Environment’ (1991) now it is printed as a double book with Aidan’s other publication ‘Tell Me’. This slim volume talked more sense about how important the context for reading is than anything else I had come across. And, having used it in every classroom and staff room I have ever worked in, I feel like I practically know it off by heart. It is a source of great pride to all of us at CLPE that Aidan is one of our patrons at CLPE and we are so very grateful that he has agreed to write the Foreword to our new book. Our practice today owes him a great debt and his work is the inspiration for so much of what we do.

So, in our new book you will find information that will help you to understand the reading process and how children learn to read. You will find evidence and advice about the most effective teaching and the pedagogical approaches that will help you to ensure that your children become real, deep readers as well as information from our classroom based research that will help you to contextualize this subject knowledge. And throughout the book you will find practical ideas and recommendations about a wealth of texts that we know work with children throughout the primary age range. Books with stories, with poetry, with characters and with illustrations that will encourage engagement whoever you are and whatever your starting point. Texts that take you to new worlds and introduce you to new people – real and imagined, that help you to discover patterns and constructions in language and bring you new ideas and understanding. We can’t wait to share it with you.

Discover the book on Sage

Find out about our previous publications

Download our free What We Know Guides and Reading and Writing Scales