UKLA is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2023 Academic Book Award

A wide range of submissions for the Academic Book Award have been received again this year.

These include reports of research projects into literacy and disadvantage, literacy development throughout school life and toddlers reading movies, as well as practical guidance for the teaching of literacy, aspects of literature and independent learning. Faced with a challenging task, after critical consideration of all titles, the judging panel selected five books for the shortlist. These all make unique contributions to the field. Each covers a different aspect of literacy education. Two deal principally with the development of reading. While both draw on research into encouraging reading for pleasure, Rosemary and David Waugh offer guidance on use of literature within the curriculum and Cremin et al present clear voices from the classroom. Clements also explores relevant research and practical guidance for teachers, but his focus is on writing, putting children’s interests central. Focusing on specific aspects of teaching literature, Enser offers a new approach on how to teach Shakespeare, while Pindyck, Vinz and Wittchow suggest a different framework for exploring and responding to poetry.

The shortlist was chosen by the UKLA Awards Committee. The final panel will be chaired by Gabrielle Cliff-Hodges, Retired Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Cambridge Faculty of Education.

The winner will be announced at the UKLA International Conference July 2023

Shortlist: UKLA Academic Book Award 2023

James Clements, On the Write track (Routledge)

Teresa Cremin, Helen Hendry, Lucy Rodriguez Leon, Natalia Kucirkova Reading Teachers Routledge

Zoe Ensor, Bringing Forth the Bard: A guide to teaching Shakespeare in the English classroom (Crown House Publishing Ltd)

Maya Pindyck, Ruth Vin, Diana Liu, Ashlynn Wittchow, A Poetry Pedagogy for Teachers (Bloomsbury

Rosemary Waugh & David Waugh, Integrating Children’s Literature in the Classroom (Open University Press)

On the Write Track James Clements (Routledge)

This book presents a comprehensive guide to teaching writing across the Primary age group, placing children’s interests and motivation at the heart of writing and dealing with many of the issues that inhibit young writers.

There is a spotlight on research in each chapter followed by detailed advice and class case studies on each aspect. Encouraging teachers to be reflective and innovative, it includes a wide selection of resources and ideas to promote this, as well as offering information and support which will enable teachers to help children become confident and successful writers. It is very accessible and will be an excellent resource for all teachers in the Primary sector.

Reading Teachers Teresa Cremin, Helen Hendry, Lucy Rodriguez Leon, Natalia Kucirkova (Routledge)

Offering a summary of the Reading for Pleasure research in recent years, this book demonstrates how teachers who are motivated, engaged and reflective readers themselves, can develop new understandings of reading for pleasure and make a difference to young learners.

A range of research evidence is drawn from studies of reading teachers, dis/engaged boy readers, student teachers as readers and schools developing communities of readers. With its case studies of how practitioners have used research to inform and improve their practice, ‘In conversation’ dialogues between educators about classroom practice that fosters positive reader identities and recommended reading and suggestions of engaging children’s books, the book provides an accessible overview of international research as well as a practical classroom focus.

Supporting practitioners to develop principled practice, which will help children find pleasure and purpose in reading, the volume is essential reading for teachers, head teachers, literacy coordinators and trainee teachers. Although mainly drawing on research in primary schools, it could also be of interest to secondary schools seeking to develop a ethos of reading for pleasure.

Bringing Forth the Bard: A Guide to Teaching Shakespeare in the English Classroom

Zoe Enser (Crown House Publishing Ltd)

This book offers a refreshing new take on how to approach Shakespeare. Holistically minded, it looks at how students’ understandings can be enhanced by considering wider aspects, from the positioning of women in the Renaissance period to the use of critical theory to unpick the character of Lady Macbeth.

Ideal for new and experienced teachers alike, there is plenty of scope to develop practice. Whilst it may appear to be best suited to those who teach older pupils, children of the primary years will enjoy creating their own Shakespearean insults and will find familiarity when making links to folklore and fairy tales. Accessibly written with clear sections on why, what and how to teach it, it is further supported with applications to the classroom and an extensive bibliography and list of resources.

A Poetry Pedagogy for Teachers

Maya Pindyck and Ruth Vinz, with Diana Liu and Ashlynn Wittchow (Bloomsbury)

Pindyck and Vinz structure their interesting approach to the teaching of poetry around Wallace Stevens’ 1954 imagist poem, “Thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird”. “Teaching” poetry may be the wrong word as their pedagogy is one which “continuously Lets] the Poem Do the Teaching”.

Headings such as “The Quiet and Not-So-Quiet in Poems” or “On Spaces of Wonder and Bewilderment” are indications of the approach. The authors argue that experience of reading, or saying, poetry is central, while the avoidance of any approach which sees poems as puzzles to be solved or the sites of techniques to be spotted is to be avoided.

Within this framework, the writers offer a discursive account of the experience of poetry in a wide variety of settings, including group or shared approaches to poetry writing and discussion. Most of the chosen examples are of poetry written in the U.S.A., including contemporary work, and with older students. Nevertheless, this is a compelling and refreshing approach.

Integrating Children’s literature in the Classroom: Insights for the Primary and Early Years

Educator Rosemary and David Waugh (Open University Press)

This book is essential reading for primary school teachers at all levels to encourage reading for pleasure and to enhance reading across the curriculum.

Based on their sound, diverse and inclusive research the authors include explanations of relevant theory and case studies of what exceptional teachers of reading do in their classrooms that makes a difference. Each chapter begins with explicit learning outcomes and clearly identified links to the Teachers’ Standards and the National Curriculum. Learning Outcomes are reviewed at the end of each chapter and the authors provide helpful suggestions ‘For Your Bookshelf.’ Book recommendations include examples of contemporary and classic children’s literature and anthologies of poetry. “Questions for Discussion’ at the end of each chapter encourage reflection and could provide useful structure for teachers’ professional development within whole school strategic planning.

The authors see children’s literature as an intrinsic pleasure and emphasise the importance of the development of teachers’ own knowledge of children’s literature in order to develop a richer approach to teaching and learning.

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