As a teacher I was interested in reading for pleasure from the outset. In my PGCE at Homerton College Cambridge, I was inspired by Morag Styles and her passion for children’s poetry and early in my career I was involved in a ‘Books Alive’ initiative with schools, libraries, authors and children in Medway. Later I was involved in developing County Guidelines for reading in Kent and helping run county wide reading events. Whilst involved in initial teacher education and CPD at Canterbury Christchurch University, I always sought to start every session by reading aloud some children’s literature.
Now as an academic at the Open University my work, which encompasses research, consultancy and teaching, still focuses on the pedagogies that support children’s volitional reading (and writing). I am also interested in teachers’ literate identities and practices and the relationship between these and the children’s emerging identities as readers and writers. I also research other aspects of creativity in education.
I have always been interested in the many pathways to becoming a reader, and as a teacher in inner London I emphasised the ‘big shapes’ of literacy over the small shapes. I have worked with the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) to promote reading for pleasure, and I was part of the English Education team at Roehampton University.
At the OU, My most recent research explored the impact on teachers and their teaching of the grammar element of the statutory test in spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) in English primary schools. I am currently researching the needs and the skills of OU students who have multiple languages. I am also supporting British Council research on the opportunities and challenges of English as the language of instruction in Ghana and India. I contribute to the OU's International Teacher Development projects, authoring Open Educational Resources collaboratively with local academics and teachers, most recently in Sierra Leone and India.