Language Play and Children's Literacy

January 2021
More details
  • Publisher
    UCL IOE Press
  • Published
    21st January 2021
  • ISBN 9781782772804
  • Language English
  • Pages 290 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"

Language play occurs when people manipulate language in some way, often for fun and always for impact. Alliteration, unexpected vocabulary, phrases that deliberately provoke thought each have impact and appear in all types of writing, whether factual, literary or persuasive. Language play is evident throughout life too: from simple word repetition in the early years, to the rhymes of primary school poetry and the mischievous metaphors in adult journalism. Yet the importance of such play for children's developing literacy rarely has the attention it deserves. This book places it center-stage.

Using examples from real-life settings, and from the writing of children’s authors and children themselves, Language Play and Children's Literacy explores the nature of language and what it does. The authors explore language play from the past and from overseas, and look at the changes in language play brought about by digital and multi-modal environments. They show how language play may be used for different purposes, in early childhood, in children’s literature and poetry, in children's narrative and non-narrative writing, and in the use of grammar and punctuation. The book ends with an invaluable A to Z resource bank of readily usable activities that may quickly be adapted for use in schools and homes.

Language Play and Children's Literacy celebrates the contribution of language play to children's understanding and enjoyment of how language can be used playfully, and sometimes provocatively, throughout their lives.

Foreword, by David Crystal
1. Language play and its features
2. Language play in early childhood
3. Language play and children’s literature
4. Language play and children’s narrative writing
5. Language play in poetry for and by children
6. Language play and children’s non-narrative writing
7. Language play in the use of grammar
8. Language play in the use of punctuation
9. Language play A to Z
List of children’s literature referred to in the text
List of poetry anthologies referred to in the text

Roger Beard

Roger Beard is Emeritus Professor of Primary Education at the University College London Institute of Education.

Andrew Burrell

Andrew Burrell is an experienced early years and primary school teacher, and is co-editor of "Promoting Children's Wellbeing."

early childhood; literacy; children's literature; word games; poetry; grammar; punctuation; vocabulary