Julie Beams

Senior Lecturer - School of Education and English Language, University of Bedfordshire
V2 Photo CFP 122

Julie Beams

Senior Lecturer - School of Education and English Language, University of Bedfordshire


I am currently a senior lecturer in Early Childhood Education at the University of Bedfordshire, and have co-ordinated and taught on Early Years Teacher Status, undergraduate and Foundation Degree programmes of study. Prior to this, I have been a local authority advisory teacher in two different local education authorities and a Children, Centre teacher, and have had a number of teaching and leadership roles in primary schools and day nursery provision.

Speaker: Julie Beams
Co-Author: Abigail Gosling

From Website to Bookshelf. The importance of engaging in multi-modal activities for writing and reading

Conceptualisation of the website to bookshelf concept
Importance of engaging in multimodal activities for writing and reading
Outline of the research methodology and findings
Implications for practice
Future areas for research”

Children owning their own books has an impact on attainment and reading enjoyment (Clark, 2011; Clark and Poulton, 2011), and reading for pleasure has an impact on children’s engagement (Cremin et al, 2018). Studies suggest that teaching which encourages creative activities around texts has positive consequences on reading competences (Cummins, 2012) and meeting with different types of writing genres and being able to experience and process the genre is very important (Damber, 2010). For formal teaching research shows that it is important to have a balance between activities that aim to develop both the technical and creation of meaning sides of reading and writing (Snow & Juel, 2005; Taube et al., 2015). Changes in reading media have meant that readers are undergoing changes in reading habits, and interest in using digital technologies for writing and reading is growing apace.

The research looks at the use of a web based writing programme to support children’s authorship and ownership of printed books to encourage writing and reading at school. The conceptualisation of ‘from website to bookshelf’ offers a hybrid model bringing together writing and reading as children write their texts in class and receive their authored printed book at the end of the program

The research was located in 10 schools in the north of England. Participants’ views of the Topic Heroes programme were measured through the use of interviews and questionnaires designed to capture largely qualitative data. School staff and coaches were interviewed before the Topic Heroes programme was introduced to the children, to gauge their perceptions of how children would respond to it. They were re-interviewed once the programme had been in use in their schools. Children’s views were sought through questionnaires which aimed to elicit their views about writing prior to Topic Heroes and after they had had some experience of the programme.