‘River Banks’, ‘Railway Children’ and ‘Rabbit Holes’: Using classics creatively in the primary classroom, recent research and practical perspectives

Anna Harrison, Amy Webster

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


What are ‘the classics’? How can we use them creatively in the classroom? These two key questions frame this workshop to enable teachers, trainee teachers and researchers to explore a group of texts that can contribute to a literary-focused curriculum. We begin by presenting recent research into ‘series of classics’, exploring key trends, unusual anomalies and interesting developments in the books that publishers have labelled ‘classics’. Following this, we showcase some whole school projects using classic texts. These projects were successful because of the immersive reading practices used and the real audiences involved, both of which inspired children to feel empowered in their own authorship skills. We then consider how to apply this model and think about new ways of introducing children to classics including Alice in Wonderland and The Secret Garden. Using remediated adaptations, evocative illustrations and recommended abridged text versions, we enable participants space to explore how they might use different adaptations for reading, writing and drama work, as well as across the wider primary curriculum. Finally, we outline high quality editions of classic texts and consider their age appropriateness to help teachers structure a multi-layered whole school reading curriculum to include some ‘key classics’.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2018


  • Classic
  • Series
  • Adaptation
  • Children's Authorship
  • Creativity

Cite this