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How do you plan literacy?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by juicy274, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. I am in my second year of teaching and I feel like I still don't know how to plan effectively for literacy. I find the framework very difficult to use, teaching everything through a specific genre. I feel like last year's class didn't make as must progress as they could of because I just wasn't teaching them anything useful. How do you build in all the puctuation / grammar they need to learn? How do you build up to writing a story? How do you teach the genre stuff? I find it all so difficult, I don't find the scholastic lesson plans or the hamilton trust very useful. There seems to be alot of the genre focus stuff but all the skills are missing. There is alot of speaking and listening and my school has inisted that the children should have a piece of written work at the end of every lesson.
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I tend to use the old fashioned, word and sentence level starters for the grammar/spelling etc content and build up to a piece of writing eg intro planning 1 lesson, next writing up, main part and then ending both planned then written up. Then use peer assessment/buddy marking to spot each other's mistakes and build in next teaching around common mistakes.
    Hope that helps a little.
  3. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    Grammar for Writing might help you create some structure to your Literacy Lessons, I think you can download it all.
    After years of fannying about, I now tend to do one lesson a week on spelling, one on grammar, and the other three on 'creative', ie, by the third lesson they will have written something in their books.
  4. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    This is a symptom of the new framework, and one I could see coming a mile off. Whilst the old strategy was far from perfect, the sentence and word level stuff was implicit for each year group, meaning you knew in theory what you should have been teaching. Moving onto the new framework wasn't too bad for experienced teachers, who knew the grammar and spelling that would still need to be taught, but I really feel for new teachers who'd have no idea what to teach in this respect.
    As lardylegs says, the GfW stuff is still excellent. One of the few DfES publications that has stood the test of time; the learning objectives are spot on, the resources and suggested activites are generally very good and it's all broken down into year groups.
    You used to be able to download it from the strategies site, but I'm not sure if it's still available. Have a search for it, or there should be someone at your school who has it. Check with your English co-ordinator. There should be something in place for planning grammar and spelling anyway, so go and give them a nudge. The APP strands are also good for picking apart and identfying next steps as well.
    There are some excellent resources on tes and Primary Resources as well.

  5. dobby

    dobby New commenter

    I also found this to be a huge problem and I've gone back to the old National Literacy Strategy and photocopied the Sentence and Word Level work. It isn't online any more but every teacher had a folder so there should be some still floating about in your school.
    I use these alongside the Framework and tend to have a starter (bit like an M&O starter in maths which is either Spelling or Grammar related) so I make sure that they are covered over the course of a year.
    As well as Grammar for Writing there is the Spelling Bank resource which is still available to download and has some great ideas and word banks for spelling rules.
    Hope that helps
  6. I understand completely what you are talking about after using the framework sometimes you find you are forgetting the grammar/spelling aspects. Like someone else here I have started teaching these explicitly and seperately, you can still link sentence work to your main topic of writing.....

    I prefer NLS definitely and sometimes use GFW - its more structured. Do what you gota do and what you feel comfortable with...
    Good luck
  7. Thank you everyone. I have downloaded the Grammar for Writing documents and had a quick look. It looks like what I am currently lacking in my literacy lessons, so it should be a big help. I will ask about the national literacy strategy at school tomorrow and see if I can get my hands on a copy.
    Thank you, I shall certainly try and build in some grammar starters and some sentence level work in my myths and legends planning this week!
  8. lallsop679

    lallsop679 New commenter

    Hi, where can I get all of the word and sentence level objectives from? Thanks
  9. JumpingStarfish

    JumpingStarfish New commenter

    I tend to use the framework as a 'guideline' and plan using the objectives but not always the strict structure of the different genres. I also use APP to see where their gaps in sentence structure/grammar is and include it in the lessons where I can. Grammar starters are always a good idea. My way isn't perfect, but its a whole lot easier than forcing my lessons to fit the framework!
  10. I suggest that you have a look at your time allotted to literacy and divide it up into basic skills (phonics, spelling, grammar) and higher order/genre stuff.
    Then, you really need a regular half hour spot every day for the basic stuff and two or three much longer sessions per week for your higher order/genre stuff.
    Then, you need a thorough approach to teaching spelling and grammar and not just 'discovery' learning. Get it TAUGHT - there is so much to do!
  11. How do you build in all the puctuation / grammar they need to learn?
    Through shared writing/expert writer/guided reading and writing sessions. What your class/groups are poor at, would be your focus, and of course, additional sessions, linked to cross curricular content.
    How do you build up to writing a story?
    I know from reading some previous threads, some people dont rate the framework, but the phases are pretty explicit on how to build up to a writing outcome - surely they are worth a look for inspiration at least? Talk for Writing is something we are getting on board with and the strategies and ideas are making a huge difference to our children.
    How do you teach the genre stuff?
    Through shared reading/book talk, lots of "real books" for the children to read and use as a model, looking at text structure, organisation, and features and read the children lots of examples of the genre you want them to write in.
    Speaking and Listening is great - if they cant speak it, then they cant write it - but i would find having a writing outcome at the end of every session impossible to do and not at all relevant, especially during phase 1. I'd be happy to share some sample planning if you think it might be useful (year 1, 2 or 4 i've got)
    Could you speak to your Lit co and share any of your concerns?


  12. Thank GOODNESS it's not just me!! When I trained (2009-2010) everyone seemed to be in limbo and like you say, the ones who were confident and knew what needed to be taught just got on with it. But I honestly feel like I have no idea what I'm meant to teach them!
    I'm half way through my second year as well, and I feel like I 'got away with' a lot last year. They definitely didn't make as much progress as they could have done last year.
    I feel like i'm constantly just guessing at what I'm supposed to teach them; bit of connectives today?...maybe some paragraphs?... I feel sorry for the kids because I feel like I'm confusing them/asking them to do things that is too abstract and way over their heads. Or, we just get going and then there's only 10 mins to write after I've gone on and on about 'character's intent and motivations behind behaviour' really doesn't seem like it's what they need...
    Like you say, I don't feel like I teach them any grammer, punctuation is just something we seem to talk about and I constantly feel like I'm making really tenuous links to give them some purpose for writing. Mine are year 4 so are past the initial physical process of writing, but I really feel like I don't know how to shape what they're doing...
    Has it got any better for you? Any tips?
  13. Chirimolla

    Chirimolla New commenter

    I know what you mean! I'm almost at the end of my PGCE and the input we got on Literacy planning from the university was pretty much nothing. I think they assumed the national strategies are dead and our placement schools will teach us all we need to know about planning. Wishful thinking.

    I've found this helpful:


    You'll also need to look at the planning section of the resources page:


    I hope this helps,

    Good Luck!
  14. Agree with Paperchase. Would say exactly the same. Modelled/shared writing is crucial. Re talk for writing- have a look at Pie Corbett and storymaking. He has written some great books for fiction and non fiction which will help you to understand how to use it to teach all strands through this approach if it interests you.
  15. I feel exactly the same about planning literacy. I am fine with planning lessons when I know what objectives to teach the children, but I don't actually know where to find the objectives I should teach them for each unit ensuring I include grammar and spelling work etc.

  16. I could cry reading this, I really could. It is shameful that your universities, and now you SMTs and LIt subject leaders are failing you like this. If you were at my school, I would advise you strongly to teach what the children need. From your initial assessments of writing and reading you will get a feel for the class. Mark the writing using whatever your school advocates (be that APP or the Portsmouth grids etc) but don't get too bogged down in the nitty gritty at this stge. Mark with the 'biggies' in mind. EG/ if you are marking y4s - how are they at structuring work into paragraphs? WHat is their use of connectives like? Are they using descriptive phrases etc? (Your mark criteria will guide you on this). Once marked, you can gain a common thread that the majority of your class need. (eg/ varying sentence types ) and this will be your main focus in your next unit. Try then to group your children according to need - some may need some extra work on basic punctuation - there is a guided group. Another may need stretching and introducing to a new type of sentence (perhaps drop clause) - another guided group etc. Then choose one of your year group genres that you can teach these objectives through. Use the phases model from the new strategy (immerse in reading, talk talk talk talk, model model model etc) remembering you can write little bits every day - additional and incidental writes to get to your desired outcome - perhaps 3 weeks later. Mark it, set your targets, and the whole dance begins again. You should see them progressing up your level criteria.

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