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Who plans through novels in Year 5?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Gratzia, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. Gratzia

    Gratzia New commenter

    I read the other post about planning through novels in Year 6 and have used the same approach as Minnieminx in the past.
    In my school, Year 6 is the only class which plans and teaches Literacy through novels in order to cover all that is needed in preparation for SATs. I experienced this and how well it worked last year.
    Now I am in Year 5 and would like to plan with the same approach but I know our Literacy co-ordinator will disagree (comments have been made before about how other year groups should stick to the units). If the Year 5 objectives are being covered, I personally cannot see how it will be a problem - it means I can plan and teach for narrative aswell as non-narrative as I did in Year 6.
    Do any other teachers plan this way in Year 5 and if so, do you find it easy to plan with less genres etc. than in Year 6 (by that I mean because they have all the revision stuff to do aswell). Hope you know what I mean!
    I would really appreciate your comments.

  2. I've done this in Year 5, not for the entire year - some stuff has been stand alone. My favourite one we did was Sector 7 by David Weisner. It's a picture book but the kids loved it, we covered descriptive writing, variety of report writing (diarys, incident reports, newspapers, etc) and did loads of drama. I don't see any reason to stick to the strategy now the numeracy one has been pulled from the website. As long as we're covering the objectives and the kids are enjoying it I don't see the problem - and as of September I'm the Literacy Co-ordinator!
  3. spmills

    spmills New commenter

    Hi Gratzia,
    I taught year 6 last year and began working from a novel post SATs. It was such a huge success that I am now continuing the approach in year 5. We are starting with Street Child and cover a range of different genres of writing from instructions to poetry. It is also relevant to our topic work which is Victorians!
    I already have my novel ready for next half term too - 'Stargate' which will fit with our topic of 'Space'.
    As you say, so long as the objectives are being covered, and because it works so well in year 6, I don't see why you cannot plan Literacy in this way. At the end of the day, you have the children's best interests in mind and I am sure feel that they will get more out of learning in this way!
  4. Just out of curiosity - how do you organise this with the class - What i mean is do you read the texts as a shared read/class novel, or a chapter then work linked to that? Do you read the texts in Literacy or outside of the sessions? etc.

  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I'm assuming you are a one form entry school. In that case you will have to discuss with the literacy co-ord whether sticking to the units is mandatory at your school or just the preferred option. If the lit co-ord is adamant that you use the units then there is nothing you can do. If they are happy to let you do as you please, but don't especially like it, then go with the novels.

    You will need to go with a clear outline of how you will cover all objectives and aspects of the NC and how you will ensure children have experience of all that they should. Also maybe a book list that shows you can cover all the required genres without using the same ones as year 6. Plan the first book in outline and show how brilliant it will be and then approach the lit co-ord.

    Good Luck.
  6. spmills

    spmills New commenter

    Just out of curiosity - how do you organise this with the class - What i mean is do you read the texts as a shared read/class novel, or a chapter then work linked to that? Do you read the texts in Literacy or outside of the sessions? etc.

    The book will cover the whole of the first half-term (7weeks) therefore we read as a class novel. I am fortunate that my school has purachased enough of these books for 1 between 2 therefore we do a range of shared, guided and indepdenent reading using the book. I base writing activities on what has happened in the chapters read in that session, for example, in one chapter in Street Child it introduces Rosie as the cook, who happens to be making bread at the time, therefore I cover instructions for bread making etc. I only read the text in Literacy however, do refer to it regulalry in topic where it fits.
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I read them a chapter, or part of chapter, and then we do some work linked to that. Then the next bit and then the next and so on. Sometimes more than one chapter. And very occasionally a whole lesson just me reading to them...sounds dreadful, but they love it! Having year 6 sitting on the carpet, sharing cushions and blankets, mesmerised by a story for nearly an hour is a lovely experience. (Never tried it for an observation though....)

    I always read within literacy.
  8. I've taught through a novel for some time now and it works very well for me. No stupid framework to look at, I use the novel as a stimulus for writing and reading, as well as a lot of drama. The children are immersed in the book and the topic and find real purpose to writing. I taught "Heaven Eyes" (David Almond) with Y6 and covered every variety of writing quite easily within the term. The children loved acting as the characters, and we wrote instructions on building a raft, character descriptions, news reports, etc all from the book.
    I also used Stig of the Dump for a Y3/4 class.
    This approach may not work for everyone, but it makes learning English so much more fun and stimulating and enjoyable (and more fun to teach) so I'd recommend anyone have a stab at it.
    Better than: "This is a persuasive text. Now we are going to do 4 weeks looking at what a persuasive text is. Let's read a persuasive text...zzzzzz"
  9. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I teach virtually all of my English lessons through class novels, other than grammar lessons. I would find any other way extremely boring.
    The Literacy Framework has some additional text-based units for Y5...I think Street Child, There's A Boy In The Girls' Bathroom and The Highwayman. They're not brilliant, but have a look to get some ideas as to how to plan and teach from books.
  10. I use some from the framework, boy in the girls bathroom and the street child. I use some whole class reading, use the same book in guded reading and also at the end of the day etc.
    In response to OP just tell your literacy coordinator that the units no longer exist and you are covering the National Curriculum, which is the only compulsory thing you need to teach.
    I like to cover Non fiction through the novels. We linked topic work to the fiction also, street child linked with victorian topic etc.
    Cover most genre of writing in with any novel. Diaries from characters point of view, reports from events in the story, non chronological reports about text etc.
    Stick to your guns. Agree with the literacy coordinator and then do your own thing.
  11. Hi all
    I am a new teacher and I would really like to teach literacy based on novels. I can see the advantages. However, I do not have the confidence as yet. Also I am dyslexic and although I love reading to the children I find it hard to fit reading into the timetable. I also get a little anxious that they are bored by my reading. As I am concerntrating on the reading rather than on how I sound. I was going to stick to the literacy framework taken from lancs grid for learning but could try a different approach later in the year. Has anyone got any tips, firstly on how to fit reading into the timetable and secondly how to make sure my reading is interesting and engaging to listen to?
    I'm doing space this term so although I might not use 'stargate' in literacy I could use it as a class read also who is by?
  12. Thank you everyone :)
    Any advice on good texts to use for a text based approach to revision?
    I might add that i have taught text based units before, for Macbeth and Fantastic Mr. Fox, but wondered how you manage this long term as i was always torn between reading the text in the lesson itself or as a class novel at the end of the day and then using that to follow up with work the next day.
  13. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Both! Just read the books and inspire the children to love literature!
    If it is important to you then you will be able to fit it in. Both year 6 teachers and one year 5 teacher managed it more or less daily in our school last year, the other year 5 teacher couldn't 'fit it in'.

    You could always make it a treat for your more able readers to read to the class until you feel a little more confident. Or you could read poems. Read the poem at home the night before or during lunchtime, so you are familiar with the words and then take a deep breath and go for it in class. Build up to full on reading to your class gradually.
  14. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Agree with minnie. Get to know your text well and practise. Reading a story well is a real skill and something that comes with time. Don't be afraid to put loads of expression into it - the kids won't judge you, and in fact will appreciate it. Try not to rush. Take your time. And try to enjoy yourself!
  15. Gratzia

    Gratzia New commenter

    Wow, thanks everyone. This post has inspired me to carry out what I know works well.
    Teaching through novels in Year 5, here I come!!!
    As I said earlier, it worked really well in Year 6 last year and the children really enjoyed it - they couldn't wait for the next chapter and the activities that came with it. It was great for APP aswell due to so many text types being covered in one novel.
    Year 5 are in for a treat and I'm actually looking forward to my planning now! Don't think I'll say anything to Lit. Co-ord.
    The other posts mentioned time for reading and confidence. Like the other teachers have said, I varied it, e.g. the beginning of a lesson, the plenary in preparation for the next lesson, last 20 mins of the day and any other time if possible - if the novel is good then the children can't wait to hear it. As regarding the confidence to read, You have to read the whole novel anyway in order to plan the work but then I always read each chapter again before I read it to the children and when you read it again the next year for a new class, it sound even better. I have also allowed the children to read parts aswell.
    OK which novel will I start with?!!!

  16. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I always find There's A Boy in the Girls' Bathroom is a good one for the start of Y5. Relatively short, very accessible (very funny), very boy-friendly and lots of PSHE type issues relevant to the start of the year - friendships, fitting in, etc.
    Having said that, I'm starting with Goodnight Mr Tom this year, as it fits into our WW2 topic.
  17. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Our Y5 studied The Secret Garden last term and were really captivated
  18. Gratzia

    Gratzia New commenter

    Yes, 'There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom' would be a great one to start with but I've decided to keep that for the Spring term (stories from other cultures). I want to link it to Victorians in the first half term so I've decided on 'Streetchild'. The Secret Garden would have been great but I have no resources for that novel.
  19. You are probably better than you think you are. If you enjoy reading the book, the children will enjoy listening to you - they will be sold on your enthusiasm. Just believe in yourself. If you can complete years of teacher training, you can read a book out loud to some children.
  20. terri1972

    terri1972 New commenter

    Hi. I completed the GTP in year 5 last year. We used Esiotrot, The Spiderwick Chronicles and The Highwayman (I know - a narrative poem, not a novel LOL), and The Family from One End Street (as Gratzia said, links with Victorians theme).

    Ooh, and for our guided reading book we had "The Graveyard Book". Talk about children being engaged..we could never wait for the next time we could pick it up!! Lol


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