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School effectiveness

BookWrites teaching sequences and texts that teach

A dancing blue book holds a green pen with the logo BookWrites: using real texts to teach writingEach teaching sequence is based around a core text (one of our texts that teach), and follows a three-part structure: Learning About the Text, Practising Writing and Independent Writing.

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Before beginning to plan, we strongly recommend teachers note the ‘writerly knowledge’ needed for a successful writing outcome, beginning always by identifying the intended effect of the model text before investigating in some detail the elements of grammar, vocabulary and text structure that help to create this.

Familiarity with the full potential of a text means teachers can better focus on elements that will have the biggest impact on their children’s learning.

You can download a blank copy of our ‘Writerly Knowledge Chart’, or you might like to have a go at ‘The Rectangles Thing’ – a template from the North Yorkshire Education Services English Team.

Outcome and elicitation


This section suggests a description of what the children will have written by the end of the sequence.

Elicitation task

This is a writing task that can be used to identify starting points for the text type. It needs to be completed before the children start the sequence so that their writing can be analysed and the sequence adapted in light of the children’s needs.

Support should be given in terms of the content to be written about but not how it is written. Tasks need to be engaging and the children need to have something to say.

This writing is used alongside the outcome to identify progress across the sequence. (See our free writing assessment grids for each primary phase.)

Medium-term plan and age-related learning outcomes

The medium-term plan lists the objectives from England’s national curriculum that are covered in the sequence. Age-related learning outcomes are detailed criteria about what the children will have used in their writing to help teachers make judgements about the writing.

There are statements for ‘expected’ and ‘greater depth’. They are expressed with the impact first and the device second, for example:

  • persuade by positioning the reader through the use of adverbs, or
  • signal to the reader when things happened through the use of time adverbials

Learning About the Text

The purpose of this stage is to capture the children’s interest and help them get to know the text really well. This is through both ‘reading as a reader’ – exploring and sharing personal responses to what they read – and through ‘reading as a writer’ – recognising and investigating the features the writer uses to engage and manipulate the reader.

It often will involve some form of learning and remembering of trickier or interesting sections to be used as an initial model for writing.

Each sequence will contain some or all of:

  • a hook into the text
  • reading and responding to the text
  • comprehension activities
  • retelling the text
  • talking about the text
  • in role in the text/drama
  • vocabulary work
  • analysing the text
  • grammar in context
  • identifying the structure of the text

These activities often contain some element of writing to record process, outcome or learning.

Practising Writing

During this stage, children need to try out the elements of writing they are less sure of so that they can use this experience when writing independently. This means they need opportunities to play around with the language and structures they’ve been learning about and will be supported by their teacher(s).

In teaching sequences, this section tends to include:

  • generating ideas to write about and one idea chosen
  • a shared activity to generate content for the chosen content
  • recording key ideas alongside the structure of the text
  • telling and talk to generate the text
  • story mapping the text where necessary

Shared writing supports:

  • modelling writing the text, usually in sections applying learning from the first phase
  • children writing their own version of the text using the class idea
  • editing writing
  • proof-reading writing

Independent Writing

Children choose their own content to write about and collect ideas. These can then be recorded on the text structure chart as one method of planning, but individual sequences may suggest a number of alternative ways to plan and organise a piece of writing.

Children write their text using proofreading and editing to improve it.

The writing is compared with the elicitation task to identify where progress has been made so that it is clear to the child.

We work closely with our English Ambassador Schools to explore and share practice when planning, teaching and assessing sequences of work.

Read case studies about how teachers have used and adapted teaching sequences for their classes:

A commentary of planning and teaching decisions – whole school approach
Amy explains how, at Ilfracombe C of E Junior School, teachers have refined their use of English teaching sequences in line with agreed principles, and to include direct vocabulary instruction.

How to adapt teaching sequences for mixed reception and year one
Sharon, from Rackenford C of E Primary School, describes how she has taken the principles and process of English teaching sequences and applied these to planning for a mixed age reception and year 1 class, updating an older sequence to suit the needs of her children.