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Literacy Curriculum: Writing


The Millfield curriculum is separated into fiction writing and non-fiction writing.


Each half term, the expectation is that the children will complete one unit of fiction and one unit of non-fiction writing.


The non-fiction writing should have cross curricular links to Topic or Science.


Over the year, the children will then complete:


  • 6 fiction pieces of writing
  • 3 topic linked pieces of writing
  • 3 science linked pieces of writing


This is only a blueprint suggestion however. If the half term was only 4 weeks long, it would not be a possible to fit two units of work in. In this instance, the teacher would use their discretion to choose what unit of work was most required.


Key Stage 1


In Key stage 1, all work is collated into one book to add to the cross curricular nature of the planning. Writing is done on worksheets/lined paper and stuck into this work book.




In Key Stage 1, fiction writing is based upon a text/visual literacy. The main focus of this is to study the text and write relevant sentences. Once coherent sentences are being written with full stops and capital letters, teachers can begin extending sentences with conjunctions, adjectives, better vocabulary and ‘with’ for extended noun phrases. Even at this level, descriptive sentences about a character or a text are still relevant.


Although much of the writing will be similar, texts should be changed regularly to keep the interest for children. For year 1, this may be twice a week leading to once a week. For Year 2 this will be once a week to once a fortnight.


Once the year 2 children are writing coherent sentences and are ready (Teacher’s discretion), children to move onto using the green books (see Key Stage 2).



See Key Stage 2.


Key Stage 2/later stages of Year 2




Fiction writing is not completed in a traditional literacy book. Instead, each unit is completed in its own small workbook. These workbooks, when completed, will comprise of all the teaching of the unit and the child’s first draft of their independent writing. The finished piece is then copied up into neat and added to their writing folder. This small booklet is called the green book.


There are three different types of literacy lesson for teaching fiction writing.


  • (3) Experience lessons – where children gain knowledge/understanding and a word bank on a subject before they write about it
  • (8) Sentence stacking lessons – where children learn how to write using different literary devices such as alliteration, simile, powerful use of adjectives etc
  • (8) Independent lessons – where the children take what they have learnt and apply the devices to their own writing.


There is no set structure for how you organise these lessons into a unit of work, and depends greatly upon when experience days would be best used. Also, the number of experience and independent lessons may change. Below is an example of a unit of work.










Sentence stacking 1

Sentence stacking 2


Sentence stacking 3


Sentence stacking 4


Sentence stacking 5

Sentence stacking 6

Sentence stacking 7


Sentence stacking 8












Text selection:


Any book/film has the potential to be used as a basis to teach writing. The most important element to consider is whether you enjoy the book, as your passion will be important for the children when they begin to write. The teachers have the choice of text that they use but should look to see where cross curricular links can be made. i.e. Year 3 Topic unit of Stone Age could be done in collaboration with Stone Age Boy by Satoshi Kitamura.


Teachers should also try to include a range of the following in their book choices over the year.


  • Archaic text
  • Shakespeare play
  • Links to other subjects
  • Stories by well-known authors
  • Stories by the same author – linked to previous years
  • Sequels to books done in previous years
  • Traditional tales
  • Stories from other cultures
  • Poetry/ballads
  • Picture books
  • Novels – extracts


Once the teacher has selected the book that they would like to use, they must take 8 plot points (key moments) from the book to use in their teaching.


These plot points form the moments where the teacher can teach key skills through modelling.  It is conventional to use 8 plot points but teachers can use their discretion and do more/ less for any number of reasons, e.g. short half term, short story purpose. Please note that for a long novel, you would take an extract only from the novel and then pick 8 plot points from the extract, not from the entire book.


These plot point lessons are taught to the children through sentence stacking lessons.




Sentence stacking:


Sentence stacking lessons are made up of 3 parts:


  • Initiate – This is where the children and the teacher bank vocabulary to use in the sentence. Many times this will be synonyms to broaden their vocabulary but could also include adjectives, prepositions etc
  • Model – The teacher then takes some of the words collected and models a sentence using the focus device, e.g. a sentence with pathetic fallacy, commas in a list etc
  • Enable – This is where the children use the teacher’s modelled sentence to create their own. They may swap some of the words for words from their own word bank but should always be encouraged to attempt their own spin on the sentence however, the focus, i.e. metaphor or adverbial opener etc, should always be maintained.


This process should take 20 minutes in total. This process is then repeated twice so that over the lesson the children have banked words, observed high quality modelling and then written 3 sentences. The fast pace of the lesson is important.


SEN and lower ability:


This strategy for writing has been shown to be extremely effective but relies upon the children being able to write a coherent sentence independently and with confidence. For the children who cannot do this yet, we created the yellow books.


The Yellow books follow the same plot points as the rest of the class but are structured around practising writing sentences. The children still join in with the initiate and modelling sections of the lesson, so our participants to the key teaching and discussion but when it comes to the independent write, their sentences differ. There are 3 ‘plot point relevant’ sentences that the children complete:


  • 1st sentence - Copy – This is a handwriting exercise where the children see a modelled sentence that they copy to practise forming a coherent sentence with full stops and capital letters.
  • 2nd sentence – Construct – This is a jumbled sentence that the children must sort into the correct order by identifying the word with the capital letter to go first and then building a coherent sentence.
  • 3rd sentence – Create – This is where the children create a sentence, much like the majority of the class. This last sentence is where the teacher can monitor progress and judge when the child can move from the yellow book to the green book.


This work is then marked in line with the school feedback policy and issues are addressed with individuals or the class as appropriate.


Experience lessons:


Experience lessons provide the children with opportunities to learn about a subject before they write about it. For example, in the unit of work ‘A Crow’s tale’ by Naomi Howarth, in plot point 2 the children are expected to write about the hardships animals have in winter but without researching this issue, the children would not be able to fully portray how difficult a time it can be.


Experience lessons can also be used to engage the children and get them hooked onto the text before you begin. In the text ‘Tuesday’ by David Weisner, the classroom is set up with multiple lily pads strewn all over the floor and furniture and the children begin by speculating what happened.


Experience lessons can come in many forms:


  • Researching
  • Trips
  • Hot-seating
  • Drama
  • A prepared scene
  • Outdoor learning
  • Films
  • Music




Non-fiction writing is completed in a similar way to fiction writing except that there are 4 different lessons to the unit rather than 3.


  • (2) Find the shape lessons – These lessons are about showing the children what format the non-fiction writing takes, e.g. how to set out a letter, etc.
  • (3) Experience lessons – where children gain knowledge/understanding and a word bank on a subject before they write about it
  • (3) Sentence stacking lessons – where children are shown modelling of how to write the non-fiction text
  • (4) Independent lessons – where the children take what they have learnt and apply the devices to their own writing.







Find the shape lesson:

Find the shape lesson:



 Sentence stacking:


 Sentence stacking:

Sentence stacking:


Independent write:




Independent write:

Independent write:

Independent write:




Each half term, the teacher must chose whether to link the non-fiction writing to science or topic.




The non-fiction writing for science is a write up of a scientific experiment. The experiment would take place during science lessons and possibly literacy lessons but all writing would be completed during literacy. This maintains the purity of the science lessons as scientific knowledge and practical enquiry.


The write up format for science is enclosed in the science curriculum.




The many varied and exciting topics that we cover provide the children with a broad range of interesting stimuli to write about in literacy. We use these topics to write all non-fiction writing. This includes but is not limited to:


  • Newspapers
  • Letters
  • Dairies
  • Non-chronological reports
  • Instructions
  • Persuasive argument
  • Balanced argument


Children would gain a great deal of topical knowledge during the topic lessons, this would then be used during the literacy lessons to make sure that the writing was topically correct. It would be the teacher’s decision as to what type of non-fiction text would be the most appropriate to fit the topic.


Over the year, teachers should look to do a variety of non-fiction writing.  Below is an example of different non-fiction writing that could be done with different topics.



Piece 1 - Topic


Topic – Mining in Brownhills

Diary of a miner


Topic – Mining in Brownhills

Letter – informal, one miner writing back to his family about what he is doing.


Topic – Tudors

Instructions for making compost/potage


Topic – Canals

Balanced argument – New canal to link Brownhills and Brum but will have to lose some houses and Bradbury Park.


Topic – English Civil War –

Newspaper – bias

Same event with same facts but two different newspapers showing bias.


Geography – South America

Advertisement/persuasive -  Travel brochure with each child doing a different country





Literacy Curriculum - Reading


"A child who reads will be an adult who thinks."


We take great pride in our reading provision. Although we recognise the need to assess regularly and provide academic targets for reading, our main aim is to develop cohorts of curious and avid readers who truly enjoy getting lost in a good book! 


We see reading as one of the greatest pleasures in life and aim to ensure every child is provided with the skills necessary to enjoy reading. 


The mechanics of reading begin with the teaching of Phonics and this is delivered through Ruth Miskin Literacy (RML): In line with usual practice at Millfield, RML has been adapted in order to personalise it for our children as follows:


  • Phonic lessons last for 30 minutes.  Instead of doing RML writing, our writing is based on other texts and authors. This allows the children a wider breadth of influences. 
  • Elements of RML which are followed are: green words, red words, flashcards, RML reading books, speed words, spelling linked to focus sounds,  fine motor skills using different media and letter formation
  • Children are moved from group to group based on ongoing assessments of teachers
  • There is a fortnightly meeting of teachers and other practitioners to discuss RML groupings and to ensure they are still appropriate.


Nursery begin phonics in Spring term (dependent on the ability of the cohort and assessments from Autumn term against the EYFS targets– initial sounds and early word recognition).

Staffing: Mrs. Ehlen, Mrs. Sheldon and Mrs. Beard


Reception have RML sessions 5 days per week at 9.00 am for 30 minutes – This RML focuses on the fluency and understanding of Set 1 & Set 2 sounds and introduction to RML reading books

Staffing: Miss Bailey, Mr. Bates, Mrs. Dolman and Mrs. Jones.  After Autumn assessments there is the possibility for additional staffing dependent on needs. 

At 11.45 am  two extra adults will be working with Reception children either to provide catch up intervention or to extend more able and support children falling behind.


Year 1 have RML sessions at 11.45 am each morning for 30 minutes – In Year 1, the children build upon the strong foundations of reading developed in Early Years and continue with Set 2 sounds leading to the  introduction of Set 3 sounds.

Staffing: Miss Dyer, Mrs. Pitchford, Mrs. Linda Dolman, Mrs. Lisa Dolman, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Kobus.  The breakdown of groups is as follows:

  • 4 members of staff doing RML groups based on ability and level of book
  • 1 group who have completed RML using the skills developed in context by doing guided reading 
  • 1 member of staff for children not accessing RML who will be doing other intervention programmes based on their needs.


Additional reading for Year 1:

In addition to RML, twice a week, Year 1 also enjoy a 30 minute a session of shared reading with the class teacher. The shared reading uses extracts, aimed at Year 2,  from many different text types and begins to introduce the children to developing their understanding of a text.  Over these sessions, the teacher focuses on one or more of each content domain strand. (VIPERS – vocabulary, inference, prediction, explaining, retrieving and sequencing/summarising) 


In Year 1, all children also read to an adult every day on a 1:1 basis and select their own reading book which they then take home and return each day.


Reading Year 2 – 5


It is the aim that all children read to an adult every day but where this is not possible, identified children, based on need, have priority.


Year 2


Extending the practice in Year 1, the children in Year 2 enjoy a shared extract from age appropriate text for 45mins, four times per week.  Each session is whole class reading of the text with a specific focus on one of the content domain strands.  Over two weeks all of the domain strands are covered and evidenced.  On a Wednesday night questions are set for homework.  This is returned the following day and marked together in class with a focus on how the answers have been arrived at – i.e. find the proof. 

After reading with a member of staff every day, children select their own reading book which they take home every afternoon and return the following morning. (For longer books they still bring the book back, even if they have not finished it, so that an adult can read with them in school)


Although Year 2 do not continue with RML, the children that did not achieve a passing grade in the Year 1 phonics assessment continue to learn the mechanics of reading through phonics. These sessions are delivered for 30 minutes each day and use the CGP Phonics scheme as for some children, the teaching of phonics in an alternative way can be the key to unlocking understanding and reading potential. 


Year 3


The excellent work done in Year 2 is continued into the juniors, with the only difference being that sessions last 30 minutes and are delivered 3 times per week. 


Year 4 & 5


In Year 4 and 5, we aim to take the excellent practice one step further by applying the skills developed into a context that the children are more familiar with. One session per week is based on extracts from one of the children’s own chosen class reading books. 


Year 6


Year 6 use shared extracts in the same way as the rest of the school but also begin to look at previous SATs papers to explain how the content domain strands are used to assess understanding of reading at the end of KS2.



Additional reading activities:


As well as providing the children with many opportunities to read, we feel that it is important that good practice is modelled and the children are given time to enjoy listening to stories. 


  • Each class is read to every day for at least 15 minutes covering all text types
  • All literacy/writing lessons are linked to a text
  • Modelled shared reading in class
  • Every child (from Year 2 upwards) has an individual reading book and where possible, time is given for children to read. 


Assessment of Reading:


  • EYFS and Y1 have ongoing RML assessments and these are discussed at fortnightly meetings
  • Mock phonics screening (using previous year’s test) in December for Y1 in order to track attainment and progression and help focus intervention 
  • Actual phonics screening in June for Y1 and Y2 resits
  • Y2/3/6 have fortnightly Reading tests using previous SATS papers. (Y2 & Y6 in preparation for SATs and for Y3 this is to maintain levels achieved at the end of Y2 – for Y3, the greater depth Y2 papers [reading paper 2] are used.)
  • Reception – Y6 PIRA reading tests are compelted on a termly basis.



Training for Parents


  • Year 1 & Y2 parents will be invited in for 6 sessions where there will see modelling of how to read with their children
  • Each half term, 'Reading' sessions are delivered to parents across the school
  • RML sessions will be provided by EYFS Staff to all parents on an ongoing basis.
  • The school provides a community library for parents once a week, including a bounce and rhyme session for under 3s.




Literacy Policy