Here we find out how to improve children’s composition of various different types of non-fiction. There can often be an issue with teaching non-fiction - it’s not always as exciting as its narrative counterpart. But this course demonstrates how pupils can discover real pleasure in composing work that’s based in fact; and we start with a powerful example of David Attenborough describing a blue whale.
Some of the issues faced by children when writing non-fiction is that they tend to be less well read in this area, and there are a wide range of examples to master. So we begin with looking at how to immerse pupils in the right kinds of non-fiction models, and how - through collaborative composition - teachers can map the structure of one model text to a new piece of writing on an entirely different subject.
We consider impersonal voice, and how schools can help children to begin developing this from and early age. Repeated reading and choral reading are recommended for helping pupils assimilate phrasing and vocabulary - with the latter being key when it comes to producing more formal pieces.
The importance of passive voice is discussed, and how this needs to be planned in across the curriculum from an early age - even though it’s a KS2 objective. And we see how to support children in choosing the correct register.
An aspect of mastering non-fiction writing is achieving cohesion, particularly if it is to go beyond using a set of prescribed cohesive devices (furthermore, in addition, etc). This can be achieved, we’re told, by providing a clear point of focus through collaborative planning, so children know before they start the view they are going to put across to the reader, and can connect everything they write to this core idea.
Christine Chen and Lindsay Pickton
Christine and Lindsay are experienced English specialists based in Kingston upon Thames. They support numerous primary schools, alliances and federations. Both have worked in schools as senior literacy teachers and helped to launch and run school improvement programmes across their borough, and written for publishers including OUP, Pearson and Collins.