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At Elmstead Wood, Power of Reading is at the heart of our writing lessons. This scheme has been proven to raise children's literacy achievement and meets all the requirements of the National Curriculum. Through engaging texts and a variety of writing genres, children use role play and let their imaginations run free to aid them when writing in accordance with the four main writing purposes:

  • Writing to inform
  • Writing to discuss
  • Writing to persuade
  • Writing to entertain

In the beginning of the academic year, children will enjoy the following texts:

Year 1

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson

Separation is one of the big traumas of childhood. In this utterly simple yet deeply moving picture book all that happens is that three owlets are left alone whilst their mother goes off into the night to hunt for food. The older ones think and reason (‘Owls think a lot’) - but Bill, the youngest can only cry ‘I want my mummy!’ Patrick Benson’s dark and feathery pictures are as touching and unfussy as Martin Waddell’s text.

Overall learning aims of this teaching sequence:

  • To engage children with a story with which they will empathise
  • To explore, develop and sustain ideas through talk
  • To broaden experiences of the world and relate to personal experiences
  • To explore and express thoughts and feelings associated with separation, fear and belonging
  • To explore and interpret stories through creative activity including play, art, drama and drawing
  • To explore and develop strategies to support early reading of whole words and printed texts
  • To mark make and write for meaning and purpose in a variety of narrative and non-narrative forms

Year 2

The Princess and the White Bear King by Tanya Robyn Batt

This longer more demanding book is a stirring story of betrayal, showing how love can be reclaimed through perseverance, endurance and compassion. Drawing on a combination of three folk tales from Northern Europe, this beautiful and complex picture book tells a dark adventure story that explores some powerful ideas and themes. Far away in the distant north, a beautiful princess has a strange encounter with a great white bear who takes her to live in his castle. When she fails to pay attention to a warning and breaks a promise she has made, disaster strikes. The princess then sets out on an impossible journey which takes her east of the sun and west of the moon in the hope that she might redeem herself and break the spell. This book is illuminated with enchanting pictures by award-winning illustrator Nicoletta Ceccoli which create the wintry landscape of this northern tale.

Overall aims of this teaching sequence:

  • To talk confidently about picture books and responses individual to them
  • To explore important themes of courage, perseverance and compassion
  • To explore the story through a variety of teaching approaches including drama and role-play
  • To write in role from more than one perspective
  • To reflect on reading through keeping a reading journal

Year 3 

Leon and the Place Between by Angela McAllister and illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith

Do you dare to step into the place between? Leon is a boy who believes in magic. This exciting and beautifully illustrated picture book follows Leon beyond the realm of the circus big-top and, with a ‘Pouff!’ from the great magician, Abdul Kazam, onto a magic carpet ride into the place where the magic sends you...

Overall aims of this teaching sequence:

  • To explore, interpret and respond to illustrations in a picture book
  • To enjoy a story and discuss its meanings
  • To build an imaginative picture of a fantasy world, based on real life experiences
  • To explore these through role play and through writing in role
  • To write own stories based on the story read from another character’s point of view

Year 4 

The Tin Forest by Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson

A tale of transformation. An old man lives in a grey and forsaken place ‘that looked out on other people’s rubbish and bad weather’. He dreams of a wild and colourful place and uses the resources around him in such a creative way that change comes about and a natural forest becomes entwined with one of metal.

Overall aims of this teaching sequence:

  • To engage children with a story with which they will empathise.
  • To explore themes and issues, and develop and sustain ideas through discussion, enabling children to make connections with their own lives.
  • To develop creative responses to the text through drama, storytelling and artwork.
  • To compose poetry.
  • To write in role in order to explore and develop empathy for characters.

Year 5

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

The reader is kept in suspense throughout this humorous adventure which centres around the capital’s landmark visitor attraction. Ted, with his special brain which runs on its own unique operating system, and his sister Kat test out their theories and follow up clues to solve the inexplicable disappearance of their cousin Salim, who failed to re emerge after boarding the London Eye.

Overall aims of this teaching sequence:

  • To enjoy exciting stories with memorable characters
  • Draw inferences about characters' feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions and justify inferences with evidence
  • Explain and discuss understanding of what has been read
  • To write a range of texts based on fictional experiences
  • To write a character study
  • To write in a chosen form for a selected audience

Year 6 

Skellig by David Almond

Michael moves to a new house, with his mum and dad and his new baby sister. But soon his sister is ill in hospital, and Michael feels helpless. He explores a broken-down garage in the garden and makes a discovery that will change his life: Skellig, a creature covered in dust and cobwebs. Michael is not sure what this creature is. The only person he can confide in is Mina, the girl across the road. Together they move Skellig from the dangerous garage and an astounding story unfolds.

Overall aims of this teaching sequence:

  • To engage children with a powerful text that they will enjoy
  • To discuss the themes and issues that arise, enabling children to make connections to their own lives
  • To explore, talk and write about emotions
  • To develop creative responses to the text through discussion and role-play
  • To analyse the author’s style and study how effects are achieved through word choice and structure
  • To write in role, in order to explore a character and to learn about writing in other voices