Reception Teacher Suzi Aspinall, used the Little Whale unit with her class.
How did you use the Read in to Writing Little Whale unit with your class?
We used the Little Whale story as a whole class text. We followed the lesson plan but adapted learning objectives to make them more achievable as they were a little broad. We placed the stories in each area of learning so children had access to them. We created opportunities to extend their learning through resources e.g. non-fiction books and small world objects.
Did you find Read in to Writing to be a flexible resource?
Yes, the lesson plans could easily be adapted to meet the needs of all the children. There was a varied range of resources to support the delivery of the text.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of exploring a whole book rather than shorter extracts?
Children like to know about a story that includes a beginning, middle and end. They are always interested to know what happens next and predict outcomes. Whole texts allow children to immerse themselves in a story. They can develop opinions about the characters, identifysettings and understand the ,oral of a story through discussion.
How did your pupils respond to such an in-depth study of a book in terms of their enjoyment and engagement?
The children loved Little Whale. They learnt a lot about whales and could recall facts about them. Many children read the story independently and some were seen reading the story to others recalling parts using the pictures. We had lots of drawing of whales and these were displayed in the classroom.
How effective was the Read in to Writing approach in improving reading and writing skills?
It created an interest in reading and writing. The children responded to activities with interest and excitement. It made the learning more meaningful.
How effective was the Read in to Writing approach in helping to improve grammar and vocabulary? Did you find it effective to develop these skills in context?
Yes, children were reminded when completing writing tasks to include a capital letter, finger spaces and full stops.
What is the impact of using the resource in your class/school - how have you used the resource to improve progression and achievement?
It allows children to immerse themselves in one story and makes learning more meaningful.
Have you used the resource to make cross-curricular links to other foundation subjects/topics?
Yes we used it in science to create a coral reef in the water area. We used it in art to create a collage whale and in geography to identify migration from one place to another.
Do you have any tips for other teachers using the Read in to Writing unit?
It is really important teacherscheck the lesson plans before teaching and adapt were necessary.
How would you feel about using further Read in to Writing units?
I would use this again. It is a lovely resource.
Learn more about Little Whale and the Read in to Writing teaching unit around the book here.