Year 3 teacher Rebecca Lynch used The Velveteen Rabbit unit with her class. The class has 29 children, 18 boys and 11 girls. There are 8 SEND children and they are all boys, one being an EHCP child. The boys often have low engagement for reading and writing compared to the girls. .
Why did you choose this resource?
I was hoping to engage the whole class and encourage a love of reading. Especially as this was a book the majority of them said they would not have picked from the front cover.
How have you implemented the lesson plans? What has been successful? Have you adjusted activities to suit your class at all?
I used the lesson plans everyday but went through the lesson plan and decided on the key parts I wanted to include as some of them were quite lengthy. The PowerPoints were helpful that they displayed pictures from the book so you could discuss them as a class. I found some of the activities I had to differentiate or do something completely different for my SEND children as the majority are working at Y1/2 level and it was too complicated for them.
Did you find the resource flexible? How?
I found the resource flexible. I liked how the resources included were editable so I could adapt them to fit the needs of my class. I also adapted the lessons to what areas my class needed more focus or guidance on
In your opinion, what are the benefits of exploring a whole book rather than shorter extracts?
I much preferred exploring a whole book rather than shorter extracts. I feel that all the children were engaged with the story and even though my SEND children might not have been able to read it themselves, they still had a great understanding of the book and the characters. It allowed them to really engross themselves with the story and the characters which overall meant they produced a higher standard of work.
How did your pupils respond to such an in-depth study of a book in terms of their enjoyment and engagement?
The children were desperate to read The Velveteen Rabbit further and hated it when I said we could only read 2/3 pages that day. They liked that it had pictures as well as text. They got very excited that they got to have their own book 1 between 2 as usually the text we are looking at was on a piece of paper.
How effective was the Read in to Writing approach in improving reading skills?
The children were all highly engaged when reading the book. Some of the reading opportunities, the children took turns to read extracts to the class which they loved doing! They could answer comprehension questions more accurately because we had studied the text so in-depth. The greater-depth children could answer everything about it!
How effective was the Read in to Writing approach in improving writing skills?
The children produced more work having the writing sessions split over two days. There writing included a wider range of vocabulary because they included works from the text and synonyms they’d found for that vocabulary. I found the editing lessons on their own work had a huge impact as they struggle with doing this.
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?
I found it effective for improving vocabulary as the book included lots of complex vocabulary that was new to the children, especially because the book was written a long time ago. The editing lessons were useful to improve the children’s grammar but think it would be useful to include a specific lesson each week in the unit on grammar but linked to the text. I was cautious that I was missing a key lesson by focusing on grammar.
What is the impact of using the resource in your class/school - how have you used the resource to improve progression and achievement?
Some of the children really surprised me with the high quality of work they produced about The Velveteen Rabbit, including my SEND. There was a high engagement level with the book and they really wanted to know what would happen next in the story.
Have you used the resource to make cross-curricular links to other foundation subjects/topics?
The book involved looking at the illness Scarlet Fever which we linked to History and how much life has changed since then. It also had links to PSHE as we discussed how it feels to not be liked and if the children have ever felt like that.
Do you have any tips for other teachers using the Read in to Writing unit?
Make sure they go through an annotate which key questions/features/activities they are going to use on the lesson plan as sometimes they are quite lengthy and depending on time restrictions they might not get through everything.
Learn more about The Velveteen Rabbit and the Read in to Writing teaching unit around the book here.