Year 5 NQT teacher Daniel Bray used the Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow unit with his class. The class differ vastly in ability ranging from very low ability to children working at expected level. On the whole, the class is a low ability class in terms of reading and writing with mostly all children not working at expected level currently. I am an NQT who completed my NQT this year with this class.
How did you use the Read in to Writing unit with your class?
In Year 5, we used the Nevermoor unit in most of our lessons. We worked through the unit and did a lesson a day around the different topics. Scheduling sometimes affects the length of the lesson so it is good to interchange plans dependent on availability.
Why did you choose this resource?
I wanted to give the children something to inspire them to read and engage at a higher level with a text. Passion for reading is low so we hoped to inspire the children by showcasing a passion for the text.
How have you implemented the lesson plans? What has been successful? Have you adjusted activities to suit your class at all?
Lesson plans were great. I utilised them in almost every lesson, editing them as I went to adapt to differentiation needs.
Is the resource flexible? How?
Can be flexible in the way it provides a lot of extension tasks. It allows the teacher to read and adapt the plan according to ability.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of exploring a whole book rather than shorter extracts?
It creates an embedded passion for the story. The continued reading of the texts allows all students to understand storylines, characters and to build a desire to continue reading and create content around it.
How did your pupils respond to such an in-depth study of a book in terms of their enjoyment and engagement?
The children loved the book. Having so much time to read it as a class and even explore home reading, allowed them to engage with it further. Children wanted to read on and find out what the next adventure entailed. Nevermoor was challenging for some children to read but tasks could be differentiated to help them with reading.
How effective was the Read in to Writing approach in improving reading skills?
Class reading allowed all children to read aloud to others in the class. This built confidence and speed in reading. Closed group reading allowed children to read independently, at their own pace.
How effective was the Read in to Writing approach in improving writing skills?
The writing skills developed well throughout the unit. Having an opportunity to write for different reasons allowed them to focus in on their writing styles. Interchanging between lessons gave them the chance to understand how to write for different audiences.
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?
Experiencing a higher level of vocabulary throughout the book increased the grammar and vocabulary usage of the children as well. Stopping and talking about grammar techniques the author used was great in allowing the children to see exactly how it is used effectively.
What is the impact of using the resource in your class/school - how have you used the resource to improve progression and achievement?
In Year 5 especially, the progression we’ve seen during the unit is noticeable. The passion it has created has given some children a real desire to carry on reading and exploring ideas on what happens next. Recent testing has seen a small increase in writing and reading but progress is more evident when reading the children’s writing.
Have you used the resource to make cross-curricular links to other foundation subjects/topics?
We have used cross-curricular links a lot throughout the unit; we created posters and pictures in Art, acted a questioning scene for Drama and made links in History to areas of the story.
Do you have any tips for other teachers using the Read in to Writing unit?
Have a look at each plan and make sure to edit and differentiate. The worksheets provided are sometimes needless as work can be done in their book to build confidence in their own work.
How would you feel about using further Read in to Writing units?
I’d love to continue using the units and look forward to starting another.
Learn more about Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow and the Read in to Writing teaching unit around the book here.