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Literacy lessons in England...

THOUSANDS of Year 6 children across England will be taught poetry, narrative reading, some narrative writing, argument and some formal writing this term, writes Helen Ward.

Model plans, produced by the Government's standards and effectiveness unit which oversees the National Literacy Strategy, recommend which aspects of literacy are taught, the term they are taught in, how long teachers spend on these units and what is done in each lesson.

Virtually all schools teach literacy in the same way - through the literacy hour. The teacher opens the session with the whole class working on a shared text followed by a short period on spelling or sentence construction.

The class then splits into groups to work on specific skills and is reunited for the plenary session to assess what has been learnt.

For example, 11-year-olds studying poetry, a one-week unit, will on day one open with a shared reading of a poem - Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll is recommended - then discuss the words used in the poem. Guided reading then follows and afterwards, children work in pairs to draw quick cartoons of each scene. The plenary includes pupil feedback and reading the poem out loud together.

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