Primary English: Teaching non-fiction

Victoria Haughton
13th February 2018
Stack of newspapers representing non-fiction texts for primary

Discover a whole new world of non-fiction texts with these introductory activities and lesson ideas

From newspapers to instructions, leaflets to autobiographies, non-fiction texts are a staple of everyday life. Yet, younger learners can find this genre a bit of a minefield! So, to help you introduce pupils to the wonderful world of non-fiction, we’ve selected some of our favourite lesson ideas and classroom activities. What are you waiting for?

Introductory activities

Non-fiction texts can come in many forms, but their rigid nature can sometimes make them feel inaccessible to younger learners. Help students recognise the different genres and consolidate their understanding using these toolkits, posters and example sheets.

Non fiction genre posters (word)

Six posters covering the purpose, language, structure, writer’s knowledge and skeleton structure for recount, non chronological report, explanation, persuasion, discussion and instructions. They are in word so can be adapted for your class. Topics also included; word work; high frequency words.

By thedangermouse

Non Fiction Toolkits

Based on an idea from Pie Corbett: double sided revision sheets for non fiction writing. Clear pointers regarding audience, purpose, structure and language features in addition to examples and other information
By bevevans22

6 Non-fiction genres: skeleton diagrams, annotated texts and success criteria for each year group

Skeleton Frames
The booklet is organised to support the teaching of the six non-fiction text types. Each section includes a skeleton (visual representation) of the basic structure underlying each text type. This can be used to help children recognise the different text types, take notes, organise their ideas and plan their writing.

Annotated Texts
Next, there is an annotated example of the text type which could be used in shared or guided reading, or for the pupils to use independently. Text level features are marked on the left-hand side of the page, and sentence and word level features are in circles on the right-hand side of the page.

Success criteria
These could be used before, during or after writing as prompts for shared or independent writing. They could be highlighted or extracted during any part of the writing process, planning, drafting, revising etc. and are differentiated for each year group.
By Roxy C

Example Non-fiction Texts for Year One

Model non-fiction texts for use in Year One.
This document contains an example of a balanced argument, a non-chronological report, a recount and a set of instructions.
These could be use when introducing one of these text types to your class. You could explore the features of the texts and adapt/modify to your own topic/needs.

Teaching ideas

Once pupils are familiar with the different areas of non-fiction writing, delve further into a variety of texts with these engaging lesson ideas. From reading circles to marking guidance, these resources will help you to tackle non-fiction topics with ease.

Non-fiction writing at KS2

PowerPoints with ideas based on those in the Igniting Writing series by Pie Corbett, Sue Palmer and Ann Webley. Each presentation looks at a different area of non fiction writing and includes examples of writing skeletons and an overview of things that pupils need to know when planning to write. There are blank writing skeletons for each text type, in PowerPoint format, to help pupils with their planning. These can be used with the Non Fiction writing toolkits - the link is included

By bevevans22

Crocodile Comparison Lesson - Non-Fiction Texts

Crocodile Comparison Lesson - Non-Fiction Texts

A very simple but engaging lesson based on two non-fiction texts involving crocodile attacks in Australia. The aim of the lesson is for students to identify explicit information from each text then do a comparison between them.

Lesson includes, Power Point slide, articles and a croc writing sheet.

There's nothing flashy or complicated about this lesson at all! It is however, simple and straight-forward and students will enjoy the texts. Sometimes that's all you need.

Ready to download and teach immediately.

Visit my shop for more great lessons and resources:

More easy lessons available here:

Looking for something a bit more 'whizzbang, move around the room' try the Beast of Bodmin Moor?

(Credits: the Guardian online, link included in the articles)
By EngageinEnglish

non-fiction marking criteria

I find it difficult to mark children's non-fiction writing, so have done a google search of features of different non-fiction texts and put all these together in one place, slightly editing them etc. Not sure how they will be useful! but please feel free to let me know any suggestions for improvements etc.
By v3884

Reading Circles - Non Fiction Pack

A great resource to support the teaching of different reading skills. These can be printed into cards and laminated for children to use but also printed larger to use as posters for the classroom. This pack focuses on the skills of summarising, predicting, identifying the meanings of unknown words or phrases and creating and answering higher order questions about a non fiction text. This resource can be used with any information text.

Included in this pack are:

1 x Teacher's Guide Card
4 x Role Posters (Summariser, Word Finder, Predictor, Question Master)
1 x Summariser Worksheet
1 x Word Finder Worksheet
1 x Predictor Worksheet
14 x Question Master Cards with a range of different higher order questions which can be used with any information text.

The posters are colourful, attractively designed and contain fun clipart images thanks to our link with
By ResourceCentre

Engaging tasks

Ensure your learners are on track with these reading comprehensions and in-class exercises. Jam-packed with ideas and accessible subject matters, there’s something to engage every student.

Reading comprehension: Whales (non-fiction)

This reading comprehension includes interesting facts about whales. Students are asked to read through the passage and answer the accompanying study questions.
By Primary Leap

Make your own non-fiction country book

A writing frame/book for researching and writing about a country. Includes space for illustrations/sticking in pictures and space to write basic information on the country (currency, continent, capital city, language spoken)
By choralsongster

Non-fiction book checklist

I used this checklist when doing a literacy focus on non-fiction books with my Year 1 children. It is a checklist of features for children to look for when looking at non-fiction books. I laminated some of these checklists and put them in the library for children to use.
By ruthbentham

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