Five years ago, we identified a need to drastically reform our English curriculum so that it was driven by high-quality texts that would bring learning to life for our children. As a result, we sought the help and advice of the Literacy Tree advisors who delivered a sequence of training sessions within our school. Immediately, our teachers’ and support staff’s eyes were awoken to the possibilities that adopting a Literacy Tree approach could do for our school. Within just a few training sessions, our staff were: introduced to an array of high quality texts that had endless possibilities; exposed to ways to introduce grammar into the writing curriculum, making it both more purposeful and engaging; and given the opportunity to express their own creativity, using planning journeys provided as a guide to feed their imaginations. Instantly, we were inspired: we were ready to revamp our curriculum and all staff were eager to be involved in the journey!
From this starting point, our English leads began redesigning both our reading and writing curriculum by remapping the text coverage within each year group. New texts were allocated, with the agreement of each year leader, to ensure that a range of forms, genres and text levels were embedded throughout the school. Using the Literacy Tree planning as a starting point, staff then began individualising it for their own year groups and classes, personalising it to add their own creative twists!
To this day, the grammar elements of the Literacy Tree planning particularly assist teachers with identifying opportunities to embed grammar skills throughout the curriculum whilst the hook lessons ensure that the children enter each and every book desperate to find out more! Having a basis to support our planning has also exposed our children to a wider range of writing forms and allowed them to write from unique character perspectives that we might never have previously considered.
During school learning walks, the children have confidently and enthusiastically engaged in conversation with various staff members about the texts that they are reading, often so enthusiastically that you feel inspired to read the text too! Children as young as seven have cheered when I have told them it is time for writing- they are desperate to release their imaginations and cannot wait to captivate you with their written words!
More recently, we have begun using the Literacy Tree Spelling Seeds planning which provides creative opportunities to embed the teaching of spelling within the writing curriculum. As a school, we aim to intertwine all elements of the English curriculum into the teaching of rich texts as we know that exposure to these skills used within real life texts is the best source of inspiration for our pupils.
Each year, we continue to register new teachers to our school or teachers unfamiliar to a particular year group on the Literacy Tree training, as we truly believe that it is invaluable to the success of our teaching and learning.