Texts that Teach

There are a great many wonderful texts out there to share with children. However, we very carefully select ones we base our teaching sequences on to ensure they offer all of the following:

  • something worth discussing;
  • rich language to explore;
  • structures (text and grammatical) that can be replicated to inspire pupils' original compositions.

Download our Texts that Teach lists to see what we have chosen, and visit our Publications page to find out more, including how to purchase our teaching sequences. 

We regularly add to these. See below for our newest titles...

New Texts that Teach Y1/2

Zim Zam Zoom by James Carter

A collection of poems especially written for performance. With delightful illustrations, this is a brilliant introduction to poetry for young children, making it more accessible and enjoyable for a young audience. This text is especially good for use in Year 1. It includes great topics: rockets, dragons, monsters, colours, animals, space, music, fairy tales and fireworks.

The High Street by Alice Melvin

A charming story in which Sally has a list of 10 items she needs to buy from the high street. This book features highly detailed illustrations, with flaps to open and see inside the shops, where unusual things are going on. Will Sally manage to buy all the items on her list?

This book is great for teaching about noun phrases, present/past tense, possessive apostrophe, commas in a list all through a sequenced narrative punctuated with capital letters, full stops and exclamation marks. It also uses some challenging vocabulary which would be great fun to explore with children.

New Texts that Teach Y3/4

13 Words by Lemony Snicket/Maria Kalman

This is a simple but engagingly surreal story which quite simply is based around 13 random words! Great for focusing on expanding vocabulary and building stories.

You could look at vocabulary, expanded noun phrases, prepositional phrases, adverbials and/or speech.

An Anthology of Intriguing Animals

This stunning book is a visual delight. Each double page spread features a different animal with intriguing and surprising facts that keep the reader turning the pages. The element of surprise is compounded by the organisation of content, and the inclusion of a wide range of both common and more unusual species. Ideal to use when studying animal characteristics and habitats.

It can support understanding of single and multi-clause sentences (compound and complex), prepositional phrases as adverbials, cohesion through use of nouns and pronouns, among other things. There are also many instances of apostrophes for contraction and possessive apostrophes (singular and plural) although the sequence does not include specific activities on this.

New Texts that Teach Y5/6

Earth Verse by Sally M. Walker, illustrated by William Grill

This is a beautiful collection of haikus based on natural processes or phenomena such as earthquakes, minerals, volcanoes and fossils. Additionally, the book features short information texts to explain each of the phenomena with direct links back to the poetry. This text could form the core text within a science/geography topic with linked artwork.

In poetry, children could look at noun phrases (including hyphenated adjectives) and think about precise verb choices. The text also provide an opportunity for revision of noun phrases (prepositional phrases and relative clauses) in non-fiction writing, as well as adverbials and cohesion within paragraphs.

The Nameless Holiday from Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan

Typically Tan in its quirkiness and warmth, this is a short text explaining about what traditionally occurs during the nameless holiday. It’s a wonderful piece of description with quite an emotional pull that evokes the excitement, the sights and smells and the reverence of the celebrants’ experiences. A great text to look at when learning about rituals, religious holidays and traditional celebrations in other areas of the curriculum, or to stimulate imagination.

There is scope here for teaching about passive voice, adverbs for possibility, expanded noun phrases, complex lists, parenthesis using brackets, dashes and commas, and colons. It also allows exploration of ‘register’ by writing as a knowledgeable expert adult with personal affection stemming from childhood experience, which provides potential GDS pupils with a challenge.


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