Non-fiction

English Year 1 Spring Letters and Postcards

Letters in Different Contexts

This block is all about writing letters in different contexts. Children write requests and responses, explore sentence types, focus on punctuation: capitals and end of sentence.

We recommend that you start with the core unit, the heart of this English block of study. This introduces key textual material and sets the tone for any further units you wish to teach. These can be selected on the basis of the needs of your class – look at the green icons to identify the unit’s particular focus: SPAG, Composition or Comprehension. Whichever units you choose, we suggest teaching them in order, as there is a built-in progression indicated by the numbering.

‘UNIT PLAN’ gives you a text version of all parts of the unit to use in your school planning documentation. ‘DOWNLOAD ALL FILES’ gives you that unit plan plus all of the associated documents.

Core
Unit 1 Core Unit: Recognise, read and write letters
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations.
-- Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas.

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Make inferences on the basis of what is being said and done.
-- Predict what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far.
-- Participate in discussion about what is read to them, taking turns and listening to what others say.

 

Transcription
-- Begin to form lower-case letters in the correct direction, starting and finishing in the right place.

Composition
-- Compose a sentence orally before writing it.
-- Sequence sentences to form short narratives.
-- Read aloud their writing clearly enough to be heard by their peers and the teacher.
-- Re-read what they have written to check that it makes sense.

Grammar
None for this unit

You Will Need

Texts
Here Comes Mr Postmouse by Marianne Dubuc

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read Here Comes Mr Postmouse up to where he goes underwater. Discuss and make a list of the characters he meets and what he delivers. Brainstorm who he might meet next and what he might deliver to them.
Activity
Children work in small groups to brainstorm more ideas about who Mr Postmouse might meet and what he might deliver. They write/draw these ideas on large sheets of paper. Less able children to work with an adult.

Day 2 Teaching
Look at the page where Mr Postmouse meets the dragon. Look at the letter on the floor and discuss what they know about letters. Who might the letter be from? What might they tell Mr Dragon? Model writing one ideas in more detail.
Activity
Children work in pairs to identify a character that might write to Mr Dragon. They draw pictures/write notes of details that might be included in the letter. Less able children to work as a group and the adult scribes their ideas.

Day 3 Teaching
Read the letter to Mr Dragon (see resource) and discuss and highlight features. Show planner from day 2 and model writing this as a letter using a letter format. Re-read to check it makes sense.
Activity
Children work with the same partner as day 2. They write their letters together, based on their plans in the writing frame (see resource) in draft form. Less able children to write the middle paragraph of their letter in the differentiated writing frame (see resource).

Day 4 Teaching
Display the draft letter from day 3 and highlight main features. Model writing an envelope and explain the letter needs to be written in best.
Activity
Children use the letter writing frames (see resource) to write their letters in best. Once they have done this and their work has been checked, they have an envelope to address.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: Identify types of sentence and punctuation: capital letters and end of sentence marks
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
None for this unit

Transcription
None for this unit

 

Composition
-- Re-read what they have written to check that it makes sense.
-- Say out loud what they are going to write about.

Grammar
-- Begin to punctuate sentences using a capital letter and a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark.
-- Use a capital letter for names of people, places, the days of the week, and the personal pronoun.

You Will Need

Texts
Here Comes Mr Postmouse by Marianne Dubuc

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read Here Comes Mr Postmouse (recap if unit 1 has been taught) and display the page with the wolf, discussing funny parts. Explain different sentence types – statement, question and exclamation. Look at sentences (see resource) and highlight end punctuation, look at more sentences (see resource) and add the end punctuation.
Activity
Give a copy of the sentences (see resource) they read and decide which type of sentence it is and add the appropriate end punctuation. Less able children work in a group with an adult reading the sentences and children adding the punctuation.

Day 2 Teaching
Discuss that names and names of places need a capital letter. Think of possible names for the animals in the book Here Comes Mr Postmouse, write suggestions with capital letters. Repeat for the names of their houses, e.g. Coop Cottage
Activity
Display pages from the book, children think of a name and place name for each page they visit. They write it with capital letters. Less able use animal names (see resource) and sort those written correctly/incorrectly.

Day 3 Teaching
Display humorous sentences (see resource). Remind children that the pronoun I needs a capital letter. Children discuss whether the sentences are correct/incorrect and group them. Re-write each incorrect sentence.
Activity
Children write an incorrect sentence and swap with a partner. They identify what is incorrect and re-write it. Less able children use the sentences (see resource) to group and re-write incorrect ones. More able children work in a group of 3 to write correct/incorrect sentences. They read and group before re-writing incorrect ones.

Composition
Unit 3 Composition: Writing letters of request and replies
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
-- Apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words.
-- Read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words.

Comprehension
-- Check that the text makes sense to them as they read and correct inaccurate reading.
-- Explain clearly their understanding of what is read to them.

 

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
-- Say out loud what they are going to write about.
-- Compose a sentence orally before writing it.
-- Read aloud their writing clearly enough to be heard by their peers and the teacher.

Grammar
-- Begin to punctuate sentences using a capital letter and a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark.
-- Use a capital letter for names of people, places.

You Will Need

Group Readers
Dear Mr Postman

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read Dear Postman (Hamilton Group Reader) and discuss animals in the story. Look at the hamster letter and discuss layout and features and annotate. Look at features in other letters.
Activity
Children read Little Bo Peep, Jack and Humpty Dumpty letters (see resource) using decoding strategies to read unfamiliar words. More able children to read letters (see resource) and answer comprehension questions. Less able children to read Mr Postman with an adult.

Day 2 Teaching
Re-read Dear Postman did the little boy’s request come true? What would they request? Orally compose a letter of request and then model writing it on writing frame (see resource). Keep for tomorrow.
Activity
Children write a letter of request in the same style as the story using a writing frame. Less able children use the pre-prepared writing frame (see resource).

Day 3 Teaching
Show letter from day 2 and say they will be writing a reply from the Postman. It must include an exclamation. Discuss how to do this and then orally compose the letter. Model writing the letter on the writing frame (see resource) using an exclamation mark for the exclamation.
Activity
Children re-read their letters from day 2 and then orally prepare a reply to the letters. They then write the reply on the writing frame (see resource) and try to include an exclamation. Less able children use the pre-prepared writing frame (see resource).

Group Readers

Dear Postman
Dear Postman is a super text for introducing letters to beginning readers. The animals write notes to the postman asking him to deliver their special treats, their patience is rewarded with a knock at the door. Readers will gain confidence with the repeated phrases and patterns of the book.

You can purchase printed copies of this Group Reader from Hamilton Education.

SPAG
Unit 4 SPAG: Writing conversations using different sentence types
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Participate in discussions, presentations, performances and debates.
-- Gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s).

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Listen to and discuss stories.
-- Link what they read or hear read to their own experiences.
-- Participate in discussion about what is read to them, taking turns and listening to what others say.

Transcription
None for this unit

 

Composition
-- Say out loud what they are going to write about.
-- Compose a sentence orally before writing it.
-- Sequence sentences to form short narratives.
-- Re-read what they have written to check that it makes sense.
-- Read aloud their writing clearly enough to be heard by their peers and the teacher.

Grammar
-- Begin to punctuate sentences using a capital letter and a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark.
-- Use a capital letter for names of people.

You Will Need

Group Readers
Dear Postman

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read Hamilton group reader –Dear Postman (if unit 3 has been taught then just recap). Discuss sentence types e.g. exclamation, question and statement. Model saying a conversation using these and then discuss the types of sentences that have been used.
Activity
In pairs, with copies of pictures from the book, children role-play a scenario from the book. Character asks the postman a question then the postman replies. Less able children to work as a group to brainstorm a conversation.

Day 2 Teaching
Model writing one of the conversations from day 1 using appropriate punctuation. Briefly discuss speech marks but don’t worry about using these at this stage. Re-read the conversation using different voices.
Activity
Children write their role-play conversations from day 1. Punctuation will be looked at in day 3 so they mainly concentrate on getting the content written down in play-script frame (see resource). More able children can begin to use speech marks. Less able children work as a group and use speech bubble frame (see resource).

Day 3 Teaching
Write a line of conversation without any punctuation, edit it together and repeat. Make a list of things to look for when editing.
Activity
Children finish and edit their conversations using appropriate grammar. Less able children edit a pre-prepared conversation without punctuation.

Group Readers

Dear Postman
Dear Postman is a super text for introducing letters to beginning readers. The animals write notes to the postman asking him to deliver their special treats, their patience is rewarded with a knock at the door. Readers will gain confidence with the repeated phrases and patterns of the book.

You can purchase printed copies of this Group Reader from Hamilton Education.

Composition
Unit 5 Composition: Draft and write letters using correct format
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas.
-- Give well-structured descriptions and explanations.

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Participate in discussion about what is read to them, taking turns and listening to what others say.
-- Discuss a wide range of non-fiction (letter format).

Transcription
None for this unit

 

Composition
-- Say out loud what they are going to write about.
-- Compose a sentence orally before writing it.
-- Sequence sentences to form short narratives (letters).
-- Re-read what they have written to check that it makes sense.
-- Read aloud their writing clearly enough to be heard by their peers and the teacher.

Grammar
-- Begin to punctuate sentences using a capital letter and a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark.
-- Use a capital letter for names of people, places, the days of the week, and the personal pronoun, I.

You Will Need

Texts
Here Comes Mr Postmouse by Marianne Dubuc

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read Here Comes Mr Postmouse (if unit1/2 have been taught then just recap). Explain Mrs Rabbit wants to dig a new loo! She has to write a letter to Mr Mole to ask him to borrow his spade. Brainstorm what she might say in the letter into a planner (see resource).
Activity
In pairs, children brainstorm more ideas using their best toilet humour e.g. too much waiting around, too smelly etc. They plan a letter using their ideas (see resource)

Day 2 Teaching
Today they draft a letter to Mr Mole with Mrs Rabbit’s request. Using the planner from yesterday, discuss letter writing layout and use of descriptive language. Don’t worry too much about punctuation here as they will be edited in day 3.
Activity
Children individually write a draft letter using their planner for ideas. They make sure they include a question sentence. Less able children write their draft as a group.

Day 3 Teaching
Today children will edit and re-write their draft in best. Model editing the punctuation on the class copy and write an envelope using capital letters for names and places.
Activity
Children edit their drafts and re-write their letters in their best handwriting and with appropriate punctuation. Less able children re-write the group letter from yesterday. More able children can write a matching envelope.

Day 4 Teaching
Re-read the class request letter. Explain that they will write a reply from Mr Mole. What might he say? Will he let Mrs Rabbit use the spade or not? Brainstorm ideas and model writing one as a short reply. Highlight layout and appropriate punctuation.
Activity
Children write their own letters from Mr Mole saying whether or not he will let Mrs Rabbit use the spade. Less able children can use the pre-prepared template (see resource). More able children to write a matching envelope.