Primary National Strategy
introductionFoundation StageLiteracyMathematics

Learning objectives | Planning | Assessment

Foundation | Year 1 | Year 2 | Year 3 | Year 4 | Year 5 | Year 6

Narrative Unit 1: Stories with familar settings Unit 2: Dialogue and plays Unit 3: Myths, legends, fables, traditional tales Unit 4: Adventure and mystery Unit 5: Authors and letters  
  (3 weeks) (4 weeks) (4 weeks) (4 weeks) (3 weeks)  
Non-fiction Unit 1: Reports (4 weeks) Unit 2: Instructions (3-4 weeks) Unit 3: Information texts (4 weeks)
Poetry Poetry (4 weeks) Number of weeks identified for each unit are suggestions only

Narrative 1: Stories with familiar settings

Children will learn how to:

Speaking and listening:

1. Speaking
  • Sustain conversation, explain or giving reasons for their views or choices
2. Listening and responding
  • Follow up others' points and show whether they agree or disagree in whole class-discussion
3. Group discussion and interaction
  • Use the language of possibility to investigate and reflect on feelings, behaviour or relationships
4. Drama
  • Use some drama strategies to explore stories or issues


5. Word reading skills and strategies
  • Read independently using phonics, including the full range of digraphs and trigraphs, to decode unknown words, and syntax, context and word structure when reading for accuracy and meaning
  • Recognise a range of prefixes and suffixes to construct the meanings of words in context
6. Understanding and interpreting texts
  • infer characters' feelings in fiction and consequences in logical explanations
  • explore how different texts appeal to readers using varied sentence structures and descriptive language
7. Engaging with and responding to texts
  • Share and compare reasons for reading preferences, extending range of books read
  • Identify features that writers use to provoke readers' responses


8. Creating and shaping texts
  • Use beginning, middle and end to write narratives in which events are sequenced logically and conflicts resolved
  • Select and use a range of technical and descriptive vocabulary
9. Text structure and organisation
  • Signal sequence, place and time to give coherence
  • Group related material into paragraphs
10. Sentence structure and punctuation
  • Compose sentences using adjectives, verbs and nouns for precision, clarity and impact
  • Clarify meaning through the use of exclamation marks and speech marks
11. Word structure and spelling
  • Spell unfamiliar words using known conventions and rules and a range of strategies including phonemic, morphemic and etymological
  • Spell words containing common short vowels, prefixes and suffixes and inflections, doubling the final consonant where necessary
12. Presentation
  • Write neatly and legibly with handwriting generally joined, consistent in size and spacing
  • Use keyboard skills to type, edit and redraft


Word downloadTeaching speaking and listening in Year 3
Word downloadTeaching reading in Year 3
Word downloadTeaching writing in Year 3
Word downloadTeaching sentence structure and punctuation in Year 3
Word downloadTeaching word structure and spelling in Year 3
Word downloadTeaching presentation skills in Year 3

Grammar for writing: Year 3

pdf downloadStories with familiar settings
pdf downloadWriting stories with familiar settings

1 Any references to the NLS 'searchlights model' in these documents need to be interpreted in the light of the recommendations of the Rose review.

Children's targets
  • I can read and compare some stories and then explain why I like one story better than another one.
  • I can tell a story, using appropriate expression, tone, volume and use of voices and other sounds.
  • I can use correct punctuation for my sentences while I am writing (capital letters, full stops, question marks, exclamation marks).
  • I can write a story arranged into paragraphs for the beginning, middle and end and I can describe where my story is set.

Introducing this unit

This is the first of five narrative units. It builds on children's knowledge and skills from Year 2 and introduces new areas of learning that will be developed during the year. The unit has three phases, with oral or written outcomes and assessment opportunities at regular intervals.

Phase 1: Read and compare several stories with familiar settings. Discuss common features and themes. Devise questions to explore reasons for actions and events. Express views about aspects of stories.

Phase 2: Compare settings in different stories and analyse words and phrases used for description, particularly in story openings. Write a short description of a familiar setting using complete sentences.

Phase 3: Recount a story orally based on 1st hand experience and then children plan and tell own stories based on experience. Demonstrate how to organise stories into paragraphs and write opening paragraph to set scene. Children write own stories arranged into paragraphs to indicate the beginning, middle and end.

Building in previous learning by checking that children can
  • Identify the setting, main characters and some important events when talking about a story they have heard.
  • Summarise a story in about 3 sentences:

  • - using complete simple or compound sentences with capital letters and full stops;
    - using past tense consistently

If this is the first unit of the year, check that children can read and spell all List 2 words, all digraphs and trigraphs, numbers to twenty, days, months, colours and words ending in the suffixes ful and ly.

Key Aspects of learning

Reasoning: Children will be asking questions about the reasons for events in stories, returning to the text for evidence and applying their wider knowledge and experience.

Evaluation: Children will discuss success criteria for their written work, give feedback to others and judge the effectiveness of their own stories and descriptions.

Empathy: Writing and listening to stories based on 1st hand experience will help children to understand what others might be thinking or feeling in a particular situation, e.g. how their mum was feeling when they got lost in the supermarket.

Building assessment into teaching

Phase 1: Express a clear, personal view about a story as part of whole class discussion. (Teacher observation, self-assessment)

Phase 2: Write in complete sentences using correct punctuation and including interesting descriptive vocabulary. (Feedback from other children – paired response, self-assessment)

Phase 3: Write a clearly sequenced, complete story arranged into paragraphs and using 1st person consistently. (Marking and feedback against agreed success criteria)

Developing the teaching sequence

Focus: Teaching content: Learning outcomes
Phase 1 : Reading; investigating questions; discussion
(5 days)
  • Read several short stories each with a different familiar setting. Reinforce strategies for reading unfamiliar words through demonstration and involving particular children.
  • Widen understanding of aspects of narrative by discussing similarities between the stories: settings are like places that they know (e.g. home, school, park, shops); characters are like real people (e.g. families, friends, teachers, pets); plots involve a problem and a resolution and are about familiar incidents (e.g. getting into trouble; making friends; getting lost).
  • Consider using videos and DVDs as a basis for discussing and comparing character, plot and setting. Identify episodes to discuss and look at the director's creation of character and atmosphere. Provide a visual focus to help children to discuss and reflect on feelings, behaviour and relationships in stories with familiar settings.
  • Explore different types of question (Grammar for Writing Unit 3). Pairs devise their own questions about one of the stories and these are used to stimulate class discussion about the text, e.g. devising 'why' questions to explore the reasons for actions or events and then making tentative suggestions about causes or motives.
  • Involve children in expressing their views in class discussion about aspects of the stories, e.g. which setting or character they liked best; the funniest incident in a story.
  • Select a book to read aloud as a serial story during the unit. This could be an episodic story about a character in a familiar setting where each chapter is a self-contained story.

Children can compose and write questions about a text.

Children can express a view clearly as part of a class or group discussion.

Phase 2 : Re-reading and analysis; investigating and writing sentences
(3 days)
  • Return to the stories and focus on the setting of each one. Look for descriptive words and phrases and make comparisons between different settings.
  • Return to video/ DVD episodes and look at the atmosphere and setting. Consider how these could be described in words for precision, clarity and impact.
  • Read examples of several story openings which begin with a description of the setting. Use the IWB (if available) to focus response and analysis by scanning in story openings and highlighting words and phrases. Discuss the children's reactions and their predictions about the sort of story that might take place in that setting. Make links with children's own reading as they consider their preferences about stories with particular settings, e.g. do they prefer realistic or imaginary settings?
  • Investigate sentence structure and punctuation (Grammar for Writing Unit 6). Children write a short description of a place that is familiar to them using a sequence of correctly punctuated simple or compound sentences. Children share descriptions with a partner – give feedback about sentence punctuation and descriptive vocabulary. Make improvements.
  • Children discuss their descriptions with a group to consider the type of story that might take place in the settings they have described.

Children can compose and punctuate a series of sentences to describe a familiar setting.

Phase 3 : Oral story-telling; writing a story with a familiar setting based on first hand experience.
(7 days)
  • Recount an anecdote for the children telling them a story based on first hand experience, e.g. an incident remembered from childhood. Model a simple story structure by: setting the scene, recounting the problem that arose, describing your actions and consequences and explaining how it was resolved. Explore this further by involving children in making freeze frames for each part of the story and taking digital photos to record the story sequence.
  • Note the structure of the oral story to provide a simple planning framework. Consider reinforcing the sequence using images, e.g. import the digital photos of freeze frames to the planning framework on the IWB.
  • Ask children to think about things that have happened to them to use as the basis of a story, e.g. getting lost at the supermarket when they were little. Pairs plan and tell stories to one another, using the framework to sequence their story.
  • Investigate how to use paragraphs to organise stories (Grammar for Writing Unit 8).
  • Demonstration writing and teacher scribing: write the opening paragraph of the story to describe the setting and introduce the characters for the story that you told. Involve the children in suggesting descriptive words and phrases. Emphasise the use of correct sentence punctuation and consistent use of the 1st person.
  • Supported composition: children write opening paragraphs for their own stories, based on the stories they have told about their own experience.
  • Independent writing: children complete their own stories arranged into paragraphs to indicate the beginning, middle and end. Some children could use presentational software [e.g. PowerPoint™] for their stories and could include digital photographs to create multimodal stories.
  • Demonstrate the process of checking and improving the story draft, e.g. by using children's own word-processed compositions and importing to the IWB for discussion and support in editing and redrafting.
  • Children then check their own individually or in pairs. They have opportunities to share their completed stories with other children.

Children can tell a story orally, based on their own experience with events organised into a clear sequence.

Children can write a complete story:
- arranged into paragraphs;
- using 1st person consistently;
- clear beginning to set the scene, middle to describe a problem and end to resolve the problem.