Just Imagine

Subject Matter! Rethinking nonfiction reading and writing at KS2

Nonfiction, perhaps more than any other form of writing, has been subject the demands of education policy and the impact of new technologies on publishing.

This new course (available from September 2019), focuses on the specific demands of reading and writing in subjects. Based on the findings of our action research projects with hub schools, we problematise some nonfiction practices before moving on to practical class approaches for teaching with nonfiction (and some fiction) in history and science. We consider the importance of building academic vocabulary for both content learning and processes, as well as ways to introduce this.

And of course, we give some attention to the place of nonfiction in developing reading for pleasure.

Area of focus

  • A quick review of different approaches to using nonfiction and the range of purposes
  • Things to consider when choosing nonfiction for the classroom and for teaching
  • Reading and writing like a historian
  • Reading and writing like a scientist
  • Building academic vocabulary
  • Nonfiction and fiction working together to build subject knowledge
  • Nonfiction and reading for pleasure
  • A planning framework

Key stage suitability

Junior years

Recommended course length

One-day course to cover the basic principles.

Two or three days for more sustained learning with opportunities for gap tasks, feedback and review.


Participants will receive a worked-up exemplar with a copy of the selected text and planning notes. Choose from 7 – 9 or 9 – 11 years example at the point of booking.