Just Imagine

Take One Book: Literature-based Teaching

The Take One Book approach to English integrates knowledge and skills through literature-based teaching sequences. It emphasises engagement, deeper reading, high quality dialogue and purposeful writing.

The planning framework, originally devised as part of an action research project, has been refined in collaboration with our partner schools. Learning is contextualised and skills are embedded. Language study, reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension are interwoven through the Take One Book sequences start with exploring the potential of the text, and then progress through a series of incremental stages to scaffold deeper understanding and support writing.

Planning is sensitive to the demands of subjects. Links to wider learning are made where the connections are strong but they are not forced.

Area of focus

  • Outline of the Take One Book framework
  • Selecting texts and identifying text potential
  • Before reading: hook and orientation
  • During reading: explore, explain, expose
  • After reading: review and reflect
  • Reading strategies: which, why, when?
  • Inspiring writing
  • Exploiting wider learning opportunities
  • Using journals and floor books

Key Stage Suitability


Recommended course length

For embedding this approach, we recommend the following format:

Year One

Two and a half days or three days:

Day 1  Introductory course and gap task

Day 2  Coaching sessions with identified lead teachers

Day 3  Half day or twilight CPD for review and planning next steps

Year Two

A second year is recommended for embedding the approach. The format is best negotiated after the first year to meet the needs of the school.

Other options

A one-day version of the training covers the basic principles.

Bespoke programmes can be devised for MATs seeking to develop this approach across several schools.

The Between the Lines three day comprehension course works well alongside Take One Book, as it provides the opportunity to look in more depth at specific strategies, which are synthesised in the Take One Book framework. Take One Book can be run after or before Between the Lines.


Participants receive a worked-up exemplar with a copy of the text and resources.

A dedicated subscription website with interactive planning tool, 77 sequences covering years 1 – 6, resources and case studies is  launching September 2019.  For a sneak peek at an exemplar unit visit takeonebook.org