Take One Book: Literature-based English teaching

This course is designed to show how knowledge of English and literacy skills can be integrated through literature based sequences, which promote reading for pleasure, deep understanding of text and purposeful writing. Our planning is sensitive to the demands of subjects. Links to wider learning are made where the connections
are strong.

Our approach is derived from research undertaken for a project conducted for the London Schools Excellence Fund and supported by the DfE (4XR, 2016). Since then we have continued to refine the model which emphasises process rather than isolated skills teaching in order to promote sustained learning and mastery.

The Take One Book approach starts with exploring the potential of the text, and explicates the importance of teacher subject knowledge. It then moves through a series of incremental stages which scaffold deeper comprehension and support writing.

Area of focus

  • Outline of the Take One Book framework
  • One Size does not fit all: the needs of readers and writers
  • Selecting texts and identifying text potential
  • Bridging texts to support accessibility
  • Before reading: hook and orientation
  • During reading: explore, explain, expose
  • After reading: review and reflect
  • Reading strategies: which, why, when?
  • A closer look at inference and how to teach it
  • Inspiring writing
  • Exploiting wider learning opportunities
  • Using journals
  • Teacher assessment

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.

Between the Lines works well with this course as it provides the opportunity to look in more depth at specific strategies which are synthesised in the Take One Book framework.


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

A dedicated subscription website with interactive planning tool, over 40 sequences covering years 1 – 6, resources and case studies launched in September 2019.  For a sneak peek at an exemplar unit visit takeonebook.org

Copies of the 4XR handbook are available at a discounted training price. To order contact assistant@justimaginestorycentre.co.uk