NEW Reading Assessment Grids

Please note that the Y2 reading assessment grids have now been updated in line with the 2018 – 2019 KS1 assessment frameworks.


Ten Teaching Resource Websites To Check Out This Week

  1. Twinkl –
    We are big fans of Twinkl with its free resources packs, bright layout and easy to follow navigation.
  2. Guardian – Teaching Resources –
    Lesson plans, schemes of work, presentations, student activities and assessments from the guardian teacher network. Check in each week for Resource of the Week.
  3. Plan Bee –
    A “hive” of primary teaching resources aiming to take the “sting out of planning.”
  4. Royal Shakespeare Company –
    Bring Shakespeare in to the classroom with teaching resources from the Royal Shakespeare Company, including interactive whiteboard activities and teacher packs.
  5. Storytime –
    Try the free storytelling and poetry resources in your classroom.
  6. Poetry Society –
    A range of flexible resources which allow you to adapt them to your classroom setting.
  7. Comedy Classroom –
    A  different way to build vocabulary, teach pupils how language structure and presentation contribute to meaning and help them identify themes and conventions in a range of texts.
  8. World Book Day –
    Not just for one day of the year!
  9. Roald Dahl  –
    Inspire the budding writers in your class with the amazing world of Roald Dahl.
  10. Teach It Primary –
    Don’t forget to follow these guys on Twitter for more tips and links.

Books we’re looking forward to in 2018…

  1. Sky Song
    An adventure story inspired by the Scottish landscapes from the author’s childhood.
  2. Flamingo Boy
    Michael Morpurgo’s next book is not to be missed if his previous
  3. Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different and Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2
    Addressing gender stereotypes one story at a time.
  4. Dr Seuss’ Book of Animals
    A great introduction to reading, and to the world of Dr Seuss.
  5. The Squirrels Who Squabbled
    We loved the Lion Inside – here’s another one from the brilliant Rachel Bright.

Secret Santa Gifts for Book Lovers

Are you taking part in a Secret Santa exchange this year? We’ve rounded up some top gifts for under £10.00 for your literacy loving friends and colleagues…

  1. Pencil and Lined Paper Socks
    £7.99, Literary Gift Company
    For the book lover with everything…except matching socks.
  2. Tequila Mockingbird book
    The ultimate cocktail recipe book for book lovers – pairing great drinks with great books.
  3. Quotable Chocolate Bar
    £4.50, Literary Gift Company
    Belgian chocolate with a literary twist.
  4. Famous Five at the Office Christmas Party
    The latest book from Enid Blyton for Grown-ups!
  5. Reading Rubberduck
    £3.95, Literary Gift Company
    A stocking filler – or ideal for Secret Santa budgets under £5.00.
  6. Hamlet Temporary Tattoos
    £7.99, Literary Gift Company
    To thine own self be true. Or try out a new self with some temp tattoos.
  7. Shhhhh Happens Enamel Pin
    £4.99, Literary Gift Company
    For those on the naughty list.
  8. Personalised Favourite Books Print
    Show them you know them with a personalised gift.
  9. Book Lover Mug
    £9.99, Literary Gift Company
    Your gift sorted in one go!
  10. 100 Books Scratch Off Poster
    £12.99, Literary Gift Company
    A little over budget but perfect for a good friend if you don’t mind putting in the extra pounds.


Writing Assessment Grids: How To Use

APLiteracy’s Writing Assessment Grids are designed to gather evidence of what children can do across a range of writing. The principle behind them is that each year group’s grid features key learning from previous year groups so that  all learning is constantly reinforced and re-taught.

This will ensure that children reach the end of  Y6 with the knowledge and skills needed to achieve age related expectations. They have recently been updated to include key learning from the composition strand of the curriculum to reflect new assessment guidelines from The Standards & Testing Agency.

The grids can be used formatively alongside a school’s tracking system. with information from the grids being fed into the tracker. As a picture of the child as a writer is gradually built up across the year, gaps in learning can clearly be seen and addressed.

A large amount of evidence can be gathered from one piece of writing or just one piece of key evidence spotted in a piece.

Any questions? Feel free to get in touch.

How to use Reading Assessment Grids

APLiteracy’s Reading Assessment Grids are designed to gather evidence of what children can do in reading across the key national curriculum areas of vocabulary, retrieval and inference and within the content domains of the reading tests.

The principle behind them is that they show progression in learning across the year groups so that children reach the end of  Y6 with the knowledge and skills needed to achieve age related expectations in the reading test. They are designed to be used alongside the question stems which are based on the sample tests in 2025 and the 2016 and 2017 reading tests.

The grids can be used formatively alongside a school’s tracking system. with information from the grids being fed into the tracker. As a picture of the child as a reader is gradually built up across the year, gaps in learning can clearly be seen and addressed.

Evidence can be gathered during 1:1 sessions, group sessions or whole class reading lessons.

Any questions? Feel free to get in touch.

The importance of CPD for teachers

Teaching is a demanding job – whether you’re up to your eyeballs in marking, attending twilight meetings or managing a team of staff, you are spinning so many plates it’s difficult to justify the time (or find the time!) for CPD sessions.

You deserve to access professional development opportunities. So next time you see a course you know will make a difference to your teaching and your pupils – and potentially your enjoyment of your job – remember these three things…

  1. In 2016, the Department for Education published a new Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development  in England, which states that professional development must be prioritised by school leadership. It goes on to explain that attending a one-off course once per year will not provide sufficient opportunity to grow and develop, and so teaching staff should attend multiple sessions or courses which fit together coherently to provide consistent support and development. These could be from multiple training providers, and could be external or in-house, 1-1 or in groups.
  2.  Asking to attend training or CPD sessions is not admitting weakness. Asking for support provides you with the tools to protect your wellbeing, and your skills, so that you don’t reach a burnout stage, or become overwhelmed. We can’t all be good at every aspect of our jobs and therefore it’s important that we can identify our strengths and weaknesses, and reflect on how working on things such as content knowledge or assessment technique can improve our confidence and ultimately our teaching (and enjoyment of teaching). It’s also true that if you are thinking about a particular training need, it’s likely somebody else in your school or team will be too – you won’t be alone.
  3. Workload and what is expected of them in their role can often put people off from attending CPD. But we find that CPD is not just for learning or developing new skills and methods, it is also empowering. As teaching unions often espouse;  the confidence and motivation gained from accessing CPD can help you build the confidence and experience to talk about “what you are expected to do (and not do), enabling you to focus your work on what really matters for students, and reducing unnecessary workload for yourself and your colleagues” (
  4. Whether you are a new or more experienced teacher, you can always benefit from sharing experienced with others in your school and in the wider teaching community. CPD sessions provide opportunities to learn from each other, to discuss challenges and achievements in a safe space, and to foster collaboration. Plus it’s always good to break away from your day-to-day environment for a short time in order to give yourself the space to be inspired, motivated and empowered.

Why do you attend CPD? Tweet us at @APLiteracy.

New Children’s Books Released in November

Here is a round-up of some of our favourite children’s books to be released this month! (Other bookshops are available…)

  1. Here we are
    by Oliver Jeffers
    “The exquisite and thought-provoking new book from the multi award-winning, internationally best-selling picture book creator of Lost and Found, Oliver Jeffers.”
  2. The Christmasaurus
    by Tom Fletcher
    “Full of innocent charm and humour, The Christmasaurus follows the adventures of a little boy named William Trundle who travels to that most magical home of Santa Claus, The North Pole, where he meets a dinosaur…”
  3. Boogie Bear
    by David Walliams
    “Up at the North Pole, a big furry polar bear is swimming, fishing and eating. But when she nods off and finds herself far from home, she thinks things can’t get any worse.”

And in case you missed it last month…

Malala’s Magic Pencil
by Malala Yousafzai
“This beautifully illustrated picture book tells Malala’s story, in her own words, for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed her to hold on to hope and to make her voice heard even in the most difficult of times.”