Year 6 Non-fiction Unit 1 – Biography and autobiography
Biography and autobiography (3 weeks)
Generic information skills:
This is a relatively free-standing non-fiction unit, and could be taught at any stage of the autumn or spring terms in Year 6. However, whenever it is taught, the level of reading and writing expected and the word, sentence and presentation skills integrated within it must clearly build on from previous learning and towards end-of-year expectations. It can be purposely linked to other areas of the curriculum.
Children explore the biography of a particular person as presented in a range of different texts, on paper and on screen. They build up a picture of the life from the various perspectives offered, as well as discussing and evaluating the differences between the texts.
Children access the same biography from an audio or audio-visual source, make notes and then prepare and give an oral presentation to answer some key questions about the person's life.
Children reread and analyse some of the biography and autobiography texts, identifying key language, structure, organisation and presentational features as preparation for writing.
Following teacher modelling, children set their own writing challenge and, based on a range of biographical information, write biographies (or simulated autobiographies) of the person concerned, selecting their own approach and medium, as required by the purpose and audience.
- Having pooled information on a topic, construct and follow a plan for researching further information. Routinely appraise a text quickly, deciding on its value, quality or usefulness. Evaluate the status of source material, looking for possible bias and comparing different sources on the same subject. Recognise rhetorical devices used to argue, persuade, mislead and sway the reader.
- Select the appropriate style and form of writing to suit a specific purpose and audience, drawing on knowledge of different non-fiction text types.
- Evaluate the language, style and effectiveness of examples of non-fiction writing such as periodicals, reviews, reports, leaflets.
- In writing information texts, select the appropriate style and form to suit a specific purpose and audience, drawing on knowledge of different non-fiction text types.
- Establish, balance and maintain viewpoints.
- Revise own non-fiction writing to reduce superfluous words and phrases.
- Distinguish between biography and autobiography, recognising the effect on the reader of the choice between first and third person, distinguishing between fact, opinion and fiction, distinguishing between implicit and explicit points of view and how these can differ. Develop the skills of biographical and autobiographical writing in role, adapting distinctive voices, for example of historical characters, through preparing a CV; composing a biographical account based on research or describing a person from different perspectives, for example police description, school report, newspaper obituary.
- When planning writing, select the appropriate style and form to suit a specific purpose and audience, drawing on knowledge of different non-fiction text types. Use the language conventions and grammatical features of the different types of text as appropriate.
1998 Framework objectives covered:
Year 6, Term 3: T19 and T22 review a range of non-fiction text types and their characteristics, discussing when a writer might choose to write in a given style and form; select the appropriate style and form to suit a specific purpose and audience, drawing on knowledge of different non-fiction text types.
Year 6, Term 1: T11 and T14 distinguish between biography and autobiography; develop the skills of biographical and autobiographical writing.