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Primary English



In English ICT can enhance teaching and learning by enabling pupils to:

These are specific skills where ICT is particularly referred to (see - DfEE The National Literacy Strategy 1998), however many other objectives for both reading comprehension and writing composition can be supported by use of ICT.

You can explore these ideas further now if you like, by looking at the English ICT in the Curriculum pages on the Virtual Teacher Centre (VTC). There are lots of further ideas in the Primary Curriculum links pages, (look for the English section) and in the Primary Teaching and Learning with ICT area. (The VTC English area is well worth a thorough exploration. It gives you many useful links as well as teaching ideas.)

A sample plan and worksheet for reception or year 1

We have included here an example of how ICT can be used to support specific objectives in teaching literacy

You might like to try this out, or to think of ways of adapting it for your own class.



The structure of the Literacy Hour lends itself well to the inclusion of ICT as a tool for learning, and used appropriately it can really enhance the learning process, The most important point is that all uses of ICT in the literacy hour must be aimed at supporting literacy (rather than developing keyboard skills, for example).

The QCA ICT scheme of work contains some good examples of simple straightforward activities in the units on working with text that could be adapted. Children should only be set tasks within the literacy hour for which they already possess the computer techniques to carry out. Otherwise, actually manipulating the software overtakes the activity's purpose, and the teacher is likely to be distracted from teaching literacy to give computer instruction.

Shared Text Work
Using a large screen display of some sort (TV screen or projector) a whole class can share on-screen reading activities using talking books or texts from CD-ROMs or the Internet. Text can also be loaded into a word-processor to create cloze passages. A word-processor is an ideal vehicle for modelling the writing process in shared writing activities. It enables the developmental process of writing to be seen clearly and it can provide an excellent opportunity for using writing frames.

Word/sentence level work
A range of software can be used to support work in this part of the hour, both targeted software and word-processors, enlarged in some way for easy viewing by a whole class group.

Guided writing
The opportunities for using ICT for guided writing are much the same as for shared writing, but allows for even more focus on the drafting process.

Independent/group work.
There is a range of software available to support specific areas of literacy, particularly spelling, phonics and grammar, which can be ideal for group and independent work. Some pupils can work on the computer while others work on paper, both working to the same learning objectives - it isn’t necessary for every child in the class/group to undertake each computer activity. When planning word-processing activities, a key thing to remember is to keep to short focused tasks, concentrating on specific aspects of writing, rather then long pieces of extended writing or ¹typing up' work which has already been written on paper.

Colleagues in Lewisham Schools have a wide experience of using ICT in the literacy hour.

The DfES have produced a CD-ROM and guidance folder entitled: ICT in the Literacy Hour: Whole Class Teaching. To obtain a copy telephone: 0845 60 222 60 or e-mail: dfes@prolog.uk.com

Mike Bulpitt
Talent Manager
0208 314 9341

Using a word processor to develop writing

Think about a writing task that you might set your pupils. What would be the advantages of using a word processor at each of the different stages? Are there any disadvantages to using a word processor? You could arrange it using the format below.

For some examples of activities associated with the five stages of writing use the VTC (Virtual Teacher Centre) page which has ideas for writing stories for young children by KS2 pupils:


A list of activities can be found at:


Using ICT to enhance writing in the Foundation Stage

Think about using ICT to encourage and support the development of writing in the foundation stage. What are the issues in an early years setting? What would be the advantages of the children using a keyboard for their writing at each of the different stages? What are the disadvantages?

Stages of writing Advantages of using ICT Disadvantages of using ICT
Attempting writing for different purposes    
Thinking of oneself as a writer (independence)    
Acquisition of knowledge and skills (i.e. letter recognition, phonetic awareness, word spacing, ordering & sequence of letters)    
Adult as a role model    

Examples of the ways in which ICT can support English

The following table has been compiled to illustrate possible links between the DfES Information Technology scheme of work and the National Literacy Strategy for Key Stages one and two. Refer to the units listed below for examples of how ICT can enhance teaching and learning in English. You will also find some useful ideas in the Lewisham Literacy Strategy.


IT Scheme of Work

Literacy Framework (Sample activities for text level work)

Year 1 Unit 1A

Title: Assembling Text

Year: 1  Term: 1

Text 11: Pupils could write sentences describing five familiar objects. They could use a program like My World or ClarisWorks to match sentences to clipart pictures of the objects. They could also match beginning and ending of sentences or complete the sentences and match them with the pictures.

YearUnit 1D

Title: Labelling and classifying

Year: 1  Term: 1

Text 14 & 16: Pupils could use a prepared word bank with names, shapes, sizes and colours of objects in your class or objects related to your topic. Pupils could then choose appropriate words for objects to make labels which could then be printed.

YearUnit 1C

Title: The Information around us

Year: 1  Term: 2

Text 17 & 20: Pupils could use the 'Living Books' CD-ROM of "Just Grandma and Me" or the Oxford Reading Tree CD-ROM containing a mixture of text, pictures and icons. Pupils could have a go at the 'Fun with the Characters' activity where they focus on a particular page and name the characters they can see; they could click on them and describe their actions and feelings. Afterwards they could click on other objects and start to predict what might happen next. They should recognise that sounds, text and pictures convey information.

YearUnit 1B

Title: Using a word bank

Year: 1  Term: 3

Text 13 & 14: Pupils could select words from a word bank or word list on a word processor to complete sentences. Ask pupils to produce a piece of text about themselves or write simple stories based on previous reading using words from a word bank.

YearUnit 2A

Title: Writing stories: communicating information using text

Year: 2  Term: 1 - 3

Pupils could do a range of activities with text using a word processor or a DTP program; this could run throughout the year. 

This includes typing labels, writing simple sentences, rearranging lines in a poem, arranging a string of ten items from a shopping list into a horizontal list, typing speech into a speech bubble or deleting words to break up longer sentences.  Pupils could produce a picture book by writing text to go with the pictures to tell the story. 

Text 11 & 15: Pupils should use their understanding of the language of time to write simple sentences on events that happened in a sequence. They could write simple instructions e.g. getting top school or playing a game.

YearUnit 2C

Title: Finding information

Year: 2  Term: 2

Text 16, 17 & 18: Pupils could use a CD-ROM dictionary to find definitions for unusual words encountered in texts related to the class topic. They could make a record of interesting definitions to be kept in a class or personal dictionary or glossary.

Year: 2  Term: 3

Text 19 & 20: Pupils should use a book, a database, a CD-ROM encyclopaedia or the Internet to gather information on a topic which could be used to draft sentences on what they found out.

YearUnit 3A

Title: Combining text and graphics

Year: 3  Term: 1

Text 11, 13 & 14: Pupils should write a description of a setting in a known story. They could write shape poems and present it using templates done with ClarisWorks. 

Text 15: Pupils could produce a class newsletter which includes pictures, captions and font effects, with the text punctuated and arranged in paragraphs.

Year: 3  Term: 2

Text 8: Pupils could write portraits of characters and present them in a variety of ways such as a poster, or a labelled diagram. This could also be a poster on a topic of concern and the other pupils could respond with written comments.

YearUnit 3E

Title: E-mail

Year: 3  Term: 3

Text 16 & 20: Pupils should use e-mail to write to a range of people. This could be to pupils in another school involved in a joint e-mail project or an organisation from which they require information for the class topic. 

Pupils could exchange first drafts of stories which are then reviewed by other pupils who send back their comments on how the story could be improved. They could jointly design a questionnaire which could be used to collect information in their respective schools.

YearUnit 4A

Title: Writing for different audiences

Year: 4  Term: 1

Text 17, 18, 19, 20: They should use web sites of national and local newspapers to read a variety of reports. They should look at the layout and common features. They could collect, list and compare opening sentences. They could compare several reports on the same subject and categorise what is fact and opinion. Pupils could write articles in pairs and amend them over a period of time. Their articles could then be used to produce a class newspaper, but they should focus on the content of their articles and consider the layout and presentation later.

Follow these links for a lesson plan and resources to develop the ICT technique of using Cut and Paste to re-order a piece of text (Claris and Apple Works files only)

Year: 4  Term: 1

Text Level work Non fiction: Re-ordering a sequence of instructions using Cut and Paste

Text 22: to identify features of instructional texts: clearly set out sequential stages

Text 26: to improve the cohesion of written instructions and directions through the use of link phrases, sub headings and numbering



Year: 4  Term: 2

Text 9 & 12: Pupils could collaborate with others to write stories in chapters, with particular audiences in mind e.g. horror stories for junior pupils.

Year: 4  Term: 3

Text 12, 13, 15 & 25: Pupils could write alternative ending for a known story or write longer stories from story plans. They could produce polished poetry through revision by deleting, adding, changing or reorganising words and lines.  Pupils could also design an advertisement such as a poster or radio jingle using HyperStudio, for a school fair or an imaginary product.

YearUnit 5B

Analysing data and asking questions: using complex searches

Year: 5  Term: 1

Text 13: Pupils should record, their ideas, reflections and predictions about a book. They could do this in a class reading log or journal, which could be set up as a database to be accessed by other pupils. Pupils could then ask further questions based on their own data.

Pupils could use prepared databases on CD-ROMs, or search engines on the Internet to search for and analyse information using 'AND', 'OR' as part of the query.

YearUnit 5C

Evaluating information, checking accuracy and questioning plausibility

Year: 5  Term: 2

Text 17, 18 & 19: Pupils could locate information on a CD-ROM or on the Internet by using the contents pages, indexes and bookmarks. Pupils in groups could compare and evaluate critically the information from different sources and be able to check the accuracy or reliability of the information.

Text 20 & 21: Pupils could make notes and rewrite the information in their own words. They should always record and acknowledge sources in their writing.


Year: 5  Term: 3

Text 17 & 18: Pupils should draft and write individual, group or class letters for real purposes. For example, they could present a point of view, or write a protest on an issue of concern. They should use a range of tools to present the issues such as numbered lists, bullet points etc.

YearUnit 6A

Title: Multimedia presentation

Year: 6  Term: 1

Text 6 & 18: Pupils could be asked to write and publish a modern version of favourite fairy tales for KS1 pupils. They could make books, using a word processor, story maker CD-ROM, desktop publishing package or HyperStudio They should then compare the finished products to evaluate the best method.

Year: 6  Term: 2

Text 1, 18 & 19: Pupils should consider what adaptations they would need to make to a story in order to change it to a newspaper report using a desktop publishing package. They could also publish their newspaper electronically as a web page.

Year: 6  Term: 3

Text 13: Pupils could write a sequence of poems which are linked to a theme (e.g. water, bullying) or poems in a particular form (e.g. haiku). This could be published as a book or as a multimedia book using HyperStudio

ICT Resources available to support English teaching include

Generic software

Name: ClarisWorks*

Type: Software

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: Integrated software with word processor, drawing, painting and spreadsheet applications.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: Apple

Name: HyperStudio*

Type: Software

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: A multimedia tool that can be used to create talking story books by adding text, images, sound and animations to pupils' projects.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: TAG Learning - 0800 591262 - http://www.taglearning.com

Name: Microsoft Publisher

Type: Software

Key Stage: 2

Description: Desktop publishing software with easy to use templates and wizards.

Platform: PC

Supplier: Microsoft

Name: Claris Home Page*

Type: Software

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: Web page design software.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: Apple

English CD-ROMs and software

Name: The Grammar Show

Type: CD-ROM

Key Stage: 2

Description: Interactive exercises and activities relating to grammar for upper KS2.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: Sherston Software  - 01666 843200  - http://sales.sherston.co.uk

Name: Writer’s Workshop

Type: Software (with Internet link)

Key Stage: 2

Description: Interactive CD-ROM designed for KS3 pupils but suitable for upper KS2; designed to provide stimuli for factual and descriptive writing.

Platform: PC

Supplier: Granada Learning  - 01618272927  - http://www.granada-learning.com

Name: Oxford Reading Tree talking Stories

Type: CD-ROM

Key Stage: 1

Description: The ORT stories enable pupils to hear stories read, as well as reading them independently.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: Sherston Software  - 01666 843200  - http://sales.sherston.co.uk

Name: Fuzzbuzz

Type: Software

Key Stage: 1

Description: Animated activities that help pupils develop their sight vocabulary.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: Granada Learning  - 01618272927  - http://www.granada-learning.com

Name: Wellington Square

Type: Software

Key Stage: 2

Description: Designed to meet the needs of KS2 pupils who are ‘slow to get off the ground in reading’. Each CD provides a set of talking books and activities of increasing complexity.

Platform: PC

Supplier: Granada Learning  - 01618272927  - http://www.granada-learning.com

Name: Nursery Rhyme Time

Type: CD-ROM

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: Nursery rhymes brought to life with animation, narration, sound affects and music. As well as listening and following the words, pupils can listen to individual words.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: Sherston Software  - 01666 843200  - http://sales.sherston.co.uk

Name: Living Books CD-ROMs (Tortoise and the hare, etc.)

Type: CD-ROM

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: Series of interactive CD-ROMs that retell stories with some having accompanying resources which contain suggestions for classroom activities.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: TAG Learning - 0800 591262 - http://www.taglearning.com

Name: Activity Bank English (Literacy CDs for Year 3 - 6)

Type: CD-ROM

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: Developed in conjunction with the National Literacy Association, these CD-ROMs contain a series of short structured activities that cover many of the objectives in the NLS framework for years 3 - 6.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: Sherston Software  - 01666 843200  - http://sales.sherston.co.uk

Name: Europress Family Encyclopaedia

Type: CD-ROM

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: Encyclopaedia designed to provide easily accessible and up-to-date information.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: Webster Publishing

Name: The Selfish Giant

Type: Software

Key Stage: 1

Description: Interactive talking book that retells Oscar Wilde's story of 'The Selfish Giant' with games, puzzles and activities that can be uncovered on each page.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: Sanctuary Woods Multimedia

Name: Story Maker

Type: CD-ROM

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: A program that allows pupils to make and play their own stories using graphics, sound effects, sound and text.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: Software Production Associates

Name: Talking Textease

Type: Software

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: Word processor with desktop publishing features. It has provision for using video and audio clips and easy conversion into web pages.

Platform: PC

Supplier: Softease

Name: Encarta Encyclopedia

Type: CD-ROM

Key Stage: 2

Description: Multimedia encyclopaedia that includes a dictionary and links to the World Wide Web.

Platform: PC

Supplier: Microsoft

Name: Tizzy's Toybox

Type: CD-ROM

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: Fun activities that enable pupils to learn letter sounds, names and shapes. They can also do activities on rhyming words, prepositions, matching and sorting, etc.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: Sherston Software  - 01666 843200  - http://sales.sherston.co.uk

Name: Creative Writer

Type: CD-ROM

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: A powerful word processing and desktop publishing tool that produces fancy fonts, borders and backgrounds. It also has a story starter fruit machine which can be used for creating starting points.

Platform: PC

Supplier: Microsoft

Name: Clicker 3

Type: CD-ROM

Key Stage: 1

Description: An on-screen keyboard with speech that allows you to add words, images or sound into a word processor. Clicker writer lets you write with pictures as well as words.

Platform: PC

Supplier: Crick Software

Name: Talking Write Away

Type: CD-ROM

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: Allows text to be read back to pupils.

Platform: PC

Supplier: Black Cat Software  - 01874 622114  - http://www.blackcatsoftware.com

Name: Talking First Word

Type: CD-ROM

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: Based on Microsoft Word; allows text to be read back to pupils.

Platform: PC

Supplier: RM  - 01235 826969

Name: Matti Mole Summer Holiday

Type: CD-ROM

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: Language activities based on a story character. Supports a range of literacy topics such as nouns and adjectives, joining words, opposites, plurals, tenses and verbs.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: Sherston Software  - 01666 843200  - http://sales.sherston.co.uk


Name: AlphaSmart Keyboards

Type: Hardware

Key Stage: 1 & 2

Description: Provides additional access to pupils in your class to use word processing. It allows text stored on the keyboard to be transferred in to any word processor or DTP program.

Platform: PC and Mac

Supplier: TAG Learning - 0800 591262 - http://www.taglearning.com


Name: The IT in Primary Literacy: A Practical Document Ideal for INSET & Classroom Use

Type: Booklet

Key Stage: Reception to Yr 6

Description: A teacher friendly guide to integrating ICT into the literacy hour.


Supplier: Bolton LEA Curriculum ICT Centre  - http://www.tfict.org.uk




*This software is available for purchase by Lewisham schools at reduced prices through the Lewisham ICT Centre (020 8314 9441).



Web sites for English


Teaching Resources, Activities and Reference materials

Lewisham ICT Resource Centre - explore this area to see what information and materials are available.


The Standards web site -  access to literacy schemes of work, activities, guidance and news on the NLS. The site is worth exploring for other subjects as well.


The National Year of Reading web site - resources, competitions, news and events.


Primary support pages on the Virtual Teachers Centre web site (masses of information here: start with the web sites and look for the English links, or go to the English curriculum links on the 'Spotlight on Curriculum' pages. This site is good for all other subject areas as well.


English area on the Virtual Teachers Centre web site (masses more information here: start with the links on the 'Subject Resources' pages.


The BECTa web site for general ICT support information


Primary Resources - lots of English activities, lessons and ideas. 


Teaching Ideas - lots of activities for English from age 5 - 11


Visual Thesaurus -  presents words and synonyms in the form of a 2D or 3D concept map.


String Fairy - story books with interactive features that allow the reader to gain information on characters and setting.


Little Planet - program from America that is designed to develop reading and writing skills. It includes sections for parents, teachers and children.


Billy Bear and the 4 Kids -site contains a whole range of stories and activities for younger children as well as information for adults.


Argosphere - site that contains on-line interactive activities.


Interactive web site that gives information about authors, books and allow children to read and write book reviews. (This site still appears in search engines, but the link was dead last time we checked - Nov 02)


Candle Light Stories - storybooks, penpals, story theatre, spelling games, e-cards and lots more.


A comprehensive list of links to authors.


Useful for Christmas related activities.


Useful animal pictures


Disney Books - a collection of popular Disney books that pupils could read online.


Seussville - a range of activities including book reviews and access to Seussville University.


The Nature Grid Infant Explorer developed by Kent with lots of literacy activities and links.


Children's books reviews from the International e-mail exchange


Writers Online - an interactive project for the National Year of Reading (this project seems to have ended, but the site is well worth exploring)


Kent NGfL Initiative - an excellent source for materials and links


Teaching ideas - Ideas on ways to use ICT to enhance teaching and learning during the Literacy Hour.


More to be added...

Organisations, Journals and Conference sites

The Poetry Society web site - reviews news and workshops relating to poetry.


The National Literacy Trust -  news, resources and discussion group.


The National Literacy Trust Discussion Group


VTC Web sites for primary education


A Pupil's Entitlement to ICT


The VTC English Conference: find the button to join the discussion group


More to be added...

Teaching ICT in Literacy

The National Literacy Strategy made several clear references to the use of ICT in the Literacy hour. The diagram and table below are useful guides for ways of integrating ICT into your literacy lessons. This includes the use of ICT by the teacher to develop materials and to demonstrate key literacy concepts. Group and independent activities for pupils should also involve the use of ICT.

An adaptation of the DfEE Literacy Hour Clock.


Whole Class activities
Group and independent activities
Activities for the plenary

Use a large screen monitor (preferably 17 inches) to demonstrate sentence and word level concepts to your class. A word processor, presentation tool and a multimedia program could be used for the following activities.

Highlighting wordgroups in sentences

Demonstrating phonics (Circle game)

Adding (-ing) to verbs

• Changing the tense of verbs

• Adding adjectives to describe a noun

Putting sentences or phrases in the correct order using cut and paste

Modelling poetry writing

• List keywords from a piece of text

• Demonstrate the construction of sentences

• Using keywords to create a concept map

Making sentences from keywords

• Illustrating subject and verb agreement

Using HyperStudio to create presentations on a range of word level activities e.g. converting nouns from singular to plural

• Using HyperStudio to present story starters and points for pupils to discuss

Pupils can work in pairs on the class computer, or use portable keyboards or laptops in small groups. ICT tasks should be appropriate to pupils' capability so that they require little help from the teacher. A word processor, a multimedia program or a desktop publishing program could used to support group activities. A range of CD-ROM software can be used to develop and reinforce concepts in English. (See the resources list below).

• Drafting an e-mail to a 'penpal' or an author of a book they are reading in class

• Writing a letter

• Drafting story beginnings or endings

Using a spell checker to investigate spelling rules.

• Writing a description of a character from a story

• Writing instructions or rules

• In pairs using literacy CD-ROMs that support concepts taught in the earlier part of the lesson

• Using a DTP program to create leaflets, ads, flyers and posters to communicate and share information

• Using HyperStudio to create and publish books, diaries and games

• Drafting and designing a questionnaire

• Searching a database, a CD-ROM encyclopaedia or the Internet for information

• Collecting and entering information into a database about books or authors

• Writing stories for a younger audience that would be published on the Internet

• Reviewing and modifying previous work done to develop their ideas further

Pupils can review work done using ICT, focusing on what they were able to achieve and what could be done to improve the work. This should include both ICT and Literacy skills covered in the activity.

Teacher activities could include:

• Reviewing word and sentence level work

• Presenting work done by a group of pupils

• Showing progress made on a HyperStudio stack and discussing with pupils how it could be further developed