Why do this project?

Biography is history seen through the prism of a person – Louis Fischer

This writing project will show children how they can document the lives of people in their communities. They will discover how the lives of ordinary people they know can be sources of great historical, social and personal interest – not only to themselves as the writer but to others too. All people’s lives are interesting, but we don’t always realise it ourselves. Everyone in our society has a story to tell, and by asking the right questions and sharing these stories publicly, children learn that they can give a voice to those people who would never otherwise have had an audience.

Biography writing has strong elements of memoir, although it will be about other people that the writer knows personally or has heard of through family members, friends or the community. At their very best, biographies can carry within them great opportunities for poetic description and rich anecdote. One of the great benefits of this writing project is that the writer can bring in and celebrate stories that can strengthen and enhance the sense of community and connection inside the classroom. There may well be gains, too, for the person being interviewed and written about.

A good biography topic creates the possibility for reflection, empathy or a shared understanding of a person or an experience. Children will come to understand the role biographers have in documenting and preserving people’s past.

This class writing project provides you with:

+ Comprehensive teacher notes:

  • Comprehensive teacher notes
  • Suggestions for both year group and whole school writing progression
  • Advice for teachers on how to write great mentor texts
  • Over 25 writing study and functional grammar mini-lessons
  • Suggested book list for your classroom library

+ Our popular and photocopiable child-facing Genre Booklet which includes:

  • Year 5 purpose and audience writing wheel
  • Publishing and performance menu
  • 5 exemplar texts
  • Idea generation techniques
  • Dabbling and drafting advice
  • Revision checklist
  • Editing checklist

+ Our quick guide to teaching writing

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