How can WAGOLL be used in the classroom?
1. Shared reading
Shared reading sessions are a great way to introduce a WAGOLL to your class. The text can be displayed on the board and can be read as a class. Tricky vocabulary can be identified and explained to the children. During the process of shared reading, questions can be asked by the teacher to help children notice the key features of the text type and understand why they are present.
For example, if looking at an instructions text as a WAGOLL, children could be asked questions such as:
"What do you notice about the heading?"
"Why does the heading need to be big?"
"How is the writing laid out?"
"Why is it effective for the writing to be laid out in this way?"
"Would the instructions be easy to follow if it wasn't laid out in numbered steps? Why?"
"Why do you think adverbs have been used?"
During the shared reading of a WAGOLL, it is a good idea to identify some of the key language features in an enlarged part of the beginning of the text. Children could then work with a partner to see if they can find other examples in the rest of the text. If we stick with our instructions example, you could pick out the time adverbials, imperative verbs and adverbs in the first three steps and then children could be tasked to identify other examples in the rest of the text. Highlighters are useful for this!
As key features of the text type are identified in the WAGOLL, they can be written up on the board to form a list of success criteria for that text type. This is a really useful strategy as the success criteria list can be referred to during shared and modelled writing. It could also be printed off for children to use when producing their own writing or used as an assessment tool.
2. Find the features!
After shared reading of the WAGOLL, it can be a really useful to plan in an activity where children are tasked with spotting the key features of the text type in an alternative WAGOLL. That way, you can check if children have understood what the key features are and why they are needed.
The new WAGOLL could be given to the children alongside the success criteria list drawn up during shared reading. They could then, for example, colour code the key features they find by highlighting both the success criteria and the WAGOLL in a range of colours. Another idea is to give children the key features on cards which they then stick around the WAGOLL on a big sheet of paper with lines drawn to examples of each feature.
3. Compare to a bad example
It may seem counter-intuative but showing children a version of the text type being studied that does not contain the key features identified in the WAGOLL is a good strategy for helping children see why the key features are required. For example, showing the children a version of instructions which does not have the usual numberd steps, heading or ingredient list is useful for getting them to realise how hard these would be to follow!
You could display the WAGOLL next to the 'bad version' of the text type and encourage children to spot as many differences as they can. Alternatively, they could be asked to justify why the WAGOLL is a better version. This could make a really effective plenary in order to deepen the children's understanding of the text type.
Below: In the Lighthouse keeper's lunch English Lesson Pack on the key features of instructions, children compare the WAGOLL to a poor example of instructions: